Welcome back to The Verge’s weekly musical roundup. I’m Jamieson, I’m still your host, and I had to turn the fan I keep beside my desk on for the first time this week. Summer’s knocking on the door, and I can’t help but feel like that’s reflected in this week’s picks. Put it this way: spring means drizzle from Radiohead and James Blake, summer means beams of sunlight from Chance the Rapper and friends.
I’m also taking some time to highlight great songs you might’ve missed from last week’s crowded release day, which explains the presence of ANOHNI, Julianna Barwick, JMSN, and Kaytranada. Of course, there are always more worthy selections than there are slots — and that’s why you should hop in the comments to tell me what I missed.
Remember to subscribe to our Spotify playlist if you haven’t already — it’s updated weekly! Let’s go:
"Crisis" is the HOPELESSNESS track that comes closest to matching the power of singles "4 Degrees" and "Drone Bomb Me," and its piercing opening line has been stuck in my head for days: "Crisis / If I killed your father with a drone bomb, how would you feel?" Its directness is disarming, and ANOHNI’s apologies get more detailed and emotional as the song grows colossal. It inspires you and breaks your heart in the same breath.
Chance the Rapper ft. 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne, "No Problem"
The release of "No Problem" yesterday afternoon kicked off the celebration of Chance the Rapper’s new mixtape Coloring Book, an online party that’s probably going to last right through the weekend. (It’s his third full-length project and first since 2013’s beloved Acid Rap.) I’ll confess that I’m not the world’s biggest Chance fan — the self-confidence and joy that other people love in him often scans as smugness and self-satisfaction to me. But I can’t get enough of "No Problem," particularly the beat: it’s like someone took a gospel song, stuffed it into a Roman candle, and sent it flying into the sky.
CHVRCHES, "Warning Call"
"Warning Call" is CHVRCHES’ first new song since releasing Every Open Eye last September, and it’s serving as the theme song for the upcoming Mirror’s Edge reboot Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. (The game is coming out for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on June 7th.) The game takes place in a gleaming, near-future megacity, a setting that’s perfect for CHVRCHES’ music, and Lauren Mayberry is just as steely and compelling as the game’s protagonist, Faith.
JMSN, "Cruel Intentions"
I promise this isn’t just an excuse to include someone else named Jamieson (or some nearby spelling) in this column. "Cruel Intentions" was released as a single a few months ago, but I heard it for the first time as part of JMSN’s new LP It is. It sounds a little like Justin Timberlake trying to knock off D’Angelo’s Voodoo. This is a compliment.
Julianna Barwick, "Beached"
"Beached" is one of the highlights on Julianna Barwick’s Will, an album my colleague Lizzie Plaugic described as "[sitting] in its own little world forever, floating around and blending into whatever background suits it." There isn’t much to it other than a reverb-drenched piano, Barwick’s formless voice, and a single violin. It hangs in the air like a cobweb, one you won’t rush to brush away.
Kaytranada, "Lite Spots"
Kaytranada built the delirious "Lite Spots" around a sample from Gal Costa’s 1973 single "Pontos de Luz," transforming whirling bits of tropicália into the foundation for a colorful disco thumper. You don’t need to understand Portuguese to feel the joy exploding out of Costa’s sped-up vocals. Hearing this song reminds me what’s so exciting about 99.9%, the debut he released last week: it’s full to bursting with sounds and ideas, and it still manages to come off as coherent and personal.
Pantha du Prince, "Frau im Mond, Sterne Laufen"
This single from Pantha du Prince’s upcoming The Triad references Fritz Lang’s 1929 movie of the same name, an iconic bit of German sci-fi that would end up inspiring early rocket construction. It’s easy to hear the connection: Hendrik Weber’s music always sounds like it’s coming out of the near future, some approaching time where the lines between organic and electronic have been blurred beyond the point of recognition.
River Tiber, "Acid Test"
Tommy Paxton-Beesley’s had an impressive year, and it’s only May: he’s made starry guest appearances on tracks from kindred spirits like Jazz Cartier and Kaytranada, and he’s preparing his debut LP Indigo for release on June 24th. Zane Lowe premiered "Acid Test" during his Beats 1 radio show yesterday, and it’s a sumptuous slice of jazz-R&B that slowly unfurls over five minutes. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the record.
Schoolboy Q ft. Kanye West, "THat Part"
It’s still not clear when Schoolboy Q is going to follow up 2014’s solid Oxymoron with a new album, but the release of "THat Part" suggests it could be arriving sooner rather than later. The Black Hippy veteran’s new single plays host to Kanye West’s most unhinged verse this year, which is saying something given The Life of Pablo came out in February. Don’t believe me? He suggests Kim might turn into "the female O.J." when he gets home from the strip club covered in glitter. It’s truly wild.
The Stone Roses, "All for One"
It’s tough for me to appreciate the significance of The Stone Roses’ first single in over two decades. I was a toddler when the band started to fall apart, and a Canadian toddler at that; the band was already a few years removed from its transformative peak. Of course, that also means it’s easier for me to appreciate "All for One" as a piece of music, and it’s quite enjoyable in that regard: it’s got a wicked core riff, a feisty solo, and just enough swirling psychedelia to keep you on your toes.
Here’s the running This Is Your Next Jam playlist — have a great weekend!