We’ve been rather dry around the Riff lately (D.R.M.! TV News!) so I think it’s time to get back to basics: New Tunes That Are Good. This week, a Swedish stomper, Texas tempos, a Slumdog standout, Bogota boogie, and, er, Scottish self-hatred.
1. Peter Bjorn & John – “Nothing to Worry About” (from Living Thing, out March 31)
Kanye could barely contain his enthusiasm, and neither can I. If you thought PB&J were only about shuffly, twee little ditties, get ready to have your mind blown by this stompy, shouty number. A bunch of kids scream the chorus while a wobbly guitar noodles over the beat from “Lip Gloss.” What’s not to like? (mp3)
2. Aether – “Orfeu Negro” (from Artifacts, out now on Exponential)
Aether is San Antonio producer (and graphic designer) Diego Chavez, and if you go look at some of his pretty pictures on his MySpace page whilst listening to this groovy number from his new album, you may notice some similarities: both his music and art are experimental but warm, detailed but instantly catchy, undeniably new but with a delicate retro patina.
3. A. R. Rahman & M.I.A. – “O… Saya” (from Slumdog Millionaire OST)
Rahman may be a longstanding pillar of the Indian film industry, but this track for the scrappy Danny Boyle movie sounds utterly, urgently contemporary. The drums pound away, reminiscent of nothing so much as Kanye West’s nod to tribal percussion in “Love Lockdown,” and when M.I.A. comes in for a verse, the track morphs into funky electro and back again.
4. Monareta – “Llama” (from Picotero on Nacional)
This duo has apparently moved to New York City from their native Bogota, but the swinging, loping rhythms of cumbia and champeta still flow through their quirky hip-hop. “Llama” combines a hypnotic reggae beat with what sounds like a sample of an old ’20s big band number.
5. Glasvegas – “It’s My Own Cheating Heart that Makes Me Cry” (from Glasvegas on Sony BMG)
Okay, I know I’ve already covered these guys a couple times around Riffland, but with their album out this week in the US (finally) I figure I gotta give ’em another shout-out. While the singles “Geraldine” and “Daddy’s Gone” may have the soaring choruses that made this album a huge UK hit, “Cheating Heart” has a wry, Poguesy charm: “infidelity and my good friend ecstasy doesn’t work, it makes you worse.” Boy, tell me about it.