Also: New music from Wye Oak, Childish Gambino and Iggy Pop with Best Coast.
Frank Ocean - "Sweet Life"
It's been a big week for Frank. You shouldn't necessarily feel obligated to listen to him just because he became the most prominent R&B star to publicly identify as gay or bisexual, though that's certainly big news. You should, however, feel compelled to listen because the way he revealed this information was so damn poetic. Above you'll find a link to another great track from what promises to be an album of the year contender. Have a listen and ponder the question, "Why see the world when you've got the beach?" "Channel Orange" drops July 17 via Def Jam.
Blur - "Under the Westway"
I could have just as easily gone with Blur's other new song of the week, the rollicking synth romp "The Puritan," but I've always been a sucker for Damon Albarn's ballads. These two brilliant new tracks will be opposite sides of a 7-inch released in conjunction with the London Olympics. Please, guys, bring this band back for good.
Kanye West featuring Pusha T - "New God Flow"
Monumentally inflated production? Check. Monumentally inflated egos? Check. Monumentally inflated enjoyment? Check. Neither of these guys works in top gear all the time, but when they do, you get something stunning like "New God Flow," which takes me back to "Graduation"-era Kanye without compromising the super-sized monolithic steez that's become his calling card. Presumably it will be on the G.O.O.D. Music album "Cruel Summer," coming August 7.
Iggy Pop & Bethany Cosentino - "Let's Boot and Rally"
More teamwork! This time the proto-punk elder statesman teams with Best Coast's sweet-voiced frontlady for the benefit of "True Blood," and it turns out a lot better (or at least less obnoxious) than when Iggy teamed with Jemina Pearl. Hear "Let's Boot and Rally" at KCRW.
Bonde do Role featuring Kool A.D. - "Bang"
Here's something feisty, unusual and slightly agitating. It's growing on me. Also, Das Racist's Kool A.D. references Similac again. (He was doing it before 2 Chainz!) Diplo's favorite Brazillians (sorry, Lovefoxxx) are back with a new album called "Tropicalbacanal" July 31 on Mad Decent.
Cooly G - "Come Into My Room"
Like labelmate Laurel Halo, Cooly G makes shapeless, stunning electronic music from space. (Actually, from South London.) Her "Playin' Me" is coming July 17 on Hyperdub.
Nas featuring Large Professor - "Loco-Motive"
Nas keeps leaking new tracks from "Life Is Good," and they continue to be straight fire, so I keep posting them. This one is produced by Kanye's mentor No I.D. and features a guest verse from rap legend Large Professor. (He also released a song featuring the late Amy Winehouse this week.)
Woods - "Cali in a Cup"
Quietly compiling a satisfying stack of records. The next one, "Bend Beyond," is coming Sept. 18 on their own Woodsist label.
Wye Oak - "Spiral"
I used to think Wye Oak was underrated until AV Club voted "Civilian" the best album of last year, which seems like a slight swing in the opposite direction of underrated. Still, they're one of the most rewarding "grown up, sophisticated" indie bands around. Here's the band's contribution to Adult Swim's summer singles series.
Childish Gambino featuring Alley Boy, Swank and Tina Fey - "Real Estate"
You read that right. Childish Gambino, a.k.a. "Community" writer/actor Donald Glover, recruited his former "30 Rock" boss Tina Fey to blather all over the end of this track with Atlanta trapmaster Alley Boy and his fellow Georgian, Swank. Unfortunately, "Real Estate" is the song title, not another guest artist. Gambino's new "Royalty" mixtape is available now for free download.