I think this is my longest music update yet, 21 songs and 73 minutes total. Also, my final ranking of the top 100 prospects for this year’s draft will be up tomorrow for Insiders.
The Chemical Brothers – Go. Ten years after their first collaboration on “Galvanize,” the Chemical Brothers reunite with Q-Tip for this new track, with better lyrics this time from the brother Abstract and an equally catchy bit of electronic music that has Rowlands and Simons seeming in an almost poppy mood.
Metric – The Shade. I’ve never been a big Metric fan, finding their lyrics superficial yet pretentious, as if they felt like they had Really Big Themes to discuss but didn’t have the creative chops to do it. (It’s odd, since the lead singer’s father is a noted poet.) Here the Canadian quartet downshift slightly in their topic, and the song’s imagery, while predictable, works with the whinging chorus to create a deep sense of yearning and an emotional connection I haven’t heard from them before.
The Wombats – This Is Not A Party. The British act’s third album Glitterbug is one of my favorite spins of the year, and this is the third track from that record I’ve put on a playlist in the last four months. Matthew Murphy is a modern-day Morrissey with his wry humor and latent cynicism, but everything’s couched in these infectious musical packages that make this their best work yet.
Cayucas – Moony Eyed Walrus. It’s not quite “High School Lover,” their modest hit from 2013, but the Yudin brothers’ new single has some silly lyrics and a surfer/low-fi pop vibe.
Tame Impala – Disciples. I’m just stunned Kevin Parker could put out a song this short – it clocks in at under two minutes. It’s admirable restraint.
Torres – Cowboy Guilt. I’m not a big Torres fan (although I understand the boardgame is pretty good), but this song is an exception with the lilting riff that backs up the initial verses leading up to a heavier, denser chorus. I can’t quite explain what happens at the two-minute mark, though.
Django Django – 4000 Years. My second-favorite track from their latest album, Born Under Saturn, which is solid all the way through but doesn’t have the huge breakout hits that their debut had in “Default” and “Hail Bop.”
White Reaper – I Don’t Think She Cares. Punk-pop with a little hint of early Vines.
Desaparecidos – Backsell. The first album from this side project of Conor Oberst (leader of Bright Eyes) since 2002 features this song, originally released in 2012 (along with “MariKKKopa,” about Arizona tyrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio). I’ve seen them described as emo and punk, but it’s really just loud alternative, not that dissimilar in style from the Foo Fighters but a good bit smarter.
Tei Shi – Bassically. A recommendation from reader Courtney, who accurately pegs this as something fans of Grimes would enjoy. The video is a fashion nightmare – is she wearing a giant red diaper? – with some highly stoned dance moves.
Joy Williams – Until the Levee. Williams, formerly half of the country duo The Civil Wars, keeps dropping new singles from her upcoming album Venus, each of which shows off her powerful voice in a different motif.
Tanlines – Slipping Away. I miss the darker note from their 2012 song “All of Me,” but this has the sort of effortless sunny tone of a summer hit.
Horsebeach – Disappear. Mancunian, ethereal, jangly indie-pop that sounds like an Inspiral Carpets song covered by Wild Nothing.
The Vaccines – Minimal Affection. I have no idea what to make of the Vaccines at this point; their punk-pop hit “Teenage Icon” was one of my favorite tunes of 2012, while their latest album, English Graffiti, is moodier and draws just as heavily on British new wave and two-tone ska revivalist music as on the punk and post-punk movements that informed their earlier work. Maybe the Vaccines are coming of age an album later than promised.
Total Babes – Blurred Time. I keep reading how these guys are a spinoff or offshoot of Cloud Nothings, but the only direction connection is a shared drummer, and even that is tenuous since Cloud Nothings is really a one-man project. Regardless of their relationship to that other Cleveland act, Total Babes put out music that’s somewhat similar to Dylan Baldi’s output but more focused and less overproduced, noisy punk-pop with a sunnier overtone.
Mourn – Gertrudis, Get Through This! A quartet of teens, three of them girls, from Barcelona, Mourn put out a debut album last fall and just followed it up with a three-song EP, boasting a more melodic but still rough-edged rock sound. There’s definitely a familiar note here that reminded me of Hinds (ex-Deers), another female-led rock act from Spain, but Mourn’s music is far more advanced and they probably deserve some of Hinds’ hype.
Destroyer – Dream Lover. Destroyer is Dan Bejar of New Pornographers fame, and if you liked his “War on the East Coast” on Brill Bruisers you’ll like “Dream Lover” as well.
Neon Indian – Annie. Alan Palomo’s first full-length album since 2011 is due later this year, and this first single reminds me of St. Lucia’s debut record, but where the latter’s Jean-Philippe Grobler brings his South African roots to his music, Palomo’s instrumentation (especially the percussion) here sounds more Mexican or Native American.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Can’t Keep Checking My Phone. This song is all about Riley Geare’s percussion lines, which sound like they were lifted from a salsa record and used to create this psychedelic soul-tinged track instead.
Seoul – The Line. Another song that reminds me of Wild Nothing – a band I discovered through a few reader suggestions in 2012 – in its dreampop stylings and hard-to-make-out vocals.
Creepoid – American Smile. The first single from this Philadelphia quartet’s latest album, Cemetery Highrise Slum, calls to mind Titus Andronicus, Mudhoney, and early Nirvana, with a sludgy guitar line and the general feeling of slowly tumbling down the side of a mountain.