“You are the music while the music lasts.” -T.S. Eliot
Antony – “Landslide”
It doesn’t seem like much time passes between each excellent new sample of Just Tell Me That You Want Me, a stellar collection of indie musicians covering Fleetwood Mac. One of the best is Antony Hegarty’s take on karaoke staple “Landslide”, the idiosyncratic singer’s rich, operatic voice ringing out over simple acoustic guitar accompaniment. The track (originally released in 1975) sounds as fresh and haunting as ever, Hegarty’s lilt on the last verse somehow weighted and airy simultaneously. Just Tell Me That You Want Me will be released on August 14th via Hear Music/Concord.
Blur – “The Puritan”
While the future of Blur is something that seems to change with the wind, hearing a couple of new songs out of their camp is always something to welcome. “I’m falling into something that plays upon the metronome in your heart,” Damon Albarn talk-sings on “The Puritan”, all over stuttering percussion, square synths, and chugging strumming. There’s something simultaneously bleary and crystalline about the song, somehow causing both anxiety and positivity (but maybe that’s just caused by the uncertainty of the band itself). While there may not be that new album, this and fellow new track “Under the Westway” are available digitally and on 7″ vinyl.
Dinosaur Jr. – “Watch the Corners”
Now into the comfortable years of their second go at the original lineup, Dinosaur Jr. sound as fresh and mature as ever on the stellar jam “Watch the Corners”. A preview of their upcoming tenth LP (I Bet On Sky, coming September 18th from Jagjaguwar), the rough-edge rocker finds J Mascis marching out skyscraping guitar solos, chugging distortion, and even some acoustic strumming, all in the same track. There are few things as majestic as the combination of Lou Barlow’s gravely bass, Murph’s emphatic drum-slamming, and Mascis’ wrenching guitar solo that close out this amazing track.
Hundred Visions – “Where Do I Sign”
The first single from Hundred Visions’ upcoming, as-yet-untitled debut LP, “Where Do I Sign?” is a bit of fun-propelled pop punk a la The Modern Lovers. The quick-step guitars push around on simple riffs, the cymbal-heavy drums kick things forward, and the shout-and-croon vocals should keep listeners ambling along. Last year’s EP was strong, but the rough edges have been smoothed over a bit here and replaced with jet fuel grins. One listen is all you’ll need to get the repeated calls of the title stuck in your head for days.
Iggy Pop and Best Coast – “Let’s Boot and Rally”
The vocal teamwork of living legend Iggy Pop and scene-stealer/Best Coast vocalist Bethany Cosentino on “Let’s Boot and Rally” is an unexpected, yet marvelous combination. The song (co-written by True Blood music supervisor Gary Calamar) will be featured on the July 8th episode of everyone’s favorite TV vampire romp, and includes dark-fun lyrics (how about “Don’t you be no graveyard man/ time to finish what you began”). Plug into the chugging bass, shattering drums, riffy guitars, and angular noise, and hunt down another neck.
Kanye West and Pusha T – “New God Flow”
When Pusha T opens the first verse on “New God Flow” with the strength of “I believe there’s a God above me/ I’m just the god of everything else,” its clear that the latest track (likely) from Kanye West’s forthcoming G.O.O.D. Music album, AKA Cruel Summer, won’t back down. With a twisting piano loop, choppy synths, and a lingering beat, the track smolders for five strong minutes of HAM intensity. West’s closing verse takes on the “just try to hate me” arc (“Went from most hated to the champion god flow/ I guess that’s a feeling only me and LeBron know”), before the whole thing walks hard into the distance.
Nas feat. Amy Winehouse – “Cherry Wine”
When the Nas collaboration “Like Smoke” found its way onto the posthumous Amy Winehouse collection Lioness: Hidden Treasures, many listeners craved more of the team-up between. It may have taken a while, but “Cherry Wine” is here, an early cut off of the rapper’s tenth LP, Life Is Good (due July 17th, via Def Jam Records). Winehouse’s trademark soulful croon provides the smoky hook (about searching for the right man), while Nas takes a few nimble verses. “Let’s pour some cherry wine/ everything’s good, everything’s fine,” Nas drops, before repeating the title of his album, as if Winehouse were still in the room, able to enjoy the day with him.
Natural Child – “B$G P$MP$N”
Have you ever wanted to hear what a solid 60’s rock and roll revival band trying to infuse some hip-hop swagger into their lyrics would sound like? Well, look no further than the gaudily titled “B$G P$MP$N” from “Boogie Blues” three-piece Natural Child. I can make it rain/ Make it thunder, too, they yell out over the rapid-hook guitar riffs, a mischievous smirk almost audible. This bit of fun should continue over onto the other eight tracks of Hard in Heaven (due September 11th, via Burger Records), the second LP the Nashville trio will put out this year.
Turbo Fruits – “Love Tennessee”
There’s always been an unbridled enthusiasm about home built into Turbo Fruits’ brand of garage rock, and that’s still the case on “Love Tennessee”. Over roaring guitars and slapping drums, Jonas Stein cranks out an impassioned note that “We love Tennessee/ no place we’d rather be,” especially since its the best place for “whiskey and Coke/ and tellin’ bad jokes.” While this track is culled from a split 7″ with fellow Tennesseeans Bad Cop, the third full-length from the Turbo Fruits, Butter, isn’t far away (Sept. 11th, from Serpents and Snakes Records).
Woods – “Cali in a Cup”
Despite their Brooklyn base, it would seem that Woods must have some sort of magical tunnel to the golden shores of mythical California. How else could you explain the sunny wonderland that is “Cali in a Cup”, a sweet taste of their upcoming seventh LP, Bend Beyond (due Sept. 18th, from Woodsist). The shuffling drums, rich harmonies, and shimmering guitars are a blast of pure warmth too good-natured to be denied. The harmonica seemingly floating out in the warm breeze is enough to rustle a summah smile out of even the biggest winter grinch.