M83, “Midnight City.” The first glimpse into what Anthony Gonzalez describes as his most “epic” album to date paints a clear portrait of an artist re-engergized and at the height of his creative capabilities. Bursting out of the gate with sharply serrated vocals backed by a heavy, assertive synth beat, “Midnight City” initiates with a resounding jumpstart and never hits the breaks from there. The song is a tightly knit sonic roller coaster, sparing no expense in exhibiting Gonzalez’s understanding of what amounts to musical magnificence. “Kim & Jessie” this is not; there’s scarce emotional substance at play lyrically, yet the overall vibe of the track absolutely glistens with the sheen of pure, wild elation. Mike LeChevallier
Dum Dum Girls, “Coming Down.” If I Will Be represented the we-can’t-keep-our-hands-off-each-other phase of a relationship, Dum Dum Girls’ upcoming Only in Dreams is shaping up to embody the tumultuous pathway leading to separation, or at least a temporary set of bumps in the road. Clocking in at six-and-a-half minutes, roughly twice as long as anything on the band’s 2010 debut, “Coming Down” is one hell of a gloomy serenade. Save for the unmistakable vocals of frontwoman Dee Dee, the dreary guitar riff that opens the song is nothing like what we’ve come to recognize as signature Dum Dum Girls material. “Coming Down” is a shadowy love letter to heartache, a slow falling into the endless, troublesome uncertainties that accompany romance. ML
St. Vincent, “Surgeon.” Annie Clark returns in morbid, elegant fashion with “Surgeon,” the first single from her upcoming Strange Mercy. Thankfully, it’s no great departure from the black beauty of Actor’s songs: The same strains of fuzzy, foreboding dread run through a warbling choir (quickly becoming a St. Vincent trademark), while a savvy blend of grace and terror permeates the track’s slow unraveling into shrilly chaos. Ending with a healthy dose of psychedelic jazz and looping guitars does little to erase the impact of Clark’s gorgeous-but-macabre soundscapes, nor the seductive distress of her oft-repeated advice: “Best find a surgeon to come cut me open.” Kevin Liedel
House Playlist is a series dedicated to highlighting our favorite new singles, leaked songs, and album tracks.