Pharrell lends a hand to Twista's new track, ''Give It Up,'' plus new music from Brick and Lace, Robbers on High Street, Datarock, and Bumps

By Simon Vozick-Levinson
Updated June 07, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for The Chamber Group

New collab from Twista and Pharrell

Ah, Pharrell. Within the last year alone, the Neptunes’ flashier half has been responsible for moments of both sheer genius (his beats for Clipse’s Hell Hath No Fury and utter blah-dom (his own solo debut, In My Mind. His new collaboration with fast-talking Chicago MC Twista has a little of both. Pharrell’s production is top-notch — a far-out collage of empty-bottle percussion and harpsichord buzz, like a full-length realization of the tantalizing intro that Timbaland tacked on to Justin Timberlake’s ”My Love”. But then there’s Pharrell’s hook and verse, which are nothing more than phoned-in, chauvinist nonsense. Luckily, Twista is on his lyrical game, and if he rides all the beats on his upcoming Adrenaline Rush 2007 (out this August) with this much nimble grace, you’ll want to make sure your MP3 player has ”repeat” functionality. (Stream it from Twista’s Chicago Tribune blog)

BRICK AND LACE, ”Love is Wicked”
Mainstream American listeners are totally unpredictable when it comes to dancehall reggae. Every once in a while, an artist like Sean Paul breaks through to stateside masses, but more often, U.S. listeners inexplicably treat even the genre’s poppiest performers as novelties (Elephant Man), or just ignore them outright (Wayne Wonder). Judging by the title track from their upcoming debut, this pair of Jamaica-born sisters thoroughly deserves to make it into the first category. Part of what makes the song work is that bubbly backdrop, a modification of the ever-popular Diwali riddim, but it’s also the siblings’ light, appealing vocals. They’ve got all of the killer melodic instincts of Akon, who owns the Kon Live imprint where they’re signed, without any of his lyrical coarseness. (Hear it at AOL Music)

Cranky critics once whined that this Upstate New York trio’s debut sounded too much like Spoon — as if resembling one of the most inventive indie-rock acts of the last decade was an altogether bad thing. Well, Robbers frontman Ben Trokan is still a dead ringer, vocally, for Spoon’s Britt Daniel, but Trokan’s band really comes into its own on its upcoming sophomore effort, Grand Animals. This teaser track’s lush, sticky vibe is just perfect for an unseasonably muggy early-summer afternoon. (Stream it from the band’s MySpace)

If this song sounds oddly familiar, consider yourself a certified ahead-of-the-curver: It’s from Datarock’s debut, which came out in the Norwegian duo’s native land two years ago. Datarock Datarock will finally see U.S. release this month thanks to the good graces of the Nettwerk Music Group, and its crisp dance anthems have hardly aged a day. The lead single is five minutes of kinetic funk, and although its title may be gibberish, there’s no misunderstanding what Fredrik Saroea means when he shouts, ”I wanna ride fast going nowhere!” (Download it from Nettwerk’s website)

BUMPS, ”Tryplmeade Gorsmatch”
Chicago-based collective Tortoise is known for fusing genres — a pulse drawn from krautrock, a little free-jazz dissonance, some IDM bleeps, even the occasional dubby studio effect. Still, rap has never really played a significant role in that equation, so it comes as something of a surprise to discover that three of the group’s key members are releasing an album on underground hip-hop haven Stones Throw. Bumps’ self-titled debut, out June 19, shows that these guys wield a mean boom-bap, believe it or not. An apt description of this intricately woven breakbeat can be found in the project’s appropriate title: In a word, this track bumps. (Download it from Stones Throw’s website)