Sound Board: The Week’s Best Tracks
Our picks for the best tracks out there for the week of April 20–24, 2015. Headphone-tested, FLOOD-approved.
With Record Store Day 2015 over and done with, the exclusive tracks from said releases started to make their way onto the Internet this week. Some of our favorite new offerings included stripped-down covers (Courtney Barnett, Kurt Cobain), unreleased tracks (Run the Jewels, Father John Misty), a fresh single from an upcoming release (Unknown Mortal Orchestra), and one charity compilation contribution (Thee Oh Sees).
Check them all out below.
Courtney Barnett, “Close Watch” (John Cale cover)
It isn’t very often that we get to hear a cover song by Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett, but it’s clear from her latest take on another artist’s work that she completely commits. When performing the bare bones cover of John Cale‘s “Close Watch,” Barnett completely transforms her normally high sing-speak voice into a low and smoky croon, which blends perfectly with the haunting surf guitar.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”
“Can’t Keep Checking My Phone,” is the second track from Unknown Mortal Orchestra‘s upcoming full-length Multi-Love behind the title track, and a complete banger. There are insanely infectious disco elements all over this thing from the walking bass line, hi-hat beat, and falsetto vocals. Once you get to the lyrics, you realize that the Portland-based trio is simultaneously denouncing and feeding into the instant quality of our digital world.
Father John Misty, “Never Been a Woman”
“I’ve never been a woman, but they’ve given me my life.” Josh Tillman, better known as Father John Misty, has put on his ten-gallon hat and slid into a classic country-folk styling for his RSD heart-shaped vinyl B-side. Where I Love You, Honeybear found FJM experimenting with different genres and sounds to express his love, “Never Been a Woman” showcases the singer-songwriter’s crooning chops with only an acoustic guitar to accompany him.
Run the Jewels, “Bust No Moves”
To celebrate Record Store Day this year, El-P and Killer Mike released an exclusive Run the Jewels 12″ featuring “Bust No Moves”—a brand-new unreleased track that features a dark slinky beat, experimental funk synth details, and SL Jones’s smooth hook that includes the incredible lines “We at the table eating everybody food /Invasion of the chains, snatchers better not bust a move.”
Kurt Cobain, “And I Love Her” cover
Montage of Heck—the authorized documentary about Kurt Cobain—will air on HBO in a couple of weeks, but on Tuesday, a never-before-heard Beatles cover by the Nirvana mastermind that director Brett Morgen discovered leaked. His low but melodic voice cuts through the muddied low-budget quality of the track, with just an acoustic guitar driving the recording. While it seems like a much darker rendition of the Lennon/McCartney song, there’s a fragile sense of romanticism still to it.
“The Ceiling” is a melodic and slow jaunt back into the world of tracks like Putrifiers II‘s “Will We Be Scared?.” Harmonies and strategically placed strings swells playfully remind listeners of the softer and symphonic side of Thee Oh Sees. This dreamy number comes straight from Indianapolis record label Joyful Noise’s marriage equality and LGBTQ anti-discrimination compilation entitled 50 Bands & a Cat for Indiana Equality, which features unreleased tracks by acts like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Of Montreal, Thurston Moore, and, of course, Lil Bub.