The 10 Best New Songs We Heard This Week: The National, Jay-Z

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It’s Friday afternoon, which means that we’re resolutely ignoring the rain as we contemplate the weekend, and also looking back over the best new songs we heard this week. Over the last seven days, we’ve gotten all gloomily excited about the new National album, reminded ourselves that Jay-Z can still actually rap every so often, got all summery to new songs by Beaches and Woods, marveled at how beautiful the new Eluvium track is, enjoyed new stuff from Standish/Carlyon and Tin Trails, and more. All these tracks await you below — get streaming and/or downloading, readers!

The National — “Don’t Swallow the Cap” Yay for new National. This really does bode well for Trouble Will Find Me, especially the oh-so-Berningeresque line, “I have only two emotions/Careful fear and dead devotion.” Woooooo!

Jay-Z — “Open Letter” Proof that his majesty can still rip out some decent verses when he puts his mind to it, even when he does so at pretty short notice over a beat that’s presumably been gathering digital dust on his hard drive for quite some time. Perhaps the best/most depressing thing about this track is the way that the White House had to issue a clarification that the line “Boy from the hood but got White House clearance” did not mean that the President OKed the rapper’s recent trip to Cuba. Sigh.

Eluvium — “Entendre” We’re generally delighted to hear anything new from Eluvium, and this is gorgeous — a piano instrumental that’s almost classical in its construction and execution. It’s taken from their upcoming double album Nightmare Ending, which is out on May 14.

Beaches — “Send Them Away” Yay also for new Beaches — this is the second single from their upcoming album She Beat, and is the sort of leisurely psych jam that the band do so well, a slice of fuzzy, summery pop that’s just perfect for the upcoming change in seasons. “Take those blues and send them away?” Hey, we might just do that. It’s been a long, cold winter.

Woods — “God’s Children” Also on the pleasantly summery front, this gentle cover of the Kinks’ “God’s Children” is pretty much everything that we love about Woods — it’s quiet, pretty, and shot through with a sort of reflective melancholy. (The original, incidentally, was written for the soundtrack of a film about a man who tries to get a penis transplant. The more you know, eh?)

Dâm-Funk — “It’s So Good 2 Be Alive” It’s been two whole weeks since Dâm-Funk dropped a new song on Soundcloud, which is verging on a creative crisis for the music industry’s most prolific neo-funk overlord. Happily, this week he released this laid-back jam, which again summons a very summery spirit. If only spring hadn’t magically disappeared again, hey?

Kirin J. Callinan — “Embracism” Australian lunatic and Flavorpill favorite Kirin J. Callinan apparently has a label here in the US now — he’s releasing his debut record via Terrible Records in early July, and will be playing a bunch of dates here in May and June. If you get a chance to see him, we highly recommend it (although not if you have epilepsy), and in the meantime, you can enjoy this characteristically… idiosyncratic song, which can also be downloaded for free right here, too.

Standish/Carlyon — “Gucci Mountain” Also on the Australian front, we’ve been happily giving our pre-release copy of Standish/Carlyon’s Deleted Scenes a thorough working-over on the Flavorwire stereo of late, and this song’s a definite highlight, with Conrad Standish’s priapic falsetto drifting in and out of washes of synth noise and a beat that’s really rather ominous.

Double Dagger — “Heretic’s Hymn” A kind of valedictory punk rock anthem for the sadly departed Double Dagger, taken from their upcoming final release 333: “The ideals of our youth have all been rejected/ But maybe our hearts can be resurrected,” suggests Nolen Strals at the start of the first verse, before later sighing, “If this is my last song, if these are the last words I ever write, I hope you won’t forget.” But Strals already has a new band called Pure Junk (his Double Dagger colleagues Bruce Willen and Denny Bowen are now in Peals and Roomrunner, respectively), so we’re relieved not to have to take that lyric literally.

Tin Trails — “Long Long Shadows” And finally, some quiet psychedelic folk to soundtrack the rest of your Friday afternoon, courtesy of globe-trotting three-piece Tin Trails. This’d sit nicely alongside Woods’ work, actually. Bravo.