by Ne-Yo (MP3)
There are a lot of officially unreleased Ne-Yo songs floating around online, many of them outtakes from 2008's Year of the Gentleman, but this is the first that's gotten under my skin. The track doesn't do anything especially new, just like everything else the guy does. And it's impeccable—from the modestly glossy keyboard hook, to the bobbing and weaving drum programming, to a sparkling vocal arrangement that buoys a lyric that finds the cracks in an old-standby scenario ("You ain't out in the club all night/You want to be the quiet part of my life")—also just like everything else the guy does.
by Vibes (Not Not Fun)
From a limited edition 7-inch by members of Pocahaunted, Robedoor, Magic Lantern, and Fantastic Ego, and easily findable via any number of MP3 blogs, this short track is weirdly funky and addictively unnerving. It sounds like it was recorded under a blanket in a subbasement, and the bass resembles mud, but the deranged wah-wah guitar could cut through a brick and so could the vocal, which sounds, in the impeccable phrase of the Boomkat catalog, "like Yeah Yeah Yeahs undergoing a psychotic episode."
by Metric (Metric Music International)
"If I stumble/They're gonna eat me alive"—Emily Haines sounds like she's stuck inside of a very dull video game. "My heart keeps beating like a hammer," she sings, but alas, nothing nearly so exciting goes on anywhere else in the song.
by Heartland Permian)
A country quintet from Atlanta rewrites both Joe Jackson's new-wave sneer "Is She Really Going Out with Him?" ("I can understand a goatee/Or even a Fu Manchu/But he's got a mustache/Has she lost her mind?/He's got a mustache/Straight out of 1979") and Rick Springfield's jealousy anthem "Jessie's Girl," whose bridge is recycled here, only Springfield didn't get off the funniest "Un-frickin'-believable" in recorded history, and Heartland's vocalist Craig Anderson does. His barely suppressed giggle on the closing "He's actually got a mustache" is for the ages, too. Jerky as all hell, but then, most truly funny things are.
by the Champagne Socialists (Slumberland)
Winningly scruffy guitar combo, just like everyone else on Slumberland, only this one is from L.A. and features an actual Glaswegian, Wallace Meek of Bricolage, for that extra dab of indie-pop authenticity. The A-side has a quick-stepping tambourine beat, the B is a more downcast march, and both barely hold together—charmingly, of course.