Tracking 2012's Best Songs #11

This week on Tracking you can listen to additions from Yeasayer, TEAM SPIRIT, The Walkmen, Kirin J Callinan, Icona Pop and Azealia Banks.
Avatar:
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
This week on Tracking you can listen to additions from Yeasayer, TEAM SPIRIT, The Walkmen, Kirin J Callinan, Icona Pop and Azealia Banks.
Tracking

This week on Tracking––a weekly series in which we discuss our favorite songs of the year (you can check out the official list as the year progresses)––you can listen to additions from Yeasayer, TEAM SPIRIT, The Walkmen, Kirin J Callinan, Icona Pop and Azealia Banks. (Click on the arrows to navigate through the songs.)

Yeasayer-Henrietta

Yeasayer - "Henrietta" (1 of6)

Yeasayer have been quiet for a time but, as they prepare to go on tour, they felt the need to drop the swirling, dubbed-out “Henrietta”. The title apparently refers to Henrietta Lacks, a women whose unique form of cancer allowed her cells to survive after she died. Those cells lived on to help doctors cure a number of diseases including Polio. This story, which could easily have come out of a Ray Bradbury novel, fits perfectly with Yeasayer's tune. Both have a unique draw and a surprisingly hopeful ending. “Henrietta” begins with a hypnotic bass line followed by Chris Keating's icy delivery. The track's grooviness unexpectedly drops off halfway through and a dark sweeping interlude sets a more somber tone for the rest of the song. However, the the solemnity of the final two minutes is coupled with a beautiful, building melody and the optimistic refrain: “Oh Henrietta, we can live on forever.” The track seems to follow the arc of Henrietta Lacks' life. Her life (the first two minutes) is convoluted and tinted with melancholy while her death (the interlude) brings a dark moment of reflection. The final portion is a recognition of the way she was able to live on, even in death. If this track is any indication Yeasayer's new album should be a little creepy, a little touching, and pretty darn good. –– Drew Malmuth

arrow1
arrow2

This week on Tracking––a weekly series in which we discuss our favorite songs of the year (you can check out the official list as the year progresses)––you can listen to additions from Yeasayer, TEAM SPIRIT, The Walkmen, Kirin J Callinan, Icona Pop and Azealia Banks. (Click on the arrows to navigate through the songs.)

Azealia-Banks-Jumanji

Azealia Banks – "JUMANJI" (2 of6)

As much as we like when Azealia Banks brings sexy R&B (“NEEDSUMLUV”) or esoteric spoken-word (“Bambi”) to the table, nothing can touch her when she raps – after all, it was the blistering “212” that won us all over in the first place. Her new single is “Jumanji,” and Banks lays it down like she does best over a pounding beat that’s all massive percussion, steel drums, and huge horns (courtesy producers Hudson Mohawke and Nick Hook). In a zeitgeist where most mainstream rappers drop one or two languid, done-before verses over some canned strings and then call it a day, Azealia’s jittery, relentless, rapid-fire energy and smart, sarcastic lyrics make her one of the most exciting new talents in the hip-hop game, and “Jumanji” is a perfect example of what she’s capable of. –– Genevieve Oliver

arrow1
arrow2

This week on Tracking––a weekly series in which we discuss our favorite songs of the year (you can check out the official list as the year progresses)––you can listen to additions from Yeasayer, TEAM SPIRIT, The Walkmen, Kirin J Callinan, Icona Pop and Azealia Banks. (Click on the arrows to navigate through the songs.)

