What's Good: The Weekly New Music Newsletter is a new publication by Pitchfork’s founder and former Editor-in-Chief, Ryan Schreiber. A companion to his long-running weekly playlist of the same name, What’s Good outlines the week’s most essential tracks and albums, with a special focus on new and emerging artists. It is now available on Tidal, as well as Apple Music and Spotify. If you like what you see, go ahead and subscribe. (It's free.)
The Weather Station: "Endless Time"
Much of the magic to Tamara Lindeman’s The Weather Station lies in her gorgeously astute lyrics and rich vocal delivery, so if you’ve been looking for an angle into her work, new single “Endless Time” is an ideal gateway. A rumination on climate change and the slow unraveling of the world around us, the solo piano-and-voice elegy brings her poignant observations into sharp focus, exuding a deep loneliness and vulnerability: “It's only the end of an endless time/ They don't put that in the paper, you won't hear it on the news/ But we knew, and it's just like a sunset about to begin.”
Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul: "Ceci n’est pas un cliché"
If you checked my piece last month on nine artists who’ll change the game in 2022, you might be looking forward to new music from the Belgian duo Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul. If not, consider this an official heads-up. Their latest high-concept club cut, “Ceci n’est pas un cliché” (tr. “This is not a cliché”), is a playful critique of the kind of lazy writing that ruins pop songs— with an absolute heater of a chorus. The duo wrote the track around the worn-out banalities that so often crop up on the radio (“Whenever I look into your eyes,” “I’m down on my knees begging you please,” “Let’s dance the night away,” etc), lending a rascally snark that’s especially rare in dance music and makes the song so incredibly fun, infectious, and replayable.
Hikaru Utada: “Somewhere Near Marseille (feat. Floating Points)”
New York-born, Japanese-American pop superstar Hikaru Utada has dropped a stellar new project, BADモード, or BAD MODE, her first bi-lingual album. Utada’s voice has always been a perfect match for rapturous club music, and she doesn’t disappoint here. “Somewhere Near Marseilles (マルセイユ辺)” is a collaboration with DJ/producer extraordinaire Floating Points, who throws down a bouncy, 12-minute workout that echoes back to Velvet Rope-era Janet Jackson club mixes.
Tove Lo: “How Long”
The soundtrack to season two of the hit HBO series Euphoria drops at the end of this month, featuring new originals from Lana Del Rey, James Blake, and others, but in a purely merit-based system, Swedish singer Tove Lo would receive top billing for her monster jam, “How Long,” which evokes a distant cousin of the Drive soundtrack. Its retro funk-pop vibe fits nicely with the show’s post-nostalgic aesthetic, but with enough irresistible touches to sound entirely fresh.
HVOB, the Austrian electronic duo of Anna Müller and Paul Wallner, have been making music together for a decade now— and yet, I’ve only just discovered their work through the mesmerizing new track, “2:16.” It’s a remarkable slow-burner, swelling gradually around a looping, airy piano meditation and live drums before growing in scope and scale, eventually folding in growling electronics and eerie synth strings. When, just after the five-minute mark, Müller’s silvery voice appears in the mix, it’s a very welcome surprise as the rattling drum kit and ominous atmosphere coalesce in a release of post-rock catharsis.
Denzel Curry: “Walkin”
Denzel Curry has proven extraordinarily versatile over these past few years. In one moment, the ex-Raider Klan member might wax poetic over classic New York boom-bap beats, then cover Rage Against the Machine in the next. Like Ghostface in his prime, Denzel’s depth of music knowledge makes him as dangerous in the booth as he is on sample choices. In his latest single, “Walkin,” he shoots rapid-fire bars over an enchanting soul sample flip, with plenty of quotables: “Walkin' with my back to the sun, keep my head to the sky/ Me against the world, it's me, myself and I, like De La.”
Wiki: “2022 INTRO”
On the heels of a strong 2021 (shoutout Half God), ex-Ratking MC Wiki comes out with a motivational banger so uplifting, the training montage practically storyboards itself. Wiki just goes after this trance-gated beat (a poppier production than I’m used to hearing him on), breathing actual fire: “They saying ‘This gon' be your year, dude’/ What you mean? 2021 or 2022?/ This gon’ be my decade and I'ma take it, doing what I'm finna do.”
Hamid Al Shaeri: “Maktoub Aleina”
The latest offering from the certifiably kickass Habibi Funk label is a sterling collection of work by Hamid Al Shaeri. The Libyan-born musician recorded these songs from 1983-1988 while living in Egypt, and his instant heater, “Maktoub Aleina,” is guaranteed to thaw the wintriest club nights.
