The Agony & The Ecstasy: music news

This week we ponder upon the new Earl Sweatshirt vid, Beyoncé single, an xx remix plus JT's lyrics

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VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Earl Sweatshirt - 'WHOA'

One of the nicest surprises about Odd Future in 2013 is the larky humour that Earl and Tyler are bringing to their visuals. We've already seen Tyler's spandex-heavy wrestling-themed video for 'Domo23', and this week Earl premiered the colourful video for 'WHOA', where he lives in a trailer with a ballet dancer and beams while sunbathing on a lilo. There's more than enough oddness though, with disorienting editing as the ballet dancer's plies are jerkily sped up, silent movie style, and Tyler topples out of the shopping cart that he's riding in. Not to mention the track's brilliantly dorky refences to  Star Wars ("Had it since a Padawan") and Harry Potter ("Bruising gimmicks with the broom he usually use for Quidditch").

TEASER OF THE WEEK: Beyoncé - Bow Down

When Beyoncé named her forthcoming live dates The Mrs. Carter Tour, there was a raising of eyebrows and deluge of subtweets. It was a bit odd that the businesswoman, entertainer and cultural icon would use her married name for her newest, likely record-breaking enterprise. As ever with Ms. Knowles though, her performance speaks volumes alone.

Last night Beyoncé posted a mashup of two new tracks - the Hit-Boy produced 'Bow Down' and 'I Been On' - to Soundcloud. Both tracks draw heavily on the sub-heavy, cavernous clatter of trap; in the first her voice is pitched up in the hook, in the second it's screwed down to a demonic rumble. You wonder whether the lyric "don't think that I'm his little wife" is a response to the naysayers. The brilliant refrain "bow down bitches, bow down bitches" is delivered as a new Beyoncé, another mask to add to her collection of Sasha Fierce, soul crooner and dance commander.

SONG OF THE WEEK: Jhené Aiko - 'Everything Must Go'

On her 23rd Birthday, LA-based R&B singer Jhené Aiko released her career-launching .sailing soul(s). and now as she hits 25 she shares a blissy new track 'Everything Must Go'. While produced by Def Jam's No I.D. ('Run This Town', Kanye's 'Heartless'), it's a change from his epic-minded production style in this understated ballad, where Aiko delivers a strong and sure birthday mantra over acoustic instrumentation and a quietly optimistic synth line.

REMIX OF THE WEEK: The xx - 'Sunset' (Kim Ann Foxman Remix)

Although it couldn't be further from the truth, but it's hard to see Romy and Oliver's sparring vocals as anything but erotic. And never more than on Kim Ann Foxman's remix of 'Sunset', where she adds a 4/4 beat and a kinda sleazy synth line that demands to be heard on the tiles. With its easy groove of winking synths and optimistic swoops, it would sound equally good at sunrise.

NEW BAND OF THE WEEK: M.O - 'Ain't Got Time'

The debut single from the London trio is a bass-heavy pop track with lashings of sass and brilliant harmonies. It's a bit unclear whether they're the brainchild of some exec or just managed to blag a glossy video, but they look like they genuinely love crop tops, TLC, and the popping R&B they're making - and at a time when a lot of pop acts seem to be going through the motions, that's pretty charming in itself.

FREE DOWNLOAD OF THE WEEK: Kat Dahlia - 'Gangsta' (BALISTIQ Remix)

Cuban/American singer Kat Dahlia sings quick-paced with a rapper's flow, and this track is braggy, bratty and kinda fabulous. Originally a midtempo, East London duo Balistiq turn it into a hip hop banger with siren effects and a screwed-up rhythm, as Dahlia rides the beats with snarls of her spliff-toting independence.

LYRIC OF THE WEEK: Justin Timberlake - 'Strawberry Bubblegum'

At some point in The 20/20 Experience, Timbo croons "If you'll be my strawberry bubblegum, then I'll be your blueberry lollipop". Distressingly, he isn't talking about Chupa Chups.

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