A week after we all got worked up over Kendrick Lamar’s “i,” new music from some serious A-list talent gave this week’s Must-Hear Music podcast crew plenty to chew on.
Thom Yorke released an entire solo album via BitTorrent (and moved more than 400,000 copies in the process), Lorde released her Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1 song, One Direction teased their new album with a controversial new track and Gerard Way dropped his first solo album after My Chemical Romance called it quits.
Additionally, we (this week: Jason Lipshutz, Joe Lynch and Chris Payne) chat about Lucinda Williams’ double-disc new album Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, as well as Danish punk band Iceage’s less-abrasive new song. We also shine the spotlight on Flight Facilities, a promising new group who stopped by Billboard’s offices to play their upcoming debut just before we recorded our podcast.
Listen to the podcast on iTunes here (and subscribe! And rate it!) or on the SoundCloud below. And beneath that, check out the tracks we talk about, along with highlights from our discussion.
Thom Yorke: “Brain in a Bottle”
Jason: Even if it’s not quite as good as Radiohead, I’m happy to have more Thom Yorke music in existence.
Joe: I love this song. There’s a beat that’s tripping over itself, a warbling synth straight out of a ’50s sci-fi movie. It’s chillier and more retro than his first solo album, but great.
Chris: I feel like he’s mining the same territory. It’s not that different from Radiohead.
One Direction: “Steal My Girl”
Jason: I’ve listened to this song 15 times in the past 24 hours. It’s dumb and big and I love it.
Joe: Although it’s a slower, more mature song for them, there are still handclaps and foot stomping. This is designed for arenas, so it’s no surprise people are saying it’s too close to Journey for comfort.
Gerard Way: “No Shows”
Chris: This is great, and it sounds nothing like My Chemical Romance. The vocals are mixed on the same level as the guitar, which is something you almost never hear in rock music right now.
Joe: I love this song. There’s a cool T. Rex fuzziness to it, and there’s a lushness you never got from My Chemical Romance.
Lorde: “Yellow Flicker Beat”
Joe: As you’d expect from something written for the Hunger Games franchise, this is a paranoid song. She’s bringing a sensibility to The Hunger Games that previous songs from Coldplay and Taylor Swift/Civil Wars lacked.
Jason: She always brings it in terms of the writing: “I’m a princess cut smoother than marble in a storm.” She’s 17 and a songwriting dynamo.
Lucinda Williams: “Magnolia”
Joe: She’s one of the few people in country-rock who keeps making start-to-finish classics. This JJ Cale cover is nine minutes but never overstays its welcome, because her band mulls over the groove instead of grooving on it.
Flight Facilities ft. Emma Louise: “Two Bodies”
Jason: This band stopped by our office and played us a few selections from their album. The whole album is really solid, and you definitely get Disclosure vibes from this album.
Chris: A lot of the tracks on the album are old singles, but they keep it fresh by writing new interludes to go between them.
Iceage: “How Many”
Chris: They’ve changed things up and keep getting more interesting. It’s not as blistering as the first two albums, but the singer’s delivery is intriguing.
Joe: His singing sounds more and more like the Libertines as they move toward angular post-punk.