The 10 Best Songs We Heard This Week: The Julie Ruin, Neko Case

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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 saw the release of the first tracks from new albums by No Age, Neko Case, The Julie Ruin, and Hunx and His Punx, all of which are most excellent indeed. Elsewhere, there’s cerebral instrumentals from Anna Meredith and Shigeto, a new track from Wise Blood, a super-creepy and curiously compelling video to go with Slava’s new single, and the entire new After Dark 2 compilation, which you can download for free. Click through and get a-listening!

No Age — “C’mon Stimmung” Yay for new No Age! This the first single from their upcoming album An Object, which is out in mid-August. The song is a pleasantly melodic and ragged slow-burner, and perhaps hints at a more straightforward and less oblique direction for the new record, although we’ll have to wait and see whether that’s the case.

Neko Case — “Man” “I’m a man/ That’s what you raised me to be/ I’m not your identity crisis,” sings Neko Case on this rather intriguing new track, which appears to do all sorts of messing with notions of gender and identity. Case’s voice, meanwhile, sounds as beautiful as ever. The song’s taken from her new record, which comes with the rather unwieldy title The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You.

The Julie Ruin — “Oh Come On” It’s taken 13 years for Kathleen Hanna to get a band together to play as The Julie Ruin — her 1997 album under that moniker was a solo effort — but by the sound of this track, it was definitely worth the wait. This is raw, intense, dynamic and generally ace.

Hunx and His Punx — “Bad Skin” This is fast, angry, a lot less poppy than Hunx’s previous work, and lasts for all of one minute and 22 seconds. It’s like he moved on from channeling ’50s bubblegum pop to channeling the Ramones. This is clearly not a bad thing.

Anna Meredith — “Nautilus” This is somewhat reminiscent of Holy Fuck’s “Lovely Allen,” in that it’s an instrumental and rather experimental track that nevertheless manages to be both uplifting and really rather catchy. It’s got a sort of psuedo-orchestral grandeur to it, too, adding layer upon layer as it builds to a pretty impressive crescendo.

Shigeto — “Detroit Part 1” Also on the instrumental front, Ghostly stalwart Shigeto is back with a new album, inspired largely by a relationship breakup and a whole lot of traveling. This track is named after the producer’s home town, and it combines a clattering hip-hop beat with a whole lot of beautifully textured production to create a track that’s both punchy and wistful.

Wise Blood — “Alarm” A new track from Flannery O’Connor-lovin’ solo artist Christopher Laufman’s upcoming new album ID, which is definitely going to be worth hearing and has absolutely nothing to do with Surfer Blood. Thank god.

Joanne Robertson — “Heat” It’s kinda amusing that this track was furnished with the Miami Heat logo, considering it couldn’t sound less glitzy if it tried — it’s a quietly beautiful and intimate acoustic track that sounds more like a log cabin in winter than it does South Beach. I’m not entirely sure what LeBron would make of it, but I like it a lot.

Slava — “Girl Like Me” Um… so how about that video, then?

Various Artists — After Dark 2 Want the entire new Italians Do It Better compilation for free? Of course you do.