"End of the Beginning"
Black Sabbath without original drummer Bill Ward is Not Quite Black Sabbath. That said, this eight-minute mastodon (from their upcoming LP, the first with Ozzy Osbourne in 35 years) lumbers and surges just fine, as the three original members – Ozzy, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist/headbanger-god Geezer Butler – unleash the kind of hard-swinging riffs that forever embody the notion of heavy. Osbourne uses his death croon to deliver metallic will-to-power sentiments and urge us to ... | More »
"Someone Somewhere Tonight"
On 2012's surprisingly ace 100 Proof, this American Idol also-ran reinvented herself as a hard-drawling honky-tonk classicist. With "Someone Somewhere Tonight," her winning streak continues. Originally cut by Kenny Rogers, it's a widescreen power ballad with the kind of lyrics – steeped in down-home philosophizin' – that can be gruesome in the wrong hands. But here the music is raw and burly, full of shuddering electric guitars, and her big, open-throated singing se... | More »
"Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)"
She's back, and she's better than everyone. That's the message, at least, of Hill's first single in a dog's age, cut to try to pay off her back taxes. Her quicksilver flow is impressive, rhymes piling up over abrasively thumping funk. But the lyrics, full of gibberish, are unintentional cringe comedy: "Social lobotomies/People stuck in dichotomies/Pseudo sicko anxieties/Serial criminals dressed in variety/Social transvestism/Subliminal dressed up as piety/Transference... | More »
"I Appear Missing"
QOTSA carved this three-minute chunk of stoner-paranoia rock from a six-minute track earmarked for their upcoming LP. "Missing" has the doomed, heady feel of a gas leak verging on explosion: Josh Homme's velvety moan personifies exquisite torture, and the chorus riffs comes on like an army of fire ants. Feel the burn. | More »
“What Love Is Made Of”
U.K. singer Katy B's polyglot club pop nearly won her the Mercury Prize two years ago. The ravey, effervescent "Love" is B's first single of 2013 – durable music, but by no means trailblazing. "Give it to me/The recipe," she belts over a rising tide of synths. Fitting: The song follows a template as old as she is, and then some. | More »
"Am I a freak for getting down?" asks Janelle Monáe on this first track from her second LP, The Electric Lady. No, girl, not when the music is this tight. An anthem of self-determination with a funkadelicious bass line, it downshifts into soul jazz midway through, with Erykah offering Badu-ist perspective ("Booty don't lie!"). Then Monáe transforms into a superhero MC to take it home. "Categorize me, I defy every label," she declares. And she does. | More »
Noise-loving New York rapper-producer El-P and left-leaning Atlanta rhymer Killer Mike teamed up on R.A.P. Music, Mike's excellent album from last year. Now, they've decided to make it official by becoming a full-time duo. Nice move, fellas: On this viciously hot debut joint from Run the Jewels, the duo put hip-hop's "corporation slaves" on notice with a nunchucks-in-the-dryer beat and a boardroom-rattling delivery worthy of classic Public Enemy. | More »
Whoa: A Sigur Rós song with actual structure and percussive drive that also trades on the Icelanders' interplanetary drift. Think Wings of Desire: The angels sound earthbound, but the divine spark is still there. It's the sound of ethereal beings showing they're ready for tactile worlds. | More »
For the first single off his forthcoming second album, Miller – the pop-rap phenom and MTV2 reality dude – unspools a hushed version of his usual garrulous chatter over an artfully percolating beat furnished by Flying Lotus (John Coltrane's great-nephew!). It sounds like a solid warm-up stretch for the hip-hop long haul. | More »
This progressive house ballad by Russian-born producer Zedd, which has been oozing its way up the Top 40, is where EDM goes all "Wind Beneath My Wings." Over a gas-giant plod, English vocalist Foxes powers out garbled diva slogans ("A clock ticks till it breaks your glass and I drown in you again") like she's giving birth to a supernova. | More »
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