We took a short break from Essential Tracks last week, but the parade of new music marches on. This week’s roundup of the best new songs includes dancefloor affirmations, spiritual healing, a pair of bangers fit for a goth night and some breakbeats from Burial. Queue them up and turn it up loud.
Ibibio Sound Machine – “Got to Be Who U Are”
Ibibio’s last album Electricity, featuring production from Hot Chip, showcased some of the UK group’s strongest grooves to date, but the first single from their follow-up finds them riding that high deeper into club sounds. With big, bubbly synth basslines and atmospheric house piano, “Got to Be Who U Are” blends positive affirmations with a heavy dose of energetic dancefloor funk. It’s a bit more restrained, perhaps, than a song like “Protection from Evil,” but endlessly intoxicating.
From Pull the Rope, out May 3 via Merge
Elsy Wameyo – “Sinner”
Kenya-born, Australia-based singer/rapper Elsy Wameyo delves into her own saga of spiritual conflict on her new song “Sinner,” paired with a video that juxtaposes church pews with rising flames. There’s an ominous and heavy tone to the song as Wameyo drops sequences of rapid fire introspection, breaking briefly with ethereal choruses that ask, “Are you not entertained by the spirit?” But as she seeks spiritual healing, she embraces a sonic approach that goes hard, as trips through hell and back often do.
Burial – “Dreamfear”
Burial’s music is often caught between the material and incorporeal world, ghosts seeping through the cracks between this plane and what lies beyond. “Dreamfear” isn’t necessarily any different in some respects, its haunting atmosphere still spectral and eerie. But here’s the thing: It’s an absolute banger. Not unlike Aphex Twin embracing more danceable sounds last year, Burial temporarily puts aside the ambient drift in favor of hardcore breaks and woozy rave synths, kicking up 12 minutes of high-energy loops and a more intensely physical approach overall. There are ghosts here, perhaps, but they’re likely working up a sweat too.
Out now via XL
Houses of Heaven – “Within/Without”
One of the best compliments I can give Houses of Heaven’s “Within/Without” is that I wish I still ran a goth night so that I could spin this on the regular. The first single from the Oakland duo’s sophomore album is right in that after-midnight sweet spot of vintage EBM austerity and prime Depeche Mode sensuality, with a bit of minimal wave chill a la Factory Floor. “Within/Without” is a track that reveals itself slowly, evolving gradually from being purely physical to something more nuanced and haunting. To put this another way: If I don’t hear this at a local goth night soon, I’m going to be very disappointed.
From Within/Without, out April 26 via felte
Purest Form – “Broke”
It’s turned out to be a pretty strong week for industrial, as there’s not one but two such bangers in this week’s Essential Tracks. Purest Form is fronted by Story Beeson of Nashville’s Choking on Ash, and features Madi Woodward of Fury on guitar and drum programming, along with bassist Riley Joyner. And their debut single “Broke” is two of the most lacerating minutes you’ll hear this month. With punishing drum machines, blood-curdling screams and guitars that could draw blood, the group nods to late ’80s Ministry at their most punishing or Uniform at their most full-throated. I can imagine hearing this at a goth club, too, if the DJ’s feeling extremely pissed off that night.
From Purest Form, out March 7
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.