The year’s almost half over, and the Essential Tracks just keep on coming. This week’s roundup includes a new single from one of our favorite prolific performers of the past decade, our favorite new British punk band, our reigning favorite British prog band, and more.
Plus, listen to our ongoing 2022 Essential Tracks playlist.
Moor Mother – “Rap Jasm” [feat. AKAI Solo, Justmadnice]
A few weeks back, I caught a collaborative performance in Richmond featuring Moor Mother and a group of Richmond and Philadelphia musicians, showcasing the more abstract side of her musical poetry. But shortly thereafter she announced new album Jazz Codes, her second album in less than a year’s time, following 2021’s Black Encyclopedia of the Air. Its second single is Moor Mother in laid-back jazz rap mode, with a hypnotic boom-bap backing rich in luxurious and spacious keyboard textures, as well as an entertaining nod to Outkast (“Forever/For ever? For ever ever? Motherfucker you know the song“). “Rap Jasm” is at once sedate and agitated, clever and mesmerizing, all the complementary and contradictory aspects of Moor Mother’s music in one single.
From Jazz Codes, out July 1 via Anti-
High Vis – “Fever Dream”
Earlier this year, UK group High Vis landed in our Essential Tracks roundup with “Talk for Hours,” a song so good that it’s been in constant rotation pretty much ever since while we waited for the news of their new album, Blending. With its official announcement earlier this week, the group also released “Fever Dream,” the second single from the album, which shimmers with Stone Roses-style guitar riffs, urgent post-punk rhythms and an anthemic chorus, essentially imagining what the Britpop era would have been like if it were, in fact, punk as fuck. It’s not as if “Talk for Hours” wasn’t already song-of-the-summer worthy, but High Vis are overachieving by dropping another candidate before we even cross the changing of the seasons.
From Blending, out September 9 via Dais
black midi – “Eat Men Eat”
On last year’s Cavalcade, black midi showed their strengths with material that drew from the beauty and majesty of the four songs on In the Court of the Crimson King that aren’t “21st Century Schizoid Man.” But it’s still pretty fun when they opt for a more frantic take on prog, which they do on the urgent and torturous rhythms of “Eat Men Eat,” a song that switches from menacing and ferocious (more Red than Crimson) to fleeting but earned moments of respite. It’s a truly wild song that packs a lot into just three minutes, offering a reminder that progressive rock need not always overstay its welcome.
From Hellfire, out July 15 via Rough Trade
The Beths – “Silence is Golden”
Summer’s here (more or less—what’s a couple days?), and there are few better things during the summer months than a bright and crunchy power pop anthem. That’s pretty much what The Beths do best, and they add a jerky punk urgency to new single “Silence is Golden,” a track that has no moments of feeling settled or still, always twitchy and ready to burst until vocalist Elizabeth Stokes sings, “The sound, the sound, the sound, the sound, the sound…I’d burn the city to the ground to turn it down.” It’s an exercise in tension and release that sounds, well, golden.
From Expert in a Dying Field, out September 16 via Carpark
Revelators Sound System – “Grieving”
This technically isn’t a brand new song, but one that dropped a couple weeks back, but it’s so good—and we’re regretful enough about not including it the first time—that it’s being named an Essential Track regardless. Revelators Sound System is a collaboration between MC Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger and Cameron Ralston of Spacebomb Records, and while that might conjure certain sonic palettes in your mind, it’s likely not what you’d expect. Revelators Sound System draws heavily from ’70s jazz-funk, dub and Afrobeat grooves and textures, all of which come together on a mesmerizing swirl of funk and improvisational freedom on “Grieving.” It feels like a Head Hunters session laced with psychedelics, never letting go of the groove even while the track drifts off into space.
From Revelators, out now via 37d03d
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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.