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House Playlist: Bombay Bicycle Club, Charli XCX, Radiohead, and The Rapture

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<em>House</em> Playlist: Bombay Bicycle Club, Charli XCX, Radiohead, and The Rapture

Bombay Bicycle Club, “Shuffle.” On London quartet Bombay Bicycle Club’s sprightly and infectious new single, “Shuffle,” the keys of some secondhand piano are hammered frantically, an obscure vocal sample adds intensity to the bridges and refrains, while Ed Nash’s work on the bass is surely his funkiest to date. And though Jack Steadman’s vocals are, for the most part, modest and reserved, his falsetto harmonies as “Shuffle” reaches its blissful crescendo are a delight. The single rekindles the dynamism that was somewhat absent from last year’s Flaws, but it also retains that album’s intimacy and proves Bombay Bicycle Band doesn’t have to go acoustic to bare their softer side. Huw Jones

Charli XCX, “Stay Away.” My taste in pop music was largely shaped by my sister’s 7” record collection. One of those singles, T’Pau’s “Heart and Soul,” now reminds me of Saturday mornings and, of all things, trips to the American Museum of Natural History. And when I first heard Charli XCX’s “Stay Away,” whose B section bears more than a passing resemblance to Carol Decker’s rap-sung vocals, I was instantly transported back to 1987. “Stay Away” is decidedly more cynical, and it’s one of those songs that, even if it doesn’t lure you in with its opening synth drone and crunchy midtempo beat, grabs you with its very first lyric: “You choke my throat with words of wisdom.” That sentiment is, of course, later followed up with a sublime “never learn, never learn, never learn.” Sal Cinquemani

Radiohead, “Staircase.” A preview of the forthcoming The King of Limbs: Live from the Basement, “Staircase” is of a piece with the terse, striated electro-funk that Radiohead carved into their last album, but it’s also warm with layers. The rhythm section is the bedrock here, and aiding Phil Selway and Colin Greenwood’s drum-bass tandem is Clive Deamer, whose clinks and pops propel the groove without addling the mix. “Send in the chopper/Steal you away,” Thom Yorke sings, his voice swathed in spectral synths and faint guitar swells. The ending sequence broods over the lush chords that undergird the preceding four minutes, soft-plucked guitar arpeggios serving to accent Yorke’s falsetto croon. M. Sean Ryan

The Rapture, “How Deep Is Your Love?” While James Murphy has spent his post-LCD Soundsystem days DJing private events and generally keeping a low profile, his buddies in the Rapture have quietly returned with their first original material in five years, a preview of sorts of their full-length album to be released in the fall. And oh how glorious it is. The song doesn’t hew very close to the band’s trademark post-punk sound; instead, it’s a relatively straightforward dance track, built from the same DNA as Hercules and Love Affair’s disappointing Blue Songs. The difference is that while Andy Butler intellectualizes Chicago house music, Luke Jenner sings it straight from his gut, a late-night howl for a house of starved lovers. This is music you want to sweat to. Paul Schrodt

House Playlist is a series dedicated to highlighting our favorite new singles, leaked songs, and album tracks.