“High Ball Stepper” — Jack White
What can be said about Jack White that hasn’t been already? He’s a genius, guitar-god and madman all rolled into one, something that “High Ball Stepper” proves in its first thirty seconds. Starting off with a Zeppelin-esque rumble, this instrumental track features cascading lines of piano, guitar riffs looped backward, and a forceful, distorted fuzz. The first single off of “Lazaretto,” Jack White’s second solo album will drop on June 10.
“Bitter Rivals” — Sleigh Bells
Sleigh Bells certainly know how to make a first impression. Be careful, if you’re not ready for it, “Bitter Rivals” will punch you in the face. By summoning a wall of guitar and synth, Sleigh Bells create a unique brand of pop equal parts infectious and bombastic. This duo will hopefully grace Case Western’s campus soon as the headliners of next year’s fall concert.
“Bridge to Hawaii” — Tacocat
Listen for the group’s name, stay for the perky guitar pop and sweet vocal harmonies. An all girl outfit from Seattle, Tacocat imbue “Bridge to Hawaii” with a bubblegum chorus worthy of being anyone’s guilty pleasure. They have faith that summer is coming, and we should too.
“West Coast” — Lana Del Rey
Produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, in whose hands everything turns to gold, “West Coast” is easily the best song Lana Del Rey has ever recorded. Her sultry voice floats over a tight bass and guitar line, rising out of the dreamy ether of the song’s chorus like a slow puff of cigarette smoke. Look for “Ultraviolence”, Del Rey’s third record, this summer.
“The World Is Yours” — Nas
“Illmatic” is one of hip-hop’s undisputed masterpieces: brief, sophisticated and powerful. “The World Is Yours” finds Nas in top lyrical form, spitting fluid rhymes backed by the sleek jazz-rap production of Pete Rock (also known for his work with Run-D.M.C. and Jay-Z). Originally released in 1994, a 20th Anniversary edition of “Illmatic” entitled “Illmatic XX” found its way into stores last Tuesday.
Retro Pick of the Week:
“I Wanna Be Adored” — The Stone Roses
The Stone Roses eponymous debut won’t turn twenty-five until this July, but it’s never too early to revisit this Britpop classic. The bass line of “I Wanna Be Adored” lumbers into existence, slowly emerging from clouds of polished guitar. The enchanting power of this tune lies in the detached arrogance of Ian Brown’s vocals. The Stone Roses aren’t asking to be adored; they expect it.