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opbmusic's Monday Mix: Courtney Barnett, Sufjan Stevens, Cool American

Each week, the Monday Mix features three fresh songs from opbmusic’s broadcast. This time around, it’s a new song from Courtney Barnett, an ode to love from Sufjan Stevens and an introduction to Portland band Cool American.

Courtney Barnett - “Nameless, Faceless”

Let’s face it, Courtney Barnett‘s single “Nameless, Faceless,” is the feminist punk anthem we all knew 2018 needed. From her forthcoming album, “Tell Me How You Really Feel,” Barnett takes aim at the absurdity of anonymous internet trolls alongside the disturbing reality of the misogynist attitudes they represent. With form following function, the song feels lighthearted and raucous. A bouncy pop beat carries the listeners through the verses where a simple phrase is all she needs to replace perceived power with her disdain and pity. “I wish that someone could hug you.” A distorted, grungy vocal tone highlights dark lyrics in a chorus inspired by Margaret Attwood’s observation: “Men are scared that women will laugh at them. Women are scared that men will kill them.” These famed lines are punctuated with Barnett’s visceral frustration at frightening gender dynamics. “I want to walk through the park in the dark,” she forcibly repeats again and again. Finally, resolute, “I hold my keys between my fingers.” After all, she is armed with her art. Unafraid to make music that reflects how she really feels. Those who try to dissuade her will find themselves confronted with a new sharp reality.

Sufjan Stevens - “Mystery of Love”

Sufjan Stevens‘ Oscar nominated “Mystery of Love” is a quiet ode to love, both sublime and sorrowful. The song is one of two tracks written expressly for Luca Guadagnino’s film, “Call Me By Your Name.” What results is a dreamlike hymn, Stevens’ signature breathy vocal at times backed by a chorus of ethereal harmonies. Often performing wearing elaborate angel wings, he is known for writing beautiful love songs with allusions to his deeply personal faith. An incredibly gifted, poetic lyricist, his lyrics and form are often layered with meaning. So much so, in fact, that he has become an icon for the LGBTQ community. His songs provide a space where fans seek refuge, free to ponder the mysteries of love in all forms in this world and the next. Bonus listening: Stevens’ song for “Tonya Harding (In D Major).” Just because she won’t listen, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t!

Cool American - “Focus”

Little known international junk food fact: In many European countries, the flavor of Doritos that’s fueled many a crunchy snack, ‘Cool Ranch,’ is known as ‘Cool American.’ That’s likely because the flavor itself is so hard to define. Self-described as “Dorito pop,” a Portland-based band has repurposed the name and perhaps a bit of the ambiguous flavor, for an indie-rock project led by Nathan Tucker. Their EP, “Better Luck Next Year, Vol 3,” was produced in various homes around Portland. It has the intimacy of bedroom rock, polished here and there with raw character. Capping the EP is the song “Focus.” It’s a short little ditty, featuring a groove that simply feels good. Tucker’s voice trembles atop snappy, programmed drums with a compelling melancholy that implores listeners to “focus on the good stuff.” Best when enjoyed with the snack that inspired it all. You can catch them on April 11 at the Doug Fir with Hague and Luna Vista.

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