The xx - "Angels"
The way this band's legend has built since the release of their first album makes me question whether they've really only been around since 2009. So does the gleaming perfection of "Angels." The band's second LP "Coexist" is coming Sept. 11 on Young Turks.
Ben Folds Five - "Do It Anyway"
Another grand comeback this week is the announcement of "The Sound of the Life and the Mind," the first Ben Folds Five album in 13 years. Lead single "Do It Anyway" is a shockingly solid entry in the band's catalog of smart, snappy piano rockers with an underlying wistful streak. It surges along like a freight train, then explodes like a freight train crash off 11th Avenue. Folds is in fine lyrical form, poking fun at his younger self with the hindsight of years: "Tell me what I said I'd never do/ Tell me what I said I'd never say/ Read me off a list of the things I used to not like but now I think are OK." (That line has a nice payoff in the end, too.) The album's out Sept. 18 via ImaVeePee/Sony.
Rick Ross featuring Jay-Z and Dr. Dre - "Three Kings"
Like Rozay's impending album "God Forgives, I Don't," this hip-hop heroes summit is an event by default, even if everyone involves seems stuck in auto-pilot. The album drops July 31 on (of course) Maybach Music Group.
Domo Genesis featuring Earl Sweatshirt, Vince Staples & Action Bronson - "Elimination Chamber"
The Odd Future guys get it done here, but seriously, who's going to outdo Action Bronson on a track in 2012? "No Idols," Domo's album with production mastermind The Alchemist, is coming August 1.
The Afghan Whigs - "Lovecrimes"
Greg Dulli has built a cottage industry out of cloaking soul music in noir whiteboy bombast. Here his reunited Afghan Whigs slather that trademark treatment on Frank Ocean's 2011 mixtape track "Lovecrimes" to many deserved hosannas.
Kendrick Lamar - "Swimming Pools (Drank)"
No rapper working today combines a freakishly unique approach with approachable pop sensibility like K-Dot. This latest leak from his Oct. 2 Interscope release "good kid, m.A.A.d. city" has me aching to hear the rest.
Talib Kweli featuring Curren$y & Kendrick Lamar - "Push Thru"
Even more Kendrick here, this time helping out veteran Kweli and fellow blog dawg Curren$y on a smooth selection from Kweli's upcoming "Prisoner of Conscious."
Menomena - "Heavy Is as Heavy Does"
On the first single from Menomena's new Barsuk release "Moms," the band gets its Blur on - not my favorite look for them, but one that works just fine here. The rest of the album drops Sept. 18.
Danny Brown and AraabMuzik - "Molly Ringwald"
Two standouts from last weekend's Pitchfork Fest combines for a Brat-Pack-repping romp for something called Yours Truly's Songs From Scratch series.
Jack White - "Freedom at 21"
Hype Williams directs. (True story.)