The 5 Best New Songs We Heard This Week: Jessie Ware, Alt-J


It’s summer, let’s dance and/or rage with some new tunes!

Jessie Ware — “Tough Love”

The first taste of Jessie Ware’s anticipated sophomore LP is the perfect mix of hard and soft. Her echoing vocals float above ambient electronics and a midtempo beat, all with a spacious yet edgy futuristic vibe. But this being Jessie Ware, the song is inherently a sexy slow jam, one whose lyrics linger towards the sad side of romance.

Alt-J — “Hunger of the Pine”

For the first single off their sophomore album, British breakout band Alt-J layer synths, drum machines, keyboards, guitars, drums, vocals, brass, what sounds like an oboe… and a Miley Cyrus sample. The clip from Bangerz album cut “4×4” (“I’m a female rebel”) is likely the most ethereal use of the singer’s voice yet, but it’s just one of the memorable aspects of this crescendoing single. Alt-J’sThis Is All Yours is out on September 22.

The Antlers — “Surrender”

This isn’t technically a new single, but it’s off The Antlers’ new album, Familiars, which is out this week. “Surrender” took my breath away the first time I heard it, and that feeling hasn’t left me entirely, now probably ten listens down the line. Frontman Peter Silberman’s vocals relate how “Life is a fatal race for all contenders” atop a trumpet-riff interplay that would make The National jealous. But for me, the intoxicating part here is the jazz-style percussion that opens “Surrenders” and continues to skitter throughout, underneath it all.

Beverly — “Planet Birthday”

“Let it ride,” Frankie Rose deadpans repeatedly over fuzz guitars, feedback, and straightforward punk percussion. She sounds like she barely cares — as a stylistic choice, not as an indication of her talent — while the background noise — a mix of grunge, hardcore, and pop — grows increasingly frantic. “Planet Birthday” is the second single from Beverly’s forthcoming debut, Careers (out July 1), the first single from which you should absolutely listen to as well.

Total Control — “Glass”

Aussie post-punks go full Kraftwerk, and it’s the greatest thing. Their sophomore LP, Typical System (June 24), is also excellent, though in a way that’s different from the New Wave chaos of “Glass.”

Remix of the week: Holy Ghost! brings the Off the Wall vibes of Katy Perry’s Prism stand-out “Birthday” into a time period that’s either the mid-80s or the faraway future Daft Punk imagined.