“J-Boy” by Phoenix

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.

“DNA.” by Kendrick Lamar

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.

 

“Mad Nice” (feat. Black Thought & Vinny Price) by DANGERDOOM

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.

Friday Five: Future Islands, Father John Misty, Joey Bada$$, RAC

“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.

 

“Century” by Feist

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.