This week saw a of new tunes from heavy-hitters (Beck with guest Kim Gordon), comeback cuts from old favorites (the Dismemberment Plan, Mazzy Star), and an odd cocktail of indie rock and rap (Black Noi$e’s remix of Unknown Mortal Orchestra with Killer Mike and Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire). What reeled us in this week? Another cross-genre remix, a smattering of inter-continental indie, and the most lyrical labyrinthine track of the week. Get into it below.
Class of ’11 BTW Friends have switched up their lineup so as to increase their soft-focus on scenery-chewing chanteuse Samantha Urbani. It’s still all about the ’80s for them with “The Way,” but in a new way, with the wide swath of production space behind Samantha’s voice filled with buttery, synth-pop sensuality and erogenous Prince-styled guitar licks courtesy of adept soft-pop master Dev Hynes. It’s Blood Orange fronted by Samantha, basically, and this is a template that could run game in album-length format. Dev and Samantha, well matched. – Amrit
Unlike our previous two listens of the forthcoming An Object (“No Ground” and “C’mon Stimmung“), No Age’s latest single veers clear of punked up “straight banger” territory. “An Impression” is the dreamier, artier side of Dean and Randy given space to breathe, emote, luxuriate. There is no drum set, only mic taps and a bass that hangs on its high register. The emotionality rings clear through each inscrutable word; the song title is apt. Again: It features a string section. Maybe the prettiest thing you’ll encounter all week, no offense to your summer beau. – Amrit
The original “Girls Love Beyoncé” is the second time Drake has repurposed the hook from Destiny’s Child slick “Say My Name” and the way he’s employed it — imbued with suspicion and longing for security like DC’s original — waffles so far from his saucy flip of it in his verse on Rihanna’s “What’s My Name?“, it almost acts as the How Drake Is Feeling About Women Today scale. With “Beyoncé,” he doesn’t even seem to be sure. Drizzy is always waffling between wanting an anchor relationship and wanting someone fun and flip, yet never can find it in himself to trust either archetype. Someone needed to tell Drake to take a little time out to get his feelings together in private and SBTRKT did just that with his rerub of the track. Maintaining the atmospheric woe of the original, but warping the vocals into indecipherable blown-fuse falsettos, he’s crafted the Boiler Room girls’ “Freakum Dress.” Drake might not be needed in the club for this one, but with the remix’s heavily ’90s R&B-informed treatment, I think he’d be ok with the night off. – Claire
When it was announced that Yuck frontman Daniel Blumberg was parting ways with the band — and the band would continue without him — there was plenty of cause for concern: Even with Blumberg, it would have been difficult to recapture the miraculous charm of Yuck’s ’90s-obsessed 2011 debut. But “Rebirth” really is just that: The new Yuck are still living in the Clinton era, but they’ve shifted their detail-obsessive backwards-focus from old Matador and Merge classics to old Creation and Hut gems. You could sequence “Rebirth” on a Maxell XL-II 90-minute “shoegaze” mixtape right between Adorable and Moose and it wouldn’t sound out of place. Hell, it would actually sound fucking great. – Michael
The purest piece of pure rap-for-rap’s-sake verbal twistiness that Earl Sweatshirt has given us since he disappeared off to Samoa and got famous. Pretzels of verbiage from three bored, dead-eyed kids, all of them toying with the ominously rolling beat like cats with mostly-dead mice. A forest of text to let your brain disappear into. So many sharp stray lines that it’ll take months to process it all. A clear case that Odd Future peripheral figures Staples and Veggies are better rappers than most of the actual Odd Future members. The dark-rap blunt-burner of the summer. – Tom