Sound Board: The Week’s Best Tracks
Our picks for the best tracks out there for the week of February 16–19, 2015. Headphone-tested, FLOOD-approved.
Even though this was a mighty short week, there’s been enough great music released to rival any old five-dayer. This time around, strong singles from upcoming albums (Lionlimb, Lush, Yuna, Boulevards) and interesting stand-alone songs (Julian Casablancas, FKA twigs, NOT Sun Kil Moon) caught our ear.
Check them all out below.
Journeymen duo Lionlimb are about to release their debut LP Shoo, and so far, everything has sounded great. First there was “Turnstile,” an interspatial rock number, and more recently “Domino,” a horn-driven parlor ballad—and now we have “Just Because,” which lands somewhere in the middle of those two. The band has described the process of recording Shoo as adding layer upon layer before ultimately tearing parts away, leaving only what’s necessary. You can certainly hear that process here, with the guitars deliberate and the pianos distant—something of a precarious combination on paper, but it works.
The last time we saw FKA twigs, she was a deflated mess in a tangle of sheets in the warped-love M3LL155X video. Now, a mere week after her presence was requested at the unveiling of Yeezy Season Three (alongside Louis Farrakhan and “every awesome wrestler”), she’s back between the sheets with a new single and video. “Good to Love” is a remarkably straightforward cut from the avant R&B star. The track, which twigs produced alongside multi-instrumentalist Rick Nowels, premiered during her Soundtrack 7 residency at the Manchester International Festival this summer, during which she composed a new dance piece every day for a week. The video, which twigs also directed, finds her writhing among bedsheets as she proclaims the titular phrase; this being twigs, though, that phrase doesn’t come across as a boldfaced declaration so much as a plea or an urgent reminder of a truth whose light might be fading.
Julian Casablancas, “Run, Run, Run”
It’s no secret that Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground were huge influences on Julian Casablancas and The Strokes. Now, on the soundtrack to HBO’s new show Vinyl, the frontman-turned-solo-artist honors his idols with a faithful cover of “Run, Run, Run.” Casablancas’ husky and droning voice yelps Reeds vocals from the track off of 1967’s The Velvet Underground & Nico with such precision that it feels as though he’s been waiting all his life to sing this song.
Yuna, “Places to Go”
At the end of May, Yuna will release Chapters, her third full-length album, but this morning the singer-songwriter dropped the LP’s lead single “Places to Go.” With a complex beat and excellent scratching backing her up, the Malaysian songstress lets her smoky voice shine. She sings about the weather in faraway places in the new track, but with the grooves that Yuna’s pushing out, it wouldn’t be strange to think that she heats up every location she is in.
Trail-blazing shoegazers Lush recently released Chorus, a retrospective box set, and along with it, the news that the band would be reuniting for a few shows—including at this year’s Coachella festival. Looks like there’s even more on the horizon now, as the London group has today detailed a new EP, which will constitute their first recordings in almost twenty years. The four-song Blind Spot EP will be out in April, but ahead of that, they’ve shared the first track “Out of Control,” which is vintage Lush—though with a little bit of a matured, modern twist to it. The song has been accompanied with a dreamy music video as well, directed by Martin Andersen.
Jamil Rashad—a.k.a. Boulevards—has already proven himself to be a champion of the lockstep dance groove with “Sanity,” from his 2015 self-titled EP, and “Cold Call,” the lead single from his forthcoming LP Groove! Now, Rashad is giving us a little something to take into the weekend with “Up On Your Love,” a sharp number that turns its grooves on a knifepoint.
If there was ever anyone in indie rock who has successfully blurred the line between earnestness and self-parody with some regularity, it’s Mark Kozelek—a.k.a. Sun Kil Moon. Say what you want about the dude, but he certainly does have a sense of humor, which is why it wouldn’t be hard to believe that he might appreciate the satirical stylings of one “Morgan,” who released a stupendous EP as Sun Kil Moon on Bandcamp yesterday. Dubbed Under the Canopy, the three-song flamenco epic has everything that you could ever want from a Kozelek experience, including—but not limited to—thoughts on recently deceased public figures, double-tracked vocal parts listing the day’s meals, and phone calls with Jim. Sure beats the hell out of that Beach House parody.