Dirty Projectors, "Offspring Are Blank"
Two highly anticipated albums from two big indie acts are streaming this week, ahead of their July 10 due date. First we have Swing Lo Magellan, from the Dirty Projectors, their first release since 2009's adored Bitte Orca. Recorded in a secluded house in upstate New York, Magellan finds lead Projector David Longstreth pushing his military-precision band into bigger, brighter territory. And while I haven’t actually gotten a chance to listen to the whole thing yet, from the sound of the humming on explosive opening track "Offspring Are Blank," it would appear that a big influence on Longstreth during the recording process was Crash Test Dummies?
Twin Shadow, "Golden Light"
The week’s other big release comes from Twin Shadow, a.k.a. George Lewis Jr., who returns with Confess two years after his debut, Forget, made everybody on the dance floor cry. By the way, I am liking the burgeoning pattern of “evocative verbs/commands as album titles” that Lewis is laying down. A few humble suggestions for the next one: Loiter. Marinate. OxiClean.
People of flyover country: If you’re looking for a subtler way to soundtrack your dramatic exit from a Greyhound bus that's just pulled into LA/NYC, skip "Welcome to the Jungle" and give Summer Camp's new jam a try.
Childish Gambino featuring Alley Boy, Swank, and Tina Fey, "Real Estate"
So Donald "Childish Gambino" Glover hit up Tina Fey, his old boss from when he was writing for 30 Rock, to talk shit on the end of a rap song. She says stuff like "Yeah, we in here" and "We ballin' like we fuckin' up the hardwood" and "This is the life we live, son." It is, inarguably, the greatest guest rap verse of the week.
Presumably, the title "Cali in a Cup" refers to the defining state of mind a place can evoke — an ephemeral, fleeting thing that can, every once in a while, be breathed in again. That said, I think the more literal interpretation of the title — each of this great nation’s 50 states, represented by cocktails — has some marketable merit. For example, Massachusetts in a Cup would be two parts Natty Ice, two parts a guy yelling in your ear about Alfredo Aceves.
DJ Drama featuring Meek Mill, 2 Chainz, and Jeremih, “My Moment”
DJ Drama and DJ Khaled both do exactly the same, bewildering thing: while neither actually make music themselves, both get to put out "solo albums" stacked with high-profile posse cuts. I'm curious as to how Messrs. Khaled and Drama worked their way into these very particular positions. I'm more curious as to how they interact if they happen to run into each other backstage at a radio-sponsored summer concert or something. Is it awkward between the simulacrum-y competitors? Or do they have some kind of unspoken shtick-sharing bond?
Spiritualized, "Little Girl"
"Little Girl," a single off Spiritualized's recent return-to-form album Sweet Heart Sweet Light, gets a music video full of fiery bike tricks and coy looks. Pitchfork relays that the video shoot consisted of "two crashes, a wrecked bike, a near-death tank rattle, 12 burnt out tires, a broken whipped cream charger, and a near arrest after police caught producers filming a high speed tracking shot on the autobahn into Berlin at 4am." If you were considering doing something weird/possibly illegal with your Friday night, this might be all the slow-burn motivation you need.
A few weeks back, Iggy took some shots at The Clash in a New York Times interview, saying, "I couldn’t stand the sincere punks. I never believed them. Still don't ... Like the Clash were going to make the world politically correct for everybody’s benefit — but only if you kept buying Clash records. I never really went for the righteousness." This week, Iggy released a song with Best Coast that’ll be featured on True Blood and was co-written by True Blood’s music supervisor, Gary Calamar. In summation, as far as “pissing people off in unorthodox ways” goes, it’s been a pretty great few weeks for Iggy Pop.
Kanye West and Pusha-T, “New God Flow”
Another one from G.O.O.D. Music’s album Cruel Summer, and possibly my favorite one so far. For the first time in a while, Kanye’s unleashed flow — “picture workin’ so hard and you can’t cut through / that could mess up your whole life, like an uncle that touched you” — recalls his vintage College Dropout style, when his clumsy, sweat-drenched constructions were just another part of his scrappy appeal. Hard to deny 'Ye when he’s trying this hard.