- “Elephant” – Tame Impala
I sent my answers in for It’s Friday… really quickly today because I assume everybody else is as stuck on this track as I am. Driving, funky, with that wispy vocal…listen to it for long enough and you’ll get some kind of contact buzz. Seriously, it feels like swimming around in an ocean of codeine syrup.
- “Swim & Sleep (Like A Shark Does)” – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Unknown Mortal Orchestra — better known to me as The Guys Who Maybe-Kinda Upstaged Grizzly Bear At 9:30 Last Month — are New ZealoCanadian phonic geniuses. This lead single from their forthcoming record makes me want to lay on the beach that abuts the codeine ocean evoked by the Tame Impala track above, being peacefully terrified about the meaningless tragic joyfulness of being alive. Or, y’know, hum loudly and drum on my desk until my coworkers throw pens at me. This is an airier, sunnier tune than most of what they blew me away with at 9:30, and you should track down their catalog.
- “Tetra” – Aesop Rock
I sat on my copy of Skelethon for months after my first listen before coming back to it. That means I wasted a bunch of time not listening to this amazing record. (Sounds like it could’ve been produced by El-P, but in fact this’s one of the few excellent rap records of 2012 that El wasn’t directly involved with.) “Three Wolf Moon shirt, two shoes one sock/Wore the same hoodie every day like Mum-Ra (badumpbump)” is a representative lyric from Tetra, which is in like a 7-way tie for best track on the album. Aesop’s back at the top of his weird-ass game.
- “Plumage” – Menomena
After Mines, I wasn’t sure that Menomena could go to much darker places. But, here we have Moms, an album that’s about as bright as squid ink on a moonless night. Also, it’s awesome. For proof, you don’t need to look much further than rollicking opener “Plumage”, which can now also join the band’s catalog of great videos.
- “All Your Gold” – Bat For Lashes
Following stately advance singles “Laura” and “Marlyn”, Natasha Khan gives us a taste of something off The Haunted Man with the forward momentum that made “Daniel” so great. This may be the most effortlessly fluid track I’ve heard all year.
- “Strawberries” – WHY?
At long last, a song that rhymes “hair in curlers” with “Garrison Keillor.” Mumps, Etc. isn’t as immediate as highpoint Alopecia, but goddamn is it a pretty listen.
- “Do the Standing Still” – The Dismemberment Plan
The Plan plays FreeFest this weekend and while I wouldn’t be shocked if people mostly stood still and gawked, some real dancing might actually break out. You never know with these youngsters.
- “Sore Thumb” – We Were Promised Jetpacks
This one from Scottish postpunks starts off like some of Explosions in the Sky’s more introspective tracks, then the singer’s (off mic) vocals come in and it takes off with every instrument set to “epic.” Not the most complex songwriting but pretty goshdarned effective. That melody’s been stuck in my head off and on for a few months now.
- Justin Jones
I’ll confess, I’ve not listened to much Justin Jones (I don’t even know the title of this song, though I like it). But the idea of seeing the 9:30 Club’s own troubadour play at Merriweather has got me showing up bright and early for FreeFest.
- “Spanish Key” – Miles Davis
Bitches Brew has been residing in my car’s CD player for the last month (mostly because I’ve listened to it less than most of the other CDs I have) and I can, and have, listened to this track several times in a row. The drums and slowly introduced guitar get me every time.
- “Ta Douleur” – Camille
First of all, this is in French. Like, really sexy French. You will be a hit at parties with this track. Secondly, Camille has some Tune-Yards style looped background sounds (you’ll see). Minimal instrumentation, hand clapping, plunking bass and some resonant notes are just WHAT IS UP this afternoon. Based on the complete hearsay of translations on the netz, this is a plea from a woman, asking you to dump your woman, but to paraphrase one old songwriter, the words are nice the way they sound, it doesn’t matter what they mean.
- “Headlock” – Esser
This shit is impossible not to hum along with. Try it. It’s like attempting to lick your elbow. “I’ve got a problem, it’s called living.” That’s a magical line, made more magical with dirty English (not quite elbow reaching) tongue of Ben Esser. This is in the running for one of the more miserable love songs I’ve ever heard, and the twangly backtrack has me dancing anyway. Esser’s got me in a headlock.
- “Promise Me A Rose Garden” – The M Machine
This has the best of indie and EDM: Syrupy club beats and a sexy, growling voice repeatedly intoning she cannot be sure can see the future in her head. Then more sticky beats. Then more dreamy vocals. Welcome to your afternoon trip.
- “We Drift Like Worried Fire” – Godspeed You! Black Emperor
The excellent new Godspeed You! Black Emperor album is the aural equiavlent of the scene in Twister when Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt are lifted into the F5 tornado while convienently strapped to a pipe with what must be the galaxy’s most hardened leather.