Lingering in my head longer than Swift's teen murder anthem, though, are the semi-crazed interviews an eye-patched Donald Sutherland has been giving for the movie. Sutherland is in that magic Peter O'Toole, so-past-the-point-of giving-a-fuck zone right now, that I can't stop watching his terrible Access Holywood spots in a state of hushed awe. I saw this one where he tells a sad, wistful story about meeting Jennifer Lawrence and then falling on the ground while carrying a plate of spaghetti and having to be carried off. The vapid interviewer lady laughs, but I found it very poignant.
Wait, what was I talking about? New songs?
Beck - "Looking For a Sign"
Another blonde waif cashing a fat OST check is Beck Hansen, who's spent more time behind the decks for other artists than he has on his own material lately. "Looking For a Sign" is from the film Jeff, Who Lives at Home (not a good look for a Jeff, frankly), and it's an emotionally ravaged folk ballad in his Sea Change mode. Although, I can't recall him really leaning into the notes on that record the way he does here. Remember when the knock on Beck was that all he could do was detached, ironic cut-ups with no actual soul? Doesn't that seem like a bazillion years ago at this point?
Lotus Plaza - "Strangers"
When Halcyon Digest was relelased, people were talking crazy like maybe Lockett Pundt had eclipsed Bradford Cox as the band's best songwriter. This was false. It still is. But Lockett gains. His voice is sort of ever flat, but he's figuring out how to make that work. The songs we've heard from Spooky Action at a Distance are much crisper than those from his debut The Floodlight Collective. The drums snap louder. The guitar knows it's place. Lockett gains.
Mina Tindle - "To Carry Many Small Things"
I'm bending the rules slightly, because this song and video have been floating around for a while, but Parisian singer Mina Tindle is charming enough to let it slide. (And her record Taranta is just coming out now in France, not even released in the U.S., so it's current enough. Lay off!) French pop has long been a weakness of mine, though neither of the usual wispy or debauched qualities that I respond to really apply here. I'm not crazy about the samurai-knotted gentleman bothering the lovely Mina in the video above, but the dancing he's participating is key. This song is all about the dance-school rhythm, the persistent clap-beat and waltz tempo. The key is acting like you aren't thinking about your feet. In the end, it's like a sexier Feist single, which may sound like thin praise, but there are so many worse things in the world.
Rebecca & Fiona - "Dance"
If that last video lost you, this one totally will. It's even more male model-y! This is to Fever Ray what Creed was to Pearl Jam. I'm imagining a Danish music video director who went to high-school with Nicolas Winding Refn, who called him up to see if he knew a place to get a great deal on slightly used latex masks. The synth tone hits me, though. (Not to mention the Swedish cheekbones.) I feel like I should know better than this, but I guess I kind of don't.
Also Check Out:
- Hey, there's a new Grass Widow album coming out in May! Here's the first single!
- Titus Andronicus leaves town to hit my beloved Pacific Northwest (It's snowing there! Crazy!) but sound throat-scorched, brow-sweaty, and super Stickles-y anyway on new single "Upon Viewing Oregon's Landscape With the Flood of Detritus." You can take the boy out of Jersey...
- I've had an enlarged Norah Jones soft spot since the last Belle and Sebastian record, and this Danger Mouse-produced track makes her sound stuck and sad in a way I definitely don't hate.
- Madonna is just really not going to hit bottom with these new songs, is she? Fuuuuuuuuuck. David Brent has a song-writing credit on this one, maybe. Sorry, this is the song recommendation equivalent of "I think this milk went bad. Smell it."
Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_klingman if you want to.