Sound Board: The Week’s Best Tracks
Our picks for the best tracks out there for the week of February 16–20, 2015. Headphone-tested, FLOOD-approved.
While the rest of us were snoozing late on Monday—because that’s how you honor the presidents, of course—our favorite bands and artists were getting a jumpstart on releasing some of the best music that 2015 has to offer so far. With singles from highly anticipated upcoming albums (Sufjan Stevens, Passion Pit), new tracks from buzz-worthy bands (Palma Violets, METZ, Surfer Blood), and one endearing Bob Dylan cover (Kevin Morby), it’s clear that the term “short week” was lost on these musicians.
Check them all out below.
Palma Violets, “Danger in the Club”
To build anticipation for their sophomore album Danger In The Club—the follow-up to the group’s stellar 2013 debut, 180—this week, Palma Violets dropped the album’s title track/lead single. “Danger in the Club” highlights what the young London band excels at: fuzz-drenched guitars, a driving beat, and charmingly ragged vocals.
Sufjan Stevens‘s latest album, Carrie & Lowell, which was announced with an album teaser last month, now has its first official single, “No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross.” The track is quintessential Sufjan, just gentle finger-plucking adorning discreetly morbid, whispery lyrics.
To get an idea of what was harvested by METZ‘s deliberately bare and intense approach for II, you can listen to the insane album opener “Acetate,” which ignites and spreads like a meth lab fire. The accompanying video (which is distinctly labeled as being “not the video”) features a recipe for some punk rock pancakes, and will get you kinda sorta hungry for one of those hangover-type breakfasts.
While “Lifted Up (1985)”—Passion Pit‘s lead Kindred single—reminds listeners about what a fun time the ’80s were, “Where the Sky Hangs” actually transports us back to the musical sound of the decade courtesy of Hall & Oates–style bass lines and synth riffs. Angelakos’s infectious falsetto floats above finger snaps and crisp harmonies.
Kevin Morby, “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” (Bob Dylan cover)
This week, Aquarium Drunkard released three covers by Kevin Morby as part of its Lagniappe Sessions, including an intimate and compelling take on Bob Dylan’s “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You.” Armed with only a guitar, and apparently a noisy tea kettle, Morby breathes new life into the Nashville Skyline track while maintaining Dylan’s original, playful tone.
Following their 2013 major label debut on Warner Bros. with their sophomore album Pythons, Surfer Blood have announced that their third LP, 1000 Palms, will be released on indie imprint Joyful Noise in what’s being called “a return to their DIY roots.” You can sample their newfound simplicity with the easygoing bob of single “Dorian”—a track featuring quirky background sounds reminiscent of early Shins recordings and spot on production.