Another rump-shaker from Amerie
AMERIE, ''TAKE CONTROL''
This R&B diva doesn't quite have the same marquee-name recognition as Beyoncé but as last year's electric ''1 Thing'' showed she definitely rivals Ms. B when it comes to making trumpet-pumping funk-bombs. This new single does an admirable job at replicating her last megahit's bongo bounce. Co-written by the ubiquitous Cee-Lo, ''Take Control'' may be an ode to submission, but it hardly holds back. Buy the track at iTunes.
NIOBE, ''COOL ALPINE''
Stereotypical notions of popular German music tend to lean toward the robotic beats of Kraftwerk or the sledgehammer heaviness of Rammstein. But this Cologne-based singer is completely removed from such common categories. Her Sade-esque vocals float over disjointed acoustic soul on most of her smoky new LP, White Hats. ''Cool Alpine'' finds Niobe at her most playful and poppy, chirping over a delightfully chintzy disco beat. Download the track for free here and buy the album at Bleep.
BOBBY BARE JR., ''WHERE IS MY MIND (PIXIES COVER)''
This isn't your older brother's ''Where Is My Mind.'' The son of country stalwart Bobby Bare, Junior takes all of the stringy distortion away from this Pixies classic, leaving only haunting acoustic guitar and pained vocals behind. The reinvention highlights the song's desolate, half-insane lyrics, which have never sounded creepier. Download the track for free here.
CHRISTOPHER WILLITS, ''YELLOW SPRING''
The cover of this emerging artist's new album, Surf Boundaries, features images of a zebra, a cat's head, a few birds, and a wing overlapping onto each other. The collage effect matches Willits' music, which can sometimes sound like two completely different bands playing at the same time. On the whirlwind ''Yellow Spring,'' intricate drum patterns and guitar parts worthy of post-rockers Tortoise meet Mamas and the Papas-style co-ed vocal harmonies. After you get past its initial dissonance, though, the song sounds like a refreshing take on classic '60s psych. Download the track for free courtesy of Ghostly International Records.