The Shins, “Simple Song.” Contrary to what James Mercer sings during its first verse, “Simple Song” isn’t really all that simple. Decked out with surprise key changes and expertly layered vocals, not to mention characteristically perceptive lyrics from Mercer, this is power pop with brains and guts, exactly like we’ve come to expect from the Shins. True, Mercer intended the song to serve a fairly uncomplicated purpose (telling a girl how she’s made him feel), but in fulfilling that purpose he ends up recounting an imagined rendezvous on a football field, a capsized boat, the ocean being warmed by the sun, and a fateful nighttime walk during which a “fumbling play for [her] heart” turned out to be exactly the right move. Matthew Cole
The Magnetic Fields, “Andrew in Drag.” The Magnetic Fields’ sprawling 1999 album 69 Love Songs cemented Stephin Merritt as a playfully ironic genius, and “Andrew in Drag,” the new single from the band’s upcoming 10th album, Love at the Bottom of the Sea, is yet another ditty about unrequited love. The song, which clocks in at just over two minutes, is full of jangly acoustic guitars, bubbling synthesizers, and an anthemic sing-along chorus. Merritt’s gift for bending gender roles remains as sharp as ever, as he highlights the impossible love between a young man and a straight drag queen. It’s brisk, memorable, and though the lyrics are tongue-in-cheek, his monotone delivery gives the song a sense of lyrical melancholy. Jericho Cerrona
New Build, “Do You Not Feel Love?” New Build, a side project featuring members of LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip, is releasing their new rhetorical question on a limited edition 12”, thereby ensuring that anyone who drops the needle on the groove already feels pretty special about their place in the grand scheme of things. But this isn’t just one for the obsessives or those afraid of losing their edge. Al Doyle, Tom Hopkins, and Felix Martin’s original mix is an elegant bit of syncopated open-heartedness, meant to be programmed at either 5:45 p.m. or 5:45 a.m. The remixes from Dominik Eulberg (reverberating and micromanaged) and Juju & Jordash (subterranean and distracted) will have you covered for the hours in between. Eric Henderson
Fort Romeau, “Jack Rollin.” In the ’80s, every single house track ever produced had the word “jack” in the title. It was actually the law until right around the time new jack swing altered the connotations (which, if I’m not mistaken, originally had something to do with Scottish literature), sliding the context away from things you did with your body (i.e. jacking it) and toward something that could easily be paired off with new jill. Fort Romeau’s new old-school jack track is an unfettered and uncluttered act of jack revisionism. Jackmasters, the house that jack built, is once again open for jacking. EH
House Playlist is a series dedicated to highlighting our favorite new singles, leaked songs, and album tracks.