Welcome back to The Verge's roundup of the most important music from the week that was. I'm Jamieson, I'm still your host, and it's nice to be back trawling through new albums after last week's Song of the Summer extravaganza. I'm still getting used to this weird new Friday release day, but I'm hoping it hasn't affected my ability to bring you something you might not hear otherwise.
There's a Spotify playlist at the end for your listening convenience, and you can check it out on Apple Music at this link. Feel free to share your own favorite cuts from this week in the comments. (Yes, the comments are on for this one — go nuts! Be nice! I'll read them over the weekend!)
Dornik, "Stand in Your Line": Stereogum premiered this one earlier this week, and it's the lead single from the British talent's upcoming debut album. (Dornik is due out on August 7th.) For a few years now, he's been releasing delicate pop-R&B cuts that fall on the spectrum between Michael Jackson's soft, gentle ballads and Prince's tighter, sharper work, and "Stand in Your Line" is no different. This one's all about his unrequited love for a female pal, and it'll scan as either sweet or a little bit pathetic depending on how many cups of coffee you've had today. I can't argue with the sound, though: dewy, pleading, just a few feet away from outright lust.
EZTV, "Pretty Torn Up": Here's something nice and easy from EZTV's fine debut, Calling Out. "Pretty Torn Up" is simple, jangling guitar pop, pitched into the sweet spot between vintage Tom Petty and the breezy, bright work of Real Estate. This song makes me want to head to the nearest park and throw a Frisbee with an adorable, perfectly trained dog.
Heather Woods Broderick, "Wyoming": This one was released in late May as a single from Woods Broderick's moody new album, Glider, and it rocked me when I heard it for the first time earlier this week. She reminds me of a few other women exploring the boundaries between rock, folk, and ambient music, people like Sharon Van Etten and Liz Harris' work as Grouper. They're all using powerful voices and patience to explore natural, expansive spaces. "Wyoming" is quiet and simmering until you realize it's vacuuming up all the sound around you, and it's a credit to Woods Broderick's masterful use of dynamics. You can drown in this if you're not careful.
Lana Del Rey, "Honeymoon": "We both know that it's not fashionable to love me." I beg to differ, Lana — from what I can tell, almost everyone lost their minds over "Honeymoon" when it dropped on YouTube earlier this week. I can't blame them, because this song is very cool. Lana's best music comes when she's leaning into her character as much as possible, basking in that doomed glamour and filling in every square on your Lana Del Rey Lyrical Bingo Card. That's what you get on "Honeymoon": cruising down boulevards, guns and fires blazing in equal measure, violets and roses blooming like fireworks, every note and word stretched like taffy. It's also flat-out gorgeous: the harmony that arises when she sings the words "dark blue" is among the most stunning moments she's put together. I'm looking forward to spending many hours with Honeymoon wearing homemade flower crowns and pretending to smoke cigarettes, frowning.
Little Boots, "Get Things Done": Please forgive me for my laziness — I'm going to describe a song called "Get Things Done" from an album called Working Girl as "businesslike." (Go ahead, pelt me with your virtual tomatoes.) But that's exactly what this is: glossy, professional, and funkier than wearing a set of Prince socks underneath a three-piece suit. Victoria Hesketh also manages to turn raging all night into just another task on your weekly to-do list, and makes it sound more fun that way to boot.
Majid Jordan ft. Drake, "My Love": Drake premiered this sublime piece of house-R&B on his Beats 1 show last weekend alongside three other new tracks, and it's the best of the bunch by a wide margin. I like hearing Drake alongside singers who are more technically proficient because it brings out something different in his voice, an earnest, heavy quality — bless his heart, he gets an A for effort at the very least here. And that leads me to the other thing I like about "My Love": the way the cool, muted arrangement plays against the utter lack of vocalist chill on hand. These guys need to relax! This is a fine single, not an interrogation.
Matrixxman, "Red Light District": Here's some acid-spitting heat from San Francisco producer Matrixxman's debut album Homesick. The tones and rhythms here remind me a little of mid-'90s Aphex Twin, twisting and mutating different strains of electronic music into potent, stinging solutions. This is sharp and nocturnal, but it's playful too, and it gobbles up a pair of decent headphones.
Veruca Salt, "The Gospel According to Saint Me": These '90s alt-rock titans are back with Ghost Notes, their first album made by their original lineup in almost two decades. "The Gospel According to Saint Me" is both a perfect album opener and a bright, timeless ripper. Rock's not dead, y'all!
Years & Years, "Worship": With their fusion of The Weeknd's emotive vocal work and the buoyant electro-pop of Cut Copy and Hot Chip, Years & Years sound like a mad scientist's attempt to perfect pop in 2015. "Worship" was released a few months ago as a promo single from their full-length debut, Communion, which finally came out last week. It's one of my favorite songs on the album, bouncy and eager to please. Mercenary pop doesn't get much better than this.
Youth Lagoon, "The Knower": Trevor Powers won plenty of acclaim for his first two records as Youth Lagoon, 2011's The Year of Hibernation and 2013's Wondrous Bughouse, but I never connected with them — I found him a little too precocious, his blend of '90s psych-rock and dreamy fancy too precious for my taste. But I like "The Knower," the first single from his upcoming Savage Hills Ballroom. It's tinged with some cynicism, some swagger, a bit of a mean streak, and that might've been the set of anchors I needed to find something in his work. I'm ready for more.
Here's this week's playlist. Have a lovely weekend, and see you back here next week!