The 5 Best Songs We Heard This Week: Sheer Mag, Flowers, Superblack


Kanye Kanye Kanye. That’s what Twitter — and the blogosphere — looked like for the past week, fueled by petty tweets and fickle changes to titles and tracklistings. The Kanye record exists, in some form, at least, and though we don’t actually know if when/if it’s coming out, we can take solace in the other great music out this week.

This week we’ve got an unintentional Macklemore clapback from the black side of white privilege; some self-deprecation via Pity Sex; tales of brutal Mexican murder from a power-pop throwback; and some “Modern Soul” from a white Briton. But first, the new album from a soft-spoken London trio with a blooming future:

Flowers – Everybody’s Dying To Meet You

When we caught Flowers in Cake Shop’s basement at 2014’s CMJ Music Marathon, we were struck both by the delicate nature of the three-piece band’s sound, as well as how strongly it commanded the audience’s attention. “Intrusive Thoughts,” a deep cut on the band’s latest record, Everybody’s Dying To Meet You, captures this well. It starts with Rachel Kenedy’s hushed vocals and an undistorted guitar, building momentum to a powerful crescendo by the track’s end. Everybody’s Dying To Meet You is out today on Kanine; you can stream the entire record on Soundcloud.

Superblack – “White Privilege”

Though it might sound like a response to Macklemore’s messy 10-minute exercise in self-exploration, this track from Superblack, a supergroup featuring Prince Paul, J-Zone, and Sacha Jenkins, was actually recorded several months ago. While it focuses on the same concept, its perspective is quite different; fraught with frustration and anger, it’s certainly less constructive. With that being said, it’s also way more coherent, and the beat still knocks.

Pity Sex – “Burden You”

We’ve still got a couple months (April 29) before Pity Sex’s next LP, White Hot Moon, is out on Run For Cover. But they’re steadily releasing singles, following up “What Might Soothe You?” with this somber ode to self-deprecation. On “Burden You,” the Ann Arbor shoegazers juxtapose an exceptionally crunchy bass with twinkling guitars, and Britty Drake and Brennan Greaves’ sad twin vocals give it their signature twinge of melancholy. April 29 can’t come soon enough.

Sheer Mag – “Can’t Stop Fighting”

Sheer Mag’s appeal is best exhibited in a live setting, where Christina Halladay’s forceful wail is drives the palpable energy at the band’s live sets. Sonically, the band channels late-70s glam rock vibes with Thin Lizzy licks for loud and obnoxious—but not necessarily scuzzy—sound. Lyrically, it references the horror of the countless unsolved murders in the Mexican border city of Juarez, ground zero for the importation of drugs into the United States. Like the best rock and roll, it’ll make you move, then make you think.

James Blake – “Modern Soul”

James Blake has been doing a residency over at BBC 1 radio, and last night he debuted this new track, called “Modern Love.” There’s no word on if it will be on his upcoming album, which he confirmed last year will be called Radio Silence, and is set to feature both Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and Kanye West. “Modern Soul” sounds more rhythmically conventional than his older work, but has the same lush sonic palette and soulful vocals we know and love.