Though it might not feel like it just yet, spring and his unruly cousin summer are about to hit us. That means the return of one of our favorite things — outdoor concerts! Quite a few of our artists this week would sound great from a picnic blanket (The Flaming Lips or Craft Spells, for example), and some of the others would incite the massive, sweaty dance parties that won’t start till June (Big Freedia, Big K.R.I.T.). Don’t forget to right click + “Save As” to download each song, or scroll to the bottom to score the entire mix.
A sunny new offering from psych-beat purveyors YACHT, who seem fairly OK with drought and/or flames. It’s the most cheerful song you’ll hear about the post-apocalyptic world. Look for their new album, Shangri-La, out June 27th.
We’ve had our eye on Craft Spells for a while, and this new track — which will make you nostalgic for the 1980s, even if you never lived through them — makes us glad we have. “From the Morning Heat” is lush and humid, but with a decidedly cool undertone. Check out their debut LP, Idle Labor , which dropped this week.
How do we love you, Big Freedia? Let us count the ass-shaking ways. New Orleans’ Sissy Bounce impresario finally gets a proper release of all original material this week, with the EP Scion A/V Presents Big Freedia. As always, Big Freedia will tell you exactly what kind of dancing she expects to accompany it.
Japanese sludge metal kings Boris are releasing two new servings of goopy, grinding, skull-pulsating goodness this spring, Heavy Rocks (the second album they’ve released with that title) and Attention Please. Though originally slated for April, it looks like the first installment won’t come out until May for Japanese natural disaster-related reasons. Until then, listen to “Riot Sugar,” the first single from the sure to be brutal Heavy Rocks.
The super-limited release (like, 1,000 copies limited) EP collaboration between the Flaming Lips and chillwave bro Neon Indian has arrived after much fanfare — at least, from Wayne Coyne’s Twitter feed. The first track, “Is David Bowie Dying?” doesn’t really make any predictions, but it’s an interesting song, combining Neon Indian’s echoey electronics and the Lips’ fuzzed out, squiggling guitars.
Never a band that yearned for commercial success (their name alone gives that away), Fucked Up’s forthcoming third album is a 78-minute rock opera of yet unknown plot. “The Other Shoe,” the first of four singles, is more melodic and vocals-heavy than their previous work. Any guesses about the storyline?
Smog fans are already familiar with the dreamy, atmospheric vocals of Bil Callahan, who’s set to release his latest solo album Apocalypse next month. “Baby’s Breath” proves that Callahan’s vocals are just as stunning and hypnotic as ever.
Fast-rising Mississippi rap star Big K.R.I.T. just released a new mixtape, The Return of 4Eva, this week, and it’s chock full of goodies like “American Rapstar.” We’d say that’s another point for Southern rap in the regional wars.
The ever-prolific, ever-eloquent Mountain Goats are back with a new album, All Eternals Deck , this week. “Birth of Serpents,” a single they released earlier, gives a pretty good idea of the rest of the album: biblical, haunting, and full of metaphors.
“Surfer’s Hymn” is the last single in Panda Bear’s lineup before the release of Tomboy , next month. It’s the closest in the series to his signature sound, and it’s lovely — Reichian rivulets of xylophone notes, echoey vocals, and even what sounds like a plane passing overhead. If that doesn’t make you think about summer, we’re not sure what will.