Welcome back to The Verge’s weekly musical roundup. I’m Jamieson, I’m still your host, and I’m excited to get back to your regularly scheduled jamming after spending last week in Austin for SXSW. Of course, half of the artists featured this week had some kind of SXSW presence to drum up hype around their upcoming or recent releases: Baauer and Leon Vynehall performed at label parties, Car Seat Headrest and Whitney hit the showcase circuit, and PARTYNEXTDOOR and Drake lit up the Fader Fort with a surprise Saturday appearance. If you close your eyes, it’s like we never left Austin at all.
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Ariana Grande, "Be Alright":
I like Ariana Grande best when she settles into "overqualified dance diva" mode, and "Be Alright" is a perfect example. Jaunty marimbas, warped vocals, what sounds like a sample of Fleetwood Mac’s immortal "Everywhere": Grande glides over all of it like she’s dancing her way to the bathroom in a packed club. I’m crossing my fingers for more of this on Dangerous Woman (and less like the snoozy title track).
Baauer ft. G-Dragon and M.I.A., "Temple":
Baauer’s debut LP Aa came out last week, and it’s full of proof that Harry Rodrigues has ideas to spare beyond "Harlem Shake." It’s a lean, curious album, one that flits from French touch and British garage to conventional hip-hop and trap music at a moment’s notice. The strange, sticky "Temple" has the best chance to break out and become a minor hit, and it’s largely thanks to M.I.A. and G-Dragon’s shared charisma. Baauer knows enough to give them a weird tapestry and get out of the way.
Car Seat Headrest, "Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales":
The verbose rock music Will Toledo makes as Car Seat Headrest is perfect for fans of prolific indie heavyweights like Guided by Voices, and his new album Teens of Denial — his first collection of new material since signing to Matador last year — is coming out on May 20th. "Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales" is Toledo’s newest single, and it’s just one piece of a larger concept album about Toledo’s fictional alter-ego named Joe. I know it sounds ambitious, and maybe a little intimidating — don’t worry about it. This song is catchy and straightforward despite stretching out over six minutes. You can worry about the backstory later.
Gwen Stefani, "Make Me Like You":
This song is perfect — funny, effervescent, and real — until you remember it was written about this guy. I’m just happy Gwen’s happy, I guess.
Hundred Waters ft. Chance the Rapper, Moses Sumney, and Robin Hannibal, "Show Me Love (Skrillex Remix)":
I get it: this looks like the kind of remix that’d spring from a spirited game of Music Nerd Mad Libs. It’s a bunch of talented people with little connection working on a song that’s already two years old. That’s all true, and yet this song works for me, caught somewhere between a secular prayer and the calmer end of the We Are Your Friends soundtrack. Or maybe it’s this simple: turn Chance the Rapper loose for a full minute and good things are going to happen.
Iggy Pop, "Sunday":
Iggy Pop’s new album Post Pop Depression might end up being his swan song, in which case he’s leaving the musical world on a high note. "Sunday" is a filthy, geriatric boogie stuffed with quotables — "This house is as slick as a senator’s statement!" — until it’s suddenly not. It shifts into some kind of dream sequence, turning into a grandiose, overdone waltz for a minute before fading out. It’s a silly trick, but it’s good for a laugh or two.
Leon Vynehall, "Beau Sovereign":
Leon Vynehall’s new full-length Rojus — he’s not calling it an album, but it sure looks and sounds like one — is being released next week, and "Beau Sovereign" is probably the last track we’ll get before then. This is raucous, humid club music, built around a vocal sample that sounds like breath fogging up a windowpane. Rojus is supposed to align with the arc of a night spent at the club, and "Beau Sovereign" is one of its middle pieces. If it sounds this nice in isolation, I can only imagine how it’ll slot into a larger, focused whole.
Mark Pritchard ft. Thom Yorke, "Beautiful People":
If you’re still waiting on a new Radiohead LP with bated breath, you might as well tide yourself over with this one. Mark Pritchard’s new album Under the Sun is coming out on May 13th, and this single finds him stretching one of the world’s most recognizable voices like it’s digital putty. The words Yorke is singing are mostly indecipherable — I can pick out "the angels stroke your head," among other phrases — but I don’t mind hearing him turned into pure melodic ooze.
PARTYNEXTDOOR ft. Drake, "Come and See Me":
Released just as PARTYNEXTDOOR and Drake were putting the finishing touches on their lone SXSW appearance, "Come and See Me" is gorgeous, slimy OVOR&B. This is one of Drake’s lazier guest appearances in recent memory, it’s full of corny come-ons, and I couldn’t care less. I want to fill up a hot tub with this beat and spend the rest of my weekend soaking in it.
Whitney, "Golden Days":
"Golden Days" is cut from Whitney’s just-announced debut LP Light Upon the Lake, which is due out on June 3rd. Like "No Woman," it’s a melancholy, sun-dappled bit of country-pop, the kind of song you’d expect to hear streaming from a general store radio or the stage at a county fair. (Who doesn’t love a little pedal steel while they’re eating ribs in a hastily assembled beer garden?) It’s a specific lane, sure, but you have to give them credit for owning it.
Here’s the running This Is Your Next Jam playlist — have a great weekend!