We get a lot of records sent to us here at The A.V. Club. Fortunately, we end up liking some of them. In Playlisted, we share our latest recommendations.
Album: awE naturalE by THEESatisfaction (out now on Sub Pop)
Press play if you like: Shabazz Palaces; The Field if he made R&B; Erykah Badu at her most indie rock-friendly.
Some background: Seattle-based duo Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White split singing and producing duties for four years on various self-releases before following their acclaimed cohorts in Shabazz Palaces to Sub Pop. awE naturalE, retains the self-produced blend of rough loops and sweetly bent harmonies and covers a lot of vivid aural territory in just half an hour. With smart wordplay and oddly dissonant hooks, the quick song-sketches never outstay their welcome. Sideways piano hooks and sandpapery drum patterns give these fragments an urgency usually reserved for epics twice their length. When they actually simulate something akin to straight-up rapping, the ladies recall the artsier moments of Mos Def’s Black On Both Sides: “When you look at the surface, the world is flat / Flatter than your ass / Flattered that you asked,” and then later asserts “My melanin is relevant / There’s something to be had.”
Try this: The catchy single “Queens” attacks current hip-hop trends (“Turn off your swag") and warns “Whatever you do / Don’t funk with my groove.” And these danceable/ponderable contradictions are summed up perfectly in this couplet: “Move your groove thang / To keep yourself intact.”