More Culture:

August 08, 2016

Now Hear This: New songs by Ariana Grande, Father John Misty and more

1. Field Mouse — “The Order of Things”

Field Mouse is having a moment. The Philly-via-Brooklyn indie rockers played to an enthusiastic hometown crowd at the Boot and Saddle on Thursday, celebrating the release of their great, deliciously ‘90s-indebted "Episodic" LP. For my money, this driving, mid-tempo hookfest is the album's standout; its peppy, harmonized verses switching gears for Rachel Browne’s concise, relatable chorus lament: “I’m tired / and I want to take up space.”

2. Father John Misty — “Real Love Baby”

It’s unclear whether Philly’s ready to forgive Josh Tillman following his, um, questionable behavior at XPoNential Fest last month (and subsequent Twitter feud with our man Tim Showalter of Strand of Oaks), but if anything can convince us to make nice, this is probably it. His new single is the simplest, sweetest thing he’s ever penned: a starry-eyed love paean worthy of the Eagles, blissfully devoid of his typically overwrought irony and angst. It’d make for a perfect slow-swaying summer festival sing-along. Oh, wait…

3. Ariana Grande — “Into You Remix" feat. Mac Miller / “Into You” (Lyric Video Version)

In its original, house-steeped form, “Into You” was already one of the summer’s finest dance-pop singles and yet another feather in co-writer/producer Max Martin’s genius-auteur king-of-pop crown. These two recent tweaks — a gleaming half-time slow-jam reimagining that even Mac Miller’s blandly unfortunate verse can't derail and an a cappella take spotlighting the singer’s masterfully controlled, Mariah-level pipes — help underscore Grande and Martin’s craft and their song’s simple but impressively versatile melody.

4. BROOKZILL! feat. Count Bass D — “Saudade Songbook”

Between the suspiciously Olympics-synergistic timing and that painfully hokey portmanteau band name (i.e. Brooklyn + Brazil), there’s plenty to be dubious of here. But the first track from this new collaborative project, featuring hip-hop legends Prince Paul and Ladybug Mecca (of Digable Planets) plus Brazilian MC Gorila Urbano, turns out to be pretty damn delightful — even, dare I say, funky fresh. In this heat, at least, it feels like a cool breeze (on the rocks), straight out of 1993.

5. COMBAT! — “Jacaranda”


And speaking of absurdly overenthusiastic monikers and tropical-sounding percussion … check out this appealingly loose, summery track from LA producer/multi-instrumentalist Mark Nieto — a preview of his forthcoming debut LP — which meanders fluidly and intuitively, weaving a subtly disorienting grab-bag of vocal snippets and synth atmospheres in and out of its slippery, shapeshifting samba grooves.