James Blake Life Round Here
the five new tracks from the week that are music to our ears.
Combining retro-futuristic keyboards, a soulful voice, and sharp rhymes should not work, but, oh, do they ever in this unlikely duo made up of the Brit singer-songwriter and American rapper. The black-and-white video perfectly complements the song's dark and brooding mood. Color us obsessed. BANU IBRAHIM
It's safe to say that the short-lived yet frequently revisited late-'60s American phenomenon known as Bubblegum Pop is having another moment. See: last month's Dirtbombs release, Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey!, last week's "The Heart of Juliet Jones" by Tough Age, and, now, this week's gem, courtesy of Misty Miller. The South London 19-year-old offers a sweetly melancholic rendition of the Ohio Express song "Yummy," cutting the saccharine with a healthy dose of teen angst over a soft flannel backdrop of Unplugged-style grunge guitar. It's a lot to chew on, and the flavor never fades. MELISSA GIANNINI
We're suckers for cheery garage pop about sad topics (who isn't, really?), but we luv luv luv this first single off the Drowners' debut LP, slated for a January 28 release on Frenchkiss Records. It's basically the sonic equivalent of skinny-dipping while holding sparklers on the last night of a camping trip with good friends that you know you will probably never see again after tonight. MG
Is there anything more heart-twisting than a yearning guitar loop and exhaled lyrics of unrequited love over scintillating synths and smooth R&B beats? Maybe. But Fractures, the Melbourne-based multi-instrumentalist/producer a.k.a. Marc Zito, wins in the "song that made me cry for no discernible reason" category this week. MG
We're all about NYC, but sometimes (especially this week) all we want is to trade in the city's gray gloominess for some surf and sun. And when we can't actually leave, we rely on tunes like this one from Coasts to help us remember brighter, more carefree days. The latest song off the Bristol natives' album, slated for a November release, features mellow guitar solos and even more chilled out, beach-y lyrics. Sigh, if only we were "somewhere the summer comes to life" right now. BI