Spoon – Written In Reverse

One of my favorite tracks from probably the most consistent band of the ’00s. I see them as having followed a Beatles-esque trajectory – they released a few poppy albums that were solid but didn’t break any molds, then Gimme Fiction was their Rubber Soul (moving in a new, more complex direction, but retaining some old qualities), Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga was their Revolver (getting weirder while remaining amazing pop-rock), and Transference their Sgt. Pepper (embracing full-blown weirdness, doing things few, if any, people have done before with the genre). This version of “Written In Reverse” isn’t quite as smoothly mixed as the studio version, and lacks some of the flourishes like the weird background piano at parts, but it’s very cool to see the band at work together like this, something that I feel has declined recently in the music world.

Sisyphus – Calm It Down

Sisyphus is a group made up of Sufjan Stevens, Son Lux, and Serengeti, all artists I’ve (probably unjustly) neglected thus far, but this track immediately got my attention. It fuses hip-hop, electronic, and indie music in a pretty seamless way. It’s catchy, has a fun beat, and manages to work as a light almost-dancey pop number and a groovy indie track for just kicking it. My only criticism is that at the end, when it tries to get a bit more sentimental by dropping everything but the vocals and piano, it feels a bit hokey. Anyway, it’s a fun song for all you college kids out there.

Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip – Butch & Sundance

Let’s put aside the fact that mostly anything that references the George Roy Hill classic Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid (one of my favorite movies) is OK with me. Even if this wasn’t already in my good books because of the title, it would be after hearing the track. Busta and Q-Tip trade bars over a nice jazzy beat for 3 minutes. It’s smooth, lyrical, and it’s a pleasure to listen to two veterans still give us reliable bars after so long in the game (Something not everybody can do. Looking at you, Jay-Z. Shots fired.). This is from their new collaborative mixtape, The Abstract & the Dragon, which you can get here.

NoName Gypsy – Samaritan f. Mick Jenkins

Most of you probably know NoName Gypsy from her dope verse on Chance’s “Lost” from Acid Rap. She’s been releasing a lot of dope stuff, but this is my favorite of her tracks so far. She raps about confidence issues, her struggle, and the rap game over a jazzy, laid-back beat. Mick Jenkins comes in with a good guest spot, too. Definitely a good listen for any fan of Chance or Joey Bada$$.

A$AP Nast – Trillmatic f. Method Man

I saw an interview with A$AP Rocky when he first came out in which he said that he thought the other members of A$AP Mob were better than him. So far, Ferg and Nast (and what I’ve heard of Twelvy) have been proving him right. If you live in New York, you probably already know this song, but I couldn’t not put it up. Nast has a couple nice verses, but Mef’s is obscenely good. Let’s hope this is a good leg up for Nast.