A regular Thursday feature of this channel.

Peter Baird


Welcome to angsty self-doubt week here at PBNSOTW.

I’m thinking the Linda Lindas are a pleasant little eddy in the irresistible stream of power pop. Talking to Myself fits nicely in this week’s theme of suspecting one may be neurotic or worse. Bubbly production, Bangles and Go-Gos.

Not normally a Father John Misty fan, but Chloë is a scary good channeling of Harry Nilsson. And not just the vocal—the lyric, the arrangement, the production. Syrupy strings, giant vibrato on the saxes—this is brilliant.

In the as-poets-we-don’t-capitalize subgenre, there is corook. The song distracted is of course self-therapy, but it’s very listenable: “paying eighty an hour ‘cause I miss my mom”. She uses the word “shit” a lot, not in a bad way.

Politics & Party Tricks is a little meditation on our obsession with what other people think of us, and related social paranoia. It has a coastal lilt that makes the journey fun instead of excruciating. “All I’m always thinking ‘bout is what everybody’s thinking of me”.

I admit I’m a sucker for story songs, especially when they contain a shot of ambiguity. Dooley’s Farm tells maybe 60% of the story, you have to fill in the rest. Stellar Dobro work from Billy Strings. Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway showing how atmospheric Appalachian is really done.

The only tune this week that’s uncomfortably self-aware is Anand Wilder’s Hart Island. The positives are the BeeGees harmonies and the thoughtful lyrics, the negatives are the obligatory out-of-tune upright piano and the strange arrangement choices that break up the flow.

How can I resist including a song from a band called Ducks Ltd.? They need some work, but there’s a nugget of real there. The whole thing feels a little like listening to the Ramones experience existential pointlessness. “And all I ever got from you/is all I ever took from you” sung over a slightly hiccupy rhythm section.