Looking to impress your friends when the aux cord finally falls into your lap? In that case, it’s probably wise to get familiar with the freshest tracks in heavy rotation this week. If you’ve been too busy to keep up with the latest releases, no worries, MERRY JANE has you covered. On this week’s SoundCloud playlist, we’ve got a Pharrell-produced collab between Vic Mensa and Pusha T, a spacey serenade from indie rock weirdo Ariel Pink, Action Bronson wreaking havoc over an Alchemist beat, and more.
Vic Mensa (ft. Pusha T & Pharrell) - OMG
Since getting signed to Roc Nation off the success of his acclaimed 2013 mixtape Innanetape, Vic Mensa’s discography thus far has been limited to his highly political EP There’s Alot Going On and a handful of singles. Although he has yet to release a studio debut, the Chicago rapper has been in the studio working on The Manuscript, a 4-track project that Vic blessed us with this past week. On the standout cut “OMG,” which features Virginia Beach legends Pharrell and Pusha T, Mensa conjures up some of his most potent rhymes yet.
The quick-witted rapper manages to boast about his stardom while keeping his social criticisms intact. “French kissing bitches in Paris, clubbing like a caveman/We threw up the pyramid, now they say we Illuminati/Fox fur cavalli, fuck Bill O'Reilly,” he spits. Skateboard P meshes muted guitar samples and electronic grooves to create a classic beat reminiscent of the N.E.R.D. days, and also provides a smooth hook. Pusha T wraps the track up with his signature street style, making mention to his days as coke dealer and current triumphs as the President of GOOD Music.
Ariel Pink - Another Weekend
Widely recognized as lo-fi bedroom indie royalty, Ariel Pink constantly interjects themes of excess and fantasy over his bizarrely endearing music. After his 2010 album Before Today helped him break into the mainstream, the Los Angeles songwriter was sure not to let his outlandish lifestyle and left-field tunes be subdued by the prospect of stardom. Throughout the years, Pink has remained true to his ways, but on his latest track “Another Weekend,” the avant-pop savant seems to be growing wistful with age.
On his first solo song since the 2014 album pom pom, Ariel Pink takes a surprisingly tame approach, setting aside the usual weirdness to openly ponder about the throes of living the LA way. “Another weekend out of my life/Is gonna get me into trouble,” he croons in the chorus. Although the track is less colorful than the rest of his eclectic catalog, “Another Weekend” still offers rubbery grooves and spacey synths that keeps his peculiar flavor at the forefront.
Zola Jesus - Exhumed
Over the course of her eight-year career, Zola Jesus has managed to tastefully fuse the genres of electronic, classical, and industrial goth music together into one jarring style. Now set to drop her fifth LP Okovi on September 8th, Nicole Hummel has just shared her brooding new single “Exhumed.”
Zola Jesus coats her backing vocals with heavy reverb as her contemplative lyrics float ominously about glitchy electronic percussion and a seismic string arrangement. “The knife deepens, spit or swallow/Smoother, knocking, impalpable,” she belts out in abject darkness. According to Hummel, her forthcoming album is heavily influenced by “people very close to me trying to die, and others trying desperately not to.” On “Exhumed,” this symbolic observation of death can be found throughout, creating a contemplative number that searches for meaning within a vast and bleak sonic world.
Mogwai - Coolverine
Last month, the Scottish post-rock outfit Mogwai announced their new album Every Country’s Sun, and also shared the epic six-minute jam “Coolverine.” The ambient offering is driven by reverberating guitars and rattling synths, creating an atmospheric vibe that is darkly alluring.
This swirling number was recently accompanied by a captivating post-apocalyptic music video directed by the Hand Held Cine Club duo. As if “Coolverine” wasn’t potent enough on its own, the black-and-white visual enhances the sonic despair as people and inanimate objects are carried off into the bleak sky a la the HBO series The Leftovers. This monumental instrumental track offers the perfect backdrop to the jarring video, and would also be best-suited for a meditative smoke sesh in the moonlight. Mogwai’s upcoming LP will drop on September 1 via their own Rock Action record label.
