Now Hear This is a daily dive into the standout songs of the day. Today, Sean Nicholas Savage celebrates outsiders, Bat for Lashes unveils a side project, and Line & Circle mine the jangliest moments of the '80s.
Sean Nicholas Savage, "Propaganda"
Outré pop singer/songwriter Sean Nicholas Savage's new track "Propaganda" is a celebration of outsiders everywhere. Early on, you get labelled because you fall outside a certain box, he explains in an accompanying interview video. Then, "freak" becomes its own sort of box — another way to trap you. "Propaganda" reminds fellow weirdoes that choosing to live differently is about exercising one's own agency. It's about freedom. "I'm a freak/ wild and free," he sings. The chorus' "Yahhhhhhh," fried and pulled long like the roar of a stadium, is the sound attending SNS, a proud freak posing triumphantly, one fist in the air.
Sean Nicholas Savage's Other Death is out September 18 on Arbutus Records.
When Natasha Khan started playing hangman on Twitter and Instagram, followers thought she was teasing the next Bat for Lashes release. Instead, she was introducing a project in collaboration with English psych act TOY and producer Dan Carey, which made its live debut at Green Man Festival in Wales over the weekend. "Helelyos" is an interpretation of the Zia Atabi Iranian funk song. The Atabi track — a celebration of south Iranian women — is subverted by Khan's play. When she sings "The dark girls are going on adventures/ They are not afraid of any dangers/ My dark girls/ My dark girls/ My dark girls/ My dark girls," it's divorced from the male gaze — now, it's about empowerment.
Sexwitch's self-titled debut is out September 25 on The Echo Label Limited.
Line & Circle, "Like A Statue"
Mining the janglier, more maudlin moments of the '80s, like their counterparts Merchandise and Ceremony, L.A.-based five-piece Line & Circle play their love for The Psychedelic Furs, R.E.M., and the later Replacements as sonic shorthand for longing. "Like A Statue" floats on singer Brian Cohen's graceful croon that — soar and dive, though it might — can't shake its melancholy.