We don't want to panic you or anything, but, holy shit, the playlist is back!
Hey Mr. Grey (Merge)
Bob Mould proves he’s just as good at writing blistering punk anthems as he was in the Hüsker Dü days, although he shows his age by singing the line “Get off my yard” in the first verse.
Thar She Blows (Independent)
Depending on your level of imagination, “Thar She Blows” suggests a plot-shifting line from either Moby Dick or Peter North: The Official Biography. Or, if you prefer, a banjo-adorned roots rambler that’s equal parts Stevie Nicks and Roseanne Cash.
Take Out the Gunman (Epic)
Any jackass can scream his larynx out in an electro-metal band. Creating a genuine sense of menace is more of a challenge, and the men of Chevelle rise to it with a synth-bombed ode to locking, loading, and squeezing the trigger.
Esben and the Witch
As we move into spring and the days get warmer, there’s nothing like a nine-minute excursion into alternately pummelling and droning neo-goth to get you looking forward to feeling miserable in the sunshine for a change.
On the Beach (Because Music)
Joakim’s Neil Young cover sounds almost nothing like the original, but we have a feeling the guy who made Trans would approve of the French producer’s use of sad-robot synths and vocoder.
Traitors (New Damage)
Starts out sweet and dreamy in a swooning synth-rock kind of way, and then gets prog-metal heavy, the end result being as powerful as Alice in Chains’ epic Dirt, only 98 percent less heroin-obsessed.
Tokyo Police Club
Miserable (Dine Alone)
Talk about a case of false advertising. Tokyo Police Club sounds anything but miserable on this bright-eyed new-waver, with the band balancing razor-wire guitars and vocals that suggest the illegitimate spawn of Pete Shelley.
Sometimes the mark of a great soul song is the way it gets you singing in traffic like James Brown. And sometimes, as with the stupidly infectious “Rats”, it’s the way it makes you feel like dancing the Funky Chicken—while singing in traffic like the second coming of James Brown.
Heavy Seas of Love (Warner Bros.)
With Brian Eno delivering the vocals on the verses, Blur/Gorillaz frontman Albarn delivers something that’s equal parts piano ballad, gospel dirge, and “Daydream Believer” rewrite.
High Ball Stepper (Third Man)
While it’s odd that Jack White chose an instrumental as the first taste of his forthcoming second solo LP, the track itself—a sonic oddity that builds to a fuzz-strafed colossus of a guitar riff—is undeniably intriguing.
Icona Pop feat. Ty Dolla $ign
It’s My Party (TEN Music Group)
Not quite a cover of the Lesley Gore oldie, although it recontextualizes the hook in a swervy, trap-informed number, to which Ty Dolla $ign adds a suitably salacious verse. Mindless fun never sounded so mindless.