The Avalanches: Frankie Sinatra
A casual 16 years since their wondrous debut record Since I Left You, Australian electronic outfit The Avalanches have released their first single from the highly anticipated second album—called Wildflower—which finally has a confirmed release date: 8 July 2016. The group (now made up of Robbie Chater, James Dela Cruz and Tony Di Blasi) teamed up with Danny Brown and MF Doom for the track “Frankie Sinatra” and it cheerily plods along with a circus-like tuba bass line and samples from calypso singer Wilmoth Houdini’s “Bobby Sox Idol” (in form of the hook) and a little bite of “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. The video—filmed in New Orleans—echoes the carnival vibe, adding in some hallucinogenic drinks and crazy ensuing behavior. Wildflower will apparently feature the likes of Father John Misty, Toro Y Moi, Camp Lo, Warren Ellis of Dirty Three, Empire of the Sun and Biz Markie—a list that reflects The Avalanches’ encyclopedic musical knowledge and influence.
Rihanna: Kiss It Better (Four Tet Remix)
We’ve been waiting for the official “Kiss It Better” remixes since hearing Four Tet release his into the desert air at FORM Arcosanti last month, during his DJ set in the amphitheater. It’s now available, along with Kaytranada, R3hab (whose take on “Work” is almost better than the original) and Feenixpawl remixes of the insanely powerful ballad. Four Tet builds tension over delicate xylophone-like hits without ever offering a drop, encapsulating the singer’s lovelorn frustration. Time to slow grind, alone, real hard.
The Strokes: Drag Queen
In a surprise move last week, NYC indie-rockers The Strokes dropped not one but all three songs off their brand new Future Present Past EP—at roughly the same time via three different radio shows. Each track pushes the band’s signature sound in new directions but “Drag Queen” jostles and jangles along with such force it warrants further attention. There’s definitely an essence of Joy Division tossed in the mix, but lead singer Julian Casablancas’ drawl-to-howl vocals make it a beast all its own. The band headlines Governors Ball this weekend.
ETHEL + Robert Mirabal: Tuvan Ride
Genre-crossing string quartet ETHEL’s latest endeavor is a new studio album with their regular collaborator, native American musician Robert Mirabal. Merging classical with the sacred and spiritual, The River releases 24 June via Innova Recordings—get a sampling with this recording session of “Tuvan Ride” at Mirabal’s home on the Taos Pueblo, in New Mexico. Strings bounce along with Mirabal’s piercing, birdlike flute as well as his gigantic didjeridoo—rekindling a connection to the earth.
Coming 20 years after his album Odelay, Beck’s new song “Wow” takes you by surprise (did anyone else flashback to Leslie Carter’s manufactured one hit wonder “Like Wow”). Whether he’s writing folk rock or Rick and Morty-influenced dance tunes like “Wow,” Beck always comes through with a great hook and unpredictable lyrics. “Wow” comes with one razzle dazzle, actually-not-boring lyric video, directed by London-based graphic artist Jimmy Turrell, where cut-out collages have become animated. He plays Governors Ball this weekend and more festivals, particularly internationally, this summer.
ListenUp is a Cool Hunting series published every Sunday that rounds up the music we tweeted throughout the week, also found in Listen. Hear the year so far via Cool Hunting Spotify.