Gorillaz – Saturnz Barz
I can’t set you off on your weekend music adventure without first addressing the gorilla in the room, or should I say Gorillaz. After making us wait for 7 years for a new album, and teasing us with the great single Hallelujah Money back in January – Gorillaz unleashed an onslaught of (awesome) information upon us yesterday. We now know that the album is titled Humanz, and it will be released on April 28th. We have a full tracklist, and access to 4 more of the album’s 14 tracks (19 if you’re thinking of springing for the deluxe edition). This is all quite a bit to process, so I’ll direct your attention to the probably NSFW short film that accompanies the full track Saturnz Barz. Directed by Gorillaz’ own Jamie Hewlett, it’s an awe inspiring viewing experience, and incorporates snippets of the other three songs that were released yesterday. The track itself offers yet more proof as to how astute Gorillaz are at letting their collaborators shine (in this case it’s Jamaican powerhouse Popcaan) while at the same time beautifully asserting their signature sound.
Local Natives – I Saw You Close Your Eyes
Local Natives debuted their new single this week in a very “Oh Man, the Future…” type fashion via the interactive, facial recognition website closeyoureyes.net. This meant that in order to hear the song when it was first released, you had to face your computer’s camera with your eyes closed. I was immediately drawn into the world of this song. The relaxed opening guitar chords, the subtle string arrangements, and the slyly heart wrenching lyrics all give you what you’ve come to know and love from Local Natives.
Benjamin Booker – Witness
Benjamin Booker clearly wants to take you to church this weekend, and you’d be wise to let him. This track, which features a little help from his friend Mavis Staples (!) is a gorgeous achievement that perfectly folds social commentary into a deeply uplifting Gospel number. I implore you to read Booker’s own explanation of how he found himself able to write this song, and the rest of his forthcoming album (also titled Witness) here. It’s a quick read, and sincerely one of the best/most effective pieces of writing I’ve encountered so far this year.
Public Service Broadcasting – Progress
Given that Public Service Broadcasting have yet to share with us a title or an official theme for their forthcoming album, this single leaves a lot of room for speculation. Based upon what I’m hearing in this song, I’m guessing that the album will focus mainly on the Industrial Revolution. This would be ingeniously relevant given the current crossroads at which we find ourselves in regards to automation. That aside, “Progress” is the most joyous track Public Service Broadcasting has ever produced, and that’s almost entirely owed to the knockout vocal contribution from Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell.
Hercules & Love Affair – Controller
This is the song of my dreams. It’s the pinnacle of the imaginary, perfect dance party that has played out in my mind for years. Imagine that Hercules & Love Affair summoned all of their considerable powers to create a broody, funky, post-punk indebted dance jam, and then got Faris Badwan of the Horrors to provide lead vocals… Well, imagine no more, because that totally happened.
Operator Music Band – Creative Tube Bending
New York based Operator Music Band have gifted us with this track that is confident, electrifying, and catchy as hell. If it reminds you a bit of other great bands like Talking Heads, or Devo, you aren’t the only one.