We had to skip a week, so if you missed the new Justin Timberlake, Future and Youth Lagoon tracks — well, don't miss them. (Future and Youth Lagoon because they are supremely awesome, and JT because it's decent and you want to be up to speed with the cultural conversation, ya heard?) On to the new stuff:
Swedish synth freaks The Knife have a nearly 100-minute triple LP called Shaking the Habitual coming out April 9 on Mute, their first album together since 2006's critical Silent Shout. Lead single "Full of Fire" is nine minutes of irrepressible gurgle, an insane race into dance-pop darkness that bodes well (so well) for the rest of the record. It keeps getting wiped off the internet, but this link seems to be working for now.
The Strokes - "One Way Trigger"
We have far fewer details about the forthcoming Strokes album, but at least their lead single is online for good. "One Way Trigger" just dropped today, and its spasmodic synth jerkiness suggests they've figured out how to wring charisma and quality from the experimentation that left Angles so slipshod and unsatisfying. Trade your email address for an MP3 at the band's website.
50 Cent - "Major Distribution" feat. Snoop Dogg and Young Jeezy
I get the sense that Curtis is back.
Paramore - "Now"
At certain points (especially the beginning), "Now" could pass for a single from the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs record, but it's actually the lead single from Paramore's first album since 2009 mega-hit Brand New Eyes, also the first since founding members Josh and Zac Ferro quit the band in 2010). It's firmly back in Haley Williams' wheelhouse by the time she's wailing "There's a time and a place to die, and this ain't it!" The self-titled effort is coming April 9 on Fueled By Ramen.
The Flaming Lips - "Sun Blows Up Today"
One more major album announcement this week: The Flaming Lips will return with a new record called The Terror on April 2. As a teaser, we get a non-album track called "Sun Blows Up Today," which will be featured in a Hyundai ad featuring the Lips during the Super Bowl. This nifty little blast of doomed pop-psychedelia will also be a bonus track on the record.
Bosnian Rainbows - "Torn Maps"
So, yeah, lots of musicians announced their grand returns this week. Mars Volta, on the other hand, announced their grand departure in dramatically public fashion. (That is, Twitter.) In their stead, we get the conveniently timed first music from Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's new project Bosnian Rainbows. "Torn Maps" is pleasantly concise and punchy; I'd rather have At the Drive-In in my life, but I'll gladly take stuff like this over Volta-style wankfest jams any day.
Heems - "Soup Boys"
Himanshu Suri released this timely anti-drones protest song on Inauguration Day. Guessing that wasn't a mistake. It'll probably send you scrambling to download Wild Water Kingdom, out now via Heems' label Greedhead.
Waxahatchee - "Peace and Quiet"
That crazy-talented Alabama family that gave us Swearin' frontlady Allison Crutchfield also reared Katie Crutchfield, the singer behind Waxahatchee. The sisters played together in P.S. Eliot before splitting up to cover more ground with wonderful '90s-indebted rock music. Spare but powerful, "Peace and Quiet" is among the loveliest songs I've encountered this year. Looks like Waxahatchee's Cerulean Salts, coming March 5 on Don Giovanni, is a must-hear.
Kvelertak - "Bruane Brenn"
Kvelertak hails from Norway, homeland of black metal, and they have shreds of that genre in their DNA. But songs like "Bruane Brenn" mostly just rock. It's the lead single from sophomore album Meir, due out March 26 on Indie Recordings.
Benoît Pioulard - “Margin”
Benoît Pioulard's real name is Thomas Meluch, which sounds just as foreign but not nearly as fancy. So, good for Thomas. Also good for him because he released "Margin," which is just the sort of underwater-y lo-fi pop blissout you can really get lost in on snowy days like today. It's off Hymnal, coming March 4 on Kranky.
Disclosure - "White Noise" feat. AlunaGeorge
"White Noise" brings together two white-hot British pop duos, and thus is just as artfully metropolitan as you'd hope. It also bangs as hard as you'd hope; this is eons better than the new Gold Panda EP, which makes me feel like I'm drinking $15 cocktails at a bar with plush chairs.
Shugo Tokumaro - "Katachi"
We wrap with an incredibly entertaining video (not a bad song either) from Japanese art-pop mastermind Shugo Tokumaro, which involves so, so many paper cutouts and probably required so, so much work. The end product is well worth all the sweat and papercuts, though. The record, In Focus?, is out this week on Polyvinyl.
OK, have fun with all this music, and I'll see you guys Saturday at Bands to Watch.