The reunion of LCD Soundsystem has been a bit rocky, to say the least, between the initial anger of the fan base to the indifference displayed at Scotland’s T in the Park, but none of that will matter in the long run if the resulting music turns out to be good. At midnight, James Murphy and company released two songs, “Call The Police” and “American Dream.” The former is the more accessible of the two, but both are logical progressions of the band, perhaps drawing a bit more from Berlin-era David Bowie, but still immersive and every bit as fun as what LCD Soundsystem has been at their peak. It’ll be a bit more time before fans get to see a proper album, but you can bet it will be worth the wait.
Phoenix is back with their first new album since their middling 2013 release Bankrupt! The first single from their upcoming Ti Amo is “J-Boy,” seemingly to stand for “Just Because of You.” “J-Boy” is definitely stronger than anything from their previous album and hopefully rest of the Ti Amo maintains the summery romanticism on display here. Ti Amo will be released June 9 via Glassnote.
While many are still digesting Kendrick Lamar’s latest release, DAMN. it is without question that “DNA.” is one of the early highlights– a powerhouse track that features some of the most aggressive vocals Lamar’s ever recorded. The tense thematics of the music video match the energy of the track, with a stellar opening scene shared between Lamar and Don Cheadle.
The underrated project between MF Doom and Danger Mouse (collectively known as DANGERDOOM) will see a reissue of its Mouse and the Mask LP next month. In celebration, they have unveiled a previously unreleased track featuring Black Thought and the deliciously evil laughter of Vincent Price. Hearing Black Thought and MF Doom on the same track makes “Mad Nice” worthwhile, but the Danger Mouse’s production is relatively solid too.
“North Star” by Future Islands
Following their breakthrough album Singles, which was anchored by the single “Seasons (Waiting On You),” Future Islands go into their release of The Far Field with some sense of expectations– certainly a new feeling for a band that had made a career flying under the radar. While The Far Field doesn’t disappoint, it doesn’t entirely break any new ground either. There’s more than enough here to hold interest for ardent fans of the band or 80’s pop in general, but there aren’t any immediate singles in the spirit of “Seasons” to garner new fans. The closest thing is perhaps “North Star,” with its addictive rhythm and soaring vocals.
“Total Entertainment Forever” by Father John Misty
It seems as though Pure Genius has been discussed, dissected and hyped ever since Father John Misty wowed fans and critics with his biting sophomore release, I Love You, Honeybear. With his third album, everything is bigger, bleaker and somehow, more self-aware. It all suits Father John Misty incredibly well– despite the length of the album it never feels bloated, and the myriad of ideas at work on every track throughout the album come together in a manner that’s every bit as enjoyable as his previous efforts.
“For My People” by Joey Bada$$
Speaking of high expectations, Joey Bada$$ is another artist that had a lot of hype going into his second official release. While the singles have been hard-hitting and explosive as you’d expect, the surprise comes from the softer edges within the opening of the album, particularly “For My People.” In a way that is reminiscent of the opening of Kanye’s The College Dropout, “For My People” delves in serious everyday struggles while riding a deceptively smooth beat. It’s not exactly uncharted territory for Joey Bada$$, but something he hadn’t really touched since his mixtape 1999. These touches give an added depth to ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ that would otherwise be sorely lacking.
“This Song” (feat. Rostam) by RAC
André Allen Anjos is an incredibly underrated talent, especially when it comes to his work under the RAC moniker. Partnering with former Vampire Weekend member Rostam Batmanglij, “This Song” is a beautiful, summery jam that, if there’s any justice in the world, would be an early contender for song of the summer.
Following on the heels of releasing the title track from her upcoming album, Pleasure, Leslie Feist this time pairs up with Jarvis Cocker for “Century.” Lest you thought “Pleasure” was a red herring, “Century” is every bit as rugged and direct as the previous single, a sharp contrast from her more radio-friendly sound of the past. Pleasure will be released April 28 via Interscope Records.
Although it remains to be seen if this new single even makes the album, Kendrick Lamar hits even harder with “HUMBLE.” Yes, this track may possibly be another shot at Big Sean, but beyond that, there are some interesting themes dealing with authenticity in particular, with the music video providing some incredibly striking images. Produced by Mike WiLL Made-It, the sound may paint a clearer picture of what’s to come– there’s reason to believe that Lamar may follow through with a more industrial, hard-edged album to counterbalance To Pimp a Butterfly— but it could also be the same type of curveball that Lamar has shown in the past with “i” and “Backseat Freestyle.” Assuming the rumors are true, look for Kendrick Lamar’s new album April 7.
Danny Brown has spoken at length about his struggles with the perception of his persona, a drug-addled, larger-than-life party animal indulging in frequent benders and promiscuity, and the truth of who Brown is as a person. Yes, he wants everyone to have a good time, but at the same time, Brown’s music has always had a darker quality where he clearly isn’t making light of the lifestyle but instead investigating the psychological effects and destructive qualities of such actions.
This theme was put to the forefront of Atrocity Exhibition, one of the best albums last year and easily the highlight of Brown’s promising career so far. The hilarious one-liners are still present, but it’s clear that Brown is hell-bent on showing the devastating effects of the 24/7 party lifestyle, as evidenced in this music video. Directed by Jonah Hill, Brown and Hill smartly use the 80’s sitcom as a backdrop to the unsuccessful pleas for help from Brown to the audience. Much like Brown’s music, it’s a biting critique that will certainly have people talking.
Ten years ago last week, Noah Lennox aka Panda Bear released arguably the best album of 2007– one that still heavily influences music today. Like most albums from Animal Collective and its members, there’s a clear Brian Wilson/Beach Boys influence, but what elevates Person Pitch above all others is its consistency and very savvy use of sampling. Despite its organic, summery feel, one that in particular brings to mind The Avalanches’ Since I Left You, Panda Bear largely relied on Roland SP-303 samplers to make this album, teasing out elements and shifting them in a way that never feels constrained. The result is an album that lives up to its critical acclaim and is, in some ways, the reason why every project from Animal Collective or Panda Bear, in particular, is met with such great anticipation.
Released 11 years ago, Herbert’s Scale is not only Matthew Herbert’s best album but has also aged well over time. Using over 635 objects for creation including live instruments and vocals, Scale is more deeply rooted in jazz and chamber music than elements more commonly found electronic music. The album is at its best with this track, between its sweeping string section, a hypnotic drum, and bassline and, lastly, near-theatrical vocals, it’s alluring and demands repeated listens.