The young post-Mariah pop-R&B star Ariana Grande will release her sophomore album My Everything next week, and I don’t really know what to expect from it. First single “Problem,” with Iggy Azalea, was a total lively summer-jam masterpiece, and second single “Break Free,” with Zedd, was boring popstep fluff. But now Grande is streaming four of the previously unheard tracks from the album, and one of those songs, “Love Me Harder,” teams Grande up with the Weeknd from some obsessive synthed-up crush music. Listen to that one, as well as the other three, below. (Please note: “Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart,” the third song streaming, is a total showstopper of a ballad, and it rules.)
Earlier this year, Hooray For Earth released their new album, Racy, and we’ve already seen the video for album track “Keys,” which fetishized motorcycles with an intimacy and creepiness that blended Kanye’s “Bound 2” with that scene from Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child when that dude got turned into a motorcycle. Now they give us a video for the song “Say Enough,” which tells the very human story of a newly broken-up couple, following computer-animated characters drinking, having sex, and sadly remembering. It’s one of the only times I’ve seen the occasionally grotesque uncanny-valley effect of computer models used to increase emotional impact. Watch it below.
“Easy Rider,” the badass Party Supplies-produced single from Action Bronson’s forthcoming album Mr. Wonderful, has Bronson going in over a fog of psych-rock samples. Given the acid-rock pedigree and the song’s title, it’s only right that the video has Bronson in a pastiche of the biker movies of the ’60s and ’70s. Bronson always came off something like a drug-gobbling Vietnam-vet drifter anyway. Tom Gould directed the fun, cartoonish video, and you can watch it below.
Historically, American black metal, or USBM, tends toward the spacious, atmospheric end of the larger genre’s spectrum: It derives more from Burzum than Darkthrone, if you trace it back to the root. What USBM tends to ignore entirely are the bands that actually made the best music in the wake of Burzum and Darkthrone, the bands who cleaned up the sound and tightened up the songs, consequently keeping the genre vital — and making it somewhat lucrative! — when it could have dissolved into murk: Immortal, Gaahl-era Gorgoroth, Dissection (and later, the Dissection-related Watain). Here, Richmond, VA’s Bastard Sapling are something of an exception: Their phenomenal new LP, Instinct Is Forever (which follows the also-excellent 2012 album Dragged From Our Restless Trance), feels indebted to those arena-sized acts, in both its huge, dynamic sound as well as its carefully structured songs. It’s not a throwback, though; it’s an alternate evolution. Bastard Sapling share members with the celebrated RVA sludge/doom band Inter Arma, and like that band, Bastard Sapling deal in big, high-impact hooks. Instinct Is Forever’s lead single, “Lantern At The End Of Time” (which we featured in June’s Black Market), features a guest spot from another prominent member of the Richmond scene, Windhand vocalist Dorthia Cottrell. That’s probably the album’s most expansive cut, and it’s great, but it’s not my favorite — I’m partial to the black ’n’ roll banger “The Killer In Us All,” which rocks about as hard as anything I’ve heard this year. But there’s not a dud in the bunch. Instinct Is Forever is out next week, but we’ve got the album for you to stream in full today, and I urge you to do just that.
Deerhoof have a tremendously admirable work ethic. As a fan, you’re almost guaranteed a new album every year or two. Their last, Breakup Song, came out in 2012, and now, right on time, Deerhoof have announced that their new album, La Isla Bonita, will be released in November. The album is produced by Nick Sylvester (of the late Mr. Dream as well as Godmode Records), who also produced Courtship Ritual’s recent Album Of The Week, Pith. Below you can hear La Isla Bonita’s first single, “Exit Only,” which is a crunchy, stomping rock song led by Satomi Matsuzaki’s sugar-rush vocal delivery. Basically it’s classic Deerhoof, and it feels good to have them back.
The War On Drugs’ Lost In The Dream is one of the best albums that anyone has released in 2014, and the sprawling, gorgeous, nine-minute “Under The Pressure” might be its single greatest song. The new “Under The Pressure” video is a stark departure from the band’s last one, the knowingly goofy “Red Eyes” clip. This one is a somber zone-out that takes its time, with directour Houman alternating images of the band members playing alone in rooms with non-representational light-bending footage that seems to quote old experimental films. Check it out below.
Britt Daniel’s Chipotle order: Soft tacos with chicken, mild salsa, cheese, and a side of guacamole. Lemonade to drink, but he opts for Coke on the refill. I order a chicken burrito and Diet Coke. It is July, and we are in the West Village. The line is long by Chipotle standards — about a 10-minute wait between walking in the door and placing our orders. We take over two small tables, which might be rude considering how busy the place is, though Daniel offers to buy my lunch and later refills my beverage like the Texas gentleman his parents raised him to be.
Earlier this month, we learned that Thurston Moore had formed a new band with his former Sonic Youth bandmate Steve Shelly and with My Bloody Valentine bassist Deb Googe, as well as Nought guitarist James Sewards, and we posted video of them playing a London show. And now Moore has announced that the band will back him up on his new LP The Best Day, his first solo album in four years and his first one since Sonic Youth’s sad dissolution. The Best Day’s title track is a spindly, propulsive thing that has Moore playing a blazing classic-rock guitar solo, sounding sexual for what feels like the first time ever, and perhaps playing on the recent public-pariah status he’s had since the world learned he cheated on Kim Gordon. Below, listen to “The Best Day” and check out the album’s tracklist.