The Decemberists - “Traveling On”

For bands participating in the recording process, there is always a series of choices to made. Not the least of which is what songs get left on the cutting room floor. For The Decemberists, perhaps the release of their eighth LP, “I’ll Be Your Girl,” left them feeling like they’d walked away from something special. The album marked an evolution toward a more synth-driven sound, but they have now followed it with an EP of five B-side tracks harkening back to the band’s signature sound, titled “Traveling On.”

Rosalía - “Malamente (Cap.1: Augurio)”

Barcelona-born singer Rosalía’s latest release, “Malamente,” is a study of the evolving Spanish culture, where modern sensibilities meet tradition. Rosalía innovates from the first beat, taking flamenco hand claps and using them as the foundation for a hip-hop track. With the release of her album, “El Mal Querer,” (translation: “toxic love”) she’s making flamenco music accessible to a new generation. In the accompanying video, she expands on these ideas: young bull fighters become street racers and a purple-robed penitent rides a skateboard adorned with nails. Each cultural allusion, old and new existing simultaneously within each individual, exemplify the fulfilment of modern creativity without sacrificing the beauty of existing convention.

Broken Bells - “Shelter”

In February of 2018, The Shins frontman James Mercer hinted to OPB in an interview that a Broken Bells reunification was on the horizon, saying casually: “Maybe we’ll get around to some Broken Bells stuff. We already have some stuff in the works.” Broken Bells is the marriage of Danger Mouse’s beat-sampling prowess with James Mercer’s lyricism in a collaborative project. The song “Shelter” marks their first release since 2015 and teases more to come for fans eagerly awaiting any hint of new material on social media. Their rumored upcoming third album has yet to receive a release date, but we’ll assume there is more “in the works.”