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Top mp3s of the Week (9/20)

on September 21, 2012, 12:01am
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mp3s 4 e1333124415256 Top mp3s of the Week (9/20)

“You are the music while the music lasts.” -T.S. Eliot

Bat for Lashes – “All Your Gold”

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Bat for Lashes’ Natasha Khan wraps her songs in pretty tones and synthesized instrumentation, but never overdresses the arrangements. On “All Your Gold”, she’s stripped things down to only her voice and an unobtrusive beat. A comforting string section creeps in during the chorus, but otherwise, Khan is all by herself. And it’s no wonder; she’s dealing with that stressful little thing called love (“you’re a good man, you’re a good man/ I keep telling myself to just let go”) and trying to keep her chin up (“today I was a dead girl walking”). The peaks of anxiety in her voice, though, insist that she won’t be a zombie for long. This startling cut comes from the upcoming LP, The Haunted Man, due out October 23rd via Palophone/EMI -Jon Hadusek

Beck – “Michelangelo Antonioni”

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Beck’s a busy man, releasing sheet music albums, collaborating with Flying Lotus, and producing songs for multiple artists. But he always has time for tropicalia — a genre he’s championed over the years. Most recently, he contributed a cover of “Michelangelo Antonioni” to A Tribute to Caetano Veloso (out in the UK on October 22nd from Universal). Faithfully replicating Veloso’s meditative composition, Beck’s husky voice turns airy amidst dense reverb. The song remains sparse, only simple guitar strums and distant percussive crashes freeing it from its insulated chill. -Jon Hadusek

Missy Elliott feat. Timbaland – “Triple Threat”

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“Me & Timbaland, the New Ike & Tina/ tag team ya, badda-bing ya/ hits like Venus & Serena”; and with that, Missy Elliott is back, delivering her first new material in four years. “Triple Threat” is one of two songs to be dropped this week from Elliott’s upcoming LP, Block Party. Both cuts feature production and verses from Timbaland, the two sounding as comfortable together as ever. Tim’s sub-bass rumbles, loping synths, and looped strings provide the perfect base from which Missy can announce her return. -Adam Kivel

Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin – “Uptown Psychedelia”

 Top mp3s of the Week (9/20)

Photo by C. Spencer Yeh

Last week, we brought you a new track from Oneohtrix Point Never, and this week mastermind Daniel Lopatin is back at the top, this time in collaboration with electronic mastermind Tim Hecker. The dripping washes of noise on “Uptown Psychedelia” crackle and burn, as a lone, bassy guitar fades in and out of the mix. The conversational flood of headphone-bouncing electro-squiggles bodes well for the duo’s upcoming LP Instrumental Tourist, out November 20th from Software. -Adam Kivel

Nosaj Thing feat. Kazu Makino – “Eclipse/Blue”

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L.A.’s Jason Chung is better known as underground hip-hop production/electronica whiz Nosaj Thing, and Kazu Makino is the vocalist for psychedelic outfit Blonde Redhead. The two worked together for a track on an album to benefit victims of the tsunami in Japan, and things must have gone well in the studio, as they’ve done it again, this time producing the lead single from Chung’s sophomore LP, Home (due out January 22nd via Innovative Leisure). The haunting minimalism of “Eclipse/Blue” finds Makino’s icily reverberated coo wafting over loping synth patterns and clomping percussion. -Adam Kivel

Pinback – “Our Phase”

 Top mp3s of the Week (9/20)

It would seem that Pinback have fallen for the retro sounds of the ‘80s. Previous single “Proceed to Memory” pulsated to dreary synths, and the band’s latest track, “Our Phase”, opts for chorus-delayed guitars and the unwavering patter of a drum machine. Everything steadily oscillate, as vocalist Rob Crow whispers: “Everytime you speak, I just die.” Pinback are borrowing aesthetics from acts like New Order, but the surprising chord changes and dynamic melodies belong solely to chief songwriter Zach Smith. The band’s first studio album in five years, Information Retrieved, comes out on October 16th via Temporary Residence Ltd. -Jon Hadusek

John Talabot – “Tragedial”

 Top mp3s of the Week (9/20)

John Talabot‘s cold, uncompromising, electronic worlds , also manage to be incredibly musical. The tracks from his upcoming 7” single, “Mai Mes” and “Tragedial”, shimmer gracefully despite their seemingly crude, retro electronics. These are the same synthetic bleeps and bloops that Warp Records patented in the early ‘90s, yet Talabot avoids repetition. “Tragedial” never dawdles on a vocal sample, and loops passages with expert brevity. This is the same restraint Talabot exercised on fIN, his debut album that came out nearly a year ago. -Jon Hadusek

Titus Andronicus – “In a Big City”

 Top mp3s of the Week (9/20)

It took two albums to turn New Jersey garage rockers Titus Andronicus into cult heroes, and it seems that they’re swinging for the fences with their upcoming third LP, Local Business (due October 22nd via XL). Taking lyrical quotes from Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” speech and featuring a huge, rollicking vocal melody, lead single “In a Big City” echoes the insistent The Clash’s “Rudie Can’t Fail” (though without the horn swagger). “I know life begins at the moment of consumption,” vocalist Patrick Stickles howls, never one to shy away from controversial material. -Adam Kivel

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)”

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Low-key jangles are the backbone of “Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)”, a tour-only 7” release by Portland pop outfit Unknown Mortal Orchestra. The song dwells in a melancholic state; the brightest guitar leads still sound crooked, and, as the title suggests, frontman Ruban Nielson wishes he could swim and sleep like a shark. He yearns behind a front of poetic metaphors, leaving what he’s actually wishing for unknown. -Jon Hadusek

Wild Belle – “It’s Too Late”

 Top mp3s of the Week (9/20)

Chicago siblings Natalie and Elliot Bergman, aka Wild Belle, were signed to Columbia Records on the strength of their single “Keep You”, but the islandy goodness of “It’s Too Late” validate that decision. The reggae-fied pop swings like little else in the indie pop world today, retro synth lines sharing time with a swanky bass saxophone solo. “Now you taste the tear-drops that I cry,” Natalie croons to a rebuked ex, providing the precise, evocative pop nostalgia perfect for opening for Tennis, which the duo will do on several upcoming tour stops. -Adam Kivel

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