Every week, The Tune will publish a survey of the newest songs making their way around the internets and the music world in general. Despite the name, it is not just reserved for newly-released CD singles, but rather for any new songs from albums that have not been released yet. The songs will mostly be ones that have leaked/been published over the former week, but occasionally we will throw in little-known tracks from the last few weeks or months that never made it onto our survey. Again, the only condition is that the album has not been released yet. EPs and singles are okay. We are also introducing a new rating system for singles, one that is somewhat unique. Rather than rating the songs based on a 5-star scale, a thumbs up/down scale, or having no rating system (isn’t that annoying?), we will give them prizes not unlike sporting events: Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Shit.
Here in May, we’re just starting to try out this concept of an entire week’s worth of new songs in one place, with streaming links and our new rating system, so make sure to leave us some feedback and let us know what you think! You can comment at the bottom of the post or email us with the form on the right (and slightly down). This week’s survey includes new songs from folky artists like Bon Iver, Neil Young, and Maria Taylor alongside poppier tracks from Ladytron, New Order, and Cute Is What We Aim For. This is a huge Single Survey, so take your time and make sure to listen to some of the unreviewed tracks at the bottom! If you’d like to write a review for any, go to our Staff page and apply to write for The Tune. Also, look for the red MP3 tag for free and legal downloadable songs!
I don’t normally pay much attention to YouTube comments, but one listener described Bon Iver’s first single from his upcoming self-titled album as “aural sex.” There is no description more apt. Mr. Good Winter penetrates the ears, lovingly, by upping the ante from his last album. The electronic beats and graceful guitars echo with the tenderness that Justin Vernon exudes like no other writer in the business.
Ian Curtis may have been the crux of Joy Division, but after his suicide, the remaining members added some mainstream appeal and became New Order, one of the ’80s most celebrated bands. Now, the two groups will get a joint Greatest Hits on June 6, and the first single is an unreleased New Order track from 2005. It rocks a post-’80s air of couldn’t-care-less-these-are-our-synths ‘tude, and it’s actually not half bad.
Although Neil’s been playing it live for decades, his upcoming collection features this unreleased studio version of a twangy lovesong.
Ladytron have been around since 1999, but it seems they’re just now peaking. In March, they released the towering “Ace of Hz,” and now they’re back with a second song off of their September release, “White Elephants.” The layers of gloomy synths are enhanced by the somber vocal delivery, making for a grand dirge — an anthemic electronica piece.
British singer-songwriter Patrick Wolf is a favorite around my place, and his grandiloquent vocals and chamber rock are back with a third single from his June 20 release, Lupercalia. “This house is home,” he sings, and we’re reminded that his melodies are always much better than his lyrics. “House” may not be as immediate as “The City” MP3, but it probably has better lasting value.
Chris Laufman loves to make music out of various samples, but he’s always been more weird than effective, even on this year’s “Loud Mouths,” MP3 his best single to date. But his newest offering borrows the dreamy R&B of The Weeknd to create a short, lilting number best listened to with the lights low.
Swedish dream pop band jj loves to use lyrics from hip-hop songs, but their new 7″, dropped without warning for all us unsuspecting fans, tries out big tribal beats on both songs, adding sparklers as if it were already July on “No One Can Touch Us Tonight” and languid tension on “Ice,” as if you were digging up your garden at 6 A.M on that July morning…
The most ambitious recording project since Thrice‘s Alchemy Index, Casey Crescenzo explores the entire rainbow and more in the 9-EP series The Color Spectrum, due out in June. This number is from the White EP, and though it doesn’t reflect a particular sense of purity or marriage, the bouncy piano set to a soaring arena-rock chorus and chanted backup vocals certainly could bring to mind an image of a sky-high limestone edifice. Hell, white doesn’t have to mean “innocent.”
Cute Is What We Aim For – “He Went from a ‘Fuck Up’ to A ‘Stand Up’ Kid”(Pop-Rock)
The neon pop-punk of “There’s a Class for This” and the big band sound of “Hollywood” both guest-star on the new CIWWAF track, from their first album since 2008. But the wit of the first album is missing, and as Rotation showed, the band has nothing more than big hooks going for them anymore.
The Summer Set – “Someone Like You” (Pop)
Pop-punk is out of style, and bands that tried to make it in that scene around 2006-2009 have turned to other more relevant styles. Unfortunately, The Summer Set, who produced one of the best neon pop-punk tracks (“Love Like This“), decided to imitate Owl City on a tween love song…hoo boy…
The Atlanta self-proclaimed “flower-punk” band have obviously been digging into their Kinks collections to find their “new direction.”
Nadler’s second single from her June 14 self-titled debut doesn’t pack the same emotional punch as “Baby, I Will Leave You in the Morning,” MP3 but it is a melancholy autumn folk-pop number, like Feist with more soul. I’m sure I’ll replay it all the time this fall.
One-half of Azure Ray, the songwriter Maria Taylor, has released two solo albums to date and returns in August with a third. Her moment of grace was “Clean Getaway,” from Lynn Teeter Flower, and while “In A Bad Way” cannot challenge that assertion, it is an introspective, Norah Jones-y number with potential.
Drake – “Dreams Money Can Buy” (Rap) MP3
Moonface (Spencer Krug of Wolf Parade) – “Fast Peter” (Experimental/Electronic) MP3
The Cinema (Leighton Antelman of Lydia) – “Kill It” (Indie Pop-Rock)
Jonathan Jones (of We Shot the Moon and Waking Ashland) – “Duracell” (Pop-Rock) MP3
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Little Blu House” (Electronic/Indie Pop)
Julianna Barwick & Ikue Mori – “Rejoinder” (Experimental)
Handsome Furs – “Repatriated” (Electrorock) MP3
Mount Kimbie – “Baves Chords” (Experimental) MP3
Big Troubles – “Phantom” (Indie Rock) MP3
Blouse - “Shadow” (Indie Pop)
Youth Lagoon – “July” (Indie Pop) MP3
Barn Owl – “Shadowland” (Experimental) MP3
Nat Baldwin (of the Dirty Projectors) – “Lifted” (Indie Pop/Experimental) MP3
Rubblebucket - “Silly Fathers” (Indie Pop) MP3
Thundercat (of Suicidal Tendencies) – “For Love I Come” (Indie Pop) MP3
Olivia Broadfield – “Daydreams” (Indie Pop)
Robert Pollard (of Guided by Voices) – “In a Circle” (Folk) MP3
Dauwd - “Could It Be/Shimmer” (Electronic) MP3
Key Losers – “Bi-Focal” (Indie/Folk) MP3
Nguzunguzu - “Spittin ‘n Rhythm” (World/Electronic)