The 10 Best Songs We Heard This Week: Kelis, Janelle Monáe

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It’s Friday, which means we are contemplating the weekend ahead and also, as ever, rounding up the best songs we’ve heard this week. This week we heard not one but two great new pop songs in the space of seven days — from Kelis and Janelle Monáe (with some help from Erykah Badu) — something that happens once every decade or so! We also celebrated the returns of Carter Tutti and Kode9, got even more excited about upcoming records from The National and Pure X, listened to Owen Ashworth (he who was once known as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone) doing gospel music, and more. Click on through and get a-listening, dear readers!

Kelis — “Jerk Ribs” When this track appeared earlier this week, it was somewhat uncertain whether it was for real or not. Since then, it’s been canned from Soundcloud and then uploaded to a YouTube account called “OfficialKelis,” which we’re assuming means it is indeed a genuine new Kelis track. And it’s ace! Yay!

Janelle Monáe feat. Erykah Badu — “Queen” “Is it peculiar that she twerk in the mirror? And am I weird to dance alone late at night?” No. Not at all. Not when it’s to a track this good, anyway.

The National — “Sea of Love” and “I Need My Girl” Two more tracks emerged from The National’s upcoming Trouble Will Find Me last night, and they’re both pretty great. The first gives rise to the album titled (“If I stay here/ Trouble will find me”) — we’ve embedded it above, and you can see “I Need My Girl” here. Also, Matt Berninger looks more and more like an erudite English department lecturer with every passing day.

Carter Tutti — “Coolicon” Well, now. This is Chris Carter and Cosey Fanny Tutti’s first release as Carter Tutti in a long, long time — some 20 years, in fact — and it’s pretty awesome. The track is built around one of the biggest drum sounds you’ll hear anywhere, and it’s named after a brand of lampshade owned by Delia Derbyshire. All is well in the world.

Moebius and Plank — “Infiltration (Walls edit)” This remix of a collaboration between hugely influential krautrock producer Conny Plank and Dieter “half of Cluster” Moebius surfaced online this week — it’s taken from a sampler that you got if you purchased the Plank Who’s That Man box set on Record Store Day, which is something we really rather wish we’d done.

Advance Base — “Mother’s Last Word to Her Son” Owen Ashworth’s newest release is an EP wherein he covers the songs of Texan gospel singer Washington Phillips. The idea of the man formerly known as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone doing gospel songs might seem counter-intuitive, but it works beautifully — the EP’s out now digitally, and on vinyl in late June.

Pure X — “Thousand Year Old Child” More new material from Pure X’s upcoming album Crawling Up the Stairs — it’s atmospheric, confessional, country-tinged beauty, and another reason we really can’t wait to get our hands on the record.

Matthew Herbert — “Part One” In which Matthew Herbert does Matthew Herbert things and makes an entire track from a ten-second sample of a bomb being dropped in Libya two years ago. And it’s 24 minutes long.

Kode9 — “Kan” It’s always interesting hearing new material from dubstep progenitor Kode9, and he’s sounding as futuristic as ever on this instrumental b-side to recent single “Xingfu Lu,” his first release in two years. In fairness, this feels more like a sort of collection of ideas than an entirely coherent track, but the ideas in question are certainly interesting enough to warrant a listen or two. It’s good to have him back.

OOFJ — “Pinstripe Suit” LA duo OOFJ (pronounced “O of J,” if you’re wondering) make filmic, evocative music — this is taken from their upcoming debut album Disco to Die For, a title that’s a pretty neat summation of their aesthetic. It comes with pretty intense video, which was written and directed by the band, who also star in it (that’s vocalist Katherine Mills Romans getting, um, creamed).