CURRENT: EMA – “So Blonde”

Erika Anderson’s latest prerelease single from her forthcoming The Future’s Void, “So Blonde,” is a scathing critique on our culture’s predilection towards objectifying, and thus diminishing, women. “Let me tell you about this girl I know,” sings Anderson during the beginning of the chorus, before strenuously belting, “She’s so blonde!”

In an interview with Wonderland Magazine, Anderson described the song’s origin by saying, “How many bits do we have to reduce the dancing blonde babe to before she is no longer a symbol of sexiness? At what point do tits become simply bits?  And who owns the sparkly dolphin anyway?”  The accompanying video effectively exaggerates that statement, reimagining music video vixens as pixelated caricatures blindly dancing. For EMA, this is just another example of her skilled ability to make social critiques into a transcendental artistic work.

The Future’s Void is out via Matador Records on 8 April.

CURRENT: Gord Downie, The Sadies, And The Conquering Sun – “Crater”

“Crater,” by Gord Downie, The Sadies, And The Conquering Sun, is not the work of three distinct bands. Rather, that’s the name of a singular band with a singular purpose. The brash, frenetic “Crater” works wonders as an introductory tune, showcasing a lively and unbridled energy. Lead singer Gord Downie proves to be a compelling voice, with his vocals warbling, searching for steady ground. “Crater” is by no means perfect; but that’s hardly the point. Because “Crater” is something much more interesting: fearless.

CURRENT: The Horrors – “I See You”

On 2011’s Skying, the Horrors’ Faris Badwan sang, “I can see through you and I don’t get it.” On the first single from the forthcoming Luminous, Badwan’s subject lacks the transparency found on “I Can See Through You,” resulting in the most concrete evidence of the Horrors’ musical talents and ambitions. “I see you / All the things you might do / All the things you’d like to,” Badwan sings during the surprisingly sunny chorus, accented by rippling guitars. During the course of the song’s back half, Joshua Hayward, Tim Cowan, and the rest of the Horrors create an adrenaline-fueled and crystalline instrumental with an undeniable sense of urgency. Simply put, this is the Horrors at their best.

Luminous is out 6 May via XL.

CURRENT: Real Estate – “Crime”

As one of the last remaining “guitar” bands, Real Estate has been able to carve out a sizable and easily identifiable niche in the musical landscape, practically perfected on their 2011 album Days. Their newest, Atlas, so far doesn’t appear to be diverting from the blueprint, and justifiably so. After the stellar “Talking Backwards,” the group show off their second prerelease look-in of the new album with “Crime,” an equally fantastic track. The song’s release was accompanied by a DIY tutorial of the song’s guitar tab, a sort of thank-you to fans. After all, Real Estate’s guitars do most of talking for the group, anyway. Like previous iterations of Real Estate, there’s nothing devastatingly “new” about the one that’s about to release Atlas. Yet they continue to proceed with a green and youthful energy, constantly excited to show us what they’ve been up to. When someone loves their work as much as Real Estate do, it inevitably rubs off on what you produce.

Atlas is set for a 4 March release through Domino.

CURRENT: Jungle – “Busy Earnin'”

The newest edition to XL Records, London duo Jungle knock it out of the park with the Zane Lowe-designated Hottest Record In the World, “Busy Earnin'”. As an introductory tune, it hints at some serious musical talent, with an effortless mash-up of genres and artists. A cursory look at the song’s Soundcloud comments find people comparing this to TV on the Radio and Jai Paul, while Abeano mentions a certain Bee Gees flair, while I hear a fleeting similarity to MGMT. Those are all apt descriptors of the London duo’s sound, but do much more to inflate the work of the track’s forefathers than identify much about Jungle. We might not know a lot about who these guys are, but “Busy Earnin'” makes us want to know so much more.