It’s been 11 years since J. Dilla‘s tragic and untimely death due to complications from Lupus and over that period of time, the prolific, Detroit-born producer and beatmaker’s reputation has grown — to the point that he has become arguably one of hip-hop’s most beloved and influential artists and producers; in fact, much of his work possesses a timelessness and vitality that few contemporary producers of any genre can manage. Interestingly enough, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the prolific Detroit-born producer and beatmaker’s untimely passing, his emcee debut The Diary was posthumously released, although it was released with quite a bit of controversy surrounding it. Dilla died before he could finish the album and much of the material was unfinished, leaving producers the unenviable task of piecing and stitching together incomplete ideas and filling in musical gaps in a way that would hew as closely as possible to its creator’s original intentions and ambitions. Naturally, in the event of an artist dying as they were finishing their work, it leaves questions about the nature of art, its creation,  whether an outside editor or a producer can really flesh out the original creator’s ideas in a fashion that they would appreciate, whether its ethical to mine a deceased creator’s incomplete works to make money for the creator’s survivors or for their estate and countless others. In fact, it should be unsurprising that Dilla’s surviving family and the executors publicly battled over every aspect of the posthumously released The Diary; nor should it be surprising that J. Dilla’s mother, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, who has worked tirelessly to further her son’s legacy while being incredibly protective over it.

Mrs. Yancey was instrumental in the release of Motor City, a new collection of rare and unreleased Dilla instrumentals inspired by the producer’s hometown. Conceived as a letter to her son and originally released this for this year’s Record Store Day, the vinyl release quickly sold out; however, the vinyl has been re-pressed in limited quantities and is available for purchase for purchase at Dillatronic while supplies last. But it also marks the long-awaited digital release of the album. And to celebrate both occasions, Mrs. Yancey released “Motor City J Rocc Blend #4,” an exclusive promotional mix by Dilla’s close friend and equally renowned DJ and producer J. Rocc, which features one of Motor City‘s previously unreleased instrumental tracks.

J. Rocc’s mix is an inventive and boldly vivid take on J. Dilla’s production that builds upon Dilla’s souful production in a swaggering yet organic fashion as the production features a looped string section paired with tweeter and woofer rocking beats, some DJ scratching and a sinuous bass line paired with some incredibly fiery spitting from Common.

 

 

 

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Comprised of Ella Thompson and Graeme Pogson, GL is a Melbourne, Australia-based electronic music production and artist duo, who with the release of 2013’s Love Hexagon EP and their full-length debut Touch developed a reputation for specializing in a sound that’s very much a contemporary take on disco, funk, boogie, soul and house music, and as a result the Australian electronic music duo quickly earned international attention from The Guardiani-DThe FADERV Magazine, XLR8R and others, as well as played sets at New Zealand’s St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival and Splore Festival while nationally they’ve opened for Nick Murphy fka Chet Faker and played a successful headlining national tour to support their full-length debut.

Building upon a growing national and international profile, which resulted in a busy touring schedule, the duo locked themselves away in the studio to write and record the double A-sided single “Destiny”/”Reflect,” and as the duo explain “‘Reflect’ is an extended jam we made at TFS Studio in North Fitzroy, Melbourne. We wanted to try a long form exploration piece. Listen out for the delightful keyboard solo by Harvey Sutherland! Lyrically, it’s about searching inward, when the outside gets a bit much.” Interestingly enough, the song while being decidedly introspective manages to be joyous, suggesting that searching inward can be a profound solace in a cruel world or as George Clinton once wisely sung “The kingdom of heaven is within.” Of course, sonically, the song will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting a sound that draws so much  from 80s and 90s house music and 80s synth soul that it brings to mind The WhispersIt’s A Love Thing,” “And The Beat Goes On,” and “Rock Steady,” Evelyn “Champagne” King’s “Love Come Down” and Cherelle‘s “Saturday Love” as Pogson pairs a production featuring layers of shimmering and cascading synths, a sinuous bass line, tribal drumming, bursts of shimmering keys and a soaring hook with Thompson’s self-assured vocals. Simply put, it’s arguably one of the most DJ-leaning, club rocking tracks I’ve written about in several months; in fact, if I were DJ’ing, I’d make sure to fit this one into a set.

