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Tuesday September 23rd 2014

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Ears & Fingers 7/24/14

by Jason Leger

Bleachers-Strange Desire
For most of us, playing in one band that has topped charts and toured the world would probably be more than enough to make us want to sit in our rooms and not move for a while. However, this is not reality for fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff. Antonoff is reaching for more and desiring to wrench his own project, Bleachers, from beneath the shadow of the mammoth fun. has become.

With the release of “Strange Desire,” I think he has done more than enough to liberate himself from the confines of being ‘that guitar player from fun.’ and exhibit his penchant for writing smart pop music with strong undertones from some acts that were hard to miss in the ‘80s. Moving between songs like ‘Rollercoaster,’ ‘Shadow’ and lead single, ‘I Wanna Get Better,’ it’s difficult for a listener to not make the connection back in his or her mind to a young Duran Duran, Modern English, Tears for Fears, or even more obscure acts like Baltimora or Kirsty MacColl. When I first dove into the album, it felt like every move, every note, every nuance was directed at me. It felt almost as though Antonoff knew what a sucker I am for throwback music done well from the decade I was born in. The highlight of the album is the opening track, ‘Wild Heart.’ I had it on repeat during the majority of last week and found it difficult to break away from its anthemic nostalgia. Looking for something smart, buoyant and lively to soundtrack your summer? Bleachers has given you an obvious choice. “Strange Desire” is out now via RCA Records.

If You Haven’t Heard: Perfume Genius
Mike Hadreas has no apprehension over who he is. He is very open about his homosexuality and the pain he has endured because of it, as well as his painful childhood. Under his stage name, Perfume Genius, Hadreas focuses the dire moments of his life in lucid, poignant songs led by his earnest lyrics and melancholic voice. 2010’s “Put Your Back N 2 It” is a darkly tragic album, dealing with themes of molestation, prostitution, drug addiction and violence. Not exactly the album you would expect with that kind of title. But what is so interesting about Hadreas is his ability to sound comforting while singing about these sorts of themes. It’s almost unnerving how easy it is to connect with Hadreas as he explores the depths of humanity.
Last week, the word came of “Too Bright,” a new album from Perfume Genius on the horizon. This also came with the release of a new track titled ‘Queen,’ which is comparably upbeat for Hadreas, while no less aggressive in context. He questions, “Don’t you know your queen?” Hadreas is directly confronting those who are put off or confused by who he is or how he acts. The album is certain to follow suit, as Matador is calling it the bravest record they have ever released. “Too Bright” will be out Sept. 23 via Matador Records.

Track of the Week: Generationals-Gold Silver Diamond
Generationals, two of New Orleans’ finest, are back and pretty quickly I might add, with a new album and single. ‘Gold Silver Diamond,’ the first single from “Alix,” Generationals’ upcoming fourth album, is smart pop-rock at its finest. This time around, the duo have put Richard Swift (The Shins, Foxygen) behind the board to add some sheen to their already pristine sound. Check this track out on the band’s Soundcloud page and be on the lookout for “Alix” on Sept. 16 via Polyvinyl Records.