TEAM SPIRIT

TEAM SPIRIT — “Fuck The Beach” (3 of6)

Team Spirit is the newest project from Passion Pit synth guy Ayad Al-Adhamy, but their first single sounds nothing like the electro-pop giants. A grungey powerpunk masterpiece, “Fuck the Beach” is surf rock gone hi-fi. Opening with a shamelessly hooky melody and dark, crunchy guitar, “Fuck the Beach” is instantly addicting and nearly impossible to get our your head. From Beach Boys backup harmonies to catchy, brazen riffs, it’s noisy, balls-to-the-wall rock that reveals a surprising and thoroughly welcome side to Passion Pit’s electro wizard. And that’s not to mention the completely batshit music video depicting a drugged-up NSFW adventure. But even if psychoactive ice cream and cartoon sex aren’t quite your thing, Team Spirit offers the perfect soundtrack to a pulsing summer day. –– Gina Cargas

arrow1
arrow2

This week on Tracking––a weekly series in which we discuss our favorite songs of the year (you can check out the official list as the year progresses)––you can listen to additions from Yeasayer, TEAM SPIRIT, The Walkmen, Kirin J Callinan, Icona Pop and Azealia Banks. (Click on the arrows to navigate through the songs.)

The-Walkmen-Heaven

The Walkmen — “Heaven” (4 of6)

When The Walkmen first stumbled into popularity, they were raw, desperate, and emotional. In the ten years since, the band has grown up — and so has their music. The first single off their upcoming album, “Heaven” is like the mature older cousin of The Walkmen’s old tunes. With a buzzing two-note bassline and anxious, galloping drums, “Heaven” takes the band in an elegant new direction. In a recent interview, organist Peter Bauer described the upcoming release Heaven as a guitar-oriented, 50s-influenced rock album with fuller songs than their previous records. And if the the heartwrenching lyrics and graceful transitions on “Heaven” are anything to go by, it’s going to be a knockout. Polished and and mature, “Heaven” marks the triumphant return of a band that hardly anyone dislikes. –– Gina Gargas

arrow1
arrow2

This week on Tracking––a weekly series in which we discuss our favorite songs of the year (you can check out the official list as the year progresses)––you can listen to additions from Yeasayer, TEAM SPIRIT, The Walkmen, Kirin J Callinan, Icona Pop and Azealia Banks. (Click on the arrows to navigate through the songs.)

Icona-Pop

Icona Pop – "I Love It" (5 of6)

Pint-sized goth-pop Londoner Charli XCX is killing 2012 – her own (awesome) material is one thing, but then there’s Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” which Charli wrote but gave to the Swedish duo – that they made it into one of the most immediate, catchy, awesome pop songs we’ve heard in a long time is indicative of the talent of everyone involved. Why this isn’t on Top 40 radio and its super-fun, please-can-I-live-inside-it video all over MTV yet is totally beyond us – it’s the kind of irresistible pop song that comes along once in a blue moon to totally blow you away. Everything about “I Love It” (lyrics, beat, the whole shebang) is the aural equivalent of just not giving a fuck, and that’s exactly what we need from our summer jams. –– Genevieve Oliver

arrow1
arrow2

This week on Tracking––a weekly series in which we discuss our favorite songs of the year (you can check out the official list as the year progresses)––you can listen to additions from Yeasayer, TEAM SPIRIT, The Walkmen, Kirin J Callinan, Icona Pop and Azealia Banks. (Click on the arrows to navigate through the songs.)

Kirin-J-Callinan1

Kirin J Callinan - "WIIW (Way To War)" (6 of6)

Australia’s Kirin J Callinan is the fantastic Terrible Records’ newest signee, and he’s celebrating with the creepiest and maybe also the best video we’ve seen this year, for his fantastically weird and also insanely good “Way to War.” Callinan’s beat-based music sometimes feels like an even more esoteric Black Dice or White Rainbow, until everything starts to come together into admittedly strange but ultimately exhilarating thing that resembles pop in a kind of Frankenstein way (the best way?). The track itself is creepy on its own – Callinan’s low whisper plus echoing drones and staggering beats makes “Way to War” sound like something you might hear through a fissure in the ground – so it perfectly fits its Kris Moyes-directed video, which is a series of stuttering, bizarre .gifs. The single drops digitally June 19th and physically on July 31, and stay tuned for a full record from Kirin this fall. –– Genevieve Oliver

arrow1
arrow2