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Ted Leo: “Last Days” Rough times for Ted Leo. He’s been signed to two of independent music’s most beloved/influential labels (Lookout! and Touch & Go) and, subsequently, watched them both throw in the towel and call it a day. Maybe he’s been hexed? Despite all of this, Leo’s music remains defiant and energetic. His lyrics on “Last Days”—a rough mix from an as-yet-untitled album—may skew apocalyptic, but the music is loose, loud, and anything but tense.
The Clientele: “Harvest Time” “I Wonder Who We Are,” the first single from The Clientele’s upcoming Bonfires on the Heath was—with its horns, Spanish guitars, and spirited tempo—a little bit out of character for the band. But “Harvest Time” finds the London-based band getting back on message. Languid Crosby Stills & Nash-meets Pink Floyd vocals drift over tamboura drones and jangling guitars.
Wale: “Ice & Rain” So yeah, been waiting a while for the Wale record to drop, right? Well, keep waiting. The release date has been pushed back from September to late October. In the meantime you can read the man’s tweets, stalk his myspace, and scrutinize leftovers like “Ice & Rain,” which didn’t make the cut for Attention: Deficit. It’s no huge surprise that this song—where Wale raps a tragic suburban-girl-meets-gangster-dude love story—was dropped. “Ice melts in the rain, love turns into pain,” goes the hook. Compared to “Nike Boots,” it’s a bit of a bummer.
Little Dragon: “Feather” Rock bands will come and go, but people will always need music to shop to. So Little Dragon can, at the very least, look forward to some job security. “Feather,” from the Swedish synth-pop quartet’s upcoming full-length Machine Dreams, has just the right sex-to-apathy ratio to warrant being pumped through the sound system at The Limited. “I’d rather be a whisper in heaven,” sings Yukimi Nagano, as if gravity alone is drawing the words out of her mouth. Really, could she sound more bored? It’s almost as if she did the vocal take whilst reading Ulysses and watching televised golf.