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Summer hits and sinister sounds

Edition #22 • Casper Caan x Hot Chip, Drangsal, ZUSTRA, OGMH, Moon Not War

Summer hits. They are despised – at least amongst so-called music aficionados. Summer hits are shallow; they are as catchy as they are quickly forgotten after the hot season has passed. Who still listens to Luis Fonsi's Despacito or Master KG's Jerusalema?

The issue with summer hits (let's say: hit songs in general) is that they are played endlessly in a short amount of time. It's the death sentence that killed many iconic songs. Example? Just think about Adele's Hello.

I try to avoid the mainstream's summer hit and find my own. And I think I've found what I was looking for in today's Weekly5: Last Chance by Casper Caan, remixed by no other than Hot Chip.

Contrasting this sunny vibe, this week's edition also features a variety of darker, sinister sounds for post-punk and rock music fans.

Casper Caan – Last Chance (Hot Chip Remix)

In May 2021, New York City-based producer Casper Caan put out the track Last Chance. The original release itself is worth a spot in playlists worldwide, an electronic piece of art with an unusual indie-rocky feel.

However, there's now a remix of Last Chance by no other than London's indie legends Hot Chip. They removed the scratchy, jumpy nature of the original and added a thick bassline, ironing out the edges and transforming the track into something that only can be described as a veritable summer hymn.

Hot Chip's remix spreads hope and evokes an aching yearning for freedom. Let's get out there!

Drangsal – Exit Strategy

28-year-old Max Gruber, aka Drangsal, is one of the wild, young, up-and-coming German musicians. In his first album, Harieschaim (2016), post-punk and new wave influences were already shining through his songs heavily. The record's opener, Allan Align, is a perfect example of the vintage sound.

Drangsal's latest single certainly has this post-punk vibe, but it has been pushed to the brink of existence. Exit Strategy is a fast-driving track, the synthesizer crying like a chainsaw. However, Drangsal's voice, grandiosely reciting the German lyrics, counterpoints the exploding sound.

But the most astonishing thing about Exit Strategy is the uncanny similarity to the modern pop-punk sound of die ärzte. Drangsal even sounds like their frontman Farin Urlaub. But in the end, this doesn't take anything away from Drangsal.

ZUSTRA – Walking on the Moon

Back in March, I've already featured ZUSTRA with her bone-shattering Back to Dark. Lately, the German artist released another song, Walking on the Moon – and it's not what one could expect after hearing Back to Dark.

Walking on the Moon starts off creeping, but the sound remains expanding and has comprehensive quality. It feels like an ambient sound, yet the groove is catchy. The song is marching like soldiers to war and, at the same time, filled with dreamy love. ZUSTRA switches between English and French lyrics.

Those contrasts are the intriguing side of Walking on the Moon. The track despises pigeonholes and seeks beauty between borders.

OGMH – You Are

My first and – until this week – last encounter with the Swiss quartet OGMH was their track Big League, a catchy, ironic hymn about the struggles of a young band on the search for success.

Two years later, the new single You Are seems to come from a different band, spreading a sinister, goth-like atmosphere with its bells in the intro. "Pale skin. Skinny body. New haircut," sings Alex Nauva. The song is, in the band's words, "the memory of wet revolutionary dreams of youth, that fade in the insomnia of the 30s."

OGMH have replaced the irony of Big League with a healthy dose of cynicism. Adulting is a depressing affair; at least You Are makes it sound that way. A downwards spiralling, expanding darkness.

Moon Not War – GodesX

No, the heavy stomping, atonal rock sound of Moon Not War isn't everybody's cup of tea. It's not even tea; it's liquid lead dripping into your ears, filling your body and tearing it down by its sheer weight.

GodesX is a fight between two genders inside one body. Singer Anna McCarthy suffers. "I want to be conquered, you want to be conquered" is repeated endlessly, adding to the psychedelic nature of the sound, illustrating the nightmare of the fight.

After their first single, Vengeance, Moon Not War unquestionably double down on their bizarre but unique opera-for-misfits sound.

That's it for this week. As you know, you can find the new tracks added to the playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

And if you think I do a great job with Weekly5, and I deserve it, share this newsletter with your friends on social media. It really helps me out.

All the best,