I'm a terrible Valentine. I didn't give you any new music last week. Shame on me.
Hopefully, this selection will help me earn some forgiveness. The past few weeks have been packed with excellent comebacks, bonus tracks, album-teasing singles, and even a stellar commercial collaboration. Here's what you might have missed.
Gorillaz, Andre 3000, and James Murphy, “DoYaThing”
Disclaimer: I'm big fan of the Gorillaz, André 3000, and LCD Soundsystem. Getting the Gorillaz's Damon Albarn, LCD's James Murphy and André in the studio together is just asking for total madness, and they delivered. The track, created for Converse's “Three Artists. One Song.” campaign, has all the hallmarks of the three legends. The production has all the electronic funkiness of a Gorillaz of LCD song. Albarn starts things off with his usually odd lyrics, Murphy contributes his loopy falsetto, and André 3000 comes in with a scorching freestyle. You can dowload the song at the Converse website. What's more exciting is that the track is just a piece of a 12-minute monster track, which will be out on the Gorillaz website within a few weeks. Brace yourselves.
First of all, Visions, the latest from Claire Boucher (aka Grimes) is well worth checking out in its entirety. “Angel” is a very short (1:23) bonus track, and it really doesn't need to be longer. It's like a bite-sized chocolate -- just a bit of sweetness for you to taste. Boucher croons lightly over some spacey electronics and just before you can zone out, it's over.
Kendrick Lamar, “Cartoon & Cereal” [feat. Gunplay]
Oh, wow. This is fantastically weird and creepy. It opens with an eerie drone and some channel-flipping sounds, complete with a snip of Bugs Bunny, and a bizarre story (“You was holding a hand gun, she was giving birth.”) being told in robotic tones. The rap itself is more aggressive than the title might suggest, and it treads that line between laid-back and grandiose. The beat comes courtesy of producer THC, who's laying pretty heavily into the snare on that drum machine.
Earl Sweatshirt, “Home”
Look who's back (from wherever he really was)! Long-lost Odd Future prodigy Earl Sweatshirt just released “Home” and it has that indefinable feel of a comeback track. There's been so much hype around the kid that it's hard not to be a little let down, but “Home” is still solid. It's a quickie track with spazzy production that actually works well for it, and Earl reminds us that he's a startlingly good rapper for his age.
Santigold, “Disparate Youth”
It seems like it's been a while since we've heard from Santi, hasn't it? She definitely keeps busy with guest appearances -- I'm still obsessed with the Beastie Boys collaboration “Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win" -- but the prospect of her second solo album is exciting. On “Disparate Youth,” she's rocking her distinct vocal style over some ‘80s-style synth beats, accented by angry little bursts from the guitar.
M. Ward, “Primitive Girl”
M. Ward has been busy with She & Him, his charming collaboration with Zooey Deschanel, for a while now, but it looks like he's getting back to solo work. “Primitive Girl” isn't particularly exciting, but it's a good representation of Ward's style. The piano pulses along while he borderline talk-sings some nicely simplistic lyrics about a down-to-earth girl who's too good for him. The album, A Wasteland Dream, is due out on April 10.