Sound Board: The Week’s Best Tracks
Our picks for the best tracks out there for the week of March 30–April 3, 2015. Headphone-tested, FLOOD-approved.
For us, April first came and went without any tricks or pranks (thank goodness), but the month’s first week was full of musical treats including unexpected one-off numbers (Janelle Monáe, The National), the latest glimpses at upcoming albums (Avid Dancer, My Morning Jacket, Jamie xx), and one gorgeous demo (Mitski).
Check them all out below.
Janelle Monáe, “Yoga”
Still riding high off of the smashing success of her 2013 LP The Electric Lady, alt-R&B star Janelle Monáe gave us a taste of new music on Tuesday. The undeniably catchy track “Yoga”—which will be available on an upcoming EP from Monáe’s own label called Wondaland Presents THE EEPHUS—promotes self-worth and inner strength with a major club beat and playful, yet suggestive lyrics that would make any yogi blush. Well played, Monáe.
Following the release of “Big Decisions” earlier this month, Southern rock stalwarts My Morning Jacket have shared the epic, seasonally appropriate “Spring (Among The Living),” the second track from their upcoming long-awaited seventh LP The Waterfall. Accompanying the track is another psychedelic visualizer featuring slow-mo footage of—you guessed it—a waterfall. “Spring (Among The Living)” is a steadily grooving six minute builder that’s peppered with big chord changes and lyrics about waking from hibernation, mixing a sense of both strain and arrival, like a flower finally reaching full bloom. Get ready to open the windows.
Mitski, “Square” (live solo piano version)
Last year, Mitzki Miyawaki released her masterful, emotional debut, Bury Me At Make Out Creek. Now, that release is getting an expanded reissue on Don Giovanni next week, including this B-side, a live and piano version of “Square,” a quiet and reflective ode that spotlights the twenty-four-year-old’s distinctively affecting vocals. Lest you think she’s simply an acoustic, singing-songwriting prodigy, Mitzki also slays.
Following his time with the Marines, Jacob Dillan Summers moved to Los Angeles, where he began working on the music that would eventually develop into Avid Dancer—a graceful, guitar-led rock-and-roll project tinged with touches of The Byrds, Galaxie 500, and, as The Fader pointed out in their premiere of new track, “Not Far To Go,” Neil Young. And just as you might expect from those reference points, the laid-back tune is a cruiser, for sure, but it also chugs along pretty hard just the same.
“Gosh” is a great example of Jamie xx’s ability to create moving melodies and progress through repeated soundbites and remixed phrases. The nearly five-minute track builds without becoming stale, burrowing its appeal into your head to be stuck there forever…or at least for the rest of the day.
The National, “Sunshine On My Back”
As part of the rollout plan for the digital streaming of their 2013 documentary Mistaken for Strangers, today The National released a brand-new song that is immediately available to anyone who rents or purchases the film. “Sunshine On My Back,” is an excellent offering from the Ohio alt-rock band. The track mixes classical string melodies with a rapid-fire hi-hat line with such ease, that by the time the three-and-a-half-minute song is over, listeners have that same feeling that comes with the sun’s rays warming the skin.