Mumford & Sons
This still-nameless ballad (fans are calling it "Home") sounds like Arcade Fire reborn as a string band. Cut live in a radio station, it's a slow-builder that threatens to explode but never does. it may be a taste of Mums' upcoming LP; either way, its sad hunger feels universal. | More »
People don’t often use the term "world music" anymore, but the first offering from Superheavy — Mick Jagger's collaboration with Dave Stewart, Joss Stone, Damian Marley and Indian theatrical composer A.R. Rahman — is some pretty worldly stuff. Jagger really goes for it, tasting every word he rolls out over the soul-splashed roots-reggae groove, which is cut with a gorgeous fiddle melody strung between Nashville and Istanbul. It's a summertime single built for every... | More »
This single — from The Great Escape Artist, Jane's Addiction's first album in eight years, due September 27th — comes on like an art-metal freak show set on some distant planet. It opens with Perry Farrell sounding like Carl Sagan in an episode of Cosmos, musing ominously about the stars and some sort of big bang. The verses are built around droning funk, as the band backs Farrell's ponderings with a rubbery bass line and some clattering percussion. But then Farr... | More »
"Come Talk To Me"
This B side revives a 1992 Peter Gabriel original with acoustic banjo plucks and Justin Vernon's layered cries. When Vernon sings, "The heart, it will not be denied/Till we're both on the same damn side," and summons the yearning chorus, it's damn near unearthly. Listen to "Come Talk To Me": Related• Bon Iver Kick Off Tour With Magnificent Milwaukee Show• Review: Bon Iver, Bon Iver• Why Bon Iver Had to Relearn Everything He Knows | More »
DJ Shadow feat. Afrikan Boy
Shadow's music used to be touched by the uncanny; this may be the clunkiest thing he's done. Stray, seemingly found noises give the groove ridges, but it's so busy it never finds its footing. Listen to "I'm Excited": Related• Photos: The Week's Hottest Live Shots | More »
Common feat. Nas
Rap-ignorant pundits should defame Common more often, if it'll result in songs like this. The Chicago native's latest knocks harder than anything on his last album, thanks to leering No I.D. production that samples pre-funk George Clinton (the Parliaments' "Let's Make It Last"). The song's around-the-way woman-worship ("Baby in one arm; the other is a skillet") echoes that of "Fried Chicken" by Nas, who raps somewhat reluctantly about "dimes" while touting his n... | More »
Don’t let the title turn you off: The first taste of the San Francisco band’s second LP (out September 13th) is a lovesick mini-epic that has nothing to do with retching. Frontman Christopher Owens moans softly to someone who’s forsaken him, sounding as lonesome as anyone since Neil Young made On the Beach. But then waves of fuzzed-out guitar and soothing harmonies lift him up to a state of gospel-tinged ecstasy. Listen to "Vomit": Related• Random Notes, Rock's H... | More »
Britney Spears feat. R. Kelly
"Till the World Ends [Remix]"
Kelly slithers in with no shame: Does he actually sing, "It's a party right here hosted by Mr. Sex Addiction"?! Not as fab as the Ke$ha/Nicki Minaj remix (best use of chicken clucks this year!), but not as scene-stealing, either. He's a gentleman. Listen to "Till The World Ends [Remix]": Related• Britney Spears: A Life in Photos | More »
Jay-Z and Kanye West
Jay-Z and Kanye West prove again that they’re one of rap's all-time great tag teams — up there with Run-DMC, OutKast and EPMD — on this teaser from Watch the Throne (due August 8th). West twists a few seconds of Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness" into a Blueprint-style barrage, setting the stage for some slick collar-popping from Jay-Z ("Photo shoot fresh, looking like wealth / I’m about to call the paparazzi on myself"). Jay’s performance, in tur... | More »
"You Make Me Feel..."
Except for a riff that suggests Pink's "Raise Your Glass," guitars take a timeout from the pop pranksters' new one. Gabe Saporta drops weak pickup lines, but guest diva Sabi calls herself "the baddest baby in the atmosphere," and is right. Listen to "You Make Me Feel...": Related• Random Notes, Rock's Hottest Photos | More »