Essential Tracks This Week: High Vis, Nubya Garcia, and more

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High Vis

With one week to go before summer begins, we should probably be stocking up on our summer jams in Essential Tracks. For the time being, that’s a “maybe.” In addition to a soul-funk groove and a fiery jazz song, we’ve got post-punk balladry, a slowcore dirge based on a Russian poem from the 18th century and the return of a band we developed a pretty serious obsession over in 2022. Dive into this week’s Essential Tracks.

High Vis – “Mob DLA”

Remember back in 2022 when we put nearly every single from High Vis’ Blending in our weekly Essential Tracks because they were just that good? Those were the days. And those days can be ours again! This week the UK group released “Mob DLA,” their first new single in two years, and it’s an absolute beast of a song. A bit more steeped in both hardcore and psychedelia, it juxtaposes some of their heaviest chugs against spiraling squeals of lead guitar and an expectedly triumphant chorus. High Vis summer part two? Let’s do this. – Jeff Terich

Out now via Dais

Nubya Garcia – “The Seer”

Four years ago, Nubya Garcia released one of 2020’s best jazz albums, Source, a thrilling and rich spiritual jazz debut. Since then the British saxophonist released a collaborative live album with Khruangbin, but the first taste of her upcoming album Odyssey is a thrilling vision of things to come. Driven by an animated, tense rhythm, “The Seer” is essentially the jazz equivalent of a ripper. It’s all energy and furious power, with Garcia’s soaring saxophone leads guiding a dense and psychedelic track as it swirls deeper into the maelstrom. While her debut showed how versatile an artist she is with a broad palette of influences and approaches, it’s exciting to hear Garcia and her band just go for it. – Jeff Terich

From Odyssey, out September 20 via Concord Jazz

Allysha Joy – “Raise Up”

I get geeked like a kid anticipating birthday cake when singer, songwriter, producer and keys player hailing from Naarm (Melbourne), Allysha Joy, breaks down into an exhausted speaking tone with that lived-in husky voice, midway through a smoky, soulful stepper of a tune. It means she just blew the track down or is in the process of blowing it up. Something is swirling in the buttermilk. “Raise Up,” her new single from the upcoming The Making of Silk album, brokers a deal between jazz arrangements and neo-soul shuffle, with orchestration reminiscent of ’70s Roy Ayers and those moody-perfect Chaka Khan featuring Rufus strutters that still make you wanna shake it through the changes. Grab a fork. – John-Paul Shiver

From The Making of Silk, out September 13

Nightshift – “Phone”

Nightshift’s Zöe was one of the under-the-radar delights of 2021 (and one of our favorite albums on the Trouble in Mind label), and what the Glasgow art-punk band has cooking for their next album is already turning out to be something special. Their latest single “Phone” juxtaposes glimmering dream pop with melancholy violin and the taut, post-punk rhythmic sensibility that subtly drives their sound. Eothen Stearn sings a ballad of ambivalent heartache, tumbling back and forth between chants of “better off without you/better off with you,” capturing a frustration and melancholy against a beautifully understated melody. It sounds both vintage and visionary in a way that only Nightshift can pull off so well. – Jeff Terich

From Homosapien, out July 26 via Trouble in Mind

Nap Eyes – “Demons”

Halifax’s Nap Eyes are masters of a gorgeously spacious form of indie rock, rooted in folk as well as the sedate lullabies of the self-titled third Velvet Underground album. Their new single “Demons” is the band at their most sublime, stretching out over six and a half minutes with a hypnotic dirge with lyrics based on an 18th century Russian poem from Alexander Pushkin and featuring some incredible standalone lines such as “I’m blinded by the blizzard master” and “Is there a witch who’s getting married? Some goblin they are burying?” Two thirds of the way through the song, some surging, distorted guitar leads begin to creep in, perhaps the sonic embodiment of the demons driving the snowstorm in the song, or perhaps just a sublime musical moment on its own. – Jeff Terich

Out now via Paradise of Bachelors

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