Sleigh Bells, “Born To Lose”
Last year, when Sleigh Bells dropped their debut, Treats, the twin cannon blasts of Derek Miller’s crush riffs and Alexis Krauss’s banshee shrieks took a shovel to everyone right in the face. This new single, off the upcoming follow-up Reign Of Terror, is plenty massive, but with a brand new softer edge. So, maybe it’s like a shovel to the face, but if they then go get the bag of frozen peas to put over your eye after?
Homeboy Sandman, “New York Nights”
The Queens MC – who got his undergrad at UPenn, and later dropped out of law school to focus on rapping – has just signed with the impeccably versatile Stones Throw, and this is the first track off his new EP for the label, out in January. At one point on this, he boasts about seeing five movies in the theater in one day, but only paying for one, a matinee. So, yeah, it’s pretty awesome.
Don Trip, “Lawyer”
Don Trip, the Memphis M.C. currently breaking from regional to national, has a fantastically commanding rap voice. There’s nothing particularly dramatic about it; it just has enough of that grit to make anything he says sound cool. That means “Lawyer,” a cautionary tale about life in a stash house, has really hit home. Trust: I will never attempt to head a multi-person drug distribution operation again.
Araabmuzik, “I Remember”
This is off the deluxe, expanded edition of Araabmuzik’s Electronic Dream, which was one of the most incongruously great albums of the year. Why did a dude who makes Hot97 bangers for Dipset decide to channel his inner Tiesto? I will let you know as soon as I’m done listening to “Streets Tonight” for the 10th Billionth time.
Four Tet, “Moma”
Let’s go back to back with the mesmerizing instrumentals. By the way, this track is part of We Are the Works In Progress, the Japan Society and Architecture For Humanity Japan’s tsunami relief effort fund. So, after you rouse yourself from a “Moma”-inspired dreamy stupor, make sure to pony up.
Cloud Nothings, “Stay Useless”
Thirty seconds into this snotty garage-rock burner, and you’ll seriously start contemplating spearheading a revolution that puts you in totalitarian control of the world, wherein your first order of business will be to decree that every new band is allowed no other instruments outside of guitar, bass, and a shitty set of drums.
Ke$ha, “Sleazy Remix 2.0” feat. Andre 3000, Wiz Khalifa, Lil Wayne, and T.I.
It was odd enough when the original remix of “Sleazy” had an Andre 3000 verse. But T.I., Lil Wayne, and Wiz hopping on, as well? Ke$ha must just have the dankest weed.
Titus Andronicus, “In My Place” (Coldplay cover)
New Jersey rabble-rousers tackle Coldplay, and do their best to maintain the quiet, cushy dignity of the original. Oh, except for that part where Patrick Stickles says he wants to take a “dirty shit on” your pretty face “now,” I guess.
Ashanti, “The Woman You Love” feat. Busta Rhymes
Whoa! The First Lady of Murder Inc. returns, with a locked-in, woman-scorned number that is way, way better than I expected it to be. Not “Foolish” good, of course. But, you know, pretty good.
Asher Roth feat. Action Bronson, “Choices”
Asher Roth does his breezy jazz-rap throwback thing; Action Bronson is “honestly sick / some would say retarded and shit” but “his mind sharp cause he eat garlic and shit.” Hey, we got all the way through that sentence without using the phrase ‘white rappers’!