Cat Power ft. Angel Haze - "Manhattan" (Ryan Hemsworth remix)
On the eve of this week's Cat Power show at New York's Terminal 5, Chan Marshall released this smooth reworking of "Manhattan," featuring Angel Haze, who also happened to be the show's opener. With its sparse, Sade-style synth bits and scattershot drums, Ryan Hemsworth's remix dips Marshall's original track, already a glorious sigh in song, even deeper into the still pools of resignation. And at the risk of dragging unrelated beefs into this beautiful collaboration (not to mention genius marketing initiative), my main takeaway from the song is that whether you were born there, made there, or even if you died there, New York does not care. Not even a little bit. MELISSA GIANNINI
OMD - "Decimal"
O. M. G! Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark are back. (Remember Pretty in Pink
and the song that made the movie, "If You Leave"
?) So, it's safe to say that I was quite pleased to find the band's name--like, four rows down, in a totally readable size--on that Coachella poster jpeg that started making the rounds this past week
. And then the band dropped this little 1:15-minute Q-tip of a song as a teaser for their new LP, English Electric
, which is slated for an April 9 release on BMG. Despite the fact that it's a collage of computerized voicemail detritus, "Decimal" is as refreshing as a tiny scoop of palette-cleansing sorbet. MG
Chloe Howl - "Rumour"
Chloe Howl's voice is an unexpected cross between snarky and sultry, a sound that we suddenly realize we've been impatiently awaiting all along. "Rumour," a quirky-yet-catchy synth-pop stunner, at times resembles an edgy, sensual lullaby--if there could ever be such a thing. Howl herself seems to be a perfectly welcome walking contradiction. Even with her speckling of freckles and red pixie cut, it's hard to believe this badass singer is only a teenager. But Howl's wise-beyond-her-years honesty, charm, and wit that she lays down in "Rumour"--"Her bed is forbidden/ He's feeling she isn't"--leaves us only hoping that there's more to come. LINDSAY MEOLA
Autre Ne Veut - "Play By Play"
With the suppressed enthusiasm of a grade-school teacher's pet, I'll be the first to raise my hand when the inevitable question is asked: "In his new single, "Play by Play,' who does Autre Ne Veut sound like?" The answer, which has me reaching desperately out of my seat, is Prince (with a touch of R. Kelly
). And should bonus points be up for the taking, Ms. NYLON, I can also tell you why: It's the glammed-up keyboard flourishes and those viscerally breathy vocals, the ones that make it sound like Autre Ne Veut's pants are on fire, and that he likes it that way. Between these seductive virtues and the drawn-out syllables of "BAaaAaby" (the ultimate Prince refrain), we'd be sure that "Play by Play" was a throwback '80s number--were it not for the programmed drum kit and a tasteful R&B groove, which has us head-bobbing without apology. Raise your hand if you think we like it. (I'll give you a hint: The answer is yes.) MOLLY BEAUCHEMIN
The Hood Internet - "Pyramidspeak" (Purity Ring x Frank Ocean mashup)
The minute the all-too-familiar electric beat of Frank Ocean's "Pyramid" comes on, you half expect to hear the R&B crooner narrate Cleopatra's fall from grace. But then: cue the light 'n' airy voices of Purity Ring, with the melancholic lyrics of "Belispeak," and suddenly it becomes the perfect mashup. On their own, both songs are quite despairing--but with their powers combined onto one track they become upbeat and worthy of a spot on the soundtrack of the next Tim Burton film. JESSICA CHOU