Several years have passed since Lydia Loveless’ emergence and, time and time again, the songwriter’s proven to be one of today’s most formidable talents. Each of Loveless’ past handful of releases have been met with a heavy amount of anticipation and the songwriter’s still finding ways to surprise. Case in point: Desire b/w Sorry. While the gripping Justin Bieber cover constituting the B-side has been rightfully receiving a lot of press, “Desire” has been — somewhat unfairly — overshadowed, which is a shame because it ranks as one of the finest entries into Loveless’ increasingly impressive discography.
“Desire” is a swirling mix of aggression, melancholy, Southern rock, Americana, country, and punk-tinged rock n’ roll. In short, it’s one of Loveless’ most definitive songs. Shot through with the songwriter’s unmistakable voice, world-weary wit, and fierce power, it’s a five and a half minute reminder of Loveless’ seemingly innumerable strengths. Each decision, from ornate guitar figures to vocal sustain to the characteristically gritty instrumental tones, all serve a higher purpose rendering “Desire” an exhaustively complete work. “Sorry” may be the icing on the cake but “Desire” more than earns its place as the main attraction.
Listen to “Desire” below and download Desire b/w Sorryhere.
As good as all of those above titles are, this post’s focus belongs solely to Cymbals Eat Guitars’ inspired “4th of July, Philadelphia (SANDY)”, a song that immediately and effortlessly carves out a spot as one of this year’s finest. Elevating the song’s absurd individual strength is another in a respected list of clips that find a way to exploit the middle ground between music video and lyric video (a niche approach that was popularized by Bob Dylan’s iconic clip for “Subterranean Homesick Blues“). It’s a devilishly clever reflection of the song’s narrative; the song’s transparently informed by history and the visuals follow suit.
Following Warning, one of this decade’s stronger records (and a high-ranking pick for the Best Albums of 2014), the band unveiled the funk-tinged romp “Wish“, prompting some questions over the directional aim of the band’s forthcoming Pretty Years. In case anyone was concerned that the band had lost their penchant for soaring, aggressive, punk-indebted anthems, “4rh of July, Philadelphia (SANDY)” can definitively put those worries to rest.
From its opening moments, “4th of July, Philadelphia (SANDY)” stakes a claim as the most blown-out, deep-in-the-red track of the band’s impressive career and the severely bruised aesthetic winds up propelling the song to a place of curious transcendence. The band digs their heels in deep for the track, which scans as one of their most personal — and most revealing — to date. Ostensibly about the events that guitarist/vocalist Joe D’Agostino experienced last fourth of July in some great company (including site favorite Alex G, hence the winking parenthetical in the title), the song actually gains momentum through its transparency and frankness.
Not only is “4th of July, Philadelphia (SANDY)” one of the finest narratives D’Agostino’s ever crafted, the band’s rarely sounded this overwhelmingly committed to creating something this vicious. The video embraces the song’s production aesthetic and places D’Agostino in various scenic locations, holding lyric cards and taking in his surroundings as a series of overwashed imagery — which looks like it was shot on actual film — creates a cohesive visual narrative that complements the lyrics nicely.
Literally everything the band throws at this video works on miraculous levels, congealing into an astonishing piece of art that ably demonstrates the depths of the band’s ambition. There’s a very real sense of world-building both in the lyrics and in the clip, which again plays to the seamless marriage of both sides of the spectrum in “4th of July, Philadelphia (SANDY)”. D’Agostino’s lyricism has rarely been as vivid or as sharp as it is here and that’s really the crux of the song as well as its most effective engine. Sludgy, punishing, and boasting the most grit the band’s ever conjured up, Cymbals Eat Guitars go full tilt at everything at their disposal for this one and wind up with a breathtaking career highlight that demands a serious level of consideration as an unlikely classic.
Watch “4th of July, Philadelphia (SANDY)” below and pre-order Pretty Years from Sinderlynhere.