Today's songs are"At My Door" by MOY, "Names in Sidewalks” by Jack Clayton, and "Strawberry Hotel" by Grady Strange.
MOY - "At My Door"
With the release of just two singles, MOY has created quite a buzz. Not much is known about them yet, and that mystery is certainly playing into their appeal. The New Zealander lead singer is backed by a Glasgow based band, and together they’ve written some catchy 90’s pop-rock/grunge records that have landed them on BBC airwaves and Spotify’s Fresh Finds: Rock playlist.
“At My Door” is their latest single, released earlier this month. When you listen to it, do yourself a favor—turn it up. The song plays with volume, and the dissonance between the loud and quiet elements are integral to the experience and the song's meaning. MOY writes, "'At My Door' was written about escapism, a chance encounter with someone significant who takes you to a new place, wanting to return and when you can’t, the reflection and understanding of the truth that is staring you right in the face. that you can’t go back.” The song starts with a stop-and-go electric guitar. In the first verse, when MOY is singing, his voice is only backed by drums. Then both stop and we get the soft melody from an electric guitar. During one chorus, MOY almost sounds like he's whispering the lyrics, which really makes it feel like an explosion when he starts shouting them. It’s a playful way to express the uncertainty of relationships. The music video is striking, with over 3200 hand drawn frames. It’s a must-see. Listen to “At My Door” now.
Jack Clayton - "Names in Sidewalks”
Jack Clayton is a self-taught musician from South Carolina, but currently based in Arizona. His music seems to change with the landscape. His first EP, “The South Mountain Tapes,” blend country lyricism with grainy, cassette-recorded character. His latest music builds on those roots, while adding elements of 80’s pop and rock, with a synth-driven, new wave style. Clayton released his latest single today, titled, “Names in Sidewalks.” When I first heard his voice on this song, I got straight up Bowie vibes. The 80’s reflection continues with the slow, echoey drums and reverb electric guitar. In fact, if you didn’t know anything about Clayton, you might think you were listening to a soft rock ballad written in the 80’s. The more you listen though, Clayton’s indie-folk roots contribute to this homemade nature that grounds his work and brings it back to modern day music. In this song, he sings about love and fatherhood, and being able to live on through both of those things. It’s a romantic idea, and it’s enough to make anyone consider a future with kids in it… for a moment, anyway.
I can hear this song in so many different ways: sped up, stripped and acoustic, a more modern-pop version, or dramatized with soulful vocals. To me, this proves that Clayton has written a really great song. Listen to “Names in Sidewalks” now.
Grady Strange - “Strawberry Hotel”
Finally, I end you with “Strawberry Hotel” by Grady Strange. Grady Strange is the solo experiment of Graydon (aka Grady) Wenrich, backed by his partner Mackenzie Howe of Pet Dress, and their pup Dolly Parton—the star and subject in “Strawberry Hotel.” Both Wenrich and Howe, who met on the road while playing in their bands (The Lonely Biscuits and The Wild Reeds), have recently made the decision to pursue solo projects. Wenrich shared that part of his motivation behind the leap was when he bought Hilly Kristal’s tape recorder at a garage sale for fifteen dollars—the same recorder used to record artists that graced the CBGB, like Ramones and Talking Heads. Wenrich uses that tape recorder to lay down his own songs for Grady Strange. He says, “…I love recording to tape because you can’t just fix everything later, you have to make it cool in the first place. It’s about instinct and committing to your weird ideas.”
Wenrich describes his music as “saltwater cowgirl rocknroll” which is very accurate. In “Strawberry Hotel” you’ll hear how he incorporate elements of surf rock with the reverb-heavy electric guitar and vocals, and texture from the tape recorder/mic. You’ll also get some southern rock through his chord progressions, slides, and hammer-ons. The video for the single is hilarious and cute and it doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is a big part of the appeal to Wenrich’s music in the first place. It’s warm and fuzzy and easy to rock out to. Listen to “Strawberry Hotel” here.