Wild Beasts, “Thankless Thing.” The B-side from shadowy indie-rock quartet Wild Beasts’ “Reach a Bit Further” single could easily have fit alongside the magnificently theatrical Smother’s tender asphyxiations. Beginning with the tip-toeing of delicate guitar chimes and featherweight percussion, the song hypnotizes the listener before frontman Hayden Thorpe’s dramatic vocals wrap themselves up in all the radiant softness. The “thankless thing” in question is a slowly eroding love connection, which Thorpe tellingly compares to an old branch on which a lone crow sings. Mike LeChevallier
Thee Oh Sees, “Carrion Crawler.” “Carrion Crawler,” the half-title track from San Francisco’s prolific art-punk foursome Thee Oh Sees’ upcoming album, Carrion Crawler/The Dream, gives the initial impression that it’s going to take its sweet time getting started. Light cymbal taps, slight guitar strums, and, most noticeably, eerie, echoing saxophone squeaks play out sluggishly before a burst of noise swells up behind lead singer John Dwyer’s nearly incomprehensible vocals like a ghoul pouncing from behind a gravestone in a haunted cemetery. What Dwyer’s saying is not as important as how he’s saying it: His voice creeps through an assortment of spectral tones, similar to the guitar chords that accompany it. ML
Summer Camp, “I Want You.” Song themes don’t come much more trite than “I want you,” but U.K. pop duo Summer Camp’s “I Want You,” from their upcoming debut LP Welcome to Condale, takes it to perversely novel levels: “If I could, I’d squeeze your hand so tight every knuckle would crack/I’d wrap my arms around you and snap every bone in your back.” An already creeping synth line grinds to a crawl before the kickdrum and bassline kick in proper about halfway through, transforming the track into a bona fide synth-pop jaunt. You almost forget that singer Elizabeth Sankey just threatened to literally suffocate you. Sal Cinquemani
House Playlist is a series dedicated to highlighting our favorite new singles, leaked songs, and album tracks.