We're at the tail end of the holiday album release drought and gearing up for what's to come in the first half of 2014. That means the last month or so has been chock full of singles. It can be easy to miss these things, but we've been tuned in and have some things to recommend. Whether they're one-offs or tastes of upcoming records, you need to hear these songs.
St. Vincent, "Birth in Reverse" and "Digital Witness"
Annie Clark's music is as tense as ever, but the first singles off her self-titled record feel more forceful than anything on Strange Mercy or Actor. You can hear the influence of the Dap-Kings' drummer Homer Steinweiss, especially on the strutting "Digital Witness,” and Clark's voice sounds stronger and more confident.
Chromeo, feat. Toro Y Moi, “Come Alive”
The title of Chromeo's next record, White Women, could be a reason to be nervous. They've offered an explanation in a Reddit AMA -- it's the title of the first Helmut Newman book and “he's a huge influence on us...you know, the legs, that 80s sexy look.” Still an awkward title, but the single “Come Alive” fits right in. It's got a disco vibe a la Daft Punk's “Get Lucky.” It's fun and sexy.
Chaz Budnick, “Sweet Tea”
Speaking of Toro Y Moi, the man behind that project, Chaz Budnick, recently released a track that moves a little off course. In the past, he's fit pretty nicely into dream pop and chillwave categories. “Sweet Tea” has a psych-rock and freak-folk feeling to it. Some of the lyrics are spoken and when he's singing, it's charmingly pitchy. It's a welcome change of pace.
It felt like EMA disappeared for a while. Maybe that's because her 2011 album, Past Life Martyred Saints, didn't get a ton of attention, despite being quite good. About a month ago, she released “Satellites,” and it's a reminder that we should pay attention. Under her captivating vocals is a jagged symphony of distorted guitars, sharp drums and noisy synths. It's a jarring, fantastic return.
Tokyo Police Club, “Argentina (Parts I, II and III)"
Nearly four years after Tokyo Police Club's last release, the band is back with a 9-minute single. At that length and with so many years behind it, you'd think the track would be more grandiose. Instead, it's just an extended version of the band's delightful, shorter indie-rock gems. It's not an epic comeback, but it's perfectly lovely.