Rare is the fledgling band that comes so close to pop perfection. The title track from Sloucher’s upcoming debut is a serotonin-soaked slacker-rock anthem, drunk on love and sunshine and lifted by unhurried tambourine and counterpoint guitars. The sound of doing/not trying.
Fearce Vill, “Good Ol’ Days”
The first release in ages from one-third of late-’00s street-rap mainstays Dyme Def is less a nostalgia trip than a reckoning with adult realities nobody asked for, like fickle friends, lost parents, bills and hangovers. Fearce slow-rolls ruefully over producer Bean One’s foundation of jazzy piano and guitar: “Now we just do new things, go new places, new dreams.”
Naomi Moon Siegel, “Ukelady”
Timeless, placeless, spacious—like a flashback to a dream sequence in some fictional idyllic past. Siegel’s trombone, which she often filters and distorts as part of jazz-improv duo Syrinx Effect, is warm and pure next to spare guitar, organ and percussion on this standout track from her new folk-tinged instrumental album, Shoebox View.
Tay Sean, “Higher Vibrations”
What kind of meditation has Taylor Brown been doing? Leavings, the latest album from the prolific rapper/singer/producer/keyboardist, sways in the manner of heady, beat-centric soothsayers like Gonjasufi, Flying Lotus and, naturally, Shabazz Palaces. Part stainless-steel soul, part future-forward electronica—and coda-ed by a ripping guitar-and-drums break—“Higher Vibrations” plays out like its title.
Emily Donohue, “Saturday Night”
This 24-year-old singer-songwriter wields a husky coo that cuts like a switchblade, and a mind just as sharp. From simple ukulele chords and that stunning voice, Donohue wrings all the vintage, teen-tragedy irony from this Misfits cover, which closes an EP of four devastating originals.