Sound Board: The Week’s Best Tracks

Our picks for the best tracks out there for the week of February 29–March 4, 2016. Headphone-tested, FLOOD-approved.

New month, new tunes! Listen to fresh tracks by supergroups (case/lang/veirs), up-and-coming artists (Aries, Mitski, Gallant), and music scene staples (Explosions in the Sky, Sturgill Simpson, Kendrick Lamar).

Check them all out below.

Gallant, “Bourbon”

While Ology isn’t out until April, Gallant dropped the first single from the LP earlier this week. “Bourbon,” just like its namesake, goes down smoothly—Gallant’s syrupy falsetto blends with the track’s sweeping synths and grand orchestration.

Sturgill Simpson, “Brace for Impact”

Sturgill Simpson‘s 2014 album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music was a sprawling psychedelic take on the outlaw-country tradition, with Simpson’s honeyed baritone serving as a guide through a world of hallucinogens, turtles, and reincarnation. Now, Simpson has announced that album’s followup, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, to be released on April 15 via Atlantic. Simpson’s also released the album’s first single, the moody “Brace for Impact (Live a Little),” which channels Drive-By Truckers’ gasoline-fumed angst as much as it does Waylon Jennings’ shit-kicking ways.

Mitski, “Your Best American Girl”

Mitski’s third LP Bury Me at Makeout Creek was a breakthrough: daring and raw, but also calculated and brutal. It was then that many of us realized that she was a force to be reckoned with. Now, a little over a year later, Mitski has returned with her follow-up—Puberty 2, which will be out in June, and will serve as her debut on Dead Oceans. To go along with the announcement, she’s shared the first track, “Your Best American Girl,” which is something of an indictment as well as a celebration. It’s unique, to say the least.

case/lang/veirs, “Atomic Number”

Earlier this week, case/lang/veirs announced their self-titled debut and shared the LP’s lead single “Atomic Number.” The track blends the women’s three distinct sounds into one lush and angelic voice. The sparse instrumentation in “Atomic Number” allows the group’s vocal strength to shine even brighter.

Explosions in the Sky, “Logic of a Dream”

In April, Explosions in the Sky will release The Wilderness, their first record since 2011’s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care. The Austin post-rock quartet gave us a glimpse of the new album with single “Disintegration Anxiety,” and now they’ve shared “Logic of a Dream” via Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show. Like “Disintegration Anxiety,” “Logic of a Dream” shies away from the sunset-painting emotional exuberance of the band’s best-known work, opting instead for a steadily shifting palette of sounds: a delicately played bass-and-guitar intro, a curtain of feedback that comes through in a magisterial drift, tribal locomotion, cherubic harps. It’s a welcome new look for the band, one that suggests that the extended break between Take Care, Take Care, Take Care and The Wilderness was not spent not in vain.

Kendrick Lamar, “untitled 05 | 09.21.2014.”

Whatever you want to call these eight new Kendrick Lamar tracks—demos or an actual album—they sound incredible, and burst with an impossible energy, an ineffable charm. The untitled unmastered. collection is best experienced as a whole (which by virtue of itself checks one more box for the “actual album” category), but “untitled 05 | 09.21.2014.” is a perfect example of the jazzy world compiled here. It’s simply flawless. Pimp pimp, hooray.

Aries, “Eclipse Total”

Spanish multi-instrumentalist Isabel Fernández Reviriego, who records under the name Aries, is preparing to release her North American debut Adieu or Die via indie-rock stalwart K Records. While that label is best known for groups like Beat Happening and Halo Benders—folk-based rock music tweaked sparse gray by the Pacific Northwest cloud cover—Reviriego’s sound is sunny, bright, busy like a pedestrian mall. Think Panda Bear without the self-doubt, or Alagranza-era El Guincho if he’d listened to En Vogue. Adieu or Die isn’t out until April 1, but this week we premiered the video for “Eclipse total.” The video rolls through the same digi-psych canyon as the song itself, which is built around pulsing circular patterns of sound. Reviriego’s voice is planted at the center, where it blooms and fans outs, momentarily overwhelming the factory rhythms with melodic sunshine.


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