CURRENT: Deerhunter – “Breaker”

“Breaker” marks the most prominent vocal collaboration between Deerhunter’s two main songwriters – Bradford Cox and Lockett Pundt – in the band’s impressive discography. While the two have always made for a wonderful musical pairing, “Breakers” is even more gorgeous than the idea of a full-blown collaborative track between the two songwriters originally seemed. As the two share vocals, their similarities (and vast differences) are put in the forefront. There’s hardly a trace of the back-to-basics, underrated Monomania, as the band pursues a direction closer to the dreamy, infinite sonics of Microcastle and Halcyon Digest. But at the core of “Breaker” is one of the best melodies and structures of any Deerhunter song. In some ways, it reminds me of another beloved independent rock band and their own breathtaking, surprising turn on their last LP: Spoon and “Inside Out.” “Breaker” is as wistful and painstakingly beautiful as that essential They Want My Soul cut, and coming from a band known for their intense live shows, it feels like Deerhunter is taking a deep breath. Reflecting on their past while gravitating toward their future.

Fading Frontier is out October 16 through 4AD.


CURRENT: Kurt Vile – “Life Like This”

No one would ever confuse Kurt Vile as being high-strung. So it’s pretty impressive that the second taste of one of the more anticipated fall releases (right next to you, Chromatics) of 2015 shows Vile even more relaxed than on “Pretty Pimpin'” or Wakin On A Pretty Daze. “Life” is anchored by a rolling piano section, with Vile casually inserting some guitar riffs here and there. “Wanna live a life like mine,” he asks early on, and throughout “Life Like This” and its glorious video, a life like that seems like a pretty good alternative.

b’lieve i’m goin down is out September 25 via Matador.

CURRENT: Cousin Stizz – “Shoutout” [Gravez Remix]

Boston rapper Cousin Stizz’s “Shoutout” has been online for over a year now, but with the recent release of his debut mixtape Suffolk County, the budding rapper’s 2014 track receives a remix from Gravez. Instead of reconstructing “Shoutout,” Gravez utilizes the many great things present in the original and positions them in a slightly new light. Stizz delivers his rhymes with a stoic, matter-of-fact clarity, and the rapper offers subtle, illuminating truths. The arpeggiating synths in the original take on a more prominent role, giving the track an almost whimsical, dreamlike quality. “Shoutout to the money / Love, the drugs / Shoutout to the money from the drugs,” Stizz raps to the point it becomes a mantra. As he flips pounds, he flips the script on the narrative of drug use in the black community. If money is power, and drugs make money, then, well, you do the math.

CURRENT: Ellie Herring – “Maze”

Ellie Herring’s blistering “Maze” – the b-side to her forthcoming single release in October – splits through the speakers and relentlessly asserts its scattered, frenetic intentions in its opening seconds. The bounce-inspired opening sets the tone, as the song swirls at a dizzying pace. The longer you stick with “Maze,” the more entrenched you become in the sonics, no exit in sight. There aren’t many other places I’d rather get lost in than the “Maze.”

CURRENT: Hinds – “Garden”

Hinds is a four-piece hailing from Barcelona that operates within lo-fi, guitar-based parameters. They’ve just announced their debut LP, Leave Me Alone, along with releasing that album’s opening track, “Garden.” The song feels ripped from another time period, yet there’s a vitality to “Garden” that provides the track with some much needed currency.

Leave Me Alone is out January 2016 through Mom + Pop.

CURRENT: Chromatics – “Shadow”

When Johnny Jewel announced Dear Tommy would arrive “in time for Valentine’s Day,” it seemed too good to be true. And it was. While that album’s release remains a mystery, Chromatics have been unveiling some sensational tracks from Tommy, including “Just Like You,” “I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around,” and “In Films.” Next up is “Shadow,” the opening track of Dear Tommy and part of the Adult Swim Singles Series. The song stretches like a shadow; fully there yet just out of reach. And behind the dark hues that infiltrate “Shadow” is a blinding light signaling this band’s growing stature.

Dear Tommy could arrive any day now; it’s an endurance test.

CURRENT: Leon Bridges – “Better Man (Remix)” [ft. Bun B]


Leon Bridges released his debut album Coming Home not long ago, and this week the soul singer released a mixtape featuring reworks of Home tracks such as “Smooth Sailin’,” “River” and “Coming Home.” An early highlight is the Chi Duly remix of “Better Man,” complimented by a verse from fellow Texan Bun B. Chi deftly bridges the gap between Bridges’ rock and soul influences and Houston rap. B’s verse is inspired and refreshing as the rap legend dives headfirst in adding his personal touch to the original’s theme. Leon Bridges, welcome home.

Coming Home To Texas is yours if you can spare a few MB’s of space on your hard drive.