Angel Haze might be better known for her beef with fellow rapper Azealia Banks, but she's earned plenty of credence on the New York EP. With quick, oscillating chirps over cold, industrial beats, she pulverizes "Werkin Girls" like the Big Apple's her oyster: "I'm sweeping you while I'm dusting/I just popped up out the blue/I'm spontaneously combusting." Believe it. Twenty-year-old Sky Ferreira got chewed up by the majors, so she took the high road and set out on her own. The Ghost EP collects five heartbreakingly candid pop songs, indebted equally to Blondie's confident, pound-it-out electronic swagger and charmed indie-rock insecurities. "Everything Is Embarrassing" might just be the Great American Love Song of our times. Lines like, "You could've been my anything, now everything's embarrassing" don't come around often enough. Until recently, a guy like Le1f would've had difficulty establishing traction. He's an openly gay, restlessly avant-garde rapper, and hip-hop and homosexuality have a complicated relationship. But things change, and a label like Greedhead makes it a sticking point to giving the world new voices. Le1f's skeleton-shaking mixtape single "Wut" catapulted him to new heights last year, and Liquid could be taken as a victory lap. Four songs, mostly instrumental, come from collaboration with longtime partner and fellow-producer Boody. Instead of the bounce and twerk, Liquid keeps it mighty subtle, offering nocturnal, narcotized amniotic journeys rather than party rap. It may be slightly disappointing after a raucous 2012, but Le1f knows that predictability is death. (Angel Haze: 1am, Cedar Street Courtyard; Sky Ferreira: Sat., 10pm, Stubb's; Le1f: Fri., 11:25pm, Scoot Inn; Sat., 11pm, Mohawk)
Copyright © 2013 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.