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Gorgeous and Time-Bending Visuals for San Mei’s “Until You Feel Good”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past three years or so, you may have come across a handful of posts featuring Emily Hamilton, a  Gold Coast, Australia-based multi-instrumentalist and producer, whose solo project San Mei began humbly as a bedroom recording project; however, during that aforementioned three year period, Hamilton has seen a growing national and international profile as Hamilton has seen attention and praise from major media outlets, including NME, Indie Shuffle, NYLON and Triple J, as well as this site. 
Produced by Konstantin Kersting, who has worked with The Belligerents, WAAX, and Tia Gostelow, Hamilton’s first single of 2017 “Until You Feel Good” is a mid-tempo single that is a change of sonic direction for Hamilton, as her lilting and coquettish vocals are paired with a much more organic arrangement of fuzzy Brit Pop and shoegazer rock-like power chords and a propulsive groove, along with a soaring hook and a subtly moody vibe. And while being radio friendly, the song manages to evoke a complex array of emotions — desire and longing, frustration and the sense of something being unresolved, along with some self-assured and ambitious songwriting. 

Filmed and directed by Brisbane, Australia-based filmmaker Jennifer Embelton, who has produced videos for Babaganouj, Huntly, Good Boy and Jeremy Neale, the video is follows a young woman’s time-bending journey across the present, the past, the future, the real and her own dreams when she encounters a boy from her past, who suddenly returns to her life. And as soon as he appears, he’s gone. The harder she tries to find the boy, the quicker he slips away. Is he a ghost of her past, haunting her at an inopportune time? That remains to be seen; but it further emphasizes the sense of things being unresolved within the song. 

New Video: The Sultry and Sensual Sounds and Visuals of Anna of the North’s Latest Single “Lovers”

Comprised of the Gjøvik, Norway-born and-based singer/songwriter and musician Anna Lotterud and New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based producer Brady Daniell-Smith, the Norwegian/New Zealand-Australian indie electro pop duo Anna of the North can trace its origin back to 2012. As the story goes, Lotterud was working in a shop in her small town near Oslo, and was settling down with her first love, anticipating a life of routine, normality and banality when a customer came in and changed her life. Polite and well groomed, this stranger began making daily visits, browsing for hours but never buy-in anything. One afternoon, the woman suddenly approached Lotterud and implored her to abandoned the traditional life she had planned out, and go and expand her horizons. The plea jolted something in Lotterud and in an act of rather uncharacteristic spontaneity, she booked a flight to Australia, leaving her life and her partner behind. 

The time Lotterud spent in Australia was personally fulfilling but also incredibly turbulent. She fell in love again, only to have her heart broken as suddenly and inexplicably as her decision to leave Norway in the first place. Around that time, she met her future producer and collaborator Brady Daniell-Smith. At the time, Smith who was also struggling with his own complicated relationships, was performing as an acoustic singer/songwriter in Melbourne, and in a serendipitous moment, Lotterud had caught Smith performing while she was friends. Interestingly, Lotterud and Smith then quickly became friends, with Smith encouraging his new friend to find solace in songwriting — and that by making music they could exorcise the ghosts of their past love lives. The project’s name actually came from a joke — Smith jokingly referred to Lotterud as “Anna of the North” and the name stuck. 

The release of their debut single “Sway” three years ago began an incredible run of attention grabbing singles that have received over 60 million streams across every streaming service, multiple number 1 spots on Hype Machine’s charts and rotation on BBC Radio 1, Triple J and  Beats 1 — and in many ways that shouldn’t be surprising as the duo’s sound pairs brooding, icy minimalism with bright, buoyant and radio friendly/dance floor friendly production. 

The duo’s highly-anticipated full length effort Lovers is slated for release on September 8, 2017 and reportedly the album’s material focuses on a subject familiar to the duo and to countless others — heartbreak. And through the album’s ten tracks, the album goes through the various emotional stages people typically feel after a relationship ends, including turmoil, grief, confusion, and the tentative joy in letting yourself start moving forward. Of course, along with that there’s the recognition that knowing love, including its inevitable heartbreak is necessary and wonderful because it opens up the possibility to know love once more. 

