Frank Ocean: "White" and "Whip Appeal"
Odd Future’s breakthrough R&B star has written for Bieber, Beyoncé and John Legend, but he saves the best for himself. Ocean’s track on The Odd Future Mixtape Vol. 2, “White,” is an arresting gem with reflective lyrics and some subdued electro-piano accompaniment. He also did some early spring cleaning over the weekend by releasing “Whip Appeal,” a track about “pretty girls and sports cars” that for some reason didn’t make it on last year's mixtape nostalgia, ultra. We're lucky he rectified that oversight: It sounds like early 1990s Prince with the staccato beats of Maybach hip hop.
Machine Gun Kelly ft. Cassie: “Warning Shot”
MGK might be vastly overstating his talent when he says “I’m Eminem and I’m Jay-Z,” but he does have a fierce, fast flow that’s undeniably promising. R&B buzz queen Cassie sings the hook, but I can’t help feeling Rihanna would have been much better suited here. Too bad MGK isn’t big enough to nab her… yet.
Fiona Apple: "Valentine"
Fiona debuted three new songs during her time at SXSW, and the third one, “Valentine,” is almost George Harrison-esque in its slow but insistent rhythm. Think a more soulful, quirky “Isn’t It A Pity.”
Real Estate: “Exactly Nothing”
Jersey’s indie quintet has a characteristically amiable b-side out today, and it sounds like an early afternoon nap after a satisfying but average brunch. So... it’s kinda boring. [CoS]
Titus Andronicus: Titus Andronicus LLC Mixtape Vol. 1
This free mixtape from the verbose Jersey rockers includes an enticing array of live covers, from the Velvet Underground’s “Heroin” to Weezer’s “Undone (The Sweater Song)” to Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town.” [CoS]