Here are the week’s six best songs, folks.
Ashley McBryde – “One Night Standards”
An instant country classic on lyrics alone: “How it goes is/Bar closes/There’s no king bed covered in roses/Just a room/Without a view/I don’t want a number you ain’t gonna answer/Let’s just stick to the one night standards.” But emotionally there are plenty of ways a vocalist could take those lines, and to hear McBryde sing ’em, there’s plenty of hurt in the hookup.
Sudan Archives – “Confessions”
A Cincinnati fiddler who fell for Northeast African music rewires the traditions she admires rather than recreating them, preferring playful incongruity to dramatic import. She saws a hell of a riff, then divebombs down across the strings, all while a beat built around a flutter of handclaps keeps her on her toes.
Cheekface – “Wedding Guests”
This L.A. indie-rock trio hasn’t disappointed me yet, and on their second standalone track since this year’s excellent Therapy Island Greg Katz’s deadpan once more wrings ambiguity from the absurdity of lines like “Every pleasure is guilty and the pleasure is mine” and “Some personal news: Everything is OK.” I may be underestimating, but as far as I know there are a total of four diehard Cheekface fans in the Twin Cities, and they all write for City Pages. I invite you to be the fifth.
Homeboy Sandman – “Far Out”
“Most underrated indie rapper” is a silly claim even if it’s strongly arguable, but I will say that Sandman’s the kind of thoughtful, engaging MC with hordes of potential fans who’ve just never had the chance to hear him. He’s had as solid a decade as anyone on the mic, and based on this advance track—which offhandedly references The Neverending Story, debates whether Queens is special enough to boast about, and translates “get off my dick” into “let go my urethra” because it rhymes with “hour in the shower with the waterproof speaker” and “things that make you go eureka”—the October-slated album Dusty might cap off his teens winningly.
Tkay Maidza ft. JPEGMAFIA – "Awake"
JPEGMAFIA may put the phony in cacophony, but if a feature from the noiseboy du jour is what it takes to inject the inventive yet slept-on Australian pop-rapper Maidza into your algorithm, well, there are worse concessions. Her style sounds both entirely of-the-moment and not much different than it did four years ago, and you don’t gotta be a math whiz to figure out how ahead of her time that made her.
Jason Derulo – “Too Hot”
Derulo and producer Jacob Manson audiciously, unimaginatively, unseasonably, and maybe unforgivably jack the dancehall classic “Murder She Wrote” and add a chorus of “It’s too hot for clothes” that made me laugh out loud on first listen. At him? With him? Does it even matter? This is so stupid it loops back around until it’s genius but then overshoots its mark and winds up back at stupid, then back to genius, back to stupid, ad infinitum. If you’re too tasteful for such ingratiating idiocy, well then, have fun not being naked, I guess.
Every week, music editor Keith Harris scours the vast musicscape for six worthy tracks to add to City Pages' ever-expanding 2019 playlist.