The young Canadian electro-singer Claire Boucher - best known by the name Grimes – has been gaining attention over the last two years with a steady stream of output: two albums and a split EP. She has an odd sound: her high-pitched voice and the electro-beat backing could be mistaken for chart pop, except that it's suffused with an experimental, sinister air. This rather productive period isn't slowing with another new album, Visions, on the way in January and this week the first track from it emerged. Called "Oblivion", the low-key electro number follows Boucher's already set template – sweet but with a hint of darkness. It's streaming at www.arbutus records.com. Also this week she gave a suitably Grime-like makeover to a remix of "Eyes Be Closed", the shimmering opening track of Washed Out's recent album. Find it at ind.pn/pU39Br.
When not being the house band on Jimmy Fallon's nightly US TV chatshow, the long-running Philadelphia rap group The Roots still find time to make their own music. While the band are perhaps past their best, they still have plenty to say – and they remain as ambitious as ever: forthcoming album, Undun, is billed as a concept record, which will be "an existential re-telling of the short life of one Redford Stephens (1974-1999)." Stephens seems to be a fictional character, but it's not fully clear. Laid-back yet dark lead off single "Make My", featuring Big K.R.I.T., makes it on to iTunes on 1 November, but it's been premiered already at Okay Player – ind.pn/q8fDR6.
What's in a name?
I've always found the name Frankie and the Heartstrings unbearably twee and so have steadfastly refused to engage with their music. However, this week my resolve broke and I looked up their new single "Everybody Looks Better (In the Right Light)", produced by Bernard Butler and released in November. With its skittishness and vocal yelps, at first it seems a bit of enjoyable but throwaway derivative post punk, but when that big "everybody looks better" chorus kicks, and the bank of voices surge, you can't fight it. It's streaming on their label Witchita's Soundcloud at ind.pn/oy9XbB. What's in a name after all?
Mazzy Star make a comeback
While everyone was getting all excited about the Stone Roses reformation this week, there was news of another reunion worthy of attention – that of Mazzy Star. Though they never officially broke up, it's some 15 years since the US shoegaze band released new material. Now a new two- track single has emerged – coming out on 24 October on digital and vinyl formates. Called "Common Burn"/"Lay Myself Down", very brief snippets of both songs can be heard on Amazon at ind.pn/oOf5k4.