The 6 Best New Songs We Heard This Week: Father John Misty, CHVRCHES


This week’s songs pretty much have it all: Softly sung tunes that pray for rain; bored, bearded balladeers; a Kanye verse about getting busy in couture, and synths from John Carpenter.

Father John Misty — “Bored in the USA”

On Monday night, Josh Tillman went on Letterman and astounded a public unfamiliar with his Father John Misty project. Tillman’s excellent 2012 album, Fear Fun, made waves among those who follow modern folk-rock, but never had Tillman appeared as a Randy Newman-esque piano troubadour expressly offering up big-picture societal critique. “Bored in the USA,” the new single he premiered on Letterman, does just that, in a way that’s lacking in our current mainstream music offerings. So many poetic quotables from this song (“Save me, White Jesus!”), but perhaps my favorite thing about “Bored in the USA” is that Tillman turns it back on his own failings in a twist of “the personal is political.” — Jillian Mapes

CHVRCHES — “Dead Air”

Lorde’s Hunger Games: Mockingjay soundtrack is SO alt-pop, of course CHVRCHES offered up a feel-good ’80s synth song foreshadowing apocalyptic doom. Dystopian military action looms ahead, LET’S DANCE! — JM

Theophilus London feat. Kanye West — “Can’t Stop”

Theophilus London’s sophomore album Vibes dropped last week, and it’s a solid, if not OK album. And while Theophilus’ latest single, “Can’t Stop,” is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from the Brooklyn-based MC/singer, it’s got a real winner of a Kanye verse. His guest turn is full of genius lines, but the best is a classic: “You know I always hit you deeper than a baritone/ Bone you with my jewelry on, that’s a herringbone.” Always be mixing that high and low, Kanye. — Shane Barnes

Jessica Pratt — “Back, Baby”

Jessica Pratt has a lot going for her: her guitar, her lyrics, her melodies. But, man, that voice. It’s a conundrum, a honeypot mix of sweet and sour, the lightness of her highs given weight by the counterpoints of her lows, giving so much credence to such otherwise throwaway lines like “sometimes I pray for the rain.” It’s been evident that the California singer-songwriter was something special since the release of her 2012 self-titled debut, but with the upcoming On Your Own Love Again (out January 27), Pratt seems to have nailed it. —SB

Les Sins — “Talk About”

Chadwick Brunzwick Bundick is already an indie superstar, thanks to the gummy R&B he makes as Toro y Moi. But Bundick, fed up with the constraints of R&B — not that he ever really bothered to exist within them — started the Les Sins project as an outlet for, apparently, his pent-up energy. Whereas Toro Y Moi’s music usually operates in the space between chillwave and R&B, Les Sins operates in some dreamy space between a London dance floor and New York streets. “Talk About,” the hypnotic opener for album Michael, finds Bundick sharply cutting-and-pasting house beats to hip hop samples, and it’s as good an introduction as any to what the whole of Les Sins’ music sounds like. — SB

Sam Cohen — “Kepler 62”

Sam Cohen was the frontman for the now-defunct psychedelic act Yellowbirds, and the music he’s making under his own name is in a similar, yet distinctly vintage vein. “Kepler 62,” with its mismatched, off-kilter vocal harmonies and foregrounded bass could easily be mistaken for one of Richard Swift’s shiny productions. It’s not — it’s too grainy to be the work of Swift — but it lives in that same world of new-slash-old-slash-endlessly listenable. Cohen’s created an earworm here, and it’s one you won’t hate to wake up humming. His album is due out early 2015. — SB

Bonus: John Carpenter — “Vortex”

It’s a real bummer we only just found this track, because it would’ve been perfect for Halloween. Which makes sense, given that it was created by the guy who created Halloween. (Fitting, too, that Sacred Bones would be releasing the auteur’s first actual solo album.) Carpenter always had a strong hand soundtracking his films, but this is the first full-length, strictly musical effort he’s ever put out. It’s as synthy and ploddy and dreadful as one could hope from the man who basically invented the slasher flick. — SB