Essential Tracks This Week: ANOHNI, Peggy Gou, and more

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ANOHNI Essential Tracks

The best weeks for Essential Tracks are those in which a diverse range of sounds wins out, and this week is just such a lineup of songs. Stark solo piano, bouncy summer house music, haunting art pop, bruising hardcore—there’s something for a whole spectrum of listening preferences here, making your summer playlist six songs longer (technically one of this week’s five songs is actually two, so you get a bonus track). Get this week’s Essential Tracks queued up for the weekend.

ANOHNI – “Sliver of Ice”

ANOHNI’s last album HOPELESSNESS featured bright and booming electronic arrangements big on beats and dancefloor energy (and some pretty bleak statements overall), but “Sliver of Ice” is a return to the kind of affecting, intimate emotional experience of some of her greatest work in the past. Inspired by some of the final things that her friend Lou Reed said to her before his death in 2013, it’s a quiet look at a fleeting moment of gratitude that carries grief in its heart. She’s backed by a sparse arrangement of guitar and percussion, giving her voice a proper moment to resonate with its indelible power. Heartbreaking and beautiful.

From My Back Was a Bridge for You to Cross, which is out July 7 via Secretly Canadian.

Knocked Loose – “Deep in the Willow/Everything is Quiet Now”

We typically don’t include two-for-ones in our weekly Essential Tracks, but if that’s how Knocked Loose intends to offer them to us, who are we to argue? And for what it’s worth, both tracks—released via the new 10-inch single Upon Loss—are absolute monsters. Like the best Knocked Loose songs, they’re engineered to absolutely fuck you up. In the case of “Deep in the Willow,” that’s through dissonant shrieks of guitar and a menacing gallop, and with “Everything is Quiet Now,” gut-churning tension and slo-mo mosh pit heft, complete with an eerie, ethereal climax. Haunting, harrowing, and as heavy as it gets—and I’d be remiss not to mention their amazing, creepy video for that matter. Watch, listen, be devastated.

Out now via Pure Noise

Sigur Rós – “Klettur”

The arrival of surprise new music from Sigur Rós—their first in a decade—is naturally cause for celebration, as mentioned in this week’s Best New Releases column. And on that surprise new album, ÁTTA, there are various moments that stand out, even if it’s new enough to us that we’re still processing. One of them is “Klettur,” a soaring moment of cinematic majesty, which is perhaps a combination of words that could apply to any Sigur Rós song, but holds true here in every sense, showcasing the Icelandic legends’ penchant for grandeur and accessibility alike.

From ÁTTA, out now via BMG

Peggy Gou – “(It Goes Like) Nanana”

South Korean-born DJ and producer Peggy Gou has released a string of excellent house and disco EPs over the past seven years, eventually leading to her signing with forward-thinking music powerhouse XL. This week, she dropped a certified song-of-the-summer candidate, “(It Goes Like) Nanana,” complete with a karaoke-style video and a chorus that you’ll have stuck in your head for the next three months, guaranteed. (Sorry, or you’re welcome, or both.) Either way, there’s no denying the joy and magnetism of the song, built on bright house piano and bouncy BPMs. The sound of summer in a little over four minutes.

Out now via XL

Spencer Zahn – “Two Cranes”

Spencer Zahn made a beautiful, dreamy and abstract record with Dawn Richard last year, Pigments, which found the duo drawing their disparate but complementary styles of music closer together in a stellar collaboration that defied easy categorization. “Two Cranes” returns to Zahn’s more solitary approach, solely comprising his solo piano performance. It’s haunting and sparse, gentle in approach but carrying a sense of quiet intensity in its minor key arpeggios. You could imagine this building up into something grander, but even in its stark solo arrangement, it feels whole.

From Statues I, out August 11 via Cascine

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