Music News: The National release new single, with Alicia Vikander video

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Alicia Vikander in The National's 'Light Years' music video.
Alicia Vikander in The National's 'Light Years' music video. (4AD)
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The National release new single, with Alicia Vikander video
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The National's new song "Light Years" comes with a moody video starring Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander. Also this week, Jay and Jade highlight new albums from Weyes Blood, PUP, Khalid, the Drums, BLACKPINK, and GRiZ.

Weyes Blood: Titanic Rising

Last month we talked about "Movies," the eclectic and sweeping single from Weyes Blood. Her whole album, Titanic Rising, comes out this week, and people are pretty excited about it. In fact, the A.V. Club calls it "a stunning early contender for album of the year." Natalie Mering, a.k.a. Weyes Blood, recorded experimental music as a teenager in small-town Pennsylvania, and she actually samples that music throughout her new album. Besides her freewheeling musical past, another big influence on Titanic Rising is — as you might guess — film. Check out the video for "Everyday," a song that sounds chipper but works strangely well as the soundtrack to a horror film along the lines of Friday the 13th. (Jay)

PUP: Morbid Stuff

Take Conor Oberst and get all emo-ed up, upset, turned up to 11, and you'd get PUP. The Toronto, Ontario band have slowly but surely built up a following. In the last five years, they've moved to playing bigger and bigger venues, were nominated for Juno Awards three times, and were longlisted for the Polaris Prize. Their third album, Morbid Stuff, is exactly that. The album is full of dark songs that make you want to hit the pit and throw your body around to exercise the demons, like "Free At Last." (Jade)

Khalid: Free Spirit

A little falsetto, some sighing synths, a laconic beat: wrap it up with a bow and give it to yourself as a spring break present. It's Free Spirit, the second album by Khalid. The R&B phenom broke out with his 2017 debut American Teen when he was just...yep, a teen. His songs of love and longing tap into universal emotions, and the classic flavor he brings to the studio make this a highly accessible effort. Khalid grew up all over the place, but he was born in Georgia, and songs like "Talk" seem to channel some of that state's languorous heat. (Jay)

The Drums: Brutalism

The fifth album under the name the Drums and the second as a solo project from singer and multi-instrumentalist Jonny Pierce, Brutalism turns inward. After a divorce and subsequent difficult time living alone in L.A., Pierce said, "I was exhausted, depleted, and sabotaging myself, partying so much but in reality running away from pain. It was a downward spiral."

Pierce got himself to therapy and started some work on getting healthy, and Brutalism became an album to work through things and address the self-care that's necessary to function. The songs feel like a therapy session. "626 Bedford Avenue" talks about regrets about hooking up with a person who's bad for you, "Body Chemistry" covers how you treat yourself, and "Loner" covers the fears of being alone and wanting to be in love. (Jade)

BLACKPINK: Kill This Love

Who are BLACKPINK? They're "the all-girl K-pop group following BTS's footsteps and taking over the U.S.," according to the K-pop experts at Forbes. There's a reason they're attracting the attention of the business press: they're doing big business, with YouTube's most-viewed K-pop music video, last year's global breakout hit "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du." The group's four members sing, they rap, they dance, and they're going to be the talk of Coachella this year. But first, they have some new music to drop. The EP Kill This Love arrives with a title track that announces its presence with synth horns and rises to a chanting chorus. Yep...it's a killer. (Jay)

GRiZ: Ride Waves

You've got to think you're doing something right when your Wikipedia page describes you as "known for playing the saxophone along with producing funk, electro-soul, and self-described future-funk." What else do you need to know about GRiZ? He grew up in Detroit, and now he's based in Denver. He capitalizes every letter of his name except for the I. Why? Maybe because it's not about the I, it's about the us. On his new album Ride Waves, that includes collaborators like Matisyahu and DRAM. On just one of the advance singles, "Find My Own Way," you can hear both the Harlem Gospel Choir and Wiz Khalifa, who told Complex he enjoyed some of his custom marijuana brand, Khalifa Kush, when dreaming up the lyrics. As GRiZ himself says, "Always trust in the process." (Jay)

The National: "Light Years"

Have you ever felt distant from the person who should have been closest to you? Lonely in a crowd is one of the most horrible feelings, and it's a feeling that The National have mined again and again without ever sounding repetitive. Maybe it's because of Matt Berninger's vague but emotionally distinct writing style. The eighth album from The National, I Am Easy To Find, comes out April 29. They just released "Light Years," which blows the curtains of your heart open like a warm summer breeze, and fills the room with unsaid regrets. (Jade)


Audio sampled in podcast
Jahzzar: "Comedie" (CC BY 4.0)
Weyes Blood: "Everyday"
PUP: "Free At Last"
Khalid: "Talk"
The Drums: "Loner"
BLACKPINK: "Kill This Love"
GRiZ feat. Wiz Khalifa and the Harlem Gospel Choir: "Find My Own Way"
The National: "Light Years"


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