Arts Desk

Leak Proof: Grizzly Bear, Stuart Murdoch, Kid Cudi, Health

Grizzly Bear: "Cheerleader"
Who are we kidding—everybody and their mother has already downloaded Grizzly Bear's new album Veckatimest, which leaked a few weeks ago, in its entirety. So, it would seem that any official posting of the record's first single, "Cheerleader", is sort of a day late and a dollar short. But "Cheerleader," with its Van Dyke Parks-inspired pop-noodling, offers a little bit of everything that Grizzly Bear's third record has to offer–children's choirs, orchestral grandiosity, and dandy falsetto. And if those are things that you find irritating en masse, they're a little easier to appreciate in one compact 5-minute dose.

Health: "Die Slow"

Los Angeles noise-punks Health, whose debut LP sounded sort of like a vocoder getting tossed down a particularly ragged set of stairs, get a little more overtly tuneful on this new single. In fact, "Die Slow", with its foreboding industrial synths, clubby rhythm, and uneasy vocals, probably could have sold a fair share of cassingles in '94. It's the best argument yet for MTV to bring Alternative Nation out of retirement.

Stuart Murdoch: "God Help the Girl"
Give Stuart Murdoch some credit for knowing what he does best: wistful, thoroughly orchestrated, twee-pop about young, hip, and lonely women. This song from the Belle & Sebastian songwriter's long-in-the-works musical, God Help the Girl, doesn't do much to upend that winning formula. The strings, the dashed hopes, and the necessary kitchen-sink-drama lyrics are all there, only now there's a real-life hipster-woman belting it out, instead of Murdoch.

Kid Cudi feat. Kanye West, Common, Lady Gaga: "I Poke Her Face"
Kid Cudi's latest leak finds him rapping alongside his majordomo, Kanye West, and, annoyingly, Lady Gaga, whose bratty scatting makes up a significant portion of the backing track. But rendered into a rhythm track, Gaga isn't half-bad, and she certainly can't bring down Cudi and Kanye's high-brow rhymes about "getting brain in the library."

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