This week, we take a break from the bright sounds of summer and head for darker territory. We have new tracks from Odd Future wunderkind Earl Sweatshirt, Brooklyn's Friends, U.K. producer Forest Swords, and a new Fiona Apple video directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (yep, as in her ex-boyfriend and There Will Be Blood director). We've also got a new mix from Kanye West-producer Arca, which is full of hazy beats and warped pop. Before things get serious, though, we're kicking things off with the brand-new party anthem from Icona Pop.
With "I Love It" a massive hit around the world, it only makes sense that Icona Pop would follow it up with another bid for radio-dominating success. "All Night" is that song, with a suitably massive chorus and fist-pumping beat.
"Hive (feat. Vince Staples and Casey Veggies)"
In Earl Sweatshirt's early days, he used shockingly aggressive lyrics to achieve his bleak tone. Now older, the darkness comes from his ever-more intricate rhymes and woozy production style. "Hive" may be the result of Earl 2.0, but he's as good at creating dread as he ever was.
Fiona Apple has teamed up with ex-flame Paul Thomas Anderson for the video treatment of her new track "Hot Knife." As one might guess, the result is one of the most arresting clips we've seen in a long time, with a very intense Apple and her sister Maude Maggart (who also sings on the track) harmonizing with themselves as the screen splits into multiple images.
"The Weight of Gold"
"The Weight of Gold" comes together slowly, as wobbly beats, pentatonic scales, and obscured vocals intertwined. The track is another success for the experimental U.K. producer whose music is often as beautiful as it is disconcerting.
Brooklyn-based friends have always done a good riffing on '80s pop, but "The Way" takes things to a whole different level. The track is a slow-burning ballad with mysterious production assist from Dev Hynes that could have played during the climax of St. Elmo's Fire.
When Kanye West released the album credits from Yeezus, Arca was all over it. The forward-thinking producer now has a new mixtape that blurs genres in a goopy, churning haze of instrumental beats.
Clockwise from Left: Arca; Icona Pop; Friends; Forest Swords