Essential Tracks This Week: Natural Wonder Beauty Concept, Jenny Lewis, and more

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Natural Wonder Beauty Concept

It’s Friday, time for some new music! This week’s best new songs include a brand new collaboration between two MVPs in underground electronic music, a veteran singer/songwriter with some late night vibes, a prolific rapper teaming up with another emcee for a jazzy summer jam, club-oriented pop music from an artist who’s long blurred those lines, and hardcore descending into total chaos.

Dive into this week’s Essential Tracks.

Natural Wonder Beauty Concept – “Sword”

Natural Wonder Beauty Concept comprises the duo of Ana Roxanne and DJ Python, two distinctly different artists whose styles are nonetheless complementary. Where the former tends to navigate ambient spaces, the latter builds eclectic bangers out of reggaeton- and house-influenced sounds. Yet “Sword” isn’t exactly a simple combination of the two. Though it’s at once atmospheric and beat-driven, its progression is more glitchy and off-kilter, like a kind of dreamy permutation of R&B filtered through IDM. Yet despite its restrained sputter and filtered vocal effects, there’s an immediacy to it as well as a gentleness that’s approachable, even at its most evasive. It’s weird, wonderful, easy to love, a testament to the kind of magic two kindred spirits from different spheres can conjure up together.

From Natural Wonder Beauty Concept, out July 14 on Mexican Summer

Jenny Lewis – “Giddy Up”

Jenny Lewis has never made country music per se, but she’s occasionally swirled a little bit of western sounds in with her lush, Laurel Canyon-inspired rock, particularly on albums like 2006’s Rabbit Fur Coat. But despite the name, “Giddy Up” veers closer to downtempo and trip-hop, with intoxicating late night vibes and woozy synthesizers permeating its atmosphere. It feels like the more darkly immersive counterpart to her recent single “Psychos,” with lyrical come-ons like “take a chance” and “we’re both adults.” Which is maybe a sly way of saying it might get a little sexy. There’s no might about it.

From Joy’All, out June 9 via Blue Note/Capitol.

Jay Worthy & Roc Marciano – “Wake Up”

Roc Marciano’s been on a serious streak over the past few years, releasing two albums each year since 2020, including Elephant Man’s Bones, one of last year’s best rap records. And he’s got another one on the way at the end of the month, Nothing Bigger Than The Program, a full-length with Jay Worthy. The second single from the album, “Wake Up,” is nothing less than two emcees delivering effortless and breezy verses over a Roc-produced beat that immediately sounds like an endlessly replayable summertime jam. It’s a jazzy, laid back highlight, more about a vibe than anything, certainly more than the immediate, hard-hitting “Underground Legend,” but combined, these two early listens only suggest that this record’s going to be loaded with standouts.

From Nothing Bigger Than The Program, out May 26

Geld – “The Fix Is In”

In the trippy new video for “The Fix Is In,” the members of Geld are juxtaposed with dual exposure layers of flames, which is a fitting visual metaphor—the Australian group’s feedback and psych-laden rippers sound a little like hardcore being played in the eye of a towering inferno. “The Fix Is In” being no exception—it roars and shrieks, thrums and throbs. The group rarely play straight-up hardcore, and here the tempo drops to a sickly midsection rife with squealing guitar leads before the band gallops back into maximum speed. It feels like total chaos at its peak, but Geld know better than most how to bend that kind of anarchy to their will.

From Currency//Castration, out June 9 via Relapse.

Jessy Lanza – “Midnight Ontario”

Ontario’s Jessy Lanza has made her name on balancing singer/songwriter pop and sleek R&B with elements of club music better than most, and recent single “Don’t Leave Me Now” suggested that the latter might be playing an even more prominent role than ever. With “Midnight Ontario,” the second single from her upcoming album Love Hallucination, Lanza doubles down on drawing influence from garage and 2-step, crafting a mesmerizing piece of pop music out of an elegant sparseness and jittery rhythms. It carries a stunning kind of tension that feels at once like some of her most adventurous and sophisticated material to date—as well as her most fun.

From Love Hallucination, out July 28 via Hyperdub

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