Grizzly Bear, “Sleeping Ute.” After three years of hibernation (and a spate of solo projects), Grizzly Bear has finally emerged to bring us the first cut off Veckatimest’s long-awaited and still nameless follow-up. “Sleeping Ute,” a sinuous Daniel Rossen composition, begins with a muscular riff that momentarily tricks its listeners into thinking the band has suddenly remade themselves into a swampy blues outfit. A few measures later, though, that notion is laid to rest when the band conjures up a myriad of other sounds, as if they’d ransacked a special-effects room. The real pleasure comes about three minutes in, when all that cacophony drops out except for a classical guitar and Rossen pleads, “I can’t help myself.” Indeed. Manan Desai
Frank Ocean, “Pyramids.” I’m sure there are more opulent musical tributes to prostitution throughout music history. “La Traviata,” I guess, and maybe the Moulin Rouge version of “Roxanne.” But few go to such pains to glorify both the come-on and the debasement as Frank Ocean does with his nine-minute, bifurcated sob story about a pimp and the one who got away. The song’s uptempo seduction suite, which compares our central hooker with Cleopatra, Queen of Tease, is cute, but then the track slows down (disintegrates, more like) into a deceptively seductive slow jam through which ego-shattered hints of The Blue Angel snake. Whether or not he turns out to be the next big thing, he’s at least managed one of the most heart-stopping mid-track gear shifts since Stevie Wonder halted “Superwoman.” Eric Henderson
Peaking Lights, “Beautiful Boy.” Peaking Lights’ “Lo Hi” has been called the euphoric dub-style wonder twin of Jay-Z’s “Glory.” Like Jigga’s tribute to his newborn daughter, Wisconsin husband-and-wife psychedelic-pop duo Indra Dunis and Aaron Coyes incorporate the ethereal babble of their infant son into their song, resulting in a dreamy maternity-ward aria that could likely calm the cries of most nurslings. “Beautiful Boy” is even better than “Lo Hi,” a sincere, graceful expression of gratitude for the presence of their son that builds on the expert songcraft exhibited throughout last year’s 936. Dunis’s sugary, halcyon vocals and homophones (“son” and “sun” are interchangeable here, both being told to shine) mingle with a wavy backbeat and fidgety tempo that could easily be the lead-in to an afternoon nap in some kind of low-fidelity daycare center. Mike LeChevallier
Recloose featuring B. Slade, “Feels Like Magic.” Pleasantly broken without flying off into whirling incoherence, “Feels Like Magic” is the sort of hopeful dance anthem that ends up leaning just a little too hard on the unresolved “tension” chords and forgets to actually release. Sometimes the effect is tantric, as with Inner City’s “Good Life” or, more recently, Tony Lionni’s “Found a Place”—to which “Feels Like Magic” bears more than just passing resemblance, minus the four-on-the-floor whomp. Which is to say, the all-build strategy here has its limitations (it’s a song that tells you it feels great more so than helping you to feel the same), but it’s got a solid foundation. EH
House Playlist is a series dedicated to highlighting our favorite new singles, leaked songs, and album tracks.