Cuepoint’s New 11
Eleven of our favorite new songs, week of 1/14/15
Purity Ring “Begin Again”
This Canadian duo blew up pretty quickly in 2012: they signed to 4AD, released their debut record Shrine and got shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize. On this debut single for their second album, Another Eternity, Megan James (vocals) and Corin Roddick (production) create a beautiful, tighty-constructed atmosphere. Star-gazing lyrics radiate a euphoric energy, until bursts of synth-pop energy elevate the chorus. “You be the moon, I’ll be the earth,” James insists, “and when we burst, start over, oh darling, begin again.”
Young Ejecta “Into Your Heart”
This one stews a bit, going for just over a minute with a dreamy synth and vocal hook before dropping a heavy house beat. Joel Ford’s an expert at creating freeway electronica—his work with Oneohtrix Point Never’s Daniel Lopatin has always sounded perfect for traversing the Pacific Coast Highway, top down, wind blowing through your hair. In Young Ejecta he teams up with Leanne Macomber, an equally-talented synth player/vocalist who recently spent several years touring with Neon Indian.
Big K.R.I.T. “Soul Food”
(feat. Raphael Saadiq)
Amidst the fourth quarter blitz of major label rap releases at the end of 2014, Big K.R.I.T.’s Cadillactica was probably the strongest of them all, yet was buried under the hype of Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, J. Cole and others. One of the best tracks from the multi-talented Mississippi-bred MC/producer’s sophomore LP was “Soul Food,” seen performed on The Tonight Show last week. More than just a love-letter to collard greens and grits, this soulful collaboration with former Tony! Toni! Toné! frontman Raphael Saadiq is a musical think piece that examines the forgotten family bond that happens at the dinner table.
Above & Beyond “All Over The World” (feat. Alex Vargas)
(Anjunabeats / Ultra)
Working as the lead single to their January 19th release, We Are All We Need, trance auteurs Above & Beyond masterfully create another anthemic, emotionally-charged single with “All Over The World.” Once again employing vocalist Alex Vargas—whom we last heard on their track “Blue Sky Action”— A&B have adapted their signature sound to a more big room style, without sounding forced or unnatural. Call it dance music with substance or EDM with integrity—this is the kind of record your favorite Vegas billboard star wishes that they could produce.
Ghostface Killah + BADBADNOTGOOD “Ray Gun” (feat. DOOM)
Ghostface continues his winning streak, following up his 36 Seasons LP with his Sour Soul, due February 24th. This album GFK teams up with funkstrumental outfit BADBADNOTGOOD, who provide the sonic backdrops. Perhaps the most exiciting of these cuts is “Ray Gun,” which reunites Ghost with MF Doom, inadvertently hinting that their long-awaited DoomStarks album is finally coming to fruition. Incredible, cinematic production from BBNG—book-ended with verses from each MC and a spectacular left-turn outro—this track will likely prove its value as a part of the album.
Pat Lok “All In My Head”
(feat. Desirée Dawson)
(Love & Other)
Vancouver producer Pat Lok ventures out with this soulful nu-disco collaboration featuring Desirée Dawson. Very reminiscent of the early 2000s neo-soul / deep house hybrids you might find in a DJ Spinna set, this groove-driven cut doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, giving the spotlight to Desirée Dawson, floating above Lok’s hollowed-out basslines. Perfect music for when you are in the dressing room trying on them jeans at H&M.
The Ting Tings “Super Critical”
The title track from The Ting Tings’ new Super Critical LP bangs with reckless abandon, as Katie White lashes out at critics over a set of percussions that sound like they might have been borrowed from The Neptunes’ drumkit. The track builds as it progresses, with new layers of funky guitar licks, tambourines, pianos and horns building on top of one another into a fully realized jam. You’ll be body movin’ about two minutes in.
Mark Ronson “Feel Right” (feat. Mystikal)
Last time we featured Mark Ronson in this section, a little single called “Uptown Funk” featuring Bruno Mars first released. Little did we know it would quickly rise to be one of the biggest year-end hits, chart topping the U.S. and U.K. these first weeks of 2015. Mark’s Uptown Special album is in stores this week and the next highlight from it is “Feel Right,” finding rapper Mystikal channelling his inner James Brown. It took this funky beat for us to realize what the former No Limit soldier has been doing all these years.
Grooms “Comb The Feelings Through Your Hair”
The closure of Brooklyn DIY venue Death By Audio in late 2014 to make way for the new Vice offices dealt a blow to the New York underground scene. Grooms had close ties to the venue, which also operated a guitar pedal factory. Guitarist Travis Johnson worked in the factory and the venue was his spiritual home. Much like their Williamsburg neighborhood, the band’s also had a makeover; Johnson’s the only original member left. On “Comb The Feelings Through Your Hair” they’re as buoyant as ever, with swirling Sonic Youth-style melodies and cracking percussion.
JEFF The Brotherhood “Coat Check Girl”
(Infinity Cat Records)
“Coat Check Girl” sounds like classic Weezer—sometime between The Blue Album and Pinkerton. Brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall have taken some of the fuzz out of their sound and replaced it with some good, hard rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a full-bodied anthem with a singalong chorus, shouting out to a lonely coat check girl and offering to make her life a little less miserable. With this track the band announced the release date for their eighth studio album, but don’t worry, you’ve got time to catch up on their back catalogue—Wasted On The Dream will be out on March 10.
Mini Mansions “Any Emotions”
(feat. Brian Wilson)
How many dudes do you know that have got The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson to appear on one of their tracks? Well, Queens Of The Stone Age bassist Michael Shuman and his Mini Mansions bandmates have done just that. Wilson provides backing vocals to “Any Emotions,” a track that feels heavily influenced by his own Pet Sounds. It’s a simple pop song based around Wilson’s vocal harmony, but the guitar and rhythm section keep the song moving nicely.
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