Essential Tracks This Week: Danny Brown, Floating Points and more

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Danny Brown

Along with this week’s bonkers list of new releases out today (you’ve got some catching up to do this weekend!), we’ve got another five-pack of great new tracks to spin. Among this week’s best new songs are the first single from the second album this year from a hip-hop MVP, a dancefloor banger from a more contemplative electronic producer, a spacious art pop piece from a new Mexico City duo, and more. Hear and read about this week’s Essential Tracks below.

Danny Brown – “Tantor”

If Danny Brown were to ride out the year on his JPEGMAFIA collaboration, Scaring the Hoes, alone, he still would have been one of the parties responsible for one of the most enjoyable hip-hop records of the year. But no: He just announced the details of his long-anticipated album Quaranta, complete with this surrealistic banger of a lead single. With its opening sounds of a modem connecting and a video with Danny making the rounds as a kind of junkyard Borg, Brown declares himself a “cyborg with vocal cords, deeper than the ocean floor,” backed by a tense production from The Alchemist. In under two and a half minutes it’s done, but even if it is a brief teaser of a song, it’s one with an outsized impact.

From Quaranta, out November 17 via Warp

Floating Points – “Birth4000”

Floating Points’ Sam Shepherd has made a name for himself through thoughtful and spacious permutations of electronic music, and just two years ago collaborated with the late Pharoah Sanders on Promises, a high point in both artists’ catalogs. “Birth4000” is something totally different. It’s simpler, more physical, more primal—this is dance music at its most buzzing and direct. It’s not necessarily that delving into four-on-the-floor house music is rare for Shepherd, it just often takes more intricate and atmospheric shapes. But this is buzzing, beat-heavy, synth-laden dancefloor fodder that makes no bones about what it does and where it belongs. No need to intellectualize it when it feels this good.

Out now via Ninja Tune

Titanic – “Cielo falso”

The debut album by Mexico City duo Titanic—Mabe Fratti and Hector Tosta—drifts along a dashed line between pop and avant garde, sometimes skipping back and forth along the divide in just a single song. The seven-minute “Cielo falso” is one such song, a gorgeously spacious art-pop piece that embraces a gentle minimalism, open spaces juxtaposed against a recurring piano and cello motif. But once it picks up halfway through, it rises up into a more cohesive piece of chamber pop, guided by Fratti’s escalating and breathtaking vocals. That climax only comes around a couple times, bridged by longer stretches of sparse, delicate tension, which makes its arrival all the more rewarding once it happens.

From Vidrio, out now via Unheard of Hope

Katie Von Schleicher – “Cranked”

In the Véra Haddad-directed video for her new single “Cranked,” Katie Von Schleicher is seen watching herself in puppet form before eventually joining her felt avatar along with a dancing chicken and other fuzzy friends in a fun moment of revelry. It mirrors the idea of Von Schleicher’s depiction of a world viewed through a perspective other than the shades of gray in which it mostly exists: “Tell me the world was pure/let’s pretend that I was loose and cool…don’t let me set you straight, every day is great.” If real life’s highs and lows are never quite as she imagines them, though, the realm of illusion she creates is one worth visiting repeatedly—and not solely because of the puppets that dwell there—its arrangement of organs, saxophone and strings sounding both luxurious and lilting.

From A Little Touch of Schleicher in the Night, out now via Sipsman

The Serfs – “Beat Me Down”

Cincinnati’s The Serfs introduced their third album Half Eaten by Dogs with “Club Deuce,” a beat-heavy dancepunk jam that evoked New Order’s most club friendly moments. But much like that vaunted Manchester band, The Serfs are a musically agile bunch, able to move back and forth between electronics-heavy tracks and more guitar-driven post-punk bangers alike. “Beat Me Down” hews a little closer to the latter, a hypnotic krautrock-inspired track that juxtaposes mesmerizing synth loops with minimalist guitar jangle. It’s a spectacular game of punk rock chess, doing the most with a minimal number of moves.

From Half Eaten by Dogs, out October 27 via Trouble in Mind

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