Anyone who has ever searched for the right cheese to serve with a classy Pinot Noir or dug into the closet for the rattiest jeans to wear with a flashy new Radiohead concert tee will tell you: The world is full of things that go well together.Need a strain to pair with your favorite song?It’s also full of selfless and truth-seeking experts who will leave no stone unturned in pursuit of the perfect pairings for your needs. Today, that’s me.
We start things off with Sour Candy, the divine child of Sour Diesel and Bubble Gum. Its grape-y sweetness is impeccably balanced with Diesel’s sharper tang, and its euphoric high is gently offset by a gentle syrupy lull. In other words, it’s the perfect strain to pair with the summer’s more elusive jams – the songs that are just a little too weird to soundtrack a round of beach volleyball, but fun and catchy enough to get stuck in your head during our remaining lazy late-summer evenings.
Tyler the Creator and A$AP Rocky: Potato Salad
On “Potato Salad,” two of hip-hop’s A-list stars team up for one of the goofiest songs of their respective careers. Riding an old Kanye West beat, the duo shout out the BasedGod, ride spaceships with basketball star Yao Ming, and throw shade on mumble rap. Occasional Dior model A$AP Rocky finds not one, but two opportunities to remind you he’s not wearing a purse, but a satchel. “Potato Salad” is as mesmerizing as it is hilarious, with a delightfully absurd video to match.
Khurangbin: August 10
Even though Khraungbin have made a name for themselves channeling the bygone heyday of Thai psychedelic rock (their name is the Thai word for “airplane”), the trio—originally from Texas—deliver some of the most soulful improvisational jams this side of the Grateful Dead’s Europe ‘72. On “August 10,” from their recent album Con Todo el Mundo, Laura Lee’s dubby bass line provides the perfect backdrop for Mark Speer’s inventive, gorgeous six-string riffs.
Meernaa: Wildest Eyes
The sexiest kiss-off of recent times, Meernaa’s complex and slow-burning “Wildest Eyes” presents a feast of inventive analog synths and drum machines, tied together by Carly Bond’s epic vocal performance. Fans of Solange, rejoice.
Astronauts, etc.: The Border
While Astronauts, etc.’s debut celebrated melodic soft-rock in the vein of Steely Dan, their follow-up Living in Symbol embraces a wider set of influences, including cinematic string arrangements and Roy Orbison’s proto-rock. Lead single “The Border” is fueled by a crisp off-kilter groove, but frontman Anthony Ferraro’s cool vocals steal the show.
Valee Featuring Jeremih: Womp Womp
The Chicago upstart and Kanye West protege Valle delivers one of the most dizzying songs of the summer with “Womp Womp,” and its delightfully dumb hook, courtesy of go-to crooner Jeremih, guarantees it’ll be stuck in your head until next beach season rolls around.
Superorganism: Something for Your M.I.N.D.
A master class in whimsical chaos, London’s eight-piece Superorganism make a point of keeping us on our toes: twinkles of bells, pitch-shifted vocals and even abrupt dips into complete silence all sneak into dazzling pop collages.
Travis Scott: Stop Trying to Be God
This highlight from Travis Scott’s recent album Astroworld, named after a shuttered Houston amusement park, floats along on lurid waves of synths and trap hi-hats before the utterly surprising—especially if you’ve been consuming—blasts of horns take the song in a whole other direction. Also, if you’ve ever wanted to see Travis Scott conduct a baptism or walk down the street with a flock of farm animals, now’s your chance.
Madeline Kenney: Cut Me Off
Led by a deceptively simple three-note guitar riff, the North Carolina-based singer/songwriter Madeline Kenney’s new single “Cut Me Off” combines Fiona Apple’s virtuosic vocals with a playful groove that undercuts its grittier sentiments.