Interestingly,  the album’s latest single, album title track “Lovers” pairs a production featuring layers of shimmering synths, buoyant almost rubbery beats and a soaring hook with Lotterud’s tender and aching vocals, expressing a desperate an urgent longing that’s frustrated and can’t be fulfilled. 

The recently released visuals for “Lovers” features Lotterud at a party by herself surrounded by couples — and in some way she’s haunted by the fact her relationship has fallen apart. As the duo explains “On a literal level, the video is about being lost at a house party and surrounded by couples when your own relationship has fallen apart. Digging deeper, it’s set in the same place as the song, that point when you feel so alone and you’re reaching out but they’re not reaching back. It’s desperate”

New Video: Melbourne, Australia’s Gold Class Pairs Tense Sounds with Equally Tense Visuals for “Twist In The Dark”

Comprised of a collection of work friends, bar buddies and students in a creative writing course, the Melbourne, Australia-based post-punk band Gold Class, featuring Evan James Purdey (guitar), Jon Shub (bass), Adam Curley (vocals), and Logan Gibson (drums), formed in 2014. And shortly after their formation, the quartet quickly developed a reputation for lean and explosive live sets, which eventually culminated in their debut effort It’s You, an effort that paired angular and wiry post punk with material that thematically focused on personal politics, sexuality and identity. As a result of its unflinching frankness, the Australian quartet was shortlisted for the Australian Music Prize and was nominated for an Age Award — and with a growing national and international profile, the members of Gold Class played a series of sold out shows across their homeland and London, as well as sets at some of the world’s biggest festivals, including Golden Plains, Splendour in the Grass, London Calling, and Primavera Sound.
 
 
Building upon their rapidly growing international profile, the band’s follow up to It’s You, Drum is slated for an August 18, 2017 release through Felte Records and as the band’s Adam Curley explains in an artist statement “The week we started to write Drum, my relationship ended and I was left alone in a draughty [sic] old house, which belonged to a friend of a friend. In the house, I sat around with my notebook, the quiet hours cut with new from friends and the TV; the suicides of musicians and writers I’d known and queer kids I hadn’t; the systematic abuse of vulnerable people, the constant mockery of anyone on the outs. 

I knew what the purpose of the album would be when I wrote the repeated line in “Get Yours:” “There’s none left here and all I need.” I wanted it to be a record of defiance, a resistance to the idea of scrambling for a place at a table that wasn’t set for you. A sort of a love letter to anyone who not only can’t meet the standard but doesn’t want to. I wanted it to be a record of rage and ecstasy and endless nights and sex and dumb fun and ventures in solidarity. Not just an album of urgency and longing, but one of abandon and a reclaiming of a self beyond boundaries.

But I couldn’t avoid what was immediately happening in my life, either, that the end of my relationship had uncovered a lot of the feelings of isolation I experienced growing up. And so it turned out that the album is also personal, and I think is in conversation with queer histories of silence and evasion and transgression, which I was revisiting through the writing of James Baldwin and Cocteau. Childhood imagery kept creeping into the lyrics. Maybe I was trying to come to some peace with the past and to stand up and find some agency in the present. I suppose it was the most defiant thing I could think to do: not to write as some act of catharsis but in an attempt simply to document and claim my existence; that I am here. 
 
Not only is the material much more personal and much more forceful, the album. which was co-produced by The Drones’ Garther Liddiard finds the band expanding upon both their sound, attempting to capture distinctly different moods and tones from its predecessor,  and as you’ll hear on the album’s latest single “Twist In The Dark,” the band evoking a complicated array of emotions — desperate and fervent longing, the uncertainty of a relationship in which you can’t tell what your motivations are nor can you figure out what that other person truly feels; but underneath, there’s a wistfulness towards the burning passions and desires of one’s youth, when things were seemingly much more black and white. And what caught my attention was the fact that the Melbourne-based quartet smartly pairs tense, angular post-punk with incredibly smart lyrics, rooted on the experiences, thoughts and feelings of someone, who’s led a fully and messy life.
 
The recently released visuals for the song employs a relatively simple concept as it features the members of the band performing the song in an empty performance space but pay close attention as there are sudden jump cuts and even quicker changes in lighting — all of which further emphasize the song’s tense, anxious vibe.
 
