It’s Friday, which means we basically can’t wait to get into bed and sleep all weekend, and also that in the meantime we’re rounding up the best songs we’ve heard this week. The past several days were curious, largely devoid of big-name releases, etc., but there’s still notable new work from These New Puritans, The-Dream, Sharon Jones, and Eric Burdon (with help from Jenny Lewis.) Elsewhere, there’s pleasantly spaced-out electronic music from Airbird/Napolian and Stellar Om Source, an unreleased Arthur Russell track, wacky Ethiopian dubstep, and more! All this goodness is streaming now, and it all awaits you after the jump.
These New Puritans – “Fragment Two” We haven’t always bought into the hype around These New Puritans, but this song is understated and really quite beautiful in its own way. It’s got us rather excited for their new album, which is a pleasant surprise.
Arthur Russell – “Kiss Me Again (Japanese phonetic translation)” Not strictly new, but worth mentioning as it’s available for free download at XLR8R in advance of a Russell-themed party at Detroit’s Movement Festival, this unreleased track finds the late Arthur Russell translating his lyrics into Japanese. Because why not?
Airbird and Napolian – “In the Zone” A pleasantly cruise-y electronic excursion for your Friday afternoon, courtesy of Joel “Airbird” Ford (best known for his work with Oneohtrix Point Never) and collaborator Napolian. Laid-back summer jams… yep, it’s just about that time of year. Huzzah.
Stellar Om Source – “Elite Excel” Also on the spacey electronica tip, although this track is rather more deep and abstract than Airbird’s leisurely piece, falling somewhere between Cluster/Harmonia and deep house music. We’ll be honest – we don’t know a great deal about Stellar Om Source, but frankly their name alone is enough to make us want to hear more.
Lust for Youth – “Breaking Silence” Sacred Bones is one of those labels you can trust to come up with the goods pretty much every time, and they don’t let us down with this piece from Swedish producer Hannes Norrvide, who goes by the pseudonym Lust for Youth. It’s a surprisingly upbeat and ‘80s-influenced piece in comparison to the label’s usual output – except for the sound of knives being sharpened, that is.
Eric Burdon and Jenny Lewis – “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” Well, this is strange – the first taste of the soundtrack from the new season of True Blood, featuring Eric Burdon reworking “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” with guest vocals from Jenny Lewis. The production is strangely muted, making the track sound like it was recorded in a concrete room (although maybe that’s just the YouTube audio?), and a weirdly arrhythmic drum beat drops during the second verse, but Lewis and Burdon’s voices sound good together, and the song still rules. The original’s better, mind.
Haroon Mirza vs. Jellyman – “Haroon Mirza vs. Jellyman” London-based noise artist Haroon Mirza has a new show at London’s Lisson Gallery that involves providing a bunch of sounds and samples for anyone to remix and re-edit, and in advance of the opening, he’s released two tracks that find Factory Floor and Django Django (under their Jellyman moniker) doing exactly that. The Factory Floor track isn’t great, to be honest – you can make up your own mind at the Quietus — but Django Django’s piece is pretty great in a weirdly abstract kind of way.
The-Dream feat. Jay-Z – “High Art” Post-millennial R&B lothario The-Dream is finally releasing his genuinely long-awaited new album IV Play this month, and this single finds him excited about it: “I’m tired of talking about it/ Let’s do it” he croons at the start of the track, a pleasant double entendre that refers to both his album release and, um, well, y’know. The rest of the song is enjoyably overblown and cheesy, and continues the rejuvenation of the suddenly very perky Jay-Z, who furnishes it with a pretty decent verse.
Endeguena Mulu – “ደርባቤ ( Derebabé ) – Spaced Out” Globalization, eh? This is some pretty banging dubstep, straight out of Addis Ababa. Three tracks from Addis-based producer Endeguena Mulu have been doing the rounds this week after they were featured on the excellent Okay Africa blog. This is our favorite, a mid-paced grinder that seems to take as much influence from Afrobeat as it does from the bass-heavy sounds of artists like Zomby and Joker. It also comes with a title in Amharic, officially one of the most awesome-looking alphabets in the world.
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – “Retreat!” And finally, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are back, and they sound… well, exactly like Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, frankly. Which is perfectly fine as far as we’re concerned. Don’t go changing.