Essential Tracks This Week: billy woods and Kenny Segal, Divide and Dissolve, and more
Even with Coachella and a grip of new releases hitting shelves today, there’s still an impressive batch of new songs—Essential Tracks you could call them!—to dive into. This week’s roundup of the best new songs include the first single from billy woods and Kenny Segal’s second collaborative LP, another oddball new noise-dance song from Mandy, Indiana, a beautifully heavy one from Divide and Dissolve, and more. Dive into our roundup of this week’s Essential Tracks.
billy woods and Kenny Segal – “FaceTime” (feat. Samuel Herring)
With two releases last year in Aethiopes and Church (the former was our Album of the Year), billy woods hasn’t stopped moving in all that time. Which is where we find the emcee on “FaceTime,” offering a dispatch from the road with characteristic wordplay and layers of meaning: “Ready to die, no (Big)gie/No surprise no pity/Lived a couple lives, go ahead and slide/Hope I take a couple with me.” He namechecks Bratislava and Utrecht on his slice-of-life tour through backstages, rest stops and afterparties, with Samuel Herring of Future Islands providing a soulful hook and Kenny Segal’s production layered with Rhodes and saxophone. It’s a remarkably luxurious look at one of the less glamorous aspects of being a professional artist.
From Maps, out May 6 via Backwoodz
Mandy, Indiana – “Peach Fuzz”
The string of singles from i’ve seen a way that Manchester’s Mandy, Indiana have released thus far have each been a fascinating look at how they balance seemingly opposing ideas of groove and cacophony. Sometimes the pulse wins out over the chaos, sometimes it’s the noise that rises to the top; on “Peach Fuzz,” they’re in perfect balance. Thrillingly weird and aggressively seductive, “Peach Fuzz” is unquestionably dance music, but not exclusively so—this is raging, cathartic, eerie and agitated. As often as terms like “industrial techno” are thrown around, Mandy, Indiana live up to that promise by creating something that actually sounds like dissonance made rhythmic, and in the process, it ends up being immensely pleasurable.
From i’ve seen a way, out May 19 via Fire Talk
Divide and Dissolve – “Blood Quantum”
There’s often a duality at play in Divide and Dissolve’s music, between a sort of melancholy, melodic sensibility—typically in the form of saxophone—and crushing, cacophonous drone metal. Both of which are present in “Blood Quantum,” the first song released from upcoming album Systemic. But there’s a gorgeously fluid interaction between these two seemingly opposing elements, their awesome power and delicate grace even more complementary, while the heaviest aspect of their music is given an even greater and more triumphant melodic sensibility. This feels like a doorway to something affecting and awe-inspiring.
From Systemic, out June 30 via Invada.
Danny Paul Grody – “Light Blooms”
Guitarist Danny Paul Grody might best be known through his work in two post-rock groups, The Drift and Tarentel, but as a solo artist, he crafts delicately atmospheric worlds of his own. “Light Blooms,” the first song from his upcoming album Arc of Day, gently follows the unrushed progression of his acoustic guitar plucks against gorgeously layered woodwinds. It’s at once too active to be ambient music and too serene to be anything else, but in this curious middle ground he creates something that’s not so much still as present—not so much the intense rush of a river’s rapids than the gentle but steady flow of a creek.
From Arc of Day, out June 16 via Three Lobed
Geld – “Fog of War”
Relapse has increasingly been welcoming more punk bands into the fold of late, and their taste has been impeccable—first with Philly medieval punks Poison Ruin, and now Australian noise-psych hardcore brawlers Geld. After having released their previous LP via hardcore outpost Iron Lung, they’ve introduced new album Currency // Castration with “Fog of War,” a suitably cacophonous and swirling psychedelic d-beat menace that brings Discharge and Destruction Unit to a collision point. It’s a raucous and explosive song, somehow only growing more intense in over three minutes’ time. By the end, its almost too much to take—almost.
From Currency // Castration, out June 6 via Relapse
Jessie Ware – “Begin Again”
The sequence of singles that Jessie Ware has released from her upcoming That! Feels Good! has shown a broad spectrum of sounds she’s been pursuing in this deeply satisfying disco-diva phase of her career. Where “Pearls” was the most bubblegum hedonistic of the batch, the string-laden grandeur of “Begin Again” is sophisticated and maximalist, a return to the gorgeous widescreen production of her incredible 2020 album What’s Your Pleasure? And as with her previous two songs, Ware proves with “Begin Again” that That! Feels Good! is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
From That! Feels Good!, out April 28 via PMR/Interscope
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.