We get a lot of records sent to us here at The A.V. Club. Fortunately, we end up liking some of them. That’s why we launched Playlisted, to share our latest recommendations of tracks music fans have to hear.
Patterson Hood, “Better Off Without”
Given the popularity of up-and-comers like Mumford & Sons, it’s unfortunate that some of the more storied alt-country acts haven’t been lifted by the rising tide of roots rock. That’s the case with Drive-By Truckers who, after 14 years together, still aren’t playing venues the size of some of these young whippersnappers. That’s a shame, since records like 2001’s Southern Rock Opera and 2011’s Go-Go Boots are incredibly solid.
In recent years, Truckers frontman Patterson Hood has taken time between full band records to record his own tunes. One product of that is the forthcoming Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance, out Sept. 10. “Better Off Without” is the first single from the record, and it’s a doozy, full up with heartbreak and longing.
Ultraista, “Bad Insect”
Big-time producer Nigel Godrich (Beck, Radiohead), Atoms For Peace drummer Joey Waronker, and London artist Laura Bettinson teamed up earlier this year to form Ultraista, which will be putting out its self-titled debut Oct. 2 on Temporary Residence. “Bad Insect,” the third single from the record, combines Godrich’s signature electro-fuzz with Bettinson’s vocals to a sufficiently pleasant result.
From time to time, Menomena has a tendency to sound like a funked-up version of Minnesota darlings Low. (That’s not a problem, really; Alan Sparhawk could benefit from some well-placed sax.) Such is the case with “Capsule,” and while talk of glory holes might be a little risqué for most moms, it’s apparently okay for Moms, Menomena’s new record. Simultaneously smooth and dark, “Capsule” would sound perfect scoring a sad night of drinking alone or a perfectly sordid sexcapade.
Daughn Gibson, “Reach Into The Fire”
Sub Pop’s latest signee Daughn Gibson is a bit of an acquired taste, what with his comically baritone voice and exaggerated croon. Those that find his tunes palatable, though, will be richly rewarded by Gibson’s mastery of multi-layered beats and samples. “Reach Into The Fire,” for example, cribs from both Shabazz Palaces and Tiny Vipers to create something entirely different and compelling. Gibson’s first full-length for Sub Pop won’t be out until 2013, but that doesn’t mean that trendsetting music nerds won’t have material to check out in the meantime. All Hell, Gibson’s 2012 debut, has been hailed by both Pitchfork and Spin, and the singer is out on tour now with Yeasayer.
Brandy, “Wildest Dreams”
Since breaking into the public consciousness in the mid-’90s with her multi-platinum self-titled LP, Brandy hasn’t been out of the spotlight for very long. That’s not always been because of her music, though; in the past few years alone she’s had her own reality show, appeared on Dancing With The Stars, and been cast in several cable shows, like Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva and BET’s The Game. Brandy hasn’t made a record since 2008, but her latest, Two Eleven, is due out in October. (The name refers to both Brandy’s birthday and the day Whitney Houston died.) The record’s billed as a return to Brandy’s R&B roots, and with a production team that includes Timbaland, Drake, and Frank Ocean, that just might be true. The first single off the record, “Put It Down,” leaned too heavily on collaborator Chris Brown, though, leaving Brandy’s vocals a little out in the cold. By contrast, “Wildest Dreams” is all her, from the vocal runs to the breakdowns. It might not top the charts, and the lyrics—which reference peeling wallpaper—are a little clunky, but it’s solid R&B and well worth a listen if only to hear what the singer’s been up to since “The Boy Is Mine.”