Chicago’s Saba is streaming a new track, “World In My Hands”, on soundcloud — and he and Smino deliver on it. It doesn’t get much smoother. The track name drops Kanye’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” and recently-deceased A Tribe Called Quest member Malik Izaak Taylor (aka Phife Dawg). One particularly slick rhyme and tongue-twister is this one delivered by Smino near the end of the track: “Screaming reparations ’til my respiration meet the expiration.” You can follow Saba at facebook and twitter. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Sales is streaming a new song, “Ivy”, from off the Florida natives’ upcoming April 20th LP release. Lauren Morgan and Jordan Shih couldn’t have written a more lovely track. It opens with a kind of distorted drumbeat and a repeated guitar riff, but really takes off with the introduction of Morgan’s gentle opening lyrics: “Ivy, baby — sweetheart — you’re so insecure.” Her vocals remind me of that gauzy, alluring quality that Jana Hunter of Lower Dens achieves. But there’s also a kind of childlike pitch to Morgan’s pretty vocals. “Ivy” is easily one of the best songs I’ve listened to this year. Sales on facebook and twitter. — David D. Robbins Jr.
“Lines” is the first single off Lil Silva’s (aka Bedford’s TJ Carter) new EP, JIMI (Journey Inside My Imagination), available May 6. Lil Silva is coming off having worked with the music of BANKS and Adele — but now finds time to unleash this frenetic techno cut featuring his own vocal phrases, utterances, and some distinct sub bass blasts and changes of pace. You can order the EP on i-Tunes. Follow Lil Silva at facebook and twitter. — David D. Robbins Jr.
I just purchased one of the limited-edition 300 cassettes of Bay Area band Plush’s latest EP Please, due out April 29 via Father/Daughter Records. Mostly, I made the purchase on the strength of their streaming single, “Sheer Power”, a gigantic piece of fuzzed-out sonic bliss, before indulging in their one-word titled back catalog: Pale (2014) and Pine (2015). “Sheer Power” builds off light ambient guitar, rising into a tower of layered guitar noise that’s as sensual as it is substantial. Early in the song, lead singer and guitarist Karli Helm (formerly of The Sweethearts) sings with an inching timidity and fragility that goes hand-in-hand with the vulnerability expressed in the first verses. But that doesn’t last for long as the song takes a turn: “Untangle my body like thread in a loom / Take me hastily, or write it off / Right now it’s none or all / I have the sheer power of knowing I still haunt you when I’m gone.” Plush is a San Francisco four-piece featuring members from The She’s. Guitarist Eva Treadway and bassist Sinclair Riley are active members of The She’s and they’re teamed up with Helm and drummer Dylan. The band’s sound will cause some shoegaze faithful to think of groups like Slowdive or My Bloody Valentine. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Bat For Lashes (aka Natasha Khan) will release her latest album, The Bride, via Parlophone/Warner Bros. Records on July 1. She’s already released one single, “I Do”, and has followed that track with a youtube stream of a second single, the dark-hued “In God’s House”. The record is a follow-up to The Haunted Man (2012). Follow Bat For Lashes at twitter and facebook. Note: Images taken from unofficial video that accompanies official audio track. — David D. Robbins Jr.
Chicago’s Jean Deaux is streaming her latest track, “XYZ”, via soundcloud and it’s a beauty — featuring St. Louis rapper Smino and produced by THEMpeople. “XYZ” is a slick downtempo jam that wouldn’t sound out of place on Erykah Badu’s Mama’s Gun. The song calls to mind what D’Angelo and Kendrick Lamar have been touching on lately, blending a kind of flexible soul with old-school familiarity and just enough modernity to keep every second fresh. It opens with a child proudly going through the beginning of the ABC’s before Deaux delivers her own unique style of rap: “Imma toss you the fee / Ain’t no refunding that / I’m giving you fevers like summer back / Surfin ya hands like it’s summer jam / I got the bass for the drummer pack / I light a match to the dumbest gas / You would think it was a bum in class / Roll with the wolves in the highest grass.” Deaux’s music is smooth, elegant, sophisticated, playfully random and immensely re-playable. The arrangement is Birth of Cool cool and the hook drips with pretty vocal sensuality. Follow Jean Deaux at soundcloud, twitter and tumblr. Note: Photo from the artist’s tumblr page. Read more about Deaux in TBB archives. — David D. Robbins Jr.