 
 

New Audio: Alt Rock All Star Side Project Filthy Friends Release Their Most Straightforward and Anthemic Song to Date

Comprised of Corin Tucker (vocals, guitar), who’s best known for being a member of Sleater-Kinney and Heavens to Betsy; Kurt Bloch (guitar), who’s best known as the frontman of The Fastbacks and a producer and mentor for several up-and-coming Seattle-based rock bands; Bill Rieflin (drums), who’s best known for being a member of the legendary King Crimson; Scott McCaughey (bass), a studio musician, who’s also known for being a member of Fresh Young Fellows; and last but certainly not least, Peter Buck (guitar), who was a founding member of R.E.M., Filthy Friends is both a side project and free-flowing collaboration between likeminded, long-time friends, who happen to be among some of the most accomplished and influential musicians of the past 30+ years. 

The band has released two attention-grabbing singles this year, “Desiperta,” their contribution to the anti-Trump protest compilation 30 Songs For 30 Days and a Record Store Day release featuring “Any Kind of Crowd” and a cover of Roxy Music’s “Editions of You.” Building upon the attention they’ve already received, the band will be releasing their full-length debut Invitation through Kill Rock Stars Records on August 25, 2017 — and while featuring their previously released tracks, the album overall finds the band working through a series of different moods and styles, genre exercises and experiments; however, “The Arrival,” Invitation’s first single may arguably be the most straightforward, glam rock and alt rock nodding single as the band pairs bristling and chugging power chords and a rousingly anthemic hook around Tucker’s imitable vocals in a song that swaggers with the cool, self-assured confidence of old pros, who make it seem far easier than it actually is — and who can essentially play anything at will.  

Now known as the Federal Republic of Somalia, Westerners view the country as being a lawless, dysfunctional and broken country, split and reeling for a brutal and bloody civil war, and while that has been true over the past 25-30 years, what most people have forgotten is that for roughly a millennia, the Eastern African nation was one of antiquity’s major trading posts with several power Somali empires dominating regional trade, including the Ajuran Empire, the Adal Sultanate, the Warsangali Sultanate, and the Geledi Sultanate. And as a major trading post, the cultures of the Arabian Peninsula, Persia, India, Southeast Asian and China, all of whom conducted trade with the Eastern African nation, managed to influence and slowly worked their way into Somalia’s rich and unique musical culture.

The British and Italian empires through a series of treaties with Somalia’s historical empires and sultanates during the late 19th century gained greater control of parts of the coast, establishing the colonies of British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland while Mohammed Abdullah Hassan’s Dervish State fought and defeated the British four times before a crushing defat by the British in 1920. Italy acquired full control of the northeastern, central and southern parts of the country after defeating the Majerteen Sultanate and the Sultanate of Hobyo — and their occupation of the country lasted until 1941 when the British took over with a military administration. British Somaliland would remain a protectorate of the British while Italian Somaliland became a United Nations Trusteeship under Italian administration, the Trust Territory of Somaliland.

In the 1960s, independence movements across the continent helped redefine the map with Italian Somaliland and British Somaliland uniting in 1960 to form the Somali Republic under a civilian government. Sadly, democratic government didn’t last long; by 1969, the Supreme Revolutionary Council led by authoritarian Mohamed Siad Barre seized power and established the Somali Democratic Republic. Now, here’s where things musically for us begin — in 1988 on the eve of bloody, two decade civil war Siad Barre launched a series of punishing air strikes in Somalia’s northern section, now known as Somaliland in an attempt to squash a rumbling independence movements in the region. Unsurprisingly, one of the targets Siad Barre targeted was the regional radio station Radio Hargeisa, as a way to prevent the organization of further resistance. Knowing that an attack on their radio station and their hometown was imminent, a handful of radio operators, tastemakers and historians recognized that they needed to preserve more than 50 years of modern Somali music — and it meant finding a way to remove thousands upon thousands of cassette tapes, records and master reels and then dispersing them to neighboring countries like Djibouti and Ethiopia, sometimes burying the tapes deep under the ground to protect them from airstrikes, fire, and so on.

