Sound Board: The Week’s Best Tracks

Our picks for the best tracks out there for the week of July 6–10, 2015. Headphone-tested, FLOOD-approved.

With a three-day weekend behind us and the summery ocean breeze wafting in, we’ve got a tidal wave full of great music to soundtrack your weekend including a ton of new singles from anticipated upcoming releases (Julia Holter, The Birth Defects, Cold Beat, Ultimate Painting, Ought, Wand, SWIMM).

Check them all out below.

Julia Holter, “Feel You”

Earlier this week, Julia Holter released a music video for “Feel You,” the first single from Have You in My Wilderness, in which she holds her dog while playing piano, chases him through the wilderness, and generally makes him look like a very good boy. The track uses a sweeping string section and delicate harpsichord flourishes to highlight, not overpower, the LA native’s bright and full voice that we’ve come to love.

The Birth Defects, “Bad Shit”

The collaborative and raucous nature of Los Angeles’ ripping garage-rock scene can be summed up in the two-minutes-and-nine-seconds of The Birth Defects‘ newest track, “Bad Shit.” Made up of Jason Finazzo and members of Thee Oh Sees and Bleached—along with production credits for their debut album First 8 Mistakes going to Ty Segall—the SoCal supergroup hits the ground running in “Bad Shit,” with Finazzo’s guttural shouts slicing through the rapid-fire drums and fuzzed-out guitar licks. No laid-back, fun-in-the-sun vibes here, just rock.

Cold Beat, “Cracks”

Along with the announcement of Into The Air, the band’s second LP, Cold Beat has also shared “Cracks,” a spaced-out and sinister dirge that finds the group grabbing a synth and stepping into a slightly more profound, architectured direction.

Ultimate Painting, “(I’ve Got the) Sanctioned Blues”

Weren’t one of the 200,000+ heads in attendance for The Grateful Dead‘s last big to-do? Not to worry. Jack Cooper and James Hoare have you covered with “(I’ve Got the) Sanctioned Blues,” the second single from their second LP as Ultimate Painting, Green Lanes. The duo pitch their vocal melodies against one another like Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir circa American Beauty, and the song rolls along on a kind, simple groove.
Helen, “Motorcycle”

Ought, “Beautiful Blue Sky”

Ought’s More Than Any Other Day was one of last year’s most exciting debuts. Now, the Montreal four-piece have announced its follow-up, Sun Coming Down, and shared the LP’s lead single “Beautiful Blue Sky.” The band’s trademarks are certainly present—there’s the punchy guitar lines, there’s singer Tim Beeler’s agonizing recitations of banal phrases—but there’s a pallor hanging over the song that wasn’t necessarily present on More Than Any Other Day.

U.S. Girls, “Woman’s Work”

The latest single from Meghan Remy’s solo project, U.S. Girls, is a song of extremes. The track’s vocals range from haunting whispers to enthralling wails to choking gasps, while the song’s hooky disco beat is offset by an eerie synth melody. The result is a bewitching ’80s tune—very catchy and a little creepy—that will leave you both pumped and disturbed.

SWIMM, “All The Time”

With a lively chorus and driving beat, SWIMM’s latest release, “All the Time,” is the quintessential pop song. This sugary track from the LA duo’s forthcoming EP feels like a summer daydream and will have you hooked.

Wand, “Stolen Footsteps”

Lest you should think that they would simply continue to fall deeper and deeper in the pit of sludge that they called home on Ganglion Reef and Golem, LA psych-rock maniacs Wand are returning with their third album in just over a year’s time, this one titled 1000 Days, and marking their debut on Drag City. The announcement came with a single, “Stolen Footsteps,” which is shockingly pastoral, but unshockingly pretty face-melting all the same.


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