What a strange week, one that featured both April Fools’ Day and Easter weekend. That’s an emotional rollercoaster, one that had you questioning everything you read online and digging around your mom and dad’s living room for terrible and delicious chocolate.
There were plenty of treats hidden around the web this week, too. Before we move on, let’s take a look back on a week that included Dave Grohl’s fake rap song, Mac DeMarco’s Conan debut and plenty of other wonderful new tracks and music videos.
Grohl “Feast or Famine”
A lot of people seem to be too cool for April Fools’ Day now, but we had a hell a lot of fun with it. My proud accomplishment (with help and inspiration from my AUX colleagues) was this rap song from Dave Grohl. Yes, it’s really just a free trap beat I found online and packed full of airhorn DJ drops, but I’ve listened to it more than anything else this week. “Gangster rap song.”
Janelle Monáe “Yoga” (ft. Jidenna)
Bad Boy-signed soul singer Janelle Monáe usually seems like she’s writing futuristic pop jams for cyborg steampunks on another planet, but she’s come down to earth for her new single “Yoga.” Though its subject matter is incredibly straightforward for a radio-friendly release, this is professional pop music done perfectly well.
Hot Chip “Need You Now” (video)
With their instantly engaging house beats and soft, indie-friendly vocals, Hot Chip have proven to be one of the most influential bands of our time. Rather than revel in the past, they continue to crank out new material. Next month, they’ll drop a new album called Why Make Sense? Ahead of its arrival, they’ve shared a video for the melancholy dance pop song “Need You Now.” It’s another superb composition from the band, and it’ll likely make you feel some type of way when it’s inevitably blaring from the speakers in a clothing store changeroom for the next few years.
Mac DeMarco “Let Her Go” (live on Conan)
It’s safe to say that Mac DeMarco is a full-blown celebrity now. There are legions of teens, both IRL and URL, who obsess over his mischievous gap-toothed smile and excellent pop music with true fanaticism. And his appearance on Conan this week wasn’t even his first time playing on TV (he’s been something of an Adult Swim regular, with slots on Loiter Squad and The Eric Andre Show). Still, when Mac and his backing boys performed “Let It Go” on the Los Angeles talk show, it felt like a star-making moment. Thankfully, they didn’t shave off any of the edges — they all look like the sloppy dudes we’ve come to love, and guitarist Andy White proved you can still get service without shoes or a shirt.
Baauer “Promises” (ft. Fetty Wap and Dubbel Dutch)
It’s hard to know if we can ever fully forgive EDM producer Baauer for “Harlem Shake,” the viral track that inspired every mom and dad in North America to make awful flashmob videos with their white collar coworkers. Still, as we move on from that dark period in pop culture, he continues to prove his merit as a viable musician. “Promises,” his new team-up with Fetty Wap and Dubbel Dutch, is a brash party-rap anthem that almost serves as penance for Baauer’s past sins.
FFS “Piss Off”
Glaswegian post-punk pop act Franz Ferdinand were infinitely hyped when they came out forever ago, but rather than crash and burn like so many of their peers they’ve demonstrated some serious longevity. Though their last album as a band was mostly forgettable, they’re back with a fascinating new project. They’ve teamed up with cult glam rockers Sparks to form a new band called FFS (which stands for “Franz Ferdinand Sparks,” not “for fuck’s sake”). If “Piss Off” is any indication, this project showcases the best of both projects.
ILOVEMAKONNEN “Whip It” (remix ft. Migos)
Atlanta’s rap scene remains untouchable. The always-affable ILOVEMAKONNEN returned with his Drink More Water 5 mixtape this week, and with it this gem of a track. A remix of his own “Whip It,” the song’s an impeccable, high-budget piano trap anthem that showcases the best of the rapper along with his guests Migos.
Warm Soda “I Wanna Go Fast”
Oakland’s Warm Soda have always made perfect power-pop anthems, and their new track “I Wanna Go Fast” shows that they haven’t lost the plot. In a breezy two-minute runtime, they offer up a delightful little toe-tapper with plenty of excellent guitar interplay and a memorable chorus.
The Mandates “In the Back of Your Heart”
Speaking of perfect power-pop, Calgary quartet The Mandates have just announced plans to release their sophomore full-length In the Back of Your Heart. If its title track is any indication, this is their best work yet. The guitars are frantic, the rhythm section is tight as hell and the vocals are perfectly suited. Put on a leather jacket and tease your hair in the mirror while the song plays out.