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House Playlist: Frank Ocean, Azealia Banks, Windy & Carl, Kelis, & Azari & III

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<em>House</em> Playlist: Frank Ocean, Azealia Banks, Windy & Carl, Kelis, & Azari & III

Frank Ocean, “4 Tears.” “4 Tears” is skeletal enough that the overblown earnestness that rendered “Made in America” the wishy-washy low point of Kanye West and Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne actually works here. Accompanied by only a basic drum-machine beat and a keyboard riff that evokes a keening harp, Ocean’s brief ballad withholds weeping for a more dramatic description of single tears running down the singer’s face, imagery he somehow manages to pull off. It’s a nice, uncynical love song to no one in particular, a bravely simple track that feels like a little step forward for Ocean. Jesse Cataldo

Azealia Banks, “Liquorice.” Track-jacking has been good to Ms. Azealia. Now we find the MC who just finished floating her boat atop the wobbly start-n’-stop rhythms of Lazy Jay getting candy-crunk off Lone’s “Pineapple Crush.” And if the sing-song rhyming isn’t quite as liquid as the ribald thrusts Banks unleashed on “212,” there’s still enough residual tetrahydrocannabinol pulsing through Lone’s throwback acid house lines (and still enough icka-pricka sex talk to keep that “lick” in the otherwise Queen’s English-titled “Liquorice”) to make sure you’ll never need ask what confection, exactly, it is that’s getting eaten. Eric Henderson

Windy & Carl, “Remember.” “Remember” is a splendid sneak peak at what Michigan’s most well-respected husband-and-wife space-rock dyad has been up to since 2008’s Songs for the Broken Hearted, and within the first few moments of the song, from the upcoming We Will Always Be, it’s apparent that the pair haven’t lost a step. Treading the fine line between dream-pop and dozy drone, “Remember” recalls a time when reverb, delay, and E-bow effects were preferred to the symmetry of synthesizers. A percussion-less, empyrean delight, “Remember” seamlessly blends Windy Weber’s ghostly vocals with Carl Hultgren’s tenuous instrumentation to form an arrangement that, at six minutes in length, packs close to the same euphoric impact as classic Windy & Carl tracks more than triple the runtime. Mike LeChevallier

Kelis featuring will.i.am, “Anything Like You.” Even with will.i.am attached, Kelis’s new track, “Anything Like You,” is edgier than most of the songs on the singer’s last album, Flesh Tone. It’s an electro-pop slice of new romantic heaven based on a sample of the squelchy synth line from Visage’s 1980 hit “Fade to Grey” (which, it should be noted, was also appropriated by both Kelly Osbourne and Kylie Minogue in recent years). If “Anything Like You” is an indication of what’s to come from Kelis’s forthcoming album, it’s nice to know she’s committing to the dance/electronic genre after jumping the R&B ship. Even the Auto-Tune is forgivable. Sal Cinquemani

Azari & III, “Reckless (With Your Love).” “There has never been a society in human history so obsessed with the cultural artifacts of its own immediate past,” pop critic Simon Reynolds declares in his latest book, Retromania. Thing is, even if said mania is a curse, it often comes in the most delicious of packages: “Reckless (With Your Love),” the first single from Toronto-based Azari & III’s self-titled debut, is stunning, ass-kicking, deep-house revivalism at its very finest. Brimming with glitz, glam, soul, and techno, “Reckless” is one of the finer examples of what being obsessed with one’s “own immediate past” can sound like. Kenny S. McGuane

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