Circus reggae! Lozenges and monkey brains! No Ed Sheeran! It's the week's 5 best new songs.

Homeboy Sandman, Ezra Furman

Homeboy Sandman, Ezra Furman Photo provided by the artist/Jessica Lehrman

Be careful: There are several new Ed Sheeran songs floating around out there. But thanks to our patented quality control procedures, we’ve made sure none of Ed’s new stuff wound up on this week’s playlist of the best new songs.

Sleater-Kinney “Hurry on Home”

If you were wondering how much of an effect Annie Clark’s production was gonna have on our heroes, the answer here seems to be plenty, beginning with the sleek, processed harmonies that serve as an overture. Then the low-end not-bass poings in rubbery lockstep with Janet’s front-pushed drums as guitars saw in the mix, all building to a climax of ”You got me used to loving you” that’s choked with the resentment of raw desire.

Homeboy Sandman “Best Coast”
Listen quietly and you’ll hear the Queens MC catch his breath, but his stream of verbiage sounds virtually unbroken regardless, detailing his diet of “lozenges and monkey brains,” soaking blood from his eyes with a Bounty paper towel, kicking puppies in public, and quoting Cypress Hill. His pal Aesop Rock produces.

Purple Mountains “All My Happiness Is Wrong (Noah Count Remix)”

The return of David Berman will either matter a whole lot to you or not at all, and if you’re in the former clump of folks you’ve probably already heard this. But let me make the case for his plainspoken sulkiness of “Lately I tend to make strangers wherever I go/Some of them were once people I was happy to know” to younger indiephiles who generally prefer their sulkiness more opaque. The official version of this track is a dry guitar ramble, but here it’s reworked into some kind of circus reggae.

75 Dollar Bill “WZN3 -- Verso”

Rick Brown plays percussion and horns. Che Chen plays guitar. Together their drones suggest all sorts of West African styles without quite duplicating any of them. This is a six-minute track, and if it doesn’t click for you, you won’t need half that long to know. But if it does, six minutes won’t be nearly long enough.

Ezra Furman “Calm Down aka I Should Not Be Alone”

Nobody queers classic rock purposefulness with anxious punk frenzy quite like Furman, who firehoses lyrics at you like he’s desperately trying to bail out his flooded brain.

Every week, music editor Keith Harris scours the vast musicscape for six worthy tracks to add to City Pages' ever-expanding 2019 playlist.