I know that we celebrated the beginning of June last week, but hey, everybody’s probably still got a little of that rust to shake off. What better way to ditch the “is it summer yet?” blahs than another ten-pack of excellent mp3s. Whether you’re looking for something new (how about the rollicking punky power of Chicago fuzz-rockers Geronimo!?), or something long-awaited (how about tracks from Fiona Apple, Patti Smith, and Jens Lekman, each with at least five years off since their last new album?), we’ve got new music that’ll get your heart pumping. Enjoy!
AbdeCaf – “Old Flame”
Photo by Ben Guzman
The difference between Rostislav Steve Vaynshtok’s past work with gloomy, metallic, experimental post-rockers Fight Like Animals and his new project AbdeCaf is nothing short of astounding. On his second EP under that new moniker (Rebuild, due out later this summer), he continues on in a dubby, bass-heavy, late night gleam. On “Old Flame”, the first taste from that collection, the producer samples the Drake/Weeknd team-up “Crew Love”, taking bits of that already smooth track and dropping it into a clap-swoon beat.
Blonds – “Run”
New York’s Carie Rae Woodfield and Jordy Asher, AKA Blonds, are your next power couple in the indie rock world. Taken from their upcoming debut full-length (The Bad Ones, due August 7th), “Run” is evidence of the massive scope these two musicians can manage. Asher’s languid, blues rock guitar chops scrape the sky, and Woodfield’s smoky voice is breathtaking, ranging far and wide as she describes the need to “run far, far away.” Produced by Nico Vernhes (Dirty Projectors, Deerhunter), the duo’s already powerful sound is pushed to its expressive edges.
The-Dream feat. Pusha T – “Dope Bitch”
Pusha T and The-Dream last came together for the controversially diss-tastic “Exodus 23:1”, and now they’re back together for something a little less…antagonistic. The easy-nodding, smooth beat and seduction rhymes on “Dope Bitch” (probably from The-Dream’s upcoming album Love IV MMXII, due August 14th) coo and sway where their last team-up seethed and lashed out. It seems a little disingenuous to use a line “I mean no disrespect in this next line,” right before the chorus of “I got a dope bitch,” but the groove is sufficiently swanky and Pusha T’s verse fits right in the pocket.
Fiona Apple – “Werewolf”
The second taste of Fiona Apple‘s long-awaited new disc The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do (due June 19th, via Epic), “Werewolf” rolls and nods with Apple and a lush piano. The samples of children screaming from a playground add to the stripped down, fragile sense of the lyrics. Each new line compares an ex to some sort of danger, but then admits that it takes two to tango (“I could liken you to a werewolf the way you left me for dead/But I admit that I provided a full moon). Apple’s low, repeated insistence that nothing’s wrong with ending on a minor key closes out the song in a barely believable, beautiful sigh of hope.
Four Tet – “128 Harps”
Now that he has his own place to release material, it seems like Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet) can just drop in and release new material whenever he feels like it (and we’re not complaining). Released on his Text Records imprint, new single “128 Harps” is a slick piece of electronic manipulation, a simple drum beat paired with chopped vocal samples and a waterfall harp melody. Everything builds to an appropriately spacey wash before fading away, another masterfully ethereal track from this electronic mastermind.
Geronimo! – “Neon Head”
CoSigned rockers Geronimo! get instant cred for naming their series of cassettes Buzz Your Girlfriend (which are also available for no cost, digitally) after one of the more memorable lines of the one of the best Christmas movies of all time, but their infectious, fuzzy, punky rock and skyscraping guitar riffs deserve real attention. Now, they’re back with Vol. 2 – The Burden of Genius, and early cut “Neon Head” is a rolling juggernaut, all aggressive power and no looking back. By the time guitarist/vocalist Kelly Johnson gets to his shredded delivery of the repeated line “and you wait til the money rolls in,” heads should be nodding, fists pumping, everything building to the concussive barrage of riffs that close out this winner.
Jens Lekman – “Erica America”
It seems like a total shock that it’s been five years since a proper full-length from Swedish songsmith Jens Lekman, but Night Falls Over Kortedala did come out way back in 2007. His idiosyncratic, sweet vocal delivery returns on “Erica America”, the first taste of his September 4th Secretly Canadian return, I Know What Love Isn’t. His mellow, wordy lyrics are paired with plinking acoustics, piano, and ’70s pop smooth horns. “I wish I’d never tasted wine, or tasted it from lips that weren’t mine,” he repeats, hauntingly affective lines that mask distance in simplicity.
Patti Smith – “Banga”
It’s been a long eight years since living legend Patti Smith released an album of new music. And now, on the day of her big return, we can celebrate with the massive, rollicking, rocking title track, “Banga”. Smith is in fine form as ever, her expressive, rich voice calling out “the way to heaven is blue, blue, ooh” just as powerfully as it mirrors the slingshot warble of the guitar. Ending on some guitar wildness and samples of dogs barking in the distance sounds so right with Smith’s husky notes that “the night is a mongrel,” a slice of vintage Smith, back from the wilderness.
A Place to Bury Strangers – “And I’m Up”
The June 26th release of Worship (on Dead Oceans) will be the second effort of the year from New York noise rockers A Place To Bury Strangers, and “And I’m Up” is the latest taste. The song kickstarts on a surf-punk track buried under some fuzz, but the angular guitar noise and feedback layered in over the top as the track builds make it all that much more invigorating. Add in some downcast lyrics from frontman Oliver Ackermann, and voila, another excellent rush of angsty, aggressive rock from A Place To Bury Strangers.
White Fang – “Coffee Table”
The relentlessly lo-fi Portland quartet White Fang have some more of their buzzy, stoned greatness on “Coffee Table”, an early peak at their punnily titled High Expectations EP (due June 12, via Burger Records). The track doesn’t even crack a minute long, perhaps thanks to the talk of how there’s “still smoke left in the bong,” yet the guitar riff will stick in your head for a long while. If you’ve only got 55 seconds to listen to music today, this is an excellently catchy, rough, and sweet use of that time.