PUJOL – “Pitch Black”

Next month, singer-songwriter PUJOL, a.k.a. Daniel Lucca, will be dropping his next full-length album, KLUDGE via Saddle Creek. While I wasn’t really huge on his past few full-lengths, the tracks I’ve been hearing from this latest effort of his seems to show a significant improvement on the songwriting side of things.

Sure, PUJOL’s rough, slightly lo-fi aesthetic still remains on his latest material, and that’s gonna turn some people off, but I think the melodies and sweet chorus on “Pitch Black” shines through the grime. It’s power pop magic. It’s rock ‘n’ roll, baby

Alright, I’ll end this now before I embarrass myself any further. Enjoy!

Herbal T – “That’s It”

Up-and-coming rapper Herbal T comes through with some top-notch verses on this Kinda Neat video for “That’s It.” The dude’s too clever for his own good, hah! The second verse on this thing is especially hilarious.

T strings together a series of lines that revolve around death–especially sudden death. I guess it’s just a little reminder that the end can come at any moment. However, the final verse tries to keep a positive mindset, acknowledging that there are ways to “live on,” and that one person’s positive impact on the world can last past their death. I’d say that’s worth a collective “awwwwwww,” right?

Herbal T’s got a new project out titled Lo-Fi Blow Dry, which you can check out here.

Andrew Jackson Jihad – “Linda Ronstadt”

Andrew Jackson Jihad comes through with an amazing new track from their forthcoming album, Christmas Island. Frontman Sean Bonnette goes through a personal story about being moved to tears by a piece of modern art–specifically, a video installation of Linda Ronstadt. Apparently, it was really beautiful. I only wish he worked the address of the museum in the song.

It’s personal, but monstrous emotional moments like these that make for the best Andrew Jackson Jihad songs, and I’m pretty happy to hear that the band is keeping their ambitions high from a production standpoint. Just like with their last record, Knife Man, this track is graced with some beautiful keys and strings, bringing some nice dynamics to the table.

Look out for Christmas Island on Side One Dummy in May.

Jack White – “Lazaretto”

HAH! Jack really came through on this new one. At first, I was a little on the fence about this whole solo thing, but he’s really starting to convince me on this latest single of his, “Lazaretto.”

Yeah, I understand that his voice, guitar tone, songwriting style hasn’t exactly done a 180 since the demise of the White Stripes–which you could argue he had an incredible amount of control over, making it a solo project in a sense–but I think Jack comes through with a decent track and some flashy accompaniment from organ, horns, and some glitchy synths as well. Since going #1 with Blunderbuss, he’s obviously making more instrumental strides and sending that ambition through the roof.

And that fiddle solo? Don’t even hate.

If you didn’t already know, Mr. White has a new album titled Lazaretto dropping on June 10th.

The Darcys – Hymn For A Missing Girl

Never heard of the Darcys before, but they definitely know how to pull together an epic, 21-minute instrumental! Hymn For A Missing Girl is the Halifax band’s latest offering right here, and it was a 500 LP offering this past Record Store Day. There might still be some copies of this thing floating around, right? Good luck to anyone who goes out seeking this dark, moody gem, and congrats to anyone who had the perceptiveness to look into what this band had to offer on this project!

The rest of us will just have to stream it, which isn’t exactly anything to complain about. Beautifully layered strings, vocals, and guitars come together into some immense moments on this thing. If drone, post-rock, experimental rock, and immense neoclassical compositions get you going, then you’re gonna want to clear out the next 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Big Momma – The Plague

Cakes Da Killa collaborator Big Momma drops a new mixtape titled The Plague. Much like with Cakes, you’re gonna catch a lot of speedy flows over complex production. However, Momma doesn’t sound too uncomfortable on top of some moody, atmospheric beats as well. Download the mixtape here. Enjoy!

deM atlaS – Charlie Brwn EP

Technically proficient Minnesota rapper deM atlaS comes through with some speedy flows and thoughtful bars on this latest EP of his, Charlie Brwn. Enjoy!

Hanz – “Count”

Experimental dance vibes aplenty in the new single from the previously mentioned, Hanz.

Beginning with an introduction that sounds like a sample grabbed from Iggy Pop’s The Idiot, and continuing into a deep, eerie synth groove that Hanz adds and takes samples away just as quickly. It’s as if he wants to just tease various ways the song into a full electronic dance jam. Instead the dark vibe continues steady while these flashes of drums, vocals, and layers add atmosphere rather than full on evolution. Then there is sudden change where the base layer of the song changing to a more drum rattling variation. All new samples continue to have elements a song with brimming over the top with layers, instead there are only flashes of these and taking them away adds an extra emphasis on the stripped down nature on “Count.”

The Felice Brothers – “Cherry Licorice”

Summer is near and the latest single from folk/country band The Felice Brothers has it coming a little nearer with ‘Cherry Licorice”.

Accompanied by some twangy vocals akin to Bob Dylan at closest example. The real stars of the tracks are the fun loving vibes that are altogether silly and full feelings of young love of life. The Felice Brothers deliver on a distinct feeling of a band you’d want to see live on an outdoor band stand on a brutally hot day their music acting like a cool breeze. For all the happy feelings the song brings, the lyrics bring an unsuspecting dark edge talking of the roughness of the past; the message really comes down to wanting only the sweet things in life like cherry licorice.

Swans – “Oxygen”

“Oxygen” is the second single to drop from Swan’s latest epic To Be Kind (after last month’s stellar, staggeringly funky “A Little God in My Hands”), and it is among the fiercest and most thrilling moments of its two-hour-plus runtime. It is certainly the most thoroughly noisy piece on the project, built on an unwavering no-wave bass groove and skittering drum line – guitars, lap steel, and finally brass falls piling on, amounting to something paradoxically crushing and danceable.

But the icing on the (dense, dense) cake is frontman Michael Gira’s vocals, which are at their most manic here, ranging from caveman-esque grunts on the bridge to a nasally call progressing into the second verse – “HEY THEEEEERRE.” It’s all just so cathartic; as a listener, you get release just from hearing these guys belt this thing out. It’s a sort of vicarious thrill that Swans has pretty consistently provided over the course of its now three-decade-long career.

And there’s also something to be said of the excitement this song manages to inspire despite the fact it has been kicking around for years in a number of iterations, in Gira’s solo acoustic sets, and then the live version that appeared on the limited edition live album Not Here/Not Now late last year. The band’s promotional/funding approach for these last few releases has been quite genius, as it has allowed the band to give glimpses of new content as they develop it – tiding us over, but allowing for plenty of surprises on the finished product. For instance, the glorious addition of brass here!

To Be Kind drops May 12 via Young God and Mute. A gentle reminder we loved their last one.