Jams of the Week: Kendrick Lamar, Usher, Tennis and more
Apologies for the lack of jams while I was honeymooning. Prepare to resume jamming... now.
My dude! K-Dot's twisty genius (coming to an arena near you this weekend) gets a suitably strange showcase from producer THC here, with Maybach Music thug Gunplay providing a fine foil. Don't sleep on it, and be on the lookout for "Good Kid in a Mad City" later this year.
Usher - "Climax"
Usher produced by Diplo is crazy (and sublime), but not as crazy (and sublime) as T.I. on an El-P beat. Speaking of which...
Killer Mike featuring Bun B, T.I. and Trouble - "Big Beast"
You know it's a good week for hip-hop when a song this awesome gets relegated to third. Outkast associate Killer Mike knows how to throw down, and on this incredible posse cut, he doesn't mess around. Nor does producer El-P, who laid the tracks for Mike's upcoming album "R.A.P. Music." I doubt we'll hear another hip-hop song this hard for the rest of the winter.
Tennis - "Origins"
If the unseasonably warm winter doesn't have you feeling like sunshine, this song will. Tennis' new album "Young and Old," produced by The Black Keys' Pat Carney, is out this week on Fat Possum and streamable in full here.
Torche - "Kicking"
More melodic brutality from down south. Torche's new album "Harmonicraft" is due April 24 on Volcom.
Doe Paoro - "Born Whole"
Holy D'Angelo, Batman! This Brooklyn lass is both freaky and, like, spooky. Check out the whole album here.
Screaming Females - "It All Means Nothing"
OK, I find the vocals on this song highly obnoxious. But I continue to appreciate the ongoing revival of 90s alt-rock guitar. Screaming Females' "Ugly" is coming this April.
Quakers featuring Guilty Simpson and M.E.D. - "Fitta Happier"
Quakers is a new hip-hop project headed up by Portishead's Geoff Barrow. Any Radiohead fan will be drawn to a rap song called "Fitta Happier," if only because of morbid curiosity. But it turns out this goes mighty hard, with two talented emcees running game over a sample of some marching band playing Radiohead's "The National Anthem." It's chaotic and fun, and that's more than I expected from a member of Portishead.
Mouse on Mars - "Polaroyced"
A decade ago, these guys were on the cutting edge of weirdo electronic music. Now, as they prepare to release their first album in six years? Not quite cutting edge, but still very of-the-moment and absolutely contagious in any era. Their new album, "Parastrophics," is coming Feb. 24 on Monkeytown Records.
Shearwater - "Breaking the Yearlings"
Yesterday, Shearwater released "Animal Joy" on Sub Pop and opened for Sharon Van Etten at the Wexner Center. Today, they released this slightly creepy video, possibly the most aggressive music I've heard from the Austn combo. Enjoy!