Jack White, “Corporation” (Third Man/Columbia). Look, I'm as surprised as you are that I'm recommending a Jack White song in 2018. But! The Detroit homie has come back with some vicious rhythmic business (think Jimi Hendrix Experience's "Little Miss Lover")—some hard funk buttressed with what sounds like clavinet and bongos. I have a lot of time for clavinet and bongos, even when they're deployed by an aging garage-rock millionaire. "I'm thinking about starting a corporation/Who's with me?/Nowadays that's how you get adulation," White barks with the conviction of Eminem in his anti-Trump rap. "I'm gonna buy up all the empty lots and start one giant farm/Who's with me?" Sounds like White has a solid plan to help rejuvenate the Motor City. It may shock you to note, but "Corporation" is 340 seconds of nonstop excitement. It appears on Boarding House Reach (out March 23).
Khruangbin, "Maria También" (Dead Oceans). On the new Con Todo el Mundo album, these Houston musicians hit on a sweet, nonchalantly psychedelic vibe that goes down easy. Deploying a chiming guitar tone somewhere in the vicinity of jazz-fusion great Pat Martino, Sir Richard Bishop in Morricone and Middle Eastern mode, and the Youngbloods' Jerry Corbitt on "Get Together," Khruangbin ("Engine Fly" in Thai) boast a casual cosmopolitanism that blends low-key funk and non-Western scales and percussive timbres, resulting in fresh fusions. "Maria También" is a prime example of this approach. The song's video hails Iranian women's liberation and creativity before the country's 1979 revolution; it's part of Khruangbin's goal "to bring these remarkable women back into the spotlight and honour the artistry of silenced women everywhere." Somehow, Khruangbin have captured the (imaginary) sound of swinging '70s Tehran in the 2010s, and the results are extremely cool. (Khruangbin play April 26 at Neumos.)
Loma, "Black Willow" (Sub Pop). Somewhere between Low and Lana Del Rey, Loma's "Black Willow" creeps up on you on cat paws, gently taps you on your shoulder, and coos sweet somethings in your ear. This is top-shelf, morose-woman-fronted slowcore wreathed in burnished keyboard burbles, as Emily Cross and Jonathan Meiburg's hallowed, hushed vocals intone in unison—a real midnight-blue-velvet glide of a tune. Roll over, Hope Sandoval and tell Heidi Berry the news.
Drew McDowall & Hiro Kone, “Bright Kiss of Fire” (BANK). Former Coil member Drew McDowall and Hiro Kone take us on a journey to forbidding zones not dissimilar to the chilling infernos Jhonn Balance and Sleazy Christopherson used to conjure during Coil's late phase. "Bright Kiss of Fire" is more music to play in the dark while walking in the forest on magic mushrooms. Even while heard in an office environment during daylight hours, "Bright Kiss of Fire" casts everything in a subliminally malevolent light. Can't wait to hear the rest of the album on which it appears, The Ghost of Georges Bataille (out March 23). If that title doesn't intrigue you, you must not be a fan of the most fucked-up, philosophical erotica this side of the Marquis de Sade. By the way, McDowall is performing Coil's Time Machines live in Vancouver on February 17. Why there's no Seattle date for this tour remains a terrible mystery.
Dungen & Woods, "Turn Around" (Mexican Summer). Woods' Jeremy Earl sings like a demure lady, and his precious voice works beguilingly in the context of this quasi-baroque, psych-pop chiffon gown of a song, made in collaboration with Sweden's most sublime rock export at the moment, Dungen. It's a laid-back, dreamy sigh of a composition, but not without some complex guitar filigrees to keep it from wafting away into wispy background frippery.
Noteworthy February 2 album releases: Kyle Craft, Full Circle Nightmare (Sub Pop); Roxy Music, Roxy Music [Super Deluxe Edition] (Virgin); Anna Burch, Quit the Curse (Polyvinyl); The James Hunter Six, Whatever It Takes (Daptone); Rhye, Blood (Loma Vista); Bardo Pond, Vol. 8 (Fire); Efrim Menuck, Pissing Stars (Constellation); Poppy Ackroyd, Resolve (One Little Indian); The Soft Moon, Criminal (Sacred Bones); Simple Minds, Walk Between Worlds (BMG); Field Music, Open Here (Memphis Industries); Hookworms, Microshift (Domino); John Oates, Arkansas (PS); Bat Fangs, Bat Fangs (Don Giovanni); Death and Vanilla, The Tenant (Fire); Justin Timberlake, Man of the Woods (RCA).