We’ve already pointed out the albums you need to listen to in the next few weeks, but here’s a guide to the week’s best new songs.
Leon Bridges — “River”
“Take me to the river” is a phrase with much significance throughout pop music history. Al Green first employed it in his 1974 track, which would be covered by everyone from Syl Johnson to The Band’s Levon Helm to Foghat to Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry to Talking Heads to those singing fish they sell at Walmart. Now Leon Bridges, a promising young soul singer from Texas, tweaks “take me to the river” for his own sparse redemption ballad. He trades “the” for “your” and instantly the song becomes more sensual, but it’s still a baptism of sorts: “Oh I wanna come here and give you every part of me, but there’s blood on my hands, and my lips are unclean,” he sings before a gospel choir chimes in. Coming Home is out June 23.
Chelsea Wolfe — “Iron Moon”
Chelsea Wolfe finds fans in a lot of different musical communities with her possessed songs: goth, noise, metal, experimental folk, even electronic. Her new song, “Iron Moon,” is the sludgiest, most metal she’s ever gone, but in many ways it produces the inverse effect one would expect: it highlights the delicacy of Wolfe’s pop howl. Wolfe’s fifth album, Abyss, will be out August 7.
Daughn Gibson — “It Wants Everything”
Doom and gloom cowboy Daughn Gibson continues to preview his forthcoming third album, Carnation (out 6/2), with songs that push the envelope on his already diverse set of influences. While first single “Shatter You Through” introduced an ’80s synth-pop sound à la Don Henley, “It Wants Everything” stays true to Gibson’s talents for the unsettling via Depeche Mode mystery.
Alessia — “Here”
Here’s a brooding R&B anthem for those nights when you feel all alone in a crowded room. If it sounds familiar, that may be because it samples Isaac Hayes’ “Help Me Love,” as also sampled by Portishead on “Glory Box.” Alessia, an 18-year-old Def Jam rookie from Ontario, does something a bit different than Portishead by accenting the piano line from Hayes’ original, and comes out the other side sounding utterly classic. A perfect pairing of old and new.
Django Django — “Shake and Tremble”
For a band that seems to prefer their rock’n’roll with a side of electronics, Django Django sound fantastic in this Dick Dale surf-rock fever dream. The British band’s second album, Born Under Saturn, is out next week but is streaming now via iTunes Radio.