The Somali Civil War broke out in 1991 and Mohamed Siad Barre’s government collapsed and as a result a number of armed factions began fighting for influence and control, particularly towards the south. And because of the absence of a central government, Somalia began to be known as a failed state, wth residents returning to customary and religious law in most regions. There were a few autonomous regions towards the north, including Somaliland and Puntland. The early part of the millennium saw the creation of several fledging and sputtering federal administrations including the Transitional Federal Government in 2004, which reestablished national institutions as as the military and in 2006 with the assistance of Ethiopian troops, assumed control of the Eastern African nation’s southern conflict zones from the Islamic Courts Union, which eventually splintered into several radical groups such as Al-Shabaab. Al Shabaab in particular continued to battle the Transitional Federal Government and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for control of the region.

By 2012, insurgent groups had lost most of the territory they had seized and a political process providing benchmarks for the establishment of a permanent democracy was launched, and it included a provisional constitution, which reformed Somalia as a federation. The end result was the Federal Government of Somalia, the first permanent central government in over 20 years was formed and a period of reconstruction began in Mogadishu.

Remember those buried audio recordings I mentioned earlier? Well they were excavated and recalled from their foreign shelters very recently, Some of those recordings are now kept in the 10,000 cassette tape achieve of the Red Sea Foundation, the largest known collection of Somali music and cassettes in the world in Somaliland’s capital Hargeisa. Ostinato Records, best known for the preservation, digitalization, and distribution of obscure world music was able to digitized a significantly large portion of the Red Sea Foundation’s archives, choosing 15 songs as part of their latest compilation of African music Sweet as Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes from the Horn of Africa. And while revealing the diversity of styles and sounds of Somali musicianship, the compilation also provides a glimpse of life in Mogadishu in the 1970s and 1980s, when the coastal capital was referred to as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean.” At the time bands like Iftiin, Sharero and Dur Dur played at some of East Africa’s glitziest nightclubs, while Waaberi Band played packed to the rafter sets at the national theater.  Nightlife, music, culture and art were enormous — and interestingly while there were renowned male vocalists like Mahmud “Jerry” Hussen, Somali music of the 70s and 80s were best known for beloved female vocalists Faadumo Qaasim, Hibo Nuura, Sahra Dawo and a collection of truly empowered, prolific women; in fact, half of the compilation features songs sung by and written by women.

Strangely enough, this cultural and musical golden age occurred under a socialist, military dictatorship, which effectively nationalized the country’s music industry. The state owned a thriving scene and essentially music was recorded for and by national radio stations, and it was on distributed and disseminated through public broadcasts or live performances. Privately owned labels were non-existent and the work of a generation of artists was never made available for mass release — and until recently, hadn’t been heard outside of Somalia and its immediate neighbors. Adding to a rather strange period of history, during the height of the Cold War, Somalia had been supported by the Soviets and then US in the Ethio-Somali War — and with a decade of US backing, American soul and funk captured the imagination of Somali youth and musicians.

The Ostinato Records team then spent the better part of year traveling to Mogadishu, Hargeisa, Djibouti and across the Somali Diaspora in parts of Europe, the US and the Middle East to track down the musicians, songwriters, composers, government officials, scenesters, radio personalities and other folks, who had played a role during the 1970s and 1980s and got their stories down in a 15,000 word liner note booklet.

As the folks at Obstinato Records explain in press notes ” Alongside the story of Somalia’s music before the civil war, the selection is also focused on the pan-Somali sound. Spread over much of the Horn of Africa, Somali language and culture transcend arbitrary borders. Somali singers from Djibouti were at home in Mogadishu.” They continue by saying that “this compilation  seeks to revive the rightful image, history, and identity of the Somali people, detached from war, violence, piracy, and the specter of a persistent threat.”

The compilation’s first single Danan Hargeysa’s “Uur Hooyo (Mother’s Womb)” feat. Mohamed “Huro” Abdihashi was recorded and released in 1987, and the breezy and summery track manages to nod at the trippy psychedelia of 70s dub and soul as a shuffling rhythm is paired with explosive and expressive horn blasts, synths that possess a cosmic sheen, and a strutting bass line. And if there’s one thing the song does evoke is a far simpler time of laughter, constantly flowing wine and beer, of dancing until the sun came up and walking home in a drunken and elated shuffle with arms draped over the shoulders of your comparisons softly singing the songs you heard in the nightclub throughout the night. The language, the scales and the melodies may be somewhat alien to many Westerners, but it’s the wistful tone — albeit in retrospect perhaps? — that should feel familiar. It’s the sound of youth before inevitably being altered permanently by life’s complexities, ambiguities and horrors.

