Cindy Wilson, "Mystic" (Kill Rock Stars). This song from the B-52s vocalist starts out sounding like Gary Numan's "Cars" (never a bad move), and then downshifts into a dulcet, subdued new-wave charmer. Now 60, Wilson tones down the exuberance that marked her most famous band and enters a more chill and chilling zone on "Mystic" (off her new album, Change). The glittery gravitas suits her well.
Visible Cloaks, "Keys" (RVNG Intl.). Portland duo Visible Cloaks engage in some Far Eastern-inflected electronic legerdemain. The lead single from their new mini-LP Lex, "Keys" sounds like two or three songs trying to interlock in some next-level, Cubist puzzle: gaseous ambient; manic, weirdly tuned marimbas or gamelan percussion; and a tune by Japan that was too strange to make it onto Tin Drum. It's whimsically disorienting.
M.E.S.H., "Search.Reveal" (PAN). A standout on Berlin's cutting-edge label PAN, M.E.S.H. (aka James Whipple) finds fascinating ways to fuck with dubstep's DNA (the cerebral mid-'00s UK dubstep, that is). He keeps his rhythms knocking yet unpredictable, and swathes his tracks with incredibly dank atmospheres. "Search.Reveal" is a bizarre club banger that exudes a vital paranoia. It's one of the headiest body highs on Whipple's newest full-length, Hesaitix. (M.E.S.H. plays Kremwerk Thursday, December 14.)
Wajatta (Reggie Watts & John Tejada), "Runnin'" (Comedy Dynamics). Soul vocalist/looper magician/comedian Reggie Watts makes a slick transition into tech-house with this breezy, bumpin' track produced by veteran LA minimal-techno artist John Tejada. "Runnin'" is nothing fancy, just pure sunshine distilled into clipped, 4/4 bubbly bliss—and it's pretty damn motivational and levitational.
Eldridge Gravy & the Court Supreme, "Get Right" (Eldridge Gravy & the Court Supreme). "Get Right" presents this sprawling Seattle ensemble in simmer mode rather than their usual full-on boiling approach, and it's a cool change-up. There's an early-'70s Stevie Wonder swagger in the groove as well as in the nuanced horn section, and the funk and soul juices swirl together in a tasty elixir of party sonics. The song's off their self-titled 2017 CD, which you can probably purchase at the group's upcoming shows at the Tractor Tavern, December 30 and 31.
Noteworthy December 8 album releases: Belle and Sebastian, How to Solve Our Human Problems, Pt. 1 EP (Matador); Brian Eno/Tom Rogerson, Finding Shore (Dead Oceans); Total Control, Laughing at the System (Alter/Big Love); Charles Hayward & Thurston Moore, Improvisations (Care in the Community); Visible Cloaks, Lex (RVNG Intl.); Jim James, Tribute to 2 (ATO); Big Sean/Metro Boomin, Double or Nothing (Def Jam/G.O.O.D. Music/Boominati Worldwide/Republic); QTY, QTY (Dirty Hit); Chris Thile, Thanks for Listening (Nonesuch).