Waxahatchee - Never Been Wrong
This past week, the punchy indie rock outfit Waxahatchee unveiled the opening track from their forthcoming album Out In The Storm, an emotionally charged breakup ballad entitled “Never Been Wrong.” Having already released the energizing single “Silver,” singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield seems to be continuing down a path of self-reflection that she trail blazed on her 2015 project Ivy Tripp.
While the growling guitar bellows with distortion, Crutchfield gives a detailed look at the emotional fallout the stems from a faltering relationship. “Everyone will hear me complain/Everyone will pity my pain,” she howls with a sense of stubborn self awareness. Throughout the thunderous number, the surging instrumentals occasionally dissipate, leaving space for the Waxahatchee frontwoman to harmonize the pain away. Out In The Storm is due out July 14 via Merge Records.
Action Bronson (ft. Big Body Bes) - Brother Jedidiah
When he’s not busy chowing down on the VICELAND show F*ck, That's Delicious or high off his ass watching Ancient Aliens with his crew, Queens rapper Action Bronson spends his time spitting bars about various delicacies and his hilarious hijinks. On his latest song “Brother Jedidiah,” a soulful cut created by hip-hop production legend The Alchemist, Bronsolino continues to entertain with his rambunctious style.
“I wear the yamaka to court to gain some sort of leverage/My lawyer puts a little molly in the judge's beverage,” he rhymes right off the bat. From there, Action Bronson flows effortlessly over the cheerful church organ and pious vocal samples. The rapper’s outspoken confidant Big Body Bes comes through for a couple of interludes, yelling nonsense in between Bronson’s heavy-hitting lines. “Brother Jedidiah” will be featured on The Good Book Vol 2, a 45-track collaborative project by The Alchemist and Budgie that is strictly composed of religious samples.
Diplo (ft. Rich the Kid, Young Thug, Rich Chigga) - Bank Roll
Last month, Los Angeles producer Diplo shared the star-studded banger “Bank Roll,” an eclectic trap cut featuring Justin Bieber, Rich the Kid, Young Thug, and Rich Chigga. Shorty after the release, the song was suddenly removed from public view, apparently because “other artists made Soundcloud” take the song down due to their own exclusive songs with the Canadian popstar.
Instead of letting this banger fade into obscurity, Diplo uploaded a slightly abridged version without Bieber. On this fresh “Bank Roll” mix, Diplo teams up with King Henry and Boaz van de Beatz to create a bubbly trap beat. After Rich The Kid handles the hook duties, the viral Indonesian rapper Rich Chigga torches the track with an immaculate flow, once again proving his value as more than just a meme rapper and laying out tongue-in-cheek lines like “Run up in the scene in my tight jean shorts/Looking like a pimp but I got one hoe.” Rich The Kid and Thugger follow up with their own reputable verses, creating a hit that will surely stay spinning in the club throughout the summer.
Lunice - Mazerati
Back in 2012, Lunice seemed poised to take the trap-rave spotlight after teaming up with Scottish producer Hudson Mohawke to form the electronic duo TNGHT and working alongside the likes of Diplo. Although the Montreal producer’s presence has faded over the years, his long overdue debut album CCCLX (360) might just put him back onto the map.
On the project’s single “Mazerati,” Lunice cooks up a minimal trap beat that shows the esteemed producer picking up right where he left off. The clanky percussion seems to hit from every possible angle, leaving the listener blissfully unsure of where the drum sequence is heading next. The looming cut is occasionally overridden by a menacing synth that rises from the shadows. A low-pitched vocal sample sporadically chimes in with a “Mazerati,” while a distant choir bellows in the backdrop. In the music video, Lunice finds himself performing some equally mesmerizing dance moves, pairing perfectly with this contemplative offering.