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House Playlist: John Maus, John Talabot, and Tune-Yards

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<em>House</em> Playlist: John Maus, John Talabot, and Tune-Yards

[Editor’s Note: 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!]

John Maus, “Believer.” “Believer,” the final track on Austin-based John Maus’s forthcoming We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves, is a goth-tinged, synth-pop ballad that would fit comfortably in rotation alongside songs from a John Hughes movie. Though his vocal is somewhat obscured beneath the song’s driving bassline and shimmering synth cavalcade, the yearning in Maus’s rich baritone remains palpable throughout. Just when you assume that “Believer” couldn’t possibly get any more transcendent, that heavenly “Let’s make out” breakdown arrives at 2:18. Jaymie Baxley

John Talabot featuring Glasser, “Families.” The title track from Johan Talabot’s upcoming EP finds the Spanish producer blending his usual house beats with an almost tropical, delay-heavy piano melody and what sounds like a drugged-up and decelerated trance synth line. The key components, though, are a recurring “oh!” motif reminiscent of a similar but inverted vocal loop from Purity Ring’s recent self-released gem “Ungirthed” and Glasser singer Cameron Mesirow dreamy vocals, which cleverly refer to the titular familial unit as “Strangers in your home/Stranger than you can recall.” Sal Cinquemani

Tune-Yards, “Powa.” The song about sex from Tune-Yards’ second album begins innocently enough. “Hold me ’til I get to sleep,” Merrill Garbus sings over a subdued ukulele refrain. That riff gets a supercharge of amplification, snapping “Powa” into focus. Garbus matches the volume with some of the most muscular singing to be found on her new album, w h o k i l l, staggering her melody and copping a bluesy intonation as she sings, “I need you to press me down before my body flies away from me.” It gets more salacious from there, albeit indirect. But the lyrics are an afterthought: Garbus’s prolonged passages of vocal abandon—at times a Van Morrison squirm, by the end a touchy Prince-like falsetto—are musically sublime and connotative enough. M. Sean Ryan