“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 »
A high-pitched mumble, synths whooshing like wind-swept snowdrifts, guitars that sound like anything but, and skittering digital beats with their own unique groove logic: Yes, Thom Yorke's got his ghost-in-a-machine mojo working on this new track from Atoms for Peace, his band with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, brilliant hired-gun drummer Joey Waronker and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Like a lot of the band's best songs, "Magic Beanz" (taken from a DJ mix that Atoms for Pe... | 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 »
The first track from the adventurous R&B singer's new album (which was produced by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek) is a diagonal banger with a fired-up Afro-funk groove and a gliding vocal about the power of music. After the Euro-trounce of her last LP, it feels like a rebirth. | 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 »
"Don't Swallow the Cap"
Brooklyn indie-rock sadsters the National are at their best when they remember to inject some rhythmic drama into their poetically moped-out music. And on this track from their upcoming sixth album (due May 21st), the National chunnel through a dark night of the soul like first-rate gloom-raiders. Drummer Bryan Devendorf's taut 4/4 pulse falls somewhere between krautrock and Springsteen's "I'm on Fire," with Aaron and Bryce Dessner's spare, lovely guitar and keyboards glan... | More »
"Girls Love Beyoncé"
Leave it to Drake to burrow into a ladies' anthem like Destiny's Child's "Say My Name" – which provides the chorus moaned here by James Fauntleroy – and discover a gooey, placenta-like sac of male feelings. And to lure you right in behind him: Questioning get-money, fuck-ho's "values" and his fear of commitment, Drizzy is so commanding that when he tells you to speak his name, it just sounds like sex play. | More »