Solange: “Stillness Is The Move” First GZA performs with Black Lips, then Jay-Z gets down at a Grizzly Bear show. Whether it was Sasha Frere-Jones or just a bedfellows-by-way-of-declining-sales-figures thing, something finally got hip-hop interested in indie rock. But let’s not get all cynical about it, especially when it’s getting results like Solange’s take on “Stillness is the Move.” The original, by Brooklyn’s Dirty Projectors, put an art school twist on contemporary R&B. Surprisingly, it works just as well without the art school part.
Hot Chip: “Take It In” Devo might have had a few reflective moments in its time, but nerds don’t come much more tender than Hot Chip. The London-based electronic pop group’s new single, “Take It In,” could bring a tear to the tersest microserf’s eye. “Wheel of Fortune stops at 6 o’clock/So what am I to do until midnight?” sings co-front man Joe Goddard over a skittering beat. Yeah, we’ve all been there. But it’s the chorus—with its soaring New Order keyboards and talk of doves—that will bring tears down on the keyboard and have you Skype-ing the one you love.
Yellow Fever: “Hellfire” Chief among the virtues of Austin, Texas: there’s good barbecue. But the rent isn’t too bad either. So, you’d think Yellow Fever could afford to buy a few more instruments—maybe a sampler or a keyboard. But if “Hellfire,” from the duo’s self-titled debut record, is any indication, they’re getting by just fine with drums and guitar. One part Swell Maps and two parts Quix-O-Tic, it’s a solid piece of post-rock minimalism.
Eels: “Little Bird” Eels front man Mark Oliver Everett has gotten a lot of mileage out of being sad. He’s made seven sad full-length records and then, recently, authored an autobiography that details the specific reasons for his ever-enduring melancholy (to be fair, he has some pretty good reasons). And, he’s not done yet. A new Eels album, End Times looms just over the horizon and its new single, “Little Bird,” is duly bummin’. “Little bird hopping on my porch/I know it sounds kind of sad/But what’s it all for?” sings Smith. What does the little bird say? Nothing. He’s flown off in search of a birdbath filled with hemlock.