This past Saturday was Record Store Day, an annual event promoting brick and mortar record stores. For the big event, these stores see an influx of new tracks, exclusive releases, and general oddities. Amid this sea of releases, it can be overwhelming to find the cream of the crop. These two high-profile releases from this week, however, are well worth your time.
The newest track from MGMT—Wesleyan alum duo Benjamin Goldwasser ’05 and Andrew VanWyngarden ’05—is a bright, psychedelic single from a band who had all but faded away in the wake of 2010’s criminally underrated Congratulations. Released as a cassette single (albeit with an MP3 download code) for Record Store Day, “Alien Days” is arresting, a chance for MGMT to showcase its mastery of psych-pop in anticipation of itsself-titled album release in June. It’s a surprisingly mellow track full of whirling synths, bass-heavy drums, and fuzzy guitars that plays to the band’s strengths. It’s a reminder that MGMT makes some of the oddest, most captivating music around, and it definitely builds up anticipation for June.
Daft Punk—“Get Lucky”
So technically this wasn’t a Record Store Day single, but it’s impossible to ignore. Meet the song of the summer, everyone: Daft Punk is finally back. After eight years without a proper album or single (no, the score for “Tron: Legacy” doesn’t count), Daft Punk has decided to move forward by looking back into ’70s and ’80s disco and R&B on its May 21 album Random Access Memories. This may sound like an odd shift for the EDM pioneers, but it’s clear that the best Daft Punk tracks—“Digital Love” and “Face to Face” come to mind—show the band’s sincere love for this period, and “Get Lucky” is no exception. Unlike previous efforts, which generally relied on samples, Daft Punk has decided to bring actual humans into the studio, and having Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers lay down an infectious guitar riff certainly doesn’t hurt the track. Pharrell Williams croons over most of the song, but the real kick comes when Daft Punk arrives on vocoders, filling the track with funky, robotic goodness. It was well worth the wait.