Four years after her last record of covers, Cat Power is returning with an album of new songs.
The self-produced 11-track LP Sun is due out in early September. This week, the singer (aka Chan Marshall) debuted a piano-led rocking stomp called "Ruin". Download the MP3 at catpowermusic.com – there's also an accompanying video with Marshall indulging her graffiti skills. Cat Power's trademark dusty vocals remain intact but the sound has moved away from the somewhat sludgy blues of 2008's Jukebox and is closer in tone to the brilliant 2003 record You Are Free, if a bit more cleanly produced and rather more defiant sounding.
When two heads are better than one
Two leftfield heroes of different eras, David Byrne and St Vincent, have got together to make an album. The excellently titled Love This Giant comes out on 4AD in September. Of the album's 12 tracks, 10 were co-written by the pair, with the former Talking Heads man and the baroque pop singer/ guitarist taking up separate writing duties for each of the final two songs. They recently showcased "Who", a track of impressively divergent parts - horns, guitars, synths, shared vocals. It's lots of fun. Get it from lovethisgiant.com.
Top marks for schoolboy rap
This week, I happened across the great new track "Survival Tactics" by up-and-coming Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$. The 17-year-old is still in school while exercising his impressive flow over an old-school-sounding track – all languid beats and hazy horn samples. The song comes from his equally impressive, recently unleashed, debut mixtape, 1999, which can be downloaded free at bit.ly/OlXuNM.
A good time to focus on Dirty Projectors
Despite all the acclaim, I've never been able to like Dirty Projectors. The Brooklyn band's last album was lavishly praised but it did nothing for me. The situation didn't change when they offered up "Gun Has No Trigger", the first single from their new LP, Swing Lo Magellan. I'm rather taken, however, with the second sampling from the July-released album. Hear the slow-burning "Dance for You" at youtu.be/ MJutn2OXDZE. I'm going to consider it a mere blip for now.