Deradoorian, "The Expanding Flower Planet" (Anticon). A few years ago the artist Angel Deradoorian relocated to Los Angeles from Baltimore, and she's since melded into the city's already rich experimental pop scene. Best known for her work with Dirty Projectors, Deradoorian was tapped by beat producer Flying Lotus to sing on "Siren Song," from his 2014 album, "You're Dead!," and has appeared on recordings by U2, Matmos, Charli XCX, the Roots and Vampire Weekend.
"The Expanding Flower Planet," though, is nearly all Deradoorian. She wrote it, sings it and performs most of it, and across 10 songs rich with keyboards, floating rhythms and layers of the artist's smoky, pitch-perfect voice, Deradoorian builds cubist pop with refracted structures but memorable melodies.
The rhythm-heavy "Ouneya" opens with a meditative analog synthesizer mantra, and over five minutes moves with an increasingly churning undercurrent of rhythm. The album's title is apt. There's something trippy and progressive about the tracks, decorated with curiously psychedelic accents that hint at the work of Kate Bush, prog-rock band Yes and Radiohead. The catchy "Violet Minded" is driven by a warbly series of funky keyboard and vocal lines that will thrill fans of Deradoorian's memorable singing with Dirty Projectors. "The Expanding Flower Planet," though, is its own thing, and marks a beautiful arrival.
Lana Del Rey, "High by the Beach" (Interscope). The pop queen of lethargy, Lana Del Rey, sounds like she vaped a gram of weed before her vocal take for her new song "High by the Beach." Taken from her forthcoming album "Honeymoon," the artist glides her way through the song as a gentle organ hums below and a sibilant high-hat sizzles up top. Yearning for escape through smoke and sun, Del Rey can't get to the beach fast enough, even if she's hardly panicked about it.
Except that unlike the Beach Boys' odes to chasing fun, waves and California girls, on "High by the Beach" Del Rey focuses on running away, on abandoning her man for the ocean breeze. "Now you're just another one of my problems because you got out of hand," she sings. "We won't survive, we're sinking in the sand." The hazy truth arrives with the chorus: "All I wanna do is get high by the beach."
Del Ray is a native East Coaster, but here she exudes West Coast cool, and unless she's dreaming of smoking on Rockaway Beach, the spark that ignited "High by the Beach" sounds Southern California-born. Which is to say, it'd work well on a playlist alongside downtempo tracks by kindred stoners Cypress Hill, Chet Baker, Snoop and Ty Dolla Sign. Toss in some Dusty Springfield, ASAP Rocky and Angelo Badalamenti, arrange your beach blanket and recline.