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House Playlist Girls’ Generation, Purity Ring, & Rainbow Arabia

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House Playlist: Girls’ Generation, Purity Ring, and Rainbow Arabia

House Playlist is a series dedicated to highlighting our favorite new singles, leaked songs, and album tracks. Found something we should hear? Let us know!

Girls’ Generation, “Hoot.” This one may be a few months old in its native South Korea, but that doesn’t keep “Hoot” from being one of the best discoveries of 2011 on this side of the Pacific. The best K-Pop singles take a truly fearless approach to appropriating different genres for fun and profit, and “Hoot” starts off as a bit of jagged guitar pop as forceful and catchy as any of Max Martin’s productions for Kelly Clarkson. But the song shifts its focus to the dance floor once the multi-tracked percussion loops kick in. The layered rhythm arrangement works with the song’s overall conceit, which finds the girls giving an overdue brushoff to an acid-tongued boyfriend. His poison-tipped arrows are the “trouble, trouble, trouble” of the simple-is-better hook, and the group’s cheerleading-squad-as-girl-group structure gives their off-you-go message its own built-in support group. The choice of violent imagery belies the apparent sweetness of the group’s nine members and the single’s simply massive hooks, but it’s a perfect fit with the James Bond guitar figure that runs throughout. As far as 007 motifs doubling as pop songs go, “Hoot” fully holds its own alongside Britney Spears’s “Toxic.” Jonathan Keefe

Purity Ring, “Ungirthed.” The too-brief “Ungirthed” is a slow burner, first pulling you in with its hypnotic rhythm arrangement of handclaps, metallic percussion, and chopped n’ screwed n’ pitched-all-over-the-place vocal samples. But repeated listens reveal an expertly, seemingly supernaturally crafted pop song from indie-pop group Gobble Gobble’s Megan James, whose lyrics about “ears ringing” and “teeth clicking” are otherwise largely obscured beneath the track’s pointillist assemblage of sounds. “Ungirthed” ostensibly marks the debut of James’s side project Purity Ring, which is unlikely to appeal to Jonas Brothers fans, but from whom we’re eagerly awaiting to hear more. In the meantime, video artist the Tearist has created an unofficial music video using images from late experimental filmmaker Bruce Conner’s 1966 film Breakaway, starring a very naked Toni Basil. Sal Cinquemani

 

Rainbow Arabia, “Without You.” In the growing line of male-female indie duos, Rainbow Arabia is set to make its bid as the next pair that’s actually worth your attention. “Without You” is the lead single from Danny and Tiffany Preston’s upcoming debut album Boys and Diamonds. It packs a spectrum of African percussion against overwhelmingly plaintive synth lines, with singer Tiffany’s aerated vocals glossing over the residual melancholy. Her lyrics outline a predictably stranded circumstance, emptiness shifting to resolution by song’s end in the repeated “I’ll wait for you.” This initial glimpse of the duo’s album forecasts a playful departure from the densely coiled dance compositions of past EPs, though it’s clear the Los Angeles couple hasn’t abandoned its canny world-beat stylings. Sean Ryan