Black Country, New Road: “Snow Globes”
Black Country, New Road sounds somehow different in light of frontperson Isaac Wood’s open letter this week announcing his decision to separate from the band; his performance on “Snow Globes” underscores the loss. This is Godspeed You! Black Emperor as led by Archy Marshall, with weeping strings and thunderous drums coalescing around Wood’s sturdy yet vulnerable voice. The song doesn’t build towards a clear climax; instead, the band traverses peaks and valleys until the strength to descend and climb again seems too much to rally.
Ilhan Ersahin, Dave Harrington & Kenny Wollesen: “Invite Your Eye”
Saxophonist and East Village mainstay Ilhan Ersahin recruits Darkside’s Dave Harrington (guitar, electronics) and drummer Kenny Wollesen for “Invite Your Eye.” The track evokes the boundless music regularly exhibited at Ersahin’s influential NYC club, Nublu, with its smattering of percussive instruments, wonky electronics, and delirious saxophone lines all coalescing into a beautifully ecstatic clatter.
Fred again...: “Lights Out (feat. Romy and HAAi)”
Fred again... is back again. In “Lights Out,” alongside Romy Madly Croft of the xx and fellow producer HAAi, Fred delivers a cut-up trance anthem. A decade-plus of legendary dance records and remixes has cemented Romy’s voice in the late-night warehouse canon, and her inimitable vibe is squarely in the pocket here. Fred sums it up best himself: “Romy’s lyrics and voice are just like a hug from a rave angel.”
DJ Hank: “Stay”
Chicago producer DJ Hank is the latest to follow the late DJ Rashad and a string of other footwork icons to the UK’s influential Hyperdub label. Moving from North Carolina to Chicago at 18, Hank began attending the legendary footwork night Battlegroundz— a prime destination for anyone looking to experience the unique genre/dance-hybrid phenomenon in its element. Following a few projects with Teklife and LuckyMe, Hank now delivers “Stay,” a delightful middle-ground between footwork and jungle that’s likely to find its way onto numerous DJs’ USBs in the coming months. A chopped Amerie sample becomes a powerful percussive element here, as Hank finds an intoxicating pocket between his breaks and her vocals, striking gold with a bionic call-and-response.
Charbonneau / Amato: “Évaporations”
Canadian musicians Mathieu Charbonneau and Pietro Amato are Montreal mainstays. The former has worked with Avec Pas d'Casque, Organ Mood, Ferriswheel, and Suuns, while the latter’s put time in with Bell Orchestre and the Luyas. Here, they unite for a delightfully glowing ambient project, Synth Works Vol. 2. Lead single “Évaporations” gleams like smoldering embers, with delicate, spectral textures and synths that flicker in the stereo field like midsummer fireflies.
DJ Python: “Club Sentimental Vol Three”
Last month, I fell in love with DJ Python’s new 10-minute club track, “Angel,” which opens the second entry in his Club Sentimientos EP series. For its closer, “Club Sentimental Vol Three,” he throws back to a late-90s IDM ambiance that echoes lost terrain-shapers like Burger/Ink and Two Lone Swordsmen. Here, synths curve, bend, and melt like the drawl of pedal steel while swinging percussion lends an ambient reggaeton groove, punctuating Python’s newfound melodic flex.
Vegyn: “Find something cool to do with it [74 BPM]”
British producer Vegyn has unveiled another 70+ song project, Don’t Follow Me Because I’m Lost Too!! Among the many (many) tracks in this collection, I gravitated most towards “Find something cool to do with it [74 BPM]” is a skittering, downtempo club track that glows with the digital cool of twinkling synths and soft, cushy drums.
Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, and Tom Skinner dropped the second cut from their new project, The Smile, hewing closer to a classic Radiohead style than its debut post-punk cut, which should appeal to those who long for the straighter-head In Rainbows era; Jacques Greene dropped his new EP, Fantasy, with a standout titled "Sky River" featuring RVNG-signed Japanese experimental artist Satoimagae); Berlin producer Sofia Kourtesis dropped an excellent club collab with the French-Spanish musician/legend Manu Chao; Japanese Breakfast knocked out a killer cover of Yoko Ono's sentimental "Nobody Sees Me Like You Do," and for kicks, I'm throwing in one more from Beach House's latest offering, the opening track "Sunset," which has become one of my very favorite tunes from their upcoming Once Twice Melody double album.
[Corrections: It was previously stated that DJ Hank founded the footwork night Battlegroundz; he was an attendee and sometimes-DJ there. Vegyn's "Find something cool to do with it [74 BPM]" does not feature R&B singer/producer; it is a solo production.]
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