The 5 Best New Songs We Heard This Week: St. Vincent, Mykki Blanco

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It’s Friday! And the temperature is back above freezing! Things are looking up! And also, there’s some excellent new music to listen to, because as ever, we’re surveying the best new tracks we heard over the last week. The most notable of these is another taste of the new St. Vincent album, a release to which we’re looking forward very much indeed. Beyond that, there’s also new Mykki Blanco, Mark Kozelek having an existential crisis because of Ben Gibbard, some beautiful neo-folk balladry from Julie Byrne, and psychedelic space-funk from Ras G and his Afrikan Space Program. All of this is streaming for free, so click through and get listening!

St. Vincent — “Digital Witness”

From what we’ve heard of the new St. Vincent record, it sounds like it’s a) downright funky and b) full of new sonic directions from the ever-fascinating Annie Clark. The lyric to this, the second track she’s released from the record thus far, is perhaps somewhat less nuanced than what we’ve generally come to expect from Clark, taking Eggers-esque stabs at sharing culture and the world we live in, but it’s still an intriguing insight into the direction her new album might be taking.

Mykki Blanco — “Booty Bamboo”

Mykki Blanco’s aesthetic and personality have often been rather more interesting than her music, but there’s definitely a lot to like about this new track, which is apparently going to feature on her debut album, Michael. It draws on the abrasive sounds of Jamaican dancehall (especially the head-punching kickdrum). No love for the squeaky type!

Julie Byrne — “Prism Song”

There’s a definite hint of Laura Marling about the austerely beautiful stylings of this track by Chicago singer/songwriter Julie Byrne. It’s taken from her debut album Rooms With Walls and Windows, which is out in a couple of weeks via Orindal Records.

Ras G — “GMO Hoes”

Ras G and the Afrikan Space Program’s Back on the Planet was one of the most awesomely (Afro)futuristic releases of last year, a sort of visionary sci-fi take on hip hop that fell somewhere in the asteroid belt between Sun Ra and Gonjasufi. Ras G himself is back with a bunch of stripped-back tape beats under the label “Raw Fruit,” from which this is taken. Set controls for the heart of the sun, etc.

Sun Kil Moon — “Ben’s My Friend”

In which Mark Kozelek has an existential crisis catalyzed by going to see a Postal Service reunion show and thinking about the different trajectories his and Ben Gibbard’s careers have followed since the Postal Service’s first flush of popularity. Sadly, we can’t embed the song, but listen to it via Stereogum.