The 5 Best New Songs We Heard This Week: Sky Ferreira, Gunslinger

It’s Friday, which means that we’re preparing to brave the cold and venture out into the depths of the weekend — and also that it’s time to look back at the best songs we heard over the last seven days. This week there’s a lovely and entirely unexpected ballad from Sky Ferreira, rock/EDM fusion par excellence from Gunslinger, a new track from Slow Club, man of the moment Schoolboy Q collaborating with A$AP Rocky (again), and, um, David Byrne covering Biz Markie. No, really. They’re all streaming for nothing, so click through and get listening!

Sky Ferreira — “Rancid Girl”

According to Stereogum, this is “an old track, and one that wasn’t really supposed to see the light of day.” It leaked earlier this week, and I’m really glad it did, because I really, really like it. It’s a quiet acoustic ballad that shows an entirely different side of Ferreira from what we’ve seen so far, and continues to prove that she’s a lot more interesting than yr average pop star.

Gunslinger — “Whiskey”

Trying to mix rock and EDM sounds is a risky business — get it wrong and you end up sounding like the Spawn soundtrack. I’ve written before about how much I’ve enjoyed LA duo Gunslinger’s expeditions into this perilous terrain, and this is their most successful foray yet. It’s definitely a dance-floor-centric banger, but it takes a sharp left turn about a minute in, dropping a series of guitar riffs into the mix, and it works a treat. The key point, I think, is a certain lightness of touch — too many producers want to use distortion-laden metal sounds, but a light overdrive works much better, making the whole track sound more exuberant than punishing. Good stuff.

Slow Club — “Tears of Joy”

English duo Slow Club serve up a big, grand ballad, and a rather impressive preview of what’ll be their third studio album. It’s a definite progression from the twee flavors of their early work, and suggests that the as-yet-unnamed record should definitely be worth hearing.

Schoolboy Q feat. A$AP Rocky — “Californication”

Schoolboy Q’s Oxymoron is shaping up to be one of those hip hop records that gets people in the indie press very excited indeed — and rightly so, because on first listen, it’s really, really good. And if its arrival weren’t enough, this is a new collaboration with old mucker A$AP Rocky. Huzzah.

Slothrust — “7.30am”

“I’m doing what I can for my body’s sake,” sing Sarah Lawrence graduates Slothrust in the denouement of this sharp, succinct breakup song. There’s an echo of Jens Lekman’s “I started working out when we broke up” here, albeit rendered in a style that’s far more distortion-laden than anything our favorite Swede messes with. It’s very ’90s — in a good way, of course.

Bonus link:

David Byrne — “Just a Friend” (live)

As in, yes, Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend.” Look, just watch the video. More information here.