Also: New music from Dirty Projectors, Father John Misty, Mr. Little Jeans
In case you thought Jams of the Week died when it didn't publish on Friday, rejoice! Today your favorite weekly music rundown rises from the grave.
We just witnessed a super-strong week of new music. I'm going to go ahead and declare this the strongest batch of jams we've seen in 2012 so far. Let's begin with two of the most (rightfully) talked-about rap songs in recent memory then branch out into indie rock of all sorts.
Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz - "Mercy"
With the first single from Kanye's G.O.O.D. Music compilation, Yeezy easily tops his other new song of the week, "Theraflu," which was more notable for pissing off PETA and Theraflu than being a compulsively listenable rap song. This, on the other hand? My Lord. Big Sean doesn't deserve a beat this nasty, but since I've been known to crack cornball jokes sometimes I feel a special sort of kinship with the man. Otherwise, Kanye, Pusha and even 2 Chainz are in fine form here. This would be the obvious choice for spring 2012's anthem if not for our next selection...
Kendrick Lamar featuring Dr. Dre - "The Recipe"
In a moment of clarity, producer Scoop DeVille (no relation) flipped Twin Sister's melancholic "Meet the Frownies" into a bed fit for G-funk royalty. Compton's finest responds in turn with some inspired rapping. Until now I hadn't realized how well Kendrick's sing-songy flow would mesh with Dre's burly cadence, but now I realize this could be a glorious new iteration of the classic Dre and Snoop dynamic. Bonus points to Kendrick for inspiring (ghostwriting?) some of Dre's strongest rapping in ages.
Liars - "No. 1 Against the Rush"
The new Liars single finds the always-devious combo dabbling in electronics without compromising their usual gloomy aggression. It makes me even more excited to hear their new album "WIXIW," coming June 5 via Mute.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - "We Almost Lost Detroit"
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - We Almost Lost Detroit from Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. on Vimeo.
Great song and even greater video from Detroit's premier synthetic party band. A new 12-inch single featuring this song is coming on Record Store Day, April 21.
Dirty Projectors - "Gun Has No Trigger"
Somebody described this song as "noirish," which is accurate and not what I expected from Dave Longstreth. If "Swing Lo Magellan," out July 10 on Domino, is as good as previous full-length "Bitte Orca," we're in for a very strange delight.
Father John Misty - "Nancy From Now On"
Ex-Fleet Foxes drummer J. Tillman has been releasing solo joints since before he joined the band, but now that he's a former Fox, he's operating under the guise Father John Misty. Can't fault the guy for focusing on his own tunes when they're as pleasant as "Nancy From Now On," which sounds somewhere between Fleet Foxes and Hall & Oates. "Fear Fun" is coming May 1 on Sub Pop.
King Felix - "SPRING01"
Never listened to Laurel Halo in my life, but this single from her new project under the name King Felix is making me want to do some digging. Appropriately, it sounds like a coronation - Aphex Twin's idea of a coronation, at least.
Mr. Little Jeans - "Runaway"
By recommendation of esteemed colleague Heather Gross comes evidence that the dance pop-ification of indie rock ain't such a bad thing. (Who are we kidding? Norway's Monica Birkeness, a.k.a. Mr. Little Jeans, is signed to Sony.) See also: Wavves' "Runaway" remix, practically a different song entirely.
Lotus Plaza - "Monoliths"
Deerhunter's Lockett Pundt strikes again. I have to hear this album, which promises to be a treasure trove for this sort of newfangled classicist indie rock. "Spooky Action From a Distance" is out this week on Kranky.
Dive - "How Long Have You Known?"
This basically sounds like a Beach Fossils song, but I can always use more Beach Fossils songs. "Oshin" drops June 26 on Captured Tracks.