It’s Friday, which means that we’re all surreptitiously laughing at how ridiculous the Nymphomaniac trailer looks, and also that it’s time to look back over the best new music we heard this week. It’s been a good week, too, so much so that we’ve been able to reinstate our usual ten-song selection instead of the abridged five-song version that we tend to break out toward the end of the year. Specifically, there’s a new song from Majical Cloudz, the welcome return of several prodigal acts (being Thee Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra, Neneh Cherry and Shocking Pinks), a thumping Erol Alkan remix of Tame Impala, a taste of the debut album from Flavorwire hero DJ Dog Dick, and plenty more. Huzzah.
Majical Cloudz — “Savage”
If you’ve seen Majical Cloudz live, you’ve probably heard this song, but it wasn’t on Impersonator and there’s been no recorded version available. Happily, that situation has been rectified with this studio version, which is as stark and dramatic as anything the band has released yet (and that’s saying something). Devon Welsh also wrote on his Tumblr about the song’s origins and the thoughts behind recording it, and it’s interesting reading.
DJ Dog Dick — “Sharing Scars”
Flavorwire fave and Baltimore-via-New York DIY übermensch Max Eisenberg has finally released his debut album as DJ Dog Dick. It’s called The Life Stains, and it’s ace. This track is taken from said album, and it’s pretty much indicative of the DJ Dog Dick experience — strange, idiosyncratic, and weirdly compelling.
White Witches — “Secret Club”
Sheffield glam monsters Pink Grease were one of the great underrated bands of the ’00s, so it’s excellent to see that the band’s ex-frontman Rory Lewarne is still making music. This is the debut single for his new project White Witches, who are just as glam-tastic as Lewarne’s previous project. The video’s pretty ace, too.
Mark McGuire — “The Instinct”
Ex-Emeralds dude Mark McGuire’s solo album Along the Way sounds like it’ll be epic, if this track is anything judge by. “The Instinct” is 12 minutes long and based around a repeating, delayed guitar figure that falls somewhere between The Edge and Pink Floyd’s “Run Like Hell,” adorned with slow-building atmospherics. It’s not until halfway through the song that the drums kick in, at which point the whole thing starts to sound very ’80s film soundtrack-y.
Tame Impala — “Be Above It” (Erol Alkan rework)
There’s something about Tame Impala’s music that lends itself well to electronic reinvention, and in this case, it’s the ever-excellent Erol Alkan turning “Be Above It” into a slow-building, claustrophobic techno monster. Also, the drop at about 5:30 is epic enough to demand inclusion here.
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra — “Austerity Blues”
A new Silver Mt. Zion track! Well, half of it, anyway — this is a seven-minute excerpt of one of the tracks off the Canadian collective’s upcoming new album, which is called Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything and is out in January.
Neneh Cherry — “Blank Project”
And also in news of welcome returns: Neneh Cherry’s back! Her previous record, with jazz collective The Thing, was fascinating, and this is also good — it features production from Four Tet and sounds kind of like a latter-day Shirley Bassey-esque Bond theme.
Solange — “Cash In”
I’m not just being contrarian when I say Solange is the more interesting Knowles sister, y’know. This lush neo-R&B ballad is more interesting — and more real — than anything older sister Beyoncé has done in years.
Shocking Pinks — “Not Gambling”
And another welcome, well-overdue return: New Zealander Nick Harte, who records as Shocking Pinks and has been signed at various points to both DFA and NZ institution Flying Nun. This is his first new material in six years, and was apparently recorded in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake that devastated his home city, Christchurch: “In nearly complete isolation, Harte remained, painting his windows black and recording for multiple days in a row without sleep. The songs recorded during this time were some of his most desperate, conceived as an attempt of self-therapy.”
Raekwon — “A Rainy Day”
Raekwon samples himself to create a track that sounds exactly like its name — sitting staring out the window at the dirty city on a rainy day. It’s dark and atmospheric, and proves that the Wu-Tang diaspora can still produce compelling music, 20 years after their classic debut.