Radiohead, "I Promise" (XL). Included here out of a sense of professional obligation, this previously unreleased Radiohead song has been contemplating its navel out of public earshot since 1997. "I Promise" is one of three such unearthed tracks that will appear on the band’s album OKNOTOK album (out June 23 via XL Recordings). It's a melancholy, acoustic guitar- and strings-powered ballad with a martial beat. Thom Yorke sings this heartfelt, grandiose ode to loyalty in his prettiest and tenderest mode. You're gonna (probably) love it. (OKNOTOK includes the original version of OK Computer, eight B-sides, and those aforementioned three archival studio cuts: "I Promise," “Lift," and "Man of War.")
Omar Souleyman, "Chobi" (Mad Decent). What's the West's favorite Syrian electronic musician doing on Diplo's Mad Decent label? It's doubtful that even the biggest fan of incongruity could've predicted the Middle Eastern demigod vocalist would migrate from respected global-adventurist imprint Sublime Frequencies to one of EDM's most mainstream outlets. Anyway, Omar Souleyman has a new album out now, To Syria, With Love, and "Chobi" is an extravagant example of Souleyman's gruffly romantic vocal style, bolstered by tricky amphetamine beats and strident Korg motifs bearing flamboyant Arabic arcs and swerves. Not sure how "Chobi" will go down in glitzy American clubs with bottle service, but its keening keyboard flourishes are thrilling my ears in these here headphones. If you dug Souleyman's high-energy 2012 Bumbershoot set, you'll likely flip for this tune.
Marc Barreca, “The Urge to Buy Terrorizes You” (Freedom to Spend). New RVNG Intl. subsidiary label Freedom to Spend did a noble deed earlier this year by reissuing Music Works for Industry, an overlooked 1983 classic critique of capitalism set to post-My Life in the Bush of Ghosts eeriness by one of Seattle's early pioneers of electronic music, Marc Barreca. “The Urge to Buy Terrorizes You” is one of many standouts from Music Works for Industry; there's a Lynchian air of impending menace, an Eno-esque aura of placeless mystery, and artfully cantankerous sax embellishments that you don't typically hear in music like this. (These days, Barreca serves as a bankruptcy judge in Seattle while still creating beautiful experimental music. Check The Stranger for a feature on him in the near future. You can see him in a rare live performance Sat, June 3, at Machine House Brewery.)
wrtch, “goodgirlnicehooker” (Badcamp). Former Seattle/current Chicago musician/visual artist wrtch (aka Ambrosia Bartošekulva) returns with a gripping track from her new album, Rabbit Holes [andotherexits], out June 6. An 11-minute incantation from a scary void, "goodgirlnicehooker" finds Bartošekulva forming a cracked, mosaic out of her haunting, desolate voice, which recalls both Dead Can Dance's Lisa Gerrard and Somei Satoh circa Mandara Trilogy. The subliminal, slow-motion vortex of muffled heartbeats and metallic striations offers perfect accompaniment to this ceremony of damnation. (wrtch performs Thursday June 15 at Timbre Room.)
New Weather, “No Future” (Bandcamp). Disco started as a genre that celebrated libido liberation, love, and decadence, but gradually it expanded its parameters to embrace the dark side. Artists from Patrick Cowley to Chris & Cosey to Black Devil Disco Club shrouded the party atmospheres in portentous synth washes, to stunning effect. Following in that tradition on the No Future EP are Seattle's New Weather (Sean Curley, Amber Rossino, and Tomory Dodge). As the title suggests, "No Future" leans toward the dystopian end of the disco spectrum, with synthesizers arpeggiating and modulating with wax/wane schematics that would impress Giorgio Moroder, as Rossino whispers "no future" with a mixture of numbness and awe. Dance yourself into oblivion, earthlings. (New Weather's free record-release party happens Thursday June 8 at Pony.)
Noteworthy June 2 album releases: Chastity Belt, I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone (Hardly Art); Pixx, The Age of Anxiety (4AD); Dan Auerbach, Waiting on a Song (Easy Eye Sound); Ikonika, Distractions (Hyperdub); Saint Etienne, Home Counties (Heavenly); Roger Waters, Is This the Life We Really Want? (Columbia); Jesu/Sun Kil Moon, 30 Seconds to the Decline of Planet Earth (Caldo Verde); Marika Hackman, I'm Not Your Man (Sub Pop); Death and Vanilla, Vampyr (Fire); Chuck Johnson, Balsams (VDSQ); Beach Fossils, Somersault (Bayonet); Ayron Jones, Audio Paint Job (Sunyata); U2, The Joshua Tree (30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (Island).