Mikhael Paskalev - "I Spy"
Forget Tom Cruise in Risky Business.
My favorite tighty-whitie dance is courtesy of Norwegian indie-pop singer Mikhael Paskalev, who spends the video for his irresistible "I Spy" cutting a rug (and trashing a living room) in his unmentionables. The video is fun enough to watch on mute (I mean, he's really cute), but the song—with its happy harmonica, shout-along chorus, and simple Johnny Cash bass line—is even better. Paskalev just released a new single, the Buddy-Holly-goes-West "Jive Baby," this week and the equally marvelous video (which finds him being kidnapped and tortured by a hot little number who's so tough she puts out cigarettes with her bare feet) should be out in any day now. Get ready.
--ELLEN CARPENTER Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons "I've Been Accused"
I first saw the singer-songwriter Cory Chisel play at a tiny club in lower Manhattan back in 2008, months before he had released his debut EP. I think I cried. Every song felt like a confession or a prayer, every note honest and untainted. Afterward I hung around to talk with him and breathed a sigh of relief when he proved to be as kind and sincere as I imagined him to be. His debut full-length, Death Won't Send a Letter, was one of my top 10 albums of 2009, but it annoyingly didn't get much attention from mainstream press. Now, though, it looks like his time has finally come. Norah Jones nabbed him to be her opening act this summer, and next week he'll release the marvelous Born Again, which he recorded with Brendan Benson in Nashville. "Just stay the night/ Nobody wants you to leave," Chisel sings in his slightly smoky voice on the single "I've Been Accused." I can't imagine anyone arguing with him.
--EC David Byrne & St. Vincent - "Who"
Maybe we’re biased, but any track that includes former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne is going to be good (seriously, 29-years-later and “Burning Down the House” still rocks). So when we first heard about Byrne’s collaboration with St. Vincent, we couldn’t wait to hear how his punchy rock experiments would mix with Annie Clark’s utopian lullabies. Their debut track “Who” (released last week) effortlessly blends the things we love about both artists: Byrne’s eccentric musings and St. Vincent’s thoughtful vocals--plus the unexpected (but necessary) influx of heavy brass undertones played by Kelly Pratt of Bright Moments. Download the single (it’s free!), and be sure to grab a copy of their full-length album Love This Giant this September. --MADELINE GILES George the Poet (ft. Emanuel Stanleys) - "YOLO"
Time yourself. How long does it take you to recognize this melody? Yes, it was in Dilated Peoples' "Worst Comes to Worst" (2008), and, yep, that's it in Ludacris's classic "Growing Pains" (2007), but before you go back and listen to those jams again, and again, and again (like we have been all afternoon), take a listen to this exquisite little song by Londoner George the Poet, a 21-year-old student of politics, psychology, and sociology at Cambridge (says his tumblr), and a preternaturally gifted lyricist (says us). Perhaps it's his delicate, perfect cadence, or the way his sentences build on each other softly, like blankets on a bed in winter; perhaps it's just how he smiles when he's talking, clearly enjoying himself—but there's something special about this guy. "Yolo" is an acronym for "You Only Live Once" but there's precious little psuedo-philosophy here. In fact our favorite line is: "Since when did you become too cool for lazer tag?" As long as George keeps asking questions like this, we'll be listening. Still wondering about that melody? Do yourself a favor and check out the birthplace of the sample: William Bell's "I Forgot to be Your Lover," from 1968.
--LUKE CRISELL The Echo Friendly - "Same Mistakes"
Almost every time I come to the end of an episode of Girls
, I’m uttering a phrase along the lines of “Jesus…,” “Oh my God…,” or “Hold on, I’m processing….” At the close of May 6th’s episode, “Hannah’s Diary,” it was, “What is the name of this absolute JAM?” The name of the absolute jam was “Same Mistakes” by The Echo Friendly, and its droning lyrics like “I never did grow up/ Feels like I never will” could not have been a better fit. I was jonseing so hard for this song while iPodless in the middle of the desert last month that I tried to tweet at Jenny Eliscu during her Sirius show to beg her to play it. (Alas, desert = no signal