Essential Tracks This Week: Róisín Murphy, Protomartyr and more

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Roisin Murphy essential tracks

Another week down, another set of tracks you need to hear. This week, it’s a set of songs that lean a little heavier toward electronic sounds, with some punk rock added in for good measure, and some jazz to round it all out. Check out our picks for the best new songs of the week.

Róisín Murphy – “CooCool”

Róisín Murphy and DJ Koze have crossed paths before, the always fascinating and sonically evolving pop artist having lent her voice to two songs on the German producer’s last album, 2018’s Knock Knock (which were two of the best on the album at that). It seemed only natural that they’d arrive upon a similar kind of magic with their next collaboration. In its opening moments, Murphy laments, “I’ve lost it,” but if she did, it’s only momentary. It doesn’t take long for the song’s soulful, retro, late-night groove to kick in, vinyl crackles and all, with Murphy declaring, “That ol’ magic’s back,” and it’s nothing but good vibes from there. It’s a song for gazing at the stars on a warm spring night, or maybe just gazing longingly into the eyes of the one you’re with. Either way, it’s a shot of sweet feelings that’s at once warmly familiar and a thrilling promise of something new. – Jeff Terich

Out now via Ninja Tune

Protomartyr – “Make Way”

Welcome to the haunted earth,” sings Joe Casey in the opening of the first single from their upcoming sixth album, “the living afterlife.” He plays carnival barker to a desolate and dusty landscape reflected in the chilling, atmospheric twang his band cooks up around him. But “Make Way” is less an epic journey than a shock to the senses, those ambient, reverb-laden guitars erupting into a jarring and aggressive chorus that finds Casey barking the song’s title like it’s a matter of utmost urgency. As the group increasingly leans toward the more abstract end of their post-punk songwriting on albums like 2020’s Ultimate Success Today, there’s something uneasily refreshing about hearing them, if only temporarily, opt for a primal scream instead. – Jeff Terich

From Formal Growth in the Desert, out June 2 via Domino

London Brew – “Raven Flies Low”

Though not always considered a notable locus of jazz, London has become a hotspot in recent years. Artists like Shabaka Hutchings, Nubya Garcia, and Theon Cross regularly generate buzz for their fusions of jazz with London’s diverse cultural influences. Through the new music collective London Brew, the scene’s top players coalesce in paying tribute to another great alchemist of fusion, Miles Davis. The second single from their forthcoming record reaches for a mellow, contemplative intersection of strings, hip-hop-adjacent beats, and fuzzy electric guitar. It appears at first as a cousin of Makaya McCraven’s “organic beat music”; warm, natural, and decidedly contemporary. It’s thoughtful, boundless music. – Noah Sparkes

From London Brew, out March 31 via Concord

Alan Braxe – “Never Coming Back” (feat. Annie)

Alan Braxe and Fred Falk released their debut singles collection The Upper Cuts in summer 2005, just nine months after Norwegian pop artist Annie became a critical darling with her ecstatic debut Anniemal. And Braxe remixed “Heartbeat” around that same time, but despite being two MVPs in a rising crossover lane between indie and electronic sounds they’ve only just now worked together on their first collaborative song. Nonetheless, “Never Coming Back” is more than simply nostalgia for the proto-blog-house aughts. Like Braxe’s recent collaboration with Panda Bear, the song is a low-key but nonetheless urgent set of dancefloor fun, deep in the groove but still playing it cool. And though certainly it would have seemed a natural fit for the aesthetic in which The Upper Cuts dropped, it also feels of the moment, one more exhibit in the ongoing case for disco as a timeless art. – Jeff Terich

From The Upper Cuts (expanded reissue), out March 31 via Smugglers Way/Domino

Guardian Singles – “Chad and Stacey”

In a statement that New Zealand’s Guardian Singles released with new single “Chad and Stacey,” which premiered here earlier this week, they described the song as “someone unraveling in the man-o-sphere.” And in less than two minutes, the driving post-punk anthem finds the group tackling the prickly topic of contemporary mutations of masculinity that often underpin tragedy and hate. It’s less righteously angry than frantic and frustrated, all jittery energy and forward momentum, and it sounds fantastic even when it all feels really bad. But sometimes the prescription for social situations that weigh on one’s mental health is to simply shout and strum your way through it. – Jeff Terich

From Feed Me to the Doves, out May 26 via Trouble in Mind

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