What Are You Listening To? is a weekly run-down of what A.V. Club staffers are streaming. Listen to these songs and more on our Spotify playlist, updated weekly with new stuff.
MadeinTYO, “Ned Flanders”
I remain a big fan of “Uber Everywhere,” the breezy, possibly novelty hit by MadeinTYO (pronounced “made in Tokyo”), as well as the entire 7-track EP from which it was culled. The guy’s got an easy, hangdog flow, equally attuned to funny asides and low-key shit-talk, and a natural chemistry with producer K Swisha, who drops ticking, Casiotone beats like they were the easiest thing in the world. The two link up again (along with A$AP Mob’s resident shit-starter A$AP Ferg) for “Ned Flanders,” one of the best Simpsons-related rap songs since at least Lil Yachty’s legendary Simpsons nerd-out. The name-drop isn’t super complex—MadeinTYO’s diamonds are yellow, just like one of Matt Groening’s creation—but give the rapper credit for not making the tired “Bart Simpson” reference and instead going for their dopey, religious neighbor. The single’s got bonkers cover art, too. [Clayton Purdom]
Say Hi, “Every Gauge Is On Empty”
It never really pays to put a period on something when a semi-colon will do. Last year, Eric Elbogen announced he was retiring Say Hi (formerly Say Hi To Your Mom), the indie-rock project that had been his focus for 15 years. Yet a year later, Elbogen has returned to Say Hi—after a dream involving a centaur named David Bowie, apparently—with a new album and a big living-room tour. “Every Gauge Is On Empty” accompanied the good news, with a sound that’s immediately identifiable as Say Hi: understated yet hooky, blending electronic drums, synthesizers, and guitar with Elbogen’s mumbly vocals and clever lyrics. Lesson learned: Never say goodbye to Say Hi. [Kyle Ryan]
Sam Gendel & Sam Wilkes, “BOA”
There have been a lot of rainy days here in Chicago lately, interspersed with days where cottonwood drifts have blanketed the ground like summer snow, and the combination of dreary gray skies and allergen spikes—and disorienting allergy meds—have left me feeling a little down and spaced out. It turns out that’s the ideal mood for taking in the new joint album from Sam Gendel and Sam Wilkes, Music For Saxofone And Bass Guitar. The deliberate misspelling of “saxophone” speaks to Gendel’s warped and woozy take on the instrument, which he’s plied as part of Moses Sumney’s band, on a recent burst of solo recordings, and now in this alchemic pairing with bassist Sam Wilkes, who complements Gendel’s hypnotic loops with his own gently dragging grooves. Opener “BOA” immediately sets the mood, a melting haze of spaced-out smooth jazz, murky synth swells, and gently popping finger-snaps and mouth drum noises that comes off like a ’90s R&B slow jam cassingle gradually melting in your tape deck. I’m not sure how it’ll sound when it’s sunny out and I’m no longer zonked on Mucinex, but right now it’s perfect. [Sean O’Neal]