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Listen to Leo Justi's menacing new dance track, 'Devils Horns'

Leo-Justi

Rio-based electronic producer Leo Justi is far from a household name, but his star is most assuredly on the rise. He’s a leading figure in a Rio-based style called “heavy baile” that builds off the foundation of Brazilian baile funk–aka funk carioca, aka favela funk, aka the stuff M.I.A. emulated on “Bucky Done Gun”–but manages to incorporate everything from drum ‘n’ bass to heavy metal. It could be the next regional style to blow up on the global EDM scene, with A-Trak a fan and M.I.A. flying Justi out to India to record.

The title of Justi’s latest track, “Devils Horns,” from his HVY BL NSS PRR EP for the Waxploitation label, may be a nod to heavy baile’s heavier influences, or it could refer to the menacing brass stabs scattered throughout the track, or maybe both. Either way, the song’s got intensity to spare–it sounds like just the type of thing to turn a dance party into a full-blown riot.

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Chicago rapper Alex Wiley continues his streak with 'Sexual Dolphin'

Twenty-one-year-old Hyde Park native Alex Wiley is an increasingly important player of a movement of Chicago hip-hop artists–with Chance the Rapper at the forefront–who are uniting the city’s history of smart, bohemian backpacker rap with cunning pop sensibilities that have helped earn them a far broader audience than their biting social commentary and emotionally raw personal narratives might suggest. “When I was younger I had a turning point in my life,” Wiley writes in an email. “It made me what I am right now, set that in motion. I guess now, I’m trying to make music that that kid who was going through a lot of shit would have wanted to hear, and would have helped him get through his day.”

Back in June, he released his Village Party mixtape that drew more attention from outside of his city than anything else he’s released. His first song since then is “Sexual Dolphin,” a far deeper and heavier song than the title would suggest, produced by Odd Couple and Carter Lang. “With this,” he writes, “I’m trying to pick up where I left off from Village Party and take people to the next place. I’m really excited to drop it. It’s my first song with two verses. It’s a new sound for me, but I think it still feels relatable, it still feels like me.”

“I’m trying to make rock music,” he writes. “I don’t want rock n’ roll to die. I think Kanye said it best: Rappers are the rock stars right now.”

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Purling Hiss conjure weird, gritty VHS vibes with a playlist

Singer-songwriter Mike Polizze occupies the weird zone where experimental art music and eccentric rock ‘n’ roll overlap: an odd but fruitful territory that’s been home to generations of Weird Rock heroes from Frank Zappa to Ariel Pink. Recently Polizze’s expanded his project Purling Hiss from a solo endeavor to a trio, upping the music’s pop quotient in the process, and in the process created his most accessible album. Weirdon, released today on Drag City, delivers classic rock tunefulness enveloped in a haze of freaky vibes that feels a bit like the group’s label mate Ty Segall but just a touch more tweaked out.

To celebrate Weirdon‘s release, Polizze compiled an exclusive playlist for EW that he says has “a gritty lo fi/VHS aesthetic.” If you like your rock music weird and obscure, you’re in luck.

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Danny Brown has a psychedelic house party in 'Smokin' & Drinkin' video

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Back in July, EW visited the Greenpoint, Brooklyn location where Detroit rapper Danny Brown was shooting a video for the Old track “Smokin’ & Drinkin’.” Wednesday, the final product hit the Internet in all its hedonistic glory.

Director Alan Del Rio Ortiz described the clip’s theme as “like a house party, but in a dream,” and to that end, he dropped Brown (clad in a leather jacket and Dead Boys tee) into a group of pretty young people going bananas in a psychedelically lit apartment. There’s a lot of dancing, a lot of glitter, a lot of 40′s being chugged, and since it’s a rap video, a generous number of attractive women just chilling in a shower.

Superhumanoids share 'Flipping Out' and a beat-heavy playlist

Superhumanoids

You don’t find many electropop groups covering Nine Inch Nails and Queens of the Stone Age, but that’s exactly the kind of thing that LA’s Superhumanoids excel in.

The band’s preferred tactic is to juxtapose singer Sarah Chernoff’s lilting, dreamy vocals against harsh electronic sounds, like the grinding synth bass on its otherwise intensely mellow new single “Flipping Out.” This adds an intriguingly rough edge to a track that otherwise conjures up images of languorous Californian decadence. If any music directors are looking to score a scene of good-looking young people swimming underwater in slow motion, they’re in luck.

Along with the single, the group has shared with EW a playlist that, like its music, blends hooky pop and ambitiously experimental electronic beats. Superhumanoids will be hitting the road shortly to open for electropop godfathers Erasure.

