Yeah Yeah Yeahs front woman Karen O recently announced her first solo album, Crush Songs, and everyone was wondering what it would sound like. Would it just be another YYYs album? Well, here comes the first taste, a song called “Rapt,” and for those who have been paying attention to O’s career, it isn’t much of a shock. While it sounds a little like a lo-fi track that wouldn’t have felt out of place on PJ Harvey’s Uh Huh Her, it is also very much a Karen O song.
The song actually originates from her brief stint under the moniker Native Korean Rock from a few years back. It centers on a patient, simple acoustic strum, and a very direct vocal. “Do I really need / Another habit like you?” O sings in the chorus, deciding that yes she thinks she might. The song clocks in under two minutes, which is enough. Yeah Yeah Yeahs have done acoustic renditions of their songs before, and they sound a bit like this. The minimalistic video, directed by her husband and production designed by K.K. Barrett (Oscar-nominated for Her), depicts O floating around underwater in a bright red dress, her blonde shock of hair gone brown again. None of this is too complicated, which is why it works. O has always sounded quite comfortable in a more intimate setting, and this little ditty has me looking forward to the album.
Crush Songs is out September 9 via Cult.
Mass Appeal signee Bishop Nehru might be a fresh face in hip hop right now, but the ambitious 17-year-old MC has already been working on a full-length collaboration with MF DOOM, slated for release later this year. Above you can check out the project’s first single “Darkness (HBU)” and its video. Enjoy!
Last week, ever-changing dream pop outfit A Sunny Day in Glasgow dropped its fourth full-length album Sea When Absent. While there is occasionally the questionable, chipmunk-y vocal effect and the instrumentation can at times sound claustrophobic, as if Panda Bear were recording something while kind of strung out; this is a pretty adventurous pop album, with some vibrant performances and winding song structures. Check out the new video for highlight “In Love with Useless (blah blah)” above and enjoy!
Sea When Absent is out now via Lefse Records.
Michael Christmas is one of the frumpiest rappers I’ve laid on eyes on in a while. His look is pretty unsuspecting, but don’t make any assumptions based simply on that. His rhymes are pretty playful, clever. He’s definitely the kind of MC I could see an old school De La Soul fan appreciating.
Michael’s got a new tape out you can partake in right here.
Singer/songwriter Lia Ices last record was 2011′s criminally underrated Grown Unknown. Since then she’s kept an almost impressively low profile, which seemed pretty normal for the artist who once reveled in her own general anonymity. But now she’s releasing a follow up, Ices, and with it comes first single “Thousand Eyes.”
At first, it’s all a little shocking: Ices’ first two records were strewn with complex, mostly acoustic, slightly avant-garde chamber folk-pop (throw another signifier in there, Jeremy, really). So when “Thousand Eyes” crashes out of the speakers with electronic-based beats and pretty, high synths, I was caught off guard. But acoustic strums quickly become a backbone for all the feathery electronic textures, providing a beautiful backdrop for Ices’ fantastic singing. It’s all almost beatific, which makes sense: Ices has stated this album is all about the notions of flight and levity, and the song beams with a positive energy. “And we know that we go on / ‘Cause we go on, go on, go on” she sings, and that seems as good an explanation as any in her hands.
Ices is out September 16 via Jagjaguwar.
London-based singer-songwriter/producer FKA twigs came out with a short, but pretty awesome, EP last year entitled EP 2, the follow up to her debut EP (whose name you can probably guess). And now she is finally gearing up to release her highly anticipated debut full-length, fittingly titled LP 1. And with this announcement comes a new video for first single “Two Weeks.”
Where FKA twigs has before seemed mystical and ethereal and vulnerable, here she takes all the reins. “Two Weeks” is one of the most explicitly lustful and sexually upfront songs to come out this year (think along the lines of Beyonce’s self-titled record, but more interesting to listen to). With lyrics like “My thighs are apart for when you’re ready to breathe in”, and “You say you want me / I say you’ll live without it / Unless you’re the only one who instigates / Got your mouth open”, twigs is taking no prisoners. Of course, this is all delivered in her increasingly-impressive production and gorgeous falsetto.
The video is a nice counterpart, featuring a single take that slowly reveals twigs as some kind of goddess, pouring water into the mouth of her dancing servant. This is a head-turning hooky single, hitting at all the right moments, and brazenly confident. It’s this kind of eye-widening track that really gets me pumped for this record.
Look for LP 1 on August 12 via Young Turks.
After changing its name earlier this month, Code Orange (formerly Code Orange Kids) announced it will be releasing its sophomore album in a couple of months. It’s called I Am King, and above you can watch the video of its savage title track. Backed by a caustic hardcore soundtrack, the visuals depict some poor guy getting the letters “TOTH” carved into his back. I don’t know what that’s all about, but it’s clear Code Orange isn’t fucking around. This being the intro to the album, it is looking as though I Am King will be every bit as heavy and ferocious as its predecessor, if not more. Glad to see Converge’s Kurt Ballou reprising his role as producer.
New York-based folk singer-songwriter Matteah Baim is releasing her third full-length record, Falling Theater, this week, and with it comes this video for one of its songs, “Dude.” A series of screen-tests of various dudes – both men and women – inspired by the classic Andy Warhol series, the video has a minimalistic, rhythmic vibe to it. It’s interesting watching the different kinds of people that the video’s creators (Matthew Nelson-Love, Jack Schurman, and Baim herself) were able to squeeze into the single day of shooting. Everyone gives the camera a slightly different expression: whether it’s a tiny smirk, a dead-serious stare, or a rather blank gaze. Baim pops up toward the end as the only person who removes a piece of clothing, and that feels appropriate: this album of hers is her clearest yet, with rich production values and Baim’s voice really rising out of the occasional murk of her previous LPs. As reflected in the first line of the song, “He is a kind-hearted person,” the video is simple but full of a subtle joy.
Falling Theater is out this week via Dream Drive/Kobalt.