 

 

 

New Video: The Sultry Visuals and Sound of Eliza and Her Latest Single “Wide-Eyed Fool”

With the release of her eponymous debut, the London-born and-based pop artist Eliza Doolittle quickly rose to national attention, as the album went platinum, thanks to the success of  album singles “Skinny Genes” and “Pack Up,”  both of which landed on the UK Top 40 charts. Along with that, her collaboration with internationally renowned electro pop act Disclosure, “You & Me” was one of the duo’s best-selling singles. However, after such tremendous early success spent the past four years attempting to get back to her base and really discover what it was she wanted and needed as a person and as a artist. “When you’re young, you do what you should do, rather than what you really feel. I was always battling between that pull of my gut, and people talking in my ear,” Dolittle explains. 

Now, at the point of her life and career, Doolittle who now writes, records and performs under the mononym Eliza, the London-based pop artist is actively following her own creative instincts; in fact, she recently released the Get In My Head series, which consists of four mixtapes featuring snippets of new music as a way for her fans to get a taste of her change in sonic and creative direction; in fact, her first official single of 2017 “Wide Eyed Fool” is a sultry bit of singer/songwriter pop in which Doolittle reveals the full ranger of her voice, singing deeply personal lyrics paired over piano, soaring strings and swaggering hip-hop-lied beats. While clearly drawing from 90s neo soul, pop and hip-hop soul — What’s the 411?-era Mary J. Blige, in particular — complete with slick, modern production. But at the core of the song is some ambitious songwriting from a woman, who wants to take over the pop world. 

Directed by Charlie Robins, the recently released visuals for Wide Eyed Fool are equally sultry and brooding, while clearly nodding at the vulnerability, pride and strength within the song. 
 

Initially forming under the name Apteka, the Chicago, IL-based psych rock quartet Pink Frost, currently comprised of founding members Adam Lukas (vocals, guitar) and Paige Sandilin (guitar) and newest members Alex Shumard (bass) and Jesse Hozeny (drums), have released 2011’s debut Gargoyle Days  and 2014’s Sundowning to critical praise both locally and nationally from  Pitchfork, SPIN Magazine, Noisey, Magnet Magazine, and Chicago Reader for a sound that had been compared favorably to RIDE, Smashing Pumpkins, Dinosaur, Jr. and Deerhunter. And adding to a growing national profile, the band had material from Sundowning placed in the major motion picture, The Lookalike and TV series such as The Vampire Diaries and CSI: Miami.

If you had been frequenting this site over the past 2 years or so, you may recall that the Chicago-based band released a painstakingly remixed and re-mastered edition of their debut effort, from the original analog masters to better reflect their live sound at the time — and with artwork reflecting the band’s name change, as a both a metaphorical and literal rebirth. And at the time, I wrote about Gargoyle Days’ second single, the seemingly  The Posies’Ontario,” Foo Fighters‘ “This Is A Call” and The Black Angels’Telephone“-inspired “Where Days Go.” However, four years have passed since a full-length album of original material from the Chicago-based psych rockers and in that time, they’ve gone through a series of changes that have influenced the band’s songwriting approach, their overall sound and the material’s thematic concerns. Now, as I hinted at earlier, the band went through a massive lineup change — and as the band’s Adam Lukas explains in press notes, Gargoyle Days addresses a collective sense of abrupt changes. “There is a sentimentality or a sense of loss that permeates most of the songs,” Lukas says. “Whether it’s the loss of truth, the ones you love, your place in the universe, or general sense of meaning in changing landscapes.”

The recently released New Minds, reportedly finds the band’s material at points becoming much more introspective — and while the more straight ahead rock-leaning material manages to be heavier and darker, their more spacey, shoegazer-like material manages to be much more introspective and with more delicate melodies. “Bare Roots,” New Minds’ first single was a power chord-based barn-burner that sounds as though it draws from Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. And while continuing in a similar, power chord-based, arena rock vein,  the album’s latest single “Seek and Recover” manages to nod at 90s alt rock — in particular Foo Fighters, as the song manages to pair a polished studio sound, a radio-friendly accessibility and an arena rock swagger, completed with rousing hooks.