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Songs of the week

Dan Mangan + Blacksmith — “Vessel”

“There’s not much about what I’m doing that’s cute anymore,” said Dan Mangan in a recent interview with Exclaim! “I’m kind of over cute. There was a time that I was really cute, and I did cute pretty well. That’s not really who I am now,” he continued. The biggest difference to expect on Mangan’s fourth studio album, which is due out sometime this year, is that his touring band are now credited as members, and the project has gone from the innocent one-man songs that Mangan created at the start of his career to a now more “Radiohead-y Peter Gabriel vibe.”

“Vessel” is the first taste of the new collaboration, and even though it is a little unnatural at first to hear Mangan’s voice booming over choppy pianos and drum machines, the end product shows that often times good things come when more people are involved. The chanting harmony in the chorus and excitable guitar and trumpet that come in at the end of the song are definite highlights. The song will be featured on the soundtrack to Simon Pegg’s Hector and the Search for Happiness, which premiered on Sept. 7 at TIFF.

SBTRKT — “Voices in my Head (feat. A$AP Ferg, Warpaint)”

On Sept. 22, SBTRKT will be releasing his second studio album, Wonder Where We Land. The album is set to feature appearances by Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, Sampha, Jessie Ware, and on the closing song of the album, A$AP Ferg and Warpaint. Aaron Jerome (SBTRKT) said that the concept of the song started in London with an upright piano before going to Los Angeles where Stella Mozgawa and Emily Kokal of Warpaint recorded drums and vocals. The song then went back to London and finally New York. “This is one of my fav tracks and seemed to be a fitting ending to the record too,” he wrote on his SoundCloud account.

Smashing Pumpkins — “To Sheila (Early Banjo Version)”

Later this month, Smashing Pumpkins will be re-releasing their 1998 album, Adore. On it will be a number of extra songs, including a banjo-centred take on “To Sheila,” which apparently was an earlier version of the final track. The song has the same melancholy feel that the Pumpkins mastered over their career, but with a whispering choir and tympani drum the early version has an even bigger payoff.

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