The 10 Best Songs We Heard This Week: Brian Eno & Karl Hyde, St. Vincent

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Our music editor Jillian Mapes is at SXSW this week, gamely braving the crowds and dancing the robot, so you get me back on MP3 duties for the week. Sadly, due to the aforementioned SXSW, this is a pretty awful week for new music, so this is a roundup of stuff I’ve heard over the last couple of weeks that’s caught my attention (and that Jill didn’t cover last week). It’s an interesting bunch of stuff, too, ranging from the first we’ve heard from the Eno & Karl Hyde collaboration to neo-kosmische and dance-floor fillers. All the tracks are streaming for free, too. Huzzah.

Brian Eno & Karl Hyde — “The Satellites”

First up, something I entirely missed last week, so I’m glad to have the change to go back and rediscover it — the first taste of the collaboration between godlike genius Brian Eno and Underworld’s Karl Hyde. It’s… well, it’s not what I would have expected, put it that way. Horns? Vocals? Whatever next?

St. Vincent — “Del Rio”

Remember when bands had b-sides? Annie Clark clearly does, because she released this St. Vincent outtake as a b-side to the European 45rpm “Digital Witness” single. Happily, someone’s recorded the song playing and uploaded it to YouTube. It’s good, too, with more of the same grinding beats and guitar flourishes that made St. Vincent so compelling.

Oneohtrix Point Never — “Music for Steamed Rocks”

Also from last week, this is apparently an interpretation of a composition by Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski, which, according to Stereogum, Daniel Lopatin recorded for “a Polish Icons series at Kraków’s Sacrum Profanum festival.” It sounds more like a Julianna Barwick track than an OPN number — well, until it goes all weird about two minutes in, anyway.

Of Montreal — “Jigsaw Puzzle”

Lousy With Sylvianbriar wasn’t one of Kevin Barnes’ more memorable moments, but this outtake — set to be released as part of a deluxe reissue of Satanic Panic In The Attic, for some reason — isn’t bad. It’s a weirdly upbeat, girl group-y stomp about getting dumped by your lover, and the way your life is left in pieces afterwards.

Slava — “Better”

A relatively downtempo track from Brooklyn producer Slava, and one that’d probably be perfect toward the end of the night at a Shade party.

Fujiya & Miyagi — “Flaws”

Fujiya & Miyagi’s journey from dusty record store to dance-floor continues with this new track, which is off the band’s new album Artificial Sweeteners. The intro seems to be building to a Skrillex-esque drop, but the track settles into a pleasantly leisurely groove thereafter, one that’s more like the band’s old Neu!-esque work than the acid house-esque “Tetrahydrofolic Acid,” which I wrote about a couple of weeks back.

Golden Retriever — “Flight Song”

Also on music that finds its spiritual forebears in Germany, there’s more than a heavy hint of Tangerine Dream and Harmonia about this blissful new track from Portland duo Golden Retriever. That’s entirely OK with me. Obviously.

Gordon Ashworth — “Desperate and Indebted”

If you’re not familiar with Gordon Ashworth, he’s the brother of Owen Ashworth, aka Advance Base/Casiotone for the Painfully Alone (and a dab hand with a pen, too). Gordon’s work is less lyric-focused than his brother’s, concentrating on creating lush, immersive atmospherics — something this track does beautifully.

Gunslinger — “Jailbreak”

I wrote about Gunslinger’s rollicking “Whiskey” a few weeks back, and the duo were kind enough to get in touch and share another track, too. “Jailbreak” explores similar territory to “Whiskey,” marrying a pounding beat to a whole lot of catchy guitar riffs. This track moves through an impressive array of dynamics, and is probably more dance-floor-focused than “Whiskey” — by the end of the track, it’s into full-on rave territory. Reach for the lasers!

Pure X — “Heaven”

And finally, a band that was pretty much born to feature on David Lynch soundtracks. This is less about atmospherics and more about straight-ahead songwriting than some of Pure X’s last work, and it has a distinct country flavor to it (unsurprising, perhaps, considering it was apparently recorded in a 100-year-old Texas dancehall).

Bonus video:

Just because, here is a video that I just found of John Maus performing at Glasslands a couple of years back. Where is a new John Maus album? Bring back John Maus! Never enough John Maus! (It’s a shame the sound sucks on this clip, although it gets better a few songs in.)