Welcome back to The Verge’s's weekly musical roundup. I’m Jamieson, I’m still your host, and I hope you find your next jam this week!
This week we’ve got options for attention spans of all sizes: Shopping’s brisk, snappy "Wind Up" clocks in at less than two minutes; monsters from Deafheaven, Nicolas Jaar, and Tortoise span almost 25 minutes combined. There’s enough stylistic breadth in those latter three alone to keep you on your toes. Epic shoegaze-metal, cerebral dance music, contemplative post-rock: We’ve got it all!
Our running playlist is embedded at the bottom for your listening convenience, and you're also welcome to share your own favorite cuts in the comments. Let's go:
Deafheaven, "Gifts for the Earth":
If your curiosity about "Gifts for the Earth" was stoked when our science queen Liz Lopatto said it referenced "Champagne Supernova" in her review of New Bermuda last week, I’m happy to report you won’t be disappointed. Of all the songs on the album, this is the one where Deafheaven covers the most ground; the contrast between the song’s gorgeous sections and its harrowing wailing is never more effective. That’s what I like about this band: it’s equally comfortable with pretty and ugly, and in placing them right beside each other it invites you to appreciate both qualities.
Eleanor Friedberger, "False Alphabet City":
New York City’s always a character in Eleanor Friedberger’s music, whether she’s hopping on the train and emerging wondrous on "Roosevelt Island" or getting lost on the way back from "Owl’s Head Park." "False Alphabet City" is another fine entry in that tradition, one inspired by her role as an NYC radio DJ in Sara Magenheimer’s False Alphabets earlier this year. It captures the city’s density and energy and ends with a wicked key change.
Janet Jackson, "Broken Hearts Heal":
When I first heard this gossamer tribute to Janet’s brother Michael last week, I had to stop what I was doing — washing dishes, for the record — so I could give it the attention it deserved. The first two verses are remarkable as both storytelling and pieces of emotional generosity: You peek behind the Jacksons’ curtain with a family scene; you feel the ache of losing a loved one; you fall apart when she sings, "Inshallah, see you in the next life." And the music’s good enough to match, going from crisp and slight into a full-bore heavenly boogie. It takes a lot of patience and heart to make a song like this.
Le1f’s debut studio album Riot Boi finally has a release date: It’ll be out November 13th. This is its second single — the Sophie-produced "Koi" came first back in August — and it was made with electronic producer Balam Acab. The resulting track floats between positive, featherweight club music and hyper-aggressive rapping over a beat spiked with broken glass. It’s a powerful contrast, one that’ll leave you exhausted by the time the song’s finished.
Majical Cloudz, "Downtown":
Like earlier single "Silver Car Crash," "Downtown" tries to wrap itself around the power of love before throwing its hands up and surrendering. "Is it really this fun when you’re on my mind? / Is it really this cool to be in your life?" Devon Welsh doesn’t have the answers, and I don’t either; he concludes that a legacy of total obsession, of having been devoured by affection, might not be so bad. Spending time with this band is like having someone grab you by the shoulders, stare directly into your eyes, and tell you something personal: It sounds uncomfortable, but the effect can be devastating and transformative.
Neon Indian, "The Glitzy Hive":
Alan Palomo’s return to music is just a week away, and "The Glitzy Hive" is probably the last track we’ll hear before the album’s out in full. At the very least, it’s given me an incredible new name for any given club — I look forward to visiting my local glitzy hive with my friends the next time I have a free weekend. The song lives up to the title, too: It’s funky and overstuffed to the point where you can imagine Palomo actually recording it live from inside a club.
Nicolas Jaar, "Fight":
I wrote about this new Nicolas Jaar single earlier this week, and it’s still gobbling up a ton of my free listening time. It’s easy for his work to slip past because it comes in bits, pieces, and surprise YouTube uploads — if you haven’t checked out the other Nymphs singles or his soundtrack work this year, I can’t recommend it highly enough. There might not be another producer working with his curiosity or personality.
Shopping, "Wind Up":
If you need a break after Jaar’s sprawling, synth-laden track, the opener from Shopping’s new album Why Choose makes for a nice palate cleanser. It’s a bratty, sharp sprint, its guitar line sounds like razor wire, and I feel like I’m listening to someone (singer Rachel Aggs) who’s really smart and even more impatient. That’s not a bad feeling!
Tortoise’s new album The Catastrophist will become the band’s first in seven years when it’s released early next year. "Gesceap" is its first single, and it’s just the kind of thing you’d expect from a band that pioneered post-rock two decades ago: It shrugs at structure, meanders at its own pace, and builds to a raucous, mathy climax. Songs like this sneak up on you — before you know it, you’re digging out from under a dozen layers of sound and trying to figure out how you got there.
The final single from Yacht's upcoming LP I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler is just as insistent as the notifications that ping from your smartphone all day, but it should yield a lot more pleasure. It’s a total disco romp from its opening seconds, one pushed along by splashy hi-hats and liquid bass, and Claire L. Evans is cool and commanding even as the chorus ramps up into a full-fledged assault. "Ringtone! Ringtone! / It’s me lighting up your phone!" Drowning in pings, pops, and buzzes doesn’t get much catchier.
Here’s the running This Is Your Next Jam playlist — have an awesome weekend!