Every week, we keep track of and discuss the best songs of the year. This week, hear new additions from Gorillaz (with James Murphy and André 3000), Spiritualized, THEESatisfaction, Regina Spektor and Evy Jane.
GORILLAZ – "DoYaThing" f/ James Murphy & André 3000
Damon Albarn. James Murphy. Andre 3000. These are all names we know and respect the hell out of. So much so that if they want to release a 13 MINUTE extended version of a track that promotes Chuck Taylors designed by their visual fx maverick Jamie Hewlett, we don’t get in their way.
The condensed version is more than enough to stomach. Just ask 2D, their longtime virtual frontman who’s conquering another hangover by biting into some human ear and toast in Converse’s latest brand revolution. Tack on diabolical guitar fuzz and Mr. Benjamin screaming “OH SHIT!!” at the top of his very concerned lungs and occasional cosmic tears throughout and you’ll start to get the picture. Make sure to hold on for at least 9:46 when you hit modulated Gregorian chants that taper off into a much more somber Andre.
SPIRITUALIZED – "Hey Jane"
Space rockers Spiritualized have been launching our aural cavities into a galaxy far, far away before some of you reading this were even born (1990 to be exact). For the record, NME declared their 1997 masterpiece Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating in Space Album of the Year. Following up the rather morbid Songs in A&E with something a bit livelier (and less demented) feels like a natural progression after they revisited Ladies and Gentleman live in its entirety during one gig down under.
“Hey Jane” is a richly textured romper straddling that delightful edge between twee pop and party anthem. As you might expect, the tight synergy between Pierce’s astro gliders dissolves into disparate waves of sound. The fun part is hearing that harrowing melody built back up brick by harmonic brick (with a sprinkling of violin for good measure). Sweet Heart and Sweet Light will be unleashed April 17.
THEESATISFACTION – "Enchantruss" f/ Palaceer Lazaro
Welcome to Seattle. Home of incessant rain, franchised java and the closest thing the rap game has to Thelma & Louise — Stasia Irons & Catherine Harris-White. Unlike the former, the latter are very openly “in love with each others’ everything at the moment.” We’d be cold hearted bastards not to be just as smitten with such a clever title for a visceral vibe that could only flow from the Great Northwest.
The procession begins with a bizarre blur of vocal pitches, trailed closely by well-timed snare and eerie lasers of sound refracting from seemingly nowhere. Enter Shabazz Palaces MC Palaceer Lazaro rapping off low-key non sequiturs that bookend “an adventure to explore.” Look out for their debut awE naturalE on March 27.
REGINA SPEKTOR – "All The Rowboats"
Looks like New York’s anti-folk queen is ready to amp up the volume considerably — not unlike her recent competition in the dynamic chartreuse marketplace. A good way to go about it is to bring in longtime Shady/Aftermath confidant and bass bumping extraordinaire Mike Elizondo.
That’s not to say that Spektor’s first single from May release What We Saw From the Cheap Seats is going to be some sort of avant-garde Portishead trip-hop mashup. Following a not-so-expected techno drum machine Amen break, a spoken-word jam of distinctive piano melody is adeptly tiptoeing around increasingly frantic synth bursts. Once the lyrics clearly lament the downside to timeless art, those drum machines from the interlude stomp back into the foreground. Even Regina herself sounds out the note of each thunderous electronic explosion.
EVY JANE – "Sayso"
David Lynch would totally dig the elfin chill that Vancouver r&b stalwarts Evelyn Mason and Jeremiah Klein have spun on their debut 12”. An art school web of looped backbeat and viscous synths provide ample room for Mason’s scary seductive murmurs to ensnare any would be fella in. “Be my daddy/Be my daddy/Won’t you be so kind?” sounds inane anywhere else but this ice cold siren soundscape. It rarely ventures off course, maintaining a slow but steady vector toward seduction. If the hairs on your body aren’t standing at full attention by the end of this airy minimalist sojurn, you might want to get checked out. Twin Peaks here we come.