Welcome back to The Verge’s weekly musical roundup. I’m Jamieson, I’m still your host, and like many of you I spent my Thursday and Friday nights waiting on Frank Ocean. We’re well into the weekend at this point, and Boys Don’t Cry is nowhere to be seen. Are you disappointed? Angry? Amused? Did you see this coming from a mile away? If I’m being completely honest with you, I’m fine waiting as long as it takes. There’s plenty of other worthy music to celebrate, and I’d rather Frank takes the time he needs to realize his grand vision than release something unsatisfactory. He’s one hell of a tease, though.
Remember to subscribe to our Spotify playlist if you haven’t already — it’s updated weekly! Let’s go:
Britney Spears, “Private Show”
When I included Britney’s other new single “Make Me…” in this space a few weeks ago, I did so because it genuinely impressed me. (It was better than anything you’d hear on Britney Jean, to say the least.) I can’t say the same for “Private Show,” but I had to throw it in here anyway because it’s weird as hell. Britney sounds like a chipmunk vocaloid covering a Meghan Trainor C-side.
DJ Snake ft. Justin Bieber, “Let Me Love You”
After igniting his comeback with a guest spot on Skrillex and Diplo’s “Where Are Ü Now” last spring, Justin Bieber is paying back the world’s community of producers and DJs by hopping on all of their new singles. I like “Let Me Love You” a little more than “Cold Water,” Bieber’s recent collaboration with Major Lazer and MØ — it’s a better showcase for his voice and I’m a sucker for those deep house synths, even if DJ Snake stole Skrillex’s “dolphin” trick for the song’s wordless hook.
Grimes, “Medieval Warfare”
Can I level with you for a minute? There’s absolutely no chance I’m ever watching Suicide Squad. I’d rather eat a toenail. (Please don’t hold me to that.) The closest I’ll come to a real viewing is listening to the movie’s soundtrack, which is just as batshit and incoherent as the movie itself. It has at least one winner in “Medieval Warfare,” Grimes’ snarling piece of… trap-punk? Look, even this song is all over the place. Imagine Jared Leto getting freaky to this on set.
Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam, “In a Black Out”
Here’s a project worth getting excited about: Hamilton Leithauser (formerly of The Walkmen) and Rostam Batmanglij (formerly of Vampire Weekend) are releasing an album together as Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam. It’s called I Had a Dream That You Were Mine, and it’s coming out on September 23rd. New single “In a Black Out” is delicate folk, and it really starts to soar when Rostam tosses in a spectral choir about halfway through.
Jacques Greene, “You Can’t Deny”
I’ll always have a minute to spare for Canadian producer Jacques Greene because he made “Another Girl,” one of this decade’s best singles, and that kind of achievement should be rewarded. New cut “You Can’t Deny” is muscular techno, and it sounds a little like a Chvrches song on steroids before the beat finally asserts itself a minute into the song. It’s all dancefloor bliss from there.
of Montreal, “Let’s Relate”
We’re almost a decade out from of Montreal’s late-00s peak — think Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? and Skeletal Lamping — and Kevin Barnes is still churning out collections of oddball synth-pop almost every year. “Let’s Relate” is one of the new tracks arriving as part of the band’s new album Innocence Reaches on August 12th, and I’ll remember it for the funny turn of phrase that gives the song its title: “I already like you / I like that you like you / I think that you’re great / I want to relate.”
I don’t know much about the rising London duo Tender, but “Outside” caught me by surprise when I gave it a spin earlier this week — it’s artful, slinky post-James Blake alt-R&B. This is the kind of thing that’s easy to learn but tough to master, and “Outside” still managed to stand out. Promising!
Tennis, “Ladies Don’t Play Guitar”
I think Tennis is one of the most underrated pop groups working — they have an ear for distinctive, indelible melodies and a coherent aesthetic, even if it’s a little unfashionable. (“Sailing” doesn’t really work as the linchpin of a brand in 2016.) New single “Ladies Don’t Play Guitar” is a great introduction to their sound if you’re unfamiliar: a wistful piano line, a biting, sarcastic vocal from Alaina Moore, and a little fuzz to keep things grounded.
Tove Lo, “Cool Girl”
Tove Lo has emerged as one of pop’s most exciting talents in the last few years, writing a bunch of huge hits (including Ellie Goulding’s massive “Love Me Like You Do”) and earning a few smashes in her own right. I wouldn’t be surprised if “Cool Girl” — which is apparently inspired by Gone Girl, if you can believe that — rockets to the top of the charts sometime soon. It’s icy, confident electro-pop.
Warpaint, “New Song”
Los Angeles quartet Warpaint are releasing a new album called Heads Up on September 23rd, and “New Song” is exactly what it sounds like. (Here’s to titles that make things easy on the music bloggers of the world.) I remember spending a lot of time with the band’s earlier, moodier working during undergrad, so “New Song” really surprised me: it’s upbeat, bright dance-rock.
Here’s the running This Is Your Next Jam playlist — have a great weekend!