So let me get this straight: when I buy clearance elf ears from the party store four days after Halloween and wear them to the grocery store, somehow I’m the weird one? Here at Paste, we support resourcefulness and embracing your quirks. Break out that fake mustache one more time and jam along to Black Country, New Road’s “Bread Song” or scare yourself a little bit with Backxwash’s “Rosemary’s Revenge.” Arca’s “Rakata” is also a fine dance song solo or with some friends for a belated costume party. If you can’t tell, I have a lot of costume accessories now and need a place to wear them. Join the party with your buddies at Paste with our favorite tracks of the week.
December will be anything but a quiet month as we eagerly wait for the release of KICK ii, Arca’s next installment in her KICK series. Out of the most recent pair of singles she released, “Rakata” is a seductive, sensual reggaeton homage to the genre’s pioneers Wisin y Yandel, whose 2005 song of the same name is still a club classic. Arca places her own spin on it, meshing sonic tension with the raw sexuality of the familiar drum pounds as she strips herself of all shame and fear. It’s a sex-positive, kink-friendly anthem that transcends language, but you should translate the lyrics if you’re feeling frisky. Trust me. —Jade Gomez
Backxwash: “Rosemary’s Revenge”
Backxwash, the Canadian rapper reimagining horrorcore in its most literal form, treated fans on Halloween with “Rosemary’s Revenge.” Despite sharing a name with the horror film Rosemary’s Baby, the song actually explores the lore of a Zambian ghost of the same name who would pose as a prostitute and suck out her victims’ blood after dying a horrific death at the hands of men. If it sounds freaky, it is. Backxwash spits over industrial drums as she channels a menacing yet sympathetic image of the troubled spirit, wronged by those she trusted. Backxwash’s ability to channel such visceral images of pain and anger shows that horror isn’t just reserved for Halloween. —Jade Gomez
Black Country, New Road: “Bread Song”
The first thing you notice about Black Country, New Road’s latest single is that it uses percussion sparingly, spending its first half entirely devoid of it, and only introducing full-on drums in its final third, as opposed to the racing klezmer that bookended For the first time (on “Instrumental” and “Opus”). Frontman Isaac Wood explains the inspiration for this choice in a statement: “We wanted to do the first chorus with no time signature. [...] We don’t look at each other, we don’t make too many cues, we just try and play without time—but together.” The intuitive unity between Wood (vocals/guitar), May Kershaw (keys), Charlie Wayne (drums), Luke Mark (guitar), Tyler Hyde (bass), Lewis Evans (sax) and Georgia Ellery (violin) is impressive, but it’s not what imbues “Bread Song” with such high drama. That’s Wood’s vocals, which are hushed and vulnerable as he delivers some of the band’s most quietly devastating lyrics yet, written and rewritten over a four-year period. “Okay, well I just woke up / And you already don’t care,” he sings, evoking the death by a thousand cuts that is two lovers drifting slowly, irrevocably apart. Technology comes up again and again, as if to point a finger at the source of the apathy eating away at this human connection Wood’s narrator holds so dear. The song tenderly changes shape around him, as if trying everything to turn things around, until he realizes his cause is lost, finally singing, “Oh, don’t eat your toast in my bed / Oh darling, I / I never felt the crumbs until you said this place / Is not for any man / Nor particles of bread.” Somehow, it’s this tiny, commonplace detail that hits the hardest. —Scott Russell
Ought is dead—long live Ought. The Montreal post-punk powerhouses announced their breakup on Wednesday after nearly a decade as a band. However, two of the quartet’s members, Tim Darcy and Ben Stidworthy, have formed a new band, Cola, with US Girls drummer Evan Cartwright. The trio shared their first single, “Blank Curtain,” and signed to Fire Talk Records (Dehd, Mamalarky).“Blank Curtain” is a hypnotic debut outing, leveraging minimalist instrumentation into propulsive, droning post-punk. Cartwright and Stidworthy drive the track forward while Darcy’s guitar notes hang in the air, his lyrics pondering deconstruction: “Is there a frame upon a frame? I’m making decollage / Is there a notion to explain the mirror to the wall?” —Scott Russell
English rockers Shame have returned with their first new material since the January release of their acclaimed second album, Drunk Tank Pink, on Dead Oceans. “This Side of the Sun” premiered on Steve Lamacq’s BBC 6 Music show Thursday ahead of its wide release. The track features guitars so sharp, you’d come away bloody if you touched them—meanwhile, vocalist Charlie Steen bemoans the way making art can feel like commodifying one’s sense of self, singing almost under his breath, “I give myself away everyday, to every person that I meet / What does that make me?” The danceable track evokes the best of bands like Omni and The Strokes, with riffs like razors and disillusionment wafting through the room in melodic clouds. —Scott Russell