The Chemical Brothers, The XX, and Blackalicious have this week’s must-hear tracks 

The Chemical Brothers, The XX, and Blackalicious have this week’s must-hear tracks 

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.

The Chemical Brothers, “Theme For Velodrome”
The Olympics are just a week away, and the host city, London, is doing its part to remind the world that British music is pretty good. Games organizers have brought in acts like Paul McCartney and Blur to play the opening and closing ceremonies and have commissioned songs by acts like Muse. Block-rockin’ duo The Chemical Brothers have done their part with “Theme For Velodrome,” a song about indoor bike racing that might seem kind of stupid in theory, but is most excellent in practice, harkening back to Kraftwerk’s Autobahn with its speedy, rubber-burning pace and repetitive movements. 

Blackalicious, “Changes” 
With the group’s first EP, 1994’s Melodica, finally getting a digital release July 31, Blackalicious is celebrating its history. Comprising rapper Gift Of Gab and DJ Chief Xcel, the duo has three very good records under its belt—1999’s Nia, 2002’s Blazing Arrow, and 2005’s The Craft—but like so many alternative hip-hop acts, never really found a place in the mainstream. “Changes,” a track from deep in the Blackalicious archives, is a bonus cut off Melodica’s digital release, and was produced in part by DJ Shadow, a friend and fan of the group.

The xx, “Angels”
The xx looks to match the success of its 2009 self-titled debut with this fall’s Coexist. “Angels,” the album’s opener and lead single, isn’t quite “Crystalised” in terms of scope and catchiness, but it rests on the same spooky bones, wooing listeners to its dark, depressing look of sensuality. That might sound like a downer, but it’s not. If anything, “Angels” is promising, reminding the world once again that The xx is both an intriguing and excellent band.

The Hood Internet, “Won’t Fuck Us Over” featuring BBU and Annie Hart
“Won’t Fuck Us Over,” comes off Feat, The Hood Internet’s first album of all original material. Though the group has previously released several mixtapes of very good mash-ups, it goes totally freeform with Feat, grabbing guests like Au Revoir Simone’s Annie Hart, The New Pornographers’ AC Newman, Cadence Weapon, and The Rosebuds. “Won’t Fuck Us Over” combines the best of both hip-hop and indie rock as Chicago rap trio BBU provides the verses and Hart, accompanied by her baby son, croons the catchy, cussing hook. 

Angel Haze, “Werkin Girls”
21-year-old hip-hop up-and-comer Angel Haze is harnessing a little Nicki Minaj on her new EP, Reservation. That influence is especially evident on “Werkin Girls,” where she drops the hammer on haters, extols her love of cash, and says “bitch” so emphatically and often that it’s clear she’s been taking lessons from Jesse Pinkman.