Tinashe, "Company" (RCA). The second track from the Los Angeles R&B singer Tinashe's forthcoming new album is, like much of her work, exploring odd sonic spaces that accent minimalism but have enough curlicue flair to make a clear artistic statement.
Her best songs groove like a young Sade but minus the smooth traditionalism. A few weeks ago Tinashe released the first song, "Superlove," a chrome-toned banger, shimmering but solid. She then issued "Company," which pumps with a different kind of momentum.
Produced by Tricky Stewart and Terius "the-dream" Nash, who are also responsible for massive hits by Rihanna (her breakout hit "Umbrella"), Beyoncé ("Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)") and dozens of others, it's more delicate than "Superlove." Like many of Nash's recent productions, the track revels in aural solitude and rhythmic restraint while lyrically Tinashe details to a would-be lover the terms of any potential arrangement. (Warning: The below video features a few incidental cusses.)
"I don't need the loving, nope/ So don't make this something" she sings at the beginning of song. Unlike Sade's warning about a "Smooth Operator," Tinashe, 23, is the one in control, dominating her man with take-it-or-leave-it ambivalence.
She goes further a few verses later — "You're just my little side thing/ Just a little sweet fling" -- before rolling back to the chorus: "I just want some company." Her delivery suggests that the artist shouldn't have problems finding takers.
Cherry Glazerr, "Told You I'd Be With the Guys" (Secretly Canadian). The video for the rising Los Angeles rock trio Cherry Glazerr's new song, "I Told You I'd Be With the Guys," finds them playing it in a modest apartment while some guy sits on a couch ignoring them. Then another man appears, then another. All wear blank expressions and the same khakis and red polo shirt. They make themselves at home.
The magnetic singer, songwriter and guitarist Clementine Creevy takes note but keeps strumming her Rickenbacker guitar. The apartment continues to fill with clean-cut dudes until Cherry Glazerr finds itself in the middle of the most boring Average Joe party ever.
The band, with a moniker that riffs on KCRW radio host Chery Glaser's name, rips through a hard-rock song that moves from a tensely strummed ode to a gradually climaxing, distorted rock anthem. All the while, Creevy is exploring a moment in time: "I was a lone wolf -- I thought I lost my pack," she sings to open. "Where are my ladies? Nobody has my back."
The lines are loaded, suggesting in a few spare words gender politics and predatory dudes. "I told you ... I told you ... I told you I'd be with the guys," she sings, sounding increasingly frustrated, before adding: "But I know better than to be with the guys." By the end, the apartment is so crammed with khaki-clad dudes that the band can barely move, and they've been treated to the best song yet from a band poised for greatness.
The Gaslamp Killer, "Instrumentalepathy" (Cuss Records). A resident member of the Low End Theory beat club in Lincoln Heights, the Gaslamp Killer has moved from his role as a wild-haired DJ hamming it up on festival stages to legit producer and bandleader who — while still a wild-haired ham — can move a group of instrumentalists with the confidence of a symphony conductor.
His trippy new beat-based record plays to his strengths: intricately arranged tracks that mix synth-based textures and tones with cosmic samples, as well as a global sound palette that revels in odd rhythms.
There's a lot of terrible music out there. For tips on the stuff that's not, follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit