Welcome back to The Verge’s weekly musical roundup. I’m Jamieson, I’m still your host, and I always get a little bummed out when the summer solstice is within reach. Am I the only one who starts feeling this way? I look at the calendar and realize the days aren’t going to be as long as they are now for another year. From here on out, it’s all fading daylight, dying leaves, and winter’s slow, inevitable march. I hope I’m not ruining your day.
Let’s embrace sunny music while we still can, right? The Avalanches’ comeback is still chugging forward; Disclosure is flipping vintage Al Green into silky-smooth dancefloor fodder; Danny Brown, a being of pure light, is back in action. We don’t have to be sad, right? Go find a decent patio and enjoy the late sunset tonight. I’ll see you next week.
Remember to subscribe to our Spotify playlist if you haven’t already — it’s updated weekly! Let’s go:
The Avalanches, "Colours"
Now this is more like it! I wasn’t crazy about "Frankie Sinatra," the freaky-polka lead single cut from The Avalanches’ long-anticipated "Wildflower," but "Colours" is a welcome return to form. It’s warm and psychedelic, and it reminds me a little of Panda Bear’s Person Pitch, an album that couldn’t have existed without the influence of Since I Left You in the first place. Everything ends up coming full circle.
BADBADNOTGOOD ft. Kaytranada, "Lavender"
Toronto jazz crew BADBADNOTGOOD lent Kaytranada a hand on "Weight Off," one of the best tracks on his recent album 99.9%. I’m glad he’s returning the favor on "Lavender," the newest track spun out of BBNG’s upcoming new album IV. It’s tough to discern Kay’s presence on this one, and that’s a compliment — he seamlessly slots into the band’s spacey, roiling jazz-funk.
Danny Brown, "When It Rain"
Danny Brown’s following up his beloved 2013 LP Old with a new album sometime this year, and "When It Rain" is the first we’ve heard of it. It’s also Brown’s first release for the venerated UK electronic label Warp, and it’s a perfect fit: I’d happily spend a while with an instrumental version of Paul White’s demented beat. Brown’s the perfect rapper for this kind of chaotic production, too. He’s just as strange as everything going on around him.
Disclosure ft. Al Green, "Feel Like I Do"
The Lawrence brothers dropped a surprise new EP this week, Moog for Love, and I’m happy to report it’s fantastic. (It’s perfect for those of you who were thrown off by the lukewarm pop crossover attempts on Caracal.) "Feel Like I Do" snips a few lines out of Al Green’s classic "I’m Still in Love With You" and puts them to work over a butter-smooth beat.
DJ Mustard ft. Nicki Minaj & Jeremih, "Don’t Hurt Me"
When it comes to production, "Don’t Hurt Me" is pretty unremarkable — we’ve heard DJ Mustard turn out this kind of buoyant, squelchy arrangement dozens of times at this point. It’s still worth your time because Nicki Minaj is in fine form, crapping on a lousy ex and shouting out the NBA Finals as if they’ve already been resolved. "Gettin’ a million dollars just to stand there and rhyme / Even if you was Curry, bitch there’s still a LeBron / And let’s face it, I’m Curry with rings like LeBron / Added my rings up, that’s Mike Jordan." That’s a lot of basketball greatness to cram into a few bars. (It's a Tidal exclusive, so you'll need a subscription to hear more than a preview.)
Kanye West, "Saint Pablo"
Kanye West made his latest tweak to The Life of Pablo this week, and it was a notable one: he tacked a whole new song onto the end. "Saint Pablo" has been floating around since at least February, when he performed it at a private party, and it’s also the namesake of his upcoming world tour. He raps about his personal debt and calls himself "this generation’s closest thing to Einstein," and Sampha turns in a typically strong guest vocal. Let’s see how long he lets the album rest before changing something else.
Mitski, "I Bet on Losing Dogs"
Mitski’s new album Puberty 2 came out yesterday, and I can’t recommend it highly enough — it’s one of the best LPs I’ve heard so far this year. "I Bet on Losing Dogs" is one of its many crushing highlights, a rumbling song about dogfighting that morphs into something more sad, strange, and intimate by the time it’s through.
Phantogram, "You Don’t Get Me High Anymore"
Phantogram are releasing their third album — it’s called Three, an appropriate title — on September 16th, and "You Don’t Get Me High Anymore" is its impressive lead single. Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter told Pitchfork the band’s new music is partially inspired by Barthel’s sister’s recent suicide, and you can hear that tragedy hanging over this song: "Cut it up, cut it up, yeah / Everybody’s on something here / My god, same chemical, best friend’s skeleton whispering in my ear." It’s heavy stuff.
Canadian post-punk crew Preoccupations are prepping a new album for release on September 16th, their first since changing their name from Viet Cong. "Anxiety" is the first single, and it’s proof the band’s new identity isn’t going to be accompanied by some grand musical shift. They’re still expert purveyors of jittery, groaning guitar music.
The Tallest Man on Earth, "Time of the Blue"
I could spend all day listening to Kristian Matsson’s delicate, finely layered folk music, and by releasing "Time of the Blue" — a new single recorded while touring behind last year’s LP Dark Bird Is Home he’s reminded me to revisit his discography. There’s a little gravel sprinkled on the song’s studio version, but not so much you can’t appreciate its winding beauty.
Here’s the running This Is Your Next Jam playlist — have a great weekend!