This week our picks exist in a dreamy realm perfect for the dog days of summer. We have a new piece of pop psychedelia from Ariel Pink and Jorge Elbrecht, Portland's hypnotically beautiful Pure Bathing Culture, Greek import Keep Shelly in Athens, and a controversial new song from The Weeknd. Most exciting, though, is the return of Mazzy Star, whose "California" is everything we'd hoped for from David Roback and Hope Sandoval's return. That one's at the bottom in case you want to skip right to it.
Ariel Pink and Jorge Elbrecht
"Hang On to Life"
Ariel Pink is often at his best when he's playing it (relatively) straight. His new collaboration with Violens' Jorge Elbrecht sees the L.A. experimentalist in dreamy-pop mode as he bonds with his friend. It's sweet stuff and just off-kilter enough that no one else could have made it.
Pure Bathing Culture
"Dream the Dare"
The second single from Portland two-piece Pure Bathing Culture (following the excellent "Pendulum") is just as beautiful as its predecessor. With a sound somewhere between Beach House and Fleetwood Mac, the band has one of our favorite debuts of the year. And that chorus!
Keep Shelly In Athens
Greek duo Keep Shelly In Athens has been in the synth-pop game for a while now, and the band is finally ready to drop its debut LP, At Home, this September via Cascine. "Recollection" is the first taste from that release, featuring New Age textures and a hypnotic breakbeat.
"Belong to the World"
While The Weeknd may currently be defending himself against accusations that he sampled Portishead classic "Machine Gun" without permission, "Belong to the World" is still the best track so far from the Canadian R&B star's debut LP. With a video set in a dystopian Japan, Tesfaye breaks out of his lofts-and-drugs mode for desolation of a grander scale.
Autre Ne Veut
"On and On"
"On and On" may be the result of Autre Ne Veut's partnership with the Adult Swim Singles Series, but the track doesn't sound like a one-off. Slightly more upbeat than much of his excellent debut, Anxiety, "On and On" is built around a squishy synth line that belongs on the dance floor.
Legendary dream-psych duo Mazzy Star has just dropped the first new single from its 17-years-in-waiting new album, Seasons Of Your Day. Picking up where the band left off, "California" mixes brittle guitar with Hope Sandoval's unmistakable vocals. It's quietly devastating in exactly the way we'd hoped.
Clickwise from above left Photo: Courtesy of Keep Shelley In Athens, The Weeknd, Autre Ne Veut, Pure Bathing Culture.