Another week, another onslaught of new tunes. We’re loving lots of fresh-sounding pop ladies this week, from songwriting juggernaut Sia focusing on herself again to the Afrobeat energy of tUnE-yArDs. Get listening, folks.
Sia — “Chandelier”
I saw a headline on HuffPo the other day: “Sia’s ‘Chandelier’ Is The Best Rihanna Song Of 2014.” Listen. The reason “Chandelier” ‘sounds’ like Rihanna is because Rihanna sounds like Sia, because Rihanna sings Sia’s songs. The logic is not hard to follow. You can tell “Chandelier” was written by the same person who penned “Diamonds,” but I’m very happy Sia decided to keep this one for herself, and release it as her first single in four years. The chorus is some of the best vocal belting in pop this year, and earworm-y to boot.
tUnE-yArDs — “Water Fountain”
I have a confession to make: I did not care for tUnE-yArDs’ w h o k i l l. I know I’m sort of singular in that sentiment among my peers, seeing as the album topped the 2011 Pazz & Jop Poll, i.e. the annual music writer circle-jerk. All this is to say, I am not unnecessarily excited about the new tUnE-yArds album, so trust me when I say this song is great. My favorite part? Wedged between the patter of hand-claps and the ching of percussion is a subtly unnerving nugget of synth feedback.
Jay Electronica — “Better In Tune With The Infinite” (feat. LaTonya Givens)”
While we wait away our months years hoping for a new Jay Electronica album, here’s a new track to tide us over. I find this incredibly moving, not to mention singular in its sound — classical meets R&B with rapping and spoken vocal tracks laid over top. There are audio clips of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad and The Wizard of Oz, plus singer LaTonya Givens.
Dub Thompson — “Dograces”
Dub Thompson is a new duo on Dead Oceans, and this is their debut single. There is so much going on here — old-school funk, the Red Hot Chili Peppers before they sucked, Tame Impala, Kraut, trip-hop beats, convenience store muzak, old psychedelic records in the dollar bin at your local record store (support your local record store, BTW) — their full-length could honestly sound like anything. But I’m really hoping it sounds like “Dograces,” which is to say that it sounds like everything. That album, called 9 Songs, is out June 10.
Allie X — “Prime”
I’ve already written a bit about mysterious newcomer Allie X — one of Flavorwire’s five alt-pop singers poised to break big this year — and now she has a second song that helps me make my case: she’s a genuinely fresh voice in the genre. The LA-via-Toronto singer/songwriter/producer repeats a bratty chorus atop ’80s-style synths and brass bursts, and somehow it sounds like a futuristic dance club.
Wye Oak — “Glory”
For being so synonymous with guitar rock, it’s a wonder Wye Oak’s new material still sounds so Wye Oak-y while stripping away all the axes. “Glory” is a dizzying onslaught akin to my brain when I’ve had too much coffee and am clicking between roughly 17 tabs in Firefox, yet still accomplishing nothing as the clock ticks down to a deadline. Anyway. Wye Oak’s new album, Shriek, is out April 29 on Merge.