New directions for indie standbys St. Vincent and Toro y Moi, plus songs from some of 2015’s most hopeful new artists, all in this week’s roundup.
St. Vincent — “Bad Believer”
Annie Clark revealed this bonus track from the deluxe edition of last year’s self-titled St. Vincent album, leaving us all to wonder why it didn’t make the cut in the first place. With its lines about the rapture, “Bad Believer” fits in with the tech–dystopian world of the album. Besides that, the song stands out in every way possible, from its blast-off bursts of synths and drums to its dreamy orchestral bridge that finds Clark begging to give her life. This is how St. Vincent does a banger, and a damn fine one at that.
Adia Victoria — “Sea of Sand”
With just two songs kicking ’round online, Nashville’s Adia Victoria is going for quality over quantity as she preps her debut LP. Her latest, “Sea of Sand,” isn’t quite as anthemic as her first, “Stuck in the South.” Rather, it’s an ambling psych jam that suggests Victoria’s album may sound like PJ Harvey on a country bender.
Tobias Jesso Jr. — “How Could You Babe”
Sometimes people stomp on your heart so bad you think, “That’s it, I’m never feeling again.” Most of us do nothing productive with those emotions, eventually stuffing the remnants in a little box until someone new comes along. In the great songwriting tradition, Tobias Jesso Jr. made something beautiful out of the wounding and disorienting experience of being left for some other joker. Jesso’s debut album, Goon (out March 17), has a few songs in this specific vein, but “How Could You Babe” is the best of the bunch. He’s got that Randy Newman x Harry Nilsson thing on lock.
Alex Winston — “We Got Nothing”
Goldfrapp’s disco album (2010’s Head First) x early ’90s Kylie Minogue + the “whoa-ohhh” part in Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” = this new single from a pop singer worth earmarking.
Toro y Moi — “Empty Nesters”
Chaz Bundick returned this week with the first song from his new Toro y Moi album, What For? (out April 7). As usual, he’s trying out a new direction: guitar pop. I see someone’s been banging Tame Impala’s Lonerism. In all seriousness, it’s refreshing to hear Bundick put his talents into a sonic style that won’t sound like a dated trend in a few years (i.e. chillwave, indie rock’s R&B fetishization).
Bonus: PC Music boss A.G. Cook remixed Charli XCX and Rita Ora’s “Doing It,” turning it into a pixelated ballad-banger hybrid.