Pod Picks for Nov. 14, 2013

November 11, 2013 

Check out these fresh new tracks which we recommend for downloading (legally, of course) or streaming to your MP3 player, smart phone, tablet or other personal media device.

"Before Your Very Eyes..." by Atoms for Peace

A supergroup making atmospheric afrobeat – it’s not often you can say that. But somehow the voice of Thom Yorke (Radiohead) and the keyboard/production work of Nigel Godrich (Radiohead’s longtime producer) have found a way to harness the frenetic energy of the bass playing of Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and the Brazilian percussion of Mauro Refosco. The results melt together into driving digital drone that’s quite beautiful. For a bonus aesthetic, watch the video, directed by Andrew Thomas Huang, which matches the tone perfectly.

"The Rock" by Deer Tick

With this indie band’s new album, “Negativity,” the name says it all. During the writing process, the band’s singer/songwriter/guitarist John McCauley went through some hard times. His father was sentenced for tax fraud, his alcohol and drug use got out of control, and his fiancé left him. On occasions in the past, Deer Tick may’ve been guilty of phoning it in, but not here. McCauley’s voice shreds with intensity. The music makes nice outbursts here, twists into R&B there, dives into a dark soul and emerges like McCauley did, to see a brighter day. There’s no reason to be negative about this one.

"Y.A.L.A." by M.I.A. 

This British-Sri Lankan rapper extends her middle finger to the saying “Y.O.L.O.” – “you only live once.” Instead, she introduces, “Y.A.L.A.” – “you always live again.” In this funky digital thump of a dance-floor burner, she has the same over-annunciated, tongue-in-cheek delivery that made her previous albums, “Kala” and “Maya,” so different and cool. She finds a groove and rides it like a python with a saddle through a juggle of rhymes that sometimes make sense and sometimes make you laugh. What does it matter anyway, when you can always live again?

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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