Perfume Genius – “Queen”

“Queen,” the lead single off Perfume Genius‘ forthcoming third LP Too Bright, is without a doubt singer-songwriter Mike Hadreas’ most extravagant song to date. This time around, he is forgoing the spartan piano arrangements we’ve found powerful in his prior releases in favor of bright synths, punchy drums, and comparatively pristine production. But the emotion that came with his sparse, reverb-y work of the past has not dissipated with this more ornate compositional palette. Hadreas’ vocals are assured, forceful; giving “Queen” the last of the makings for a great pop anthem. While I’ll admittedly miss the forlorn piano melodies should the album entirely go in this glitzier direction, this is a pretty interesting change of pace for Hadreas and a plenty evocative piece in its own right.

Too Bright is due out September 23 via Matador.

Half Japanese – “In Its Pull”

So much hype surrounding Half Japanese’s upcoming record Overjoyed – it’s their first full-length thing in 13 freaking years! It’s not so hard to see why all the excitement: the band’s DIY sound was groundbreaking throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s and was influential to countless notable alt/indie rock artists, including Kurt Cobain and Daniel Johnston.

Now it’s 2014, and with lo-fi music so readily accessible with the web, I can’t really imagine this new single “In Its Pull” being mind-blowing for most listeners. That being said, Jad Fair still knows how to write the hell out of a song, so this is a pretty killer track all the same. It sounds in-the-moment like the group’s best work and I dig the raw production Deerhoof’s John Dieterich brings to the table. Thankfully, it looks as though Overjoyed will be a plenty enjoyable comeback that will be just offbeat enough. We know too well that sometimes even that is too much to ask for…

Overjoyed is due out September 2 via Joyful Noise Recordings.

Slugdge – Gastronomicon

A f-fun death metal album? Sure, they exist – the new Slugdge record Gastronomicon is one of them. If you’re unfamiliar with the UK duo consisting of guitarist Kev Pearson and lyricist/vocalist Matt Moss, then allow me to explain: they make music about interstellar slugs and are on a mission to “cover the world of man in a viscous goo.” But I’ve gotta say as ridiculous as the twosome’s concept comes across on paper, it amounts to a staggeringly captivating alternate reality for the run-time of this sophomore LP of theirs. The lyrics of Gastronomicon come off not as parody, but as a surprisingly imaginative mythology. Moreover, the compositions are rather progressive and the production is stellar - this is a properly heavy listen. Hopefully you can get past (or better yet, embrace) the campy concept, because otherwise you’ll be missing out on one of the year’s most enjoyable death metal releases so far.

Gastronomicon is out now with the blessing of Mollusca the Greatfather.

Can Can Heads – Butter Life

A few months back, Finland’s Can Can Heads delivered a wonderful little musical curiosity in the form of their second full-length effort Butter Life. The group has actually been around since 1993 and has pretty much been doing whatever the fuck they want the entire time - very noisy, spastic, no-wavey rock for the most part. That’s what you get here on Butter Life, too, but the band’s material is so brisk, it always feels fresh. So, if you’re a fan of noise rock or are big into Finland’s experimental music scene (and with music like this, how could you not be?), then give this LP a shot. Happy listening!

Butter Life is out now via Karkia Mistika Records, Verdura Records, and Bottom of the Pops.

“Old English” ft. Young Thug, A$AP Ferg, and Freddie Gibbs (prod. Salva & Nick Hook)

Magazine/label Mass Appeal recently announced a compilation album with the goal of highlighting a number of the hottest MCs at the moment, including Pusha T, YG, and Mac Miller; as well as  showcasing the talents of some of the imprint’s up-and-comers. “Old English” is the first track off this forthcoming all-star effort, and it certainly has us looking looking forward to hearing the rest. Young Thug, A$AP Ferg, and Freddie Gibbs are freaking fire on this thing and producers Salva and Nick Hook turn out a top-notch, banging beat. Hear it above and enjoy!

Mass Appeal Compilation Vol. 1 is due out September 2 via Mass Appeal Records.

Guerre – E X N I H I L O

E X N I H I L O is the latest album from Autralian music producer Guerre. It’s a series of tribal, spacey beats that feel as grey and dismal as the album art itself. There are some quiet, tattered, and distant vocals running throughout this thing, too, which brings a really eerie feel to the table that I like.

“Mood music” fans take notice on this one! Enjoy!

Sólstafir – “Ótta”

A new track from Icelandic rock outfit Sólstafir. Over the years, the band has built an international reputation off its long, expansive, and epic songs. At nine minutes, this new track is nothing to shrug your shoulders at. It’s got every from glacial walls of guitar to a plucky little lead melody that sounds like it’s coming out of a banjo.

It’s a massive track with a tense finish. From what I’ve heard, this album is dropping lat August. Stay alert!

Shabazz Palaces – “Forerunner Foray”

NEW SHABAZZ PALACES! The previously loved Seattle hip hop project has released another track from its forthcoming record, Lese Majesty. Just like their last LP, this one is looking at a release via Sub Pop Records. The date: July 29th.

“Forerunner Foray” is equal parts hip hop and electronic psychedelia. Fluttering synth sequences, spacey rhythms, and a plethora of effects make up the sonic pallet of this instrumental. There are even some short vocal interludes that sound like they’re being handled by someone in THEESatisfaction.

A lot of Ishmael Butler’s lyrics come off confident and brag-laden, but any grander meaning is eluding me at the moment. Regardless, another interesting tidbit from this forthcoming record.

Scuba – “Choke”

Hotflush Recordings founder Scuba drops a track from his forthcoming Phenix 2 EP, which features four new tracks on it. As expected, this cut features a strong 4/4 groove, loads of ethereal sound effects, and the musical progressions are incredibly slow and subtle. It’s electronic tension building at its finest–especially as the track reaches a boisterous highpoint at the 4:03 mark. Enjoy!

Zammuto – “Great Equator”

Nick Zammuto–formerly of The Books–has a new solo album on the way. As you may recall, I dug this dude’s last full-length, so, of course, I’m looking forward to what he’s going to be dishing up on this latest record of his. The title: Anchor. It’s currently looking at a Sept. 2nd release date on Temporary Residence Limited.

“Great Equator” is a chilly, serene ballad with plenty of throbbing electronics hanging in the background. It’s a track that subtly hypnotizes, but then it knocked me out of that funk with some jagged, angular synth melodies. The swelling instrumentation on the back end of the track is quite nice, too. Really psyched to see what sonic adventures Nick embarks on with this album!