Sound Board: The Week’s Best Tracks
Our picks for the best tracks out there for the week of February 23–27, 2015. Headphone-tested, FLOOD-approved.
Phew! We’re already almost three months into 2015 and some of the year’s best music was released this week including lead singles from spring LPs (Nick Diamonds, Blur, Built to Spill, Best Coast), deeper cuts from new albums (Purity Ring, Leon Bridges), a re-released gem (Hippo Campus), and one “stand-alone” single (Warpaint).
Check them all out below.
Purity Ring, “Bodyache”
With less than a week until the release of their sophomore album, Purity Ring couldn’t help but release another track from the highly anticipated Another Eternity. “Bodyache” finds Corin Roddick and Megan James feeding off of the good energy from AE‘s previous singles (“Push Pull,” “Begin Again”) and taking their electro-pop sound straight to the dance floor. Thumping bass drenched in reverb balances the delicate twinkling of keys, as a drum machine keeps perfect club-banger time. And then it’s all over in less than three minutes.
This week, Built to Spill returned with “Living Zoo,” the first single from the upcoming album Untethered Moon—one of our most anticipated albums of the year. A proper reward for the extended wait, the track is just as dense, fun, and guitar-oriented as one could hope for from Martsch and band (not to mention the fact that it features an honest-to-God tiger roar at one point). Welcome back, guys.
To celebrate Hippo Campus‘s debut EP Bashful Creatures being re-released, the Minnesota group has released a new music video for the track “Souls,” an infectious slice of reverbed guitars and soaring vocals accompanied in turn by sinister images of cultish stalking and Blair Witch–style voodoo.
The video for Best Coast‘s first single (and title track) off of California Nights is an atmospheric journey into the whimsical world of the Golden State from the deserts to the coast at twilight, featuring overlapped images of the band along with frontwoman Bethany Cosentino’s incredibly photogenic cat Snacks. Cosentino’s voice airily floats above Bobb Bruno’s garage-psych-surf guitar riffs within the track, immediately creating a relaxed and melodic experience for the listener.
Warpaint, “No Way Out”
On Tuesday, Warpaint premiered an excellently produced, seemingly stand-alone single on Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio 1 show. “No Way Out” finds the LA ladies in the midst of intricate interplay between percussion and guitar/bass, syrupy-smooth vocals, and an addictive chorus. The track has been described simply as “the first in a series of new songs being released this year,” we don’t know if a full album will come out if it, but if the music stays at this caliber, who cares about how it’s packaged?
Along with the announcement that Blur’s eighth album The Magic Whip is on the way, we were also treated with a low-key music video for the funky new single “Go Out,” which is basically a how-to for making ice cream, complete with a tutorial and ingredients (in Chinese). The track’s heavy bass line, steady beat, and effective “bah-bah-bah” harmonies in the background immediately draw the listener in, getting fans excited, or hungry, if you will.
Nick Diamonds, “The Sting”
Nicholas Thorburn (The Unicorns, Islands) just announced his sophomore album under his solo alter-ego Nick Diamonds, City Of Quartz. To mark the occasion, Thorburn dropped the LP’s lead single “The Sting”—a sinister, synth-laden track that oozes wanting and desire. Keep ’em coming, Nick!
Leon Bridges, the new, young face of old soul from Fort Worth, Texas, has released “Lisa Sawyer,” a narrative doo-wop ballad about his mother. Since the release of his first two songs last fall on Gorilla vs. Bear, Bridges’s smooth vocal delivery and intuitive grasp of old school soul has turned a lot of heads. The vivid lyricism and narrative flow of “Lisa Sawyer” showcase a songwriting skill akin to the literary prose of Sufjan Stevens’s lyrics. His debut full-length is out this summer.