On her new single “Beggin For Thread,” the big-in-England singer-songwriter BANKS sounds something like a genetic fusion of Fiona Apple and James Blake, and I consider that to be high praise indeed. In the stark, intense, mostly black-and-white video for the track, we see BANKS on a soundstage, surrounded by interpretive dancers and at least one white horse. But the real reason to watch it is BANKS’ face. The way she stares down the camera is pretty fucking impressive. The video is below.
Back in 2012, when he was taking a break from recording proper albums, Beck released Song Reader, an “album” made up of nothing but sheet music. And after refusing to play the songs in public for a long time, he staged a couple of big Song Reader concerts in London and L.A. Many of the famous friends who helped out at those events have now contributed to the official studio version of Song Reader, which is as much a compilation as a Beck album. On the recorded version, Beck only sings one song, “Heaven’s Ladder.” Elsewhere, other people take on the songs that Beck wrote. Contributors include Jack White, Jarvis Cocker, Tweedy, Fun., Norah Jones, Laura Marling, Eleanor Friedberger, Jason Isbell, and Jack Black. And if you’ve got Spotify, you can stream the whole album below.
L.A. rocker Chad Ubovich has done time on guitar and bass in Mikal Cronin’s band and on bass with the Ty Segall-affiliated garage rock project FUZZ. He’s now fronting his own band, the marvelously named Meatbodies, and they’re putting out a self-titled LP on In The Red this fall. Lead single “Tremmors” matches straight-up Zeppelin crunch with colorful psych-rock flourishes that remind me of ’90s Flaming Lips and Tripping Daisy. Fans of humongous power chords, shit-kicking drums, and wildly wailed melodies must listen below.
Last month, we premiered “Beat The Sky,” a new track from the prolific Columbus band Connections, who were also one of our best new bands of 2013. Now they’ve shared the new song’s video, which is your typical band-playing-a-show montage that’s elevated by the group’s energetic and earnest punk, and some cool-looking cloud-related effects. Watch below.
Waaaaaaaaaaaaalt! Turns out Malcolm David Kelly, who played Walt on Lost, is the MK half of the pop duo MKTO alongside Tony Oller. Their song “Classic” has been getting major top 40 airplay this summer. It’s the song that compares the object of the singers’ affections to classic pop music and old-school movie pinups — you know, the one that goes, “I wanna thrill you like Michael/ I wanna kiss you like Prince/ Let’s get it on like Marvin Gaye/ Like Hathaway write a song for you like this” and “Hepburn, Beyonce, Marilyn, Massey!” Kelly delivers the song’s rap verse while Ortiz handles the singing. If it’s still not ringing a bell, here it is.
A month ago, She Keeps Bees shared the affectingly minimal “Is What It Is,” from their upcoming album Eight Houses, featuring Sharon Van Etten on backup vocals. The song seems made for lonely late-night drives, and the font of the title card for its new video, appearing above a car speeding down a darkened highway, immediately brings to mind the moody aesthetic of the film Drive. That’s where the similarities end, however — rather than neon violence, the Keith Musil-directed clip is full of subdued emotion and odd beauty, at once seeming both real and surreal as a young ballerina slips out the window and performs a dance routine atop her mother’s moving car. Watch it below.
If you completely forgot about the existence of Jessie J, everyone will understand. The London pop singer hasn’t really made much impact in America since she released the butt-ass awful “Price Tag” more than three years ago. But today, she’s toplining a new song called “Bang Bang” that also features dominant pop queens Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj. And the song, it turns out, is fun as hell, a giddy blast of energy with a hammering rhythm track and a slick double-time Nicki verse and a wailing-too-hard-to-let-you-hear-yourself-think chorus. Give it a listen below.
Hohokum is an upcoming PS4 game that partnered with the label Ghostly in order to craft the soundtrack. That soundtrack is available to stream now and features a new song by Matthew Dear titled “Pawn In Their Game,” which fits right in with the game’s bright and playful visuals. You can stream the entire soundtrack (which also includes previously released tracks by Tycho, Com Truise, and more) below, and order it when the game comes out next month.