Catching up with new songs from Cheekface, Lucius and the Palms …
CHEEKFACE, “Largest Muscle”
Cheekface continue to be the Steven Wright of the indie-rock universe, turning the surreal into song and dispatching deadpan truths like politicians tell lies. On “Largest Muscle,” speak-singer Greg Katz juggles ruminations on the eternal conflict of left brain vs. right brain, which, come to think of it, is what Cheekface is all about. It’s their fifth single (counting a Nick Lowe cover) of 2023. The trio — Katz, Amanda Tannen and Mark “Echo” Edwards — have released an album each of the past two years, and here it is November with no word on whether they will give Cheek Freaks a new full-length. Chances are they’ll get it sorted.
LUCIUS, “Stranger Danger”
“Stranger Danger” is the first new music from Lucius since their 2022 album, “Second Nature,” and the band’s first for Fantasy Records. The new single steers away from the dancefloor tendencies of that album and settles into a warm, ’70s/’80s AOR vibe, with the harmonies of Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig typically gorgeous as they ask some tough questions. “Humans have imagined a backup plan — a ‘savior’ to forgive us, to save us, to lean on … if and when things go wrong,” Lucius says of the song. “But who/what/where is the backup plan for Mother Earth?” The duo wrote the song with the band’s Dan Molad, and it features Peter Lalish (electric guitar), Solomon Dorsey (bass), Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith (electric guitar and piano) and Josh Mease (bass, guitar).
THE PALMS, “Ready or Not”
Following up their October single “Talk Too Much,” the Palms — Johnny Zambetti and Ben Rothbard — are back with a single whose seemingly carefree bounce belies its doom-and-gloom message. “The ship is going down,” they says, citing a host of ills that seem to be “sci-fi, but it’s real life.” If indeed we’re all sunk, you can just drive around L.A. on a sunny day and chew on ear candy. The Palms open for Miami’s Magic City Hippes on Feb. 23 at the Bellwether and on Feb. 25 at the Observatory.