Holograms – “Monolith”
While the last Holograms track “Chasing My Mind” was peppy-scrappy post-punk with an endearing synth lead, the lead in to their self-titled debut “Monolith” is decidedly more rough and caustic. Feeling like getting dropped in a pit of angry shirtless teens all fighting their way to the refreshment’s table, “Monolith” is catchy and claustrophobic, ending with a thick bass line wrestling against a floor tom.
Purity Ring – “Fineshrine”
The latest from Purity Ring, “Fineshrine”’s expansive mushroom cloud melodies fall comfortably in step with their “trap beats for pixies” sound. Unlikely contemporary Lex Luger keeps his shimmering beats firmly grounded in reality, but Purity Ring takes to the stars for their fantastical songs that play through the high courts of castles built on top of billowing clouds.
Physical Therapy – “Drone On”
Grab your water bottle and get ready to start rubbing your thighs like they’re made of silk: “Drone On” is the kind of euphoric, trance-affected banger that invokes Aaliyah’s soul and asks her to bless the instruments with her spectral essence. The strong hip-hop element exterminates any element of croniness from the 90s rave sound, which rises, peaks and rumbles in your stomach over and over again like an incredible high during an unforgettable night.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “I’ll Come Back 4 U”
The first from the Adult Swim Summer Singles Program, Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s hazy recording envelops “I’ll Come Back 4 U” like the heat of summer beachside stroll, with twisting guitar lines that skip, slide and flutter with the recklessness of a heart that’s bursting with love and has nowhere to store it all. Earnest, joyful, but made melancholy by the prospect of an impending departure, it comes straight from the place that hopes your lover will wait for you when you go off to school, to travel, or on tour. And if you write them a song this catchy, they’d be crazy not to.
Nas feat. Rick Ross – “Accidental Murderers”
“Accidental Murderers” is about bragging when you have no place to brag, like when you pass off a store-bought cake as your own at a bridal shower, or when you accidentally kill someone and say it was murder. Anyway, Nas is still on his “good message” tip, but guest Rick Ross isn’t playing by the same rules. The gospel organ beat sets the stage for two competing views: These “accidental murderers” aren’t playing the same game as Ross; Nas questions why they’re playing it at all. Making socially conscious rap without sounding preachy is much easier when you’re as good a rapper as Nas, but it’s Ross who really stands out, delivering what might be one of my favorite verses of his, ever. His signature punchlines AND frenzied multi-syllable rhymes in drug-rap bars? Yes please.