Playlist, July 2012

This Dance-Oriented collection showcases this Scottish torch with a big vision of a growingstar, who has already earned a Brit Award and praise from the likes of Adele and JoolsHolland in the U.K.

Emeli Sandé
Our Version Of Events

This Dance-Oriented collection showcases this Scottish torch with a big vision of a growing star, who has already earned a Brit Award and praise from the likes of Adele and Jools Holland in the U.K. As she is opening for Coldplay on tour this summer, the album’s multilayered, pop-oriented production fits that bill nicely. However, as a talented songwriter, Sandé crafts music that shines through all styles of arrangements, and her silky vibrato and honey-smooth vocal delivery are even better exemplified in the stripped-down acoustic band she’s been showcasing with this spring. Don’t miss out on some jaw-dropping video performances available online—or better yet, catch her live. Craig Dalton


Madcap Brazilian scatting, Four Tet-like acoustic-electronic jumbles, demon-clumsy trip-hop beats, and disconnected voices waft through Clark’s music like ghostly spirits seeking release, Iradelphic upholding grand Warp tradition with eclectic world weariness. One track (“Ghosted”) churns and mindlessly drifts, another (“Black Stone”) is as sweetly pastoral as a sad child’s piano lesson. Ken Micallef

The Stripminers

Brett Anderson of The Donnas and The Radishes’ Paul Stinson front a strong band that includes X drummer DJ Bonebrake. Punks and Outlaw Country types will love their raw blend of fuzzy surf punk, garage rock, and more quiet, intimate folkified songs. Male/female vocal interplay evokes X, and sometimes even The B-52’s. One highlight is the sweet but slightly sinister-sounding “Better Than a Song,” in which the singers portray lovers who wonder which they love better, music or each other. Barbara Schultz

Geoff Barrow & Ben Salisbury
DROKK [Music Inspired by Mega-City One]

Like a modern-day Tangerine Dream soundtrack, DROKK (inspired by the fictional city-state of the Judge Dredd comic book series) is all clanging synths—primarily the Oberheim 2 Voice Synthesizer— amid stillborn techno soundscapes. Blending the Oberheim with various acoustic, but largely unintelligible, instruments, DROKK is as cold, dark, dank, and joyously heavy as an alternate Blade Runner universe. Ken Micallef


From the vintage Bowie “Modern Love” beat that opens “Speed the Collapse” to the Gary Glitter-ish “Youth Without Youth,” Metric’s latest is as much an exploration of rhythm as it is a vehicle for the elasticity of lead singer Emily Haines’ voice. She sounds triumphantly angelic, digital harmonizer and all, over the four-on-the-floor guitar rock of “Breathing Under Water,” and moodily fem-tronic on the amazing “Clone,” a sleek and strippeddown Casiotone-fueled groover. Bill Murphy

Hot Chip
In Our Heads

Hot Chip have been making flagrantly indulgent dance pop for years, but always with a quirky ear for how the elements of a song fit together, as their fifth album so breezily demonstrates. Whether it’s a nutty synth arpeggio (“Ends of the Earth”), a bombastic horn line (“Motion Sickness”) or a well-placed electric guitar over a simple drum machine (on the killer ballad “Look at Where We Are”), the band continues to churn out instantly accessible and memorable songs. Bill Murphy

Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Prepare yourself for “Oh Susannah,” “Clementine, “Jesus’ Chariot (She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain)” and other chestnuts like you’ve never imagined them, much less heard them. Neil Young and Crazy Horse are back to rock the American songbook with screaming, distorted guitars and thunderous drums. Some of these tracks sound as gorgeously brutal and intense as any Nick Cave or Tom Waits record. Others are a bit sweeter, but overall Americana is like a rock ‘n’ roll battle cry that will blow your mind. Barbara Schultz