The Rolling Stones – “Doom and Gloom” (ABKCO/Interscope)

Coming up on the band’s 50th anniversary, the Rolling Stones aren’t a bunch of brash kids anymore, but they can still rock like it. One of the two new singles off the upcoming anniversary compilation GRRR!,”Doom and Gloom” finds Jagger shouting raucously while stretching out those syllables, Keith Richards laying down some dirty blues riffage and the whole track lurching about like the band’s plastered on stage. It’s a song that could come from the Stones’ Exile days — sharp edges bristling all over a grungy core — even if they’re now 40 years older. All the political ranting about doom and gloom comes off a bit cranky, but the music itself is so in line with the band’s best singles that nobody will be complaining. – Michael Merline

Bill Fay – “There is a Valley” (Dead Oceans)

History, religion and memory intersect frequently throughout Bill Fay’s remarkable album Life Is People, most evocatively on opening song “There Is a Valley.” Its ornate arrangement blends flawlessly with Fay’s weathered vocals as the musician presents a world of long-ago violence − villages leveled by soldiers, human sacrifice, the crucifixion of Jesus − and finds it paralleled in the urban conflicts of today. In the hands of a lesser musician it would come across as a trite, precious conceit, but with Fay it works and results in a deeply profound statement about the human condition. – Eric Dennis

Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra – “The Killing Type” (8 Ft. Records)

Forget all the controversy and furor with which Amanda Palmer surrounds herself. “The Killing Type” is a great example of her atypical writing perspective and theatrical flair. The tune starts out simple enough with some XTC post-punk pop bounce as Palmer outlines her pacifist ethical position. That simplicity breaks down as the song builds into repressed tension. By the time she transitions from the philosophical to a more concrete reaction to her relationship issues, her bubbling anger is barely kept in check. The video is suitably graphic, but it’s a powerful accompaniment. – Jester Jay Goldman

Ty Dolla $ign – “My Cabana” (Arsenal Records)

From its opening verse, Ty Dolla $ign’s “My Cabana” dares us to be offended by his know-it-all player person: “White girls love to do coke/ Black girls always wanna smoke.” We hate to be so predictable, don’t we? Ty thinks he has women all figured out, but there’s a layer of humor here, even tender acceptance: we all just want pleasure, and we all have our own favored means to that end. So don’t worry, just relax and enjoy yourself. Ty pulls this off thanks not only to his savvy musicianship—he plays several instruments and is also a songwriter, having penned the 2010 hit “Toot It and Boot It” for rapper YG—but also his commitment to this tongue-in-cheek persona. His chorus (“How many hoes can I fit in my cabana?“) is too over-the-top, and too fun, to offend, and I could even imagine my mom singing along and belting out “How many hooooooes?” Over a grinding, buzzing beat, Ty mixes the sexy and the sinister (“I treat these dime hoes just like fives“) to produce a dizzyingly addictive aphrodisiac of a cocktail. — Trevor Link

Two Fingers – “Lock86” (Big Dada/Ninja Tune)

Like a maniacal dog in chase of its own tail, “Lock86” swirls across the (dance) floor with increasingly tight loops. Produced by Amon Tobin, under his reoccurring hip-hop moniker, the track fuses the Brazilian electro-maestro’s breakbeat basslines and intergalactic themes with “Rubber Johnny”-esque analog synths. Not only is this bass exploration a dramatic shift from Tobin’s more cinematic origins, but it’s also progressive enough to land the producer a coveted spot at L.A.’s Low End Theory. – Derek Staples

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