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Kanye West collaborator Arca releases album details and a new track

You may not be familiar with the name Arca, but there’s a good chance you’re familiar with his work, even if you don’t know it. The 24-year-old Venezuelan electronic musician contributed to four tracks on Kanye’s Yeezus and has worked on a number of songs with FKA Twigs, including the LP1 standout “Lights On.” While his own work is considerably less pop-oriented than his collaborations, his sprawling solo instrumental recordings—like last year’s mixtape &&&&&has found a surprisingly large audience of people who bliss out on aggressively dark synthesizer soundscapes.

On Thursday, Arca announced the upcoming release of his first official full-length solo album. Xen (which comes out Nov. 4 on Mute Records) is more nuanced and more ambitious than his previous efforts, mixing dreamy, ambient passages in with his trademark harshly noisy, borderline-industrial sound. Along with CD and digital versions, vinyl fetishists can cop a hand-numbered limited edition LP that’s sealed in black PVC and includes an additional 10″ record of bonus material.

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Thundercat and Eric Andre just made the most demented music video of the year

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 JASH, the YouTube comedy channel founded by Sarah Silverman, Tim & Eric, Michael Cera, and a bunch of other just-left-of-mainstream funny types, has a subsidiary called Buh, where stuff that’s even weirder than the weird stuff on JASH gets filed. One of the regular features there is called “$5,000 Video” where a comedian and a rapper are, as you probably guessed, are given $5,000 to make a music video. (Maybe you saw the one with Hannibal Buress and Chance the Rapper.)

The latest installment pairs Eric Andre Show and Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23 star Eric Andre with Thundercat, who’s not actually a rapper but whose association with Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder crew puts him in close proximity to the LA avant-garde rap scene. The track they chose is “Tron Song,” from Thundercat’s 2013 solo album Apocalypse, where he trades in his usual frenetic bass freakouts for a tender psychedelic soul ballad about his cat. Filtering the cat theme through Andre’s distinctive lo-fi surreal visual aesthetic–where glitchy psychedelia occasionally gets uncomfortably close to “bad trip” territory–results in a clip full of VHS-era video effects, deviant sex acts, and defecation in a human-sized litter box, along with a few cameos by the titular cat where he looks just as confused by what’s going on as anyone watching.

At a time where the plethora of music videos on YouTube has made shock value a close second behind gratuitous nudity as a method of attracting viewers, the “Tron Song” clip manages to stand out as particularly demented. Bravo, gentlemen.

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Listen to Ariel Pink's 'Put Your Number in My Phone,' off his upcoming double LP

Ariel Pink never stays away for long. On Nov. 18, he’ll release his first album since 2012’s Mature Themes, ending a hiatus that’s an especially long one for the prolific freak folkie .

The album, pom pom, will be a double LP, and Pink’s first record without his group, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. “Although this is the first ‘solo’ record credited to my name, it is by far the least ‘solo’ record I have ever recorded,” he said in a statement. We’ll see what exactly Pink means by that in a couple months.

For now, he’s given us the album’s first single, “Put Your Number in My Phone,” which you can listen to below. The groovy cut picks up where 2012’s flowery “Only in My Dreams” left off, while spurning the mellow vibes of classic Ariel Pink songs like “Round and Round” and “Baby”

“Put Your Number in My Phone” will be one of 17 tracks spanning pom pom‘s 69 minutes and four sides—which are slyly labeled P-I-N-K rather than A-B-C-D.

Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus team up on 'Never Catch Me'

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Speaking of Cali hip-hop, two of the most important figures in the contemporary L.A. rap scene, Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus, just revealed a surprising new collaborative single. The pair embody two of the dominant themes that have been bouncing around it recently: on one hand, a nostalgia-tinged re-engagement with the city’s gangsta rap history, and on the other, a psychedelic deconstructionist movement, influenced by cosmic free jazz, that’s doing to the boom bap what Ornette Coleman did to bebop. They may seem like artists with very disparate goals, but “Never Catch Me” shows that they’re more compatible than they may seem on the surface.

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Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo is an emotional rollercoaster

Even in an age where music has become immediately accessible to anyone in the world with an Internet connection and no need to wait for import CDs to make their way across the ocean and into Tower Records, it’s not uncommon for songs to find their American audience months or even years after breaking in Europe. In fact, some fairly sizeable hits have happened that way—Disclosure’s “Latch,” Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” and Ellie Goulding’s “Lights,” for example.

There are a handful of such singles on the Hot 100 right now. Among them: Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo’s “Habits (Stay High),” which this week reached No. 23, its highest point in the 13 weeks it’s spent on the chart. Lo initially self-released “Habits” in March of last year, after which it was picked up by a label and reissued in December. But it wasn’t until this past March, with the official release of a remix that the California duo Hippie Sabotage had originally posted online, that the song really took off. The remix hit the top 10 in a half-dozen countries in Europe and Oceania, and was picked up by a number of influential American pop blogs.

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