This weekend was great for anyone who needed some new music. Last weekend wasn’t bad, but Labor Day weekend is always a little slow when it comes to new releases. That’s certainly not the case this weekend, with enough albums released that any music fan’s taste can be satisfied. There are dozens of variations of this week’s Take 5 tracks you need to know that would all be excellent. At the end of the day though, we had to settle on just one list of five songs. Let’s get to it
ODESZA and Regina Spektor – Just A Memory
Fans of EDM eagerly anticipated last Friday, when duo ODESZA released A Moment Apart, their third album. Over 16 tracks Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight take listeners through an emotional and musical gauntlet that’s well worth the listen. The standout of the album is “Just A Memory,” a somber track that features another Substream favorite, Regina Spektor. ODESZA wisely keeps the production subdued here, allowing Spektor to shine as she always does. A song of reconciliation builds to a wonderful peak of emotion and music, and we’re reaching for the tissues.
Miguel – Shockandawe
Chances are you know Miguel as a crooner, whether it’s on his 2012 hit “Adorn” or any number of the tracks from his severely underrated 2015 release Wildheart. “Shockandawe” is nothing like any of those tracks. Over a funky guitar hook and minimalist beat, Miguel fluctuates between rapping and singing at a much higher tempo than you might be used to hearing from him. It takes a second to adjust to hearing his smooth vocals not delivering a slow ballad, but “Shockandawe” is still great.
Anna of the North – Friends
If you read the site, you know that we had high praise for Anna of the North’s debut album Lovers last week. Now that the album is out in the world, everyone can start parsing their favorite tracks. A humble suggestion from us would be the album’s eighth track “Friends.” It’s one of the album’s slower tracks, dealing Anna Lotterud’s pain of fighting for a friendship that the other person has not put the time into. It’s also full of rich synth-y goodness from Brady Daniell-Smith.
The National – Nobody Else Will Be There
The National are titans of music, so of course we had to include a song from Sleep Well Beast on this list. We heard a good number of singles from the band leading up to the album’s release, but our pick this week is a track that wasn’t put out as a single. The album’s opener “Nobody Else Will Be There” is a masterclass in what The National does so well. Namely, creating rock that will make you curl up in a ball in your shower as the loneliness of existence closes in around you. The live performance on CBS This Morning we included above is especially beautiful.
Syd – Moving Mountains
After gaining widespread attention as a member of Odd Future, Syd has crafted a promising career for herself on both sides of the microphone. She’s not one to rest on her laurels, either. After releasing her debut album Fin in February, she returned with a three song EP Always Never Home this weekend. Each song on the EP is gold, but for the list we’ve picked the first track, “Moving Mountains.” A thin layer of electric distortion in spots gives the slinking instrumental some added dimension, and Syd can sing with a tenderness that rivals the best of them.