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Top 10 MP3s of the Week (2/8)

on February 08, 2013, 12:00am
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cassettes Top 10 MP3s of the Week (2/8)

The top mp3s have gone through many incarnations since the beginning of Consequence of Sound in 2007. What used to be an exhaustive roundup of all the singles, remixes, covers, and undiscovered gems emailed to us any given week evolved into a compilation whittled down to our 10 favorite new songs. For 2013, we’re again changing up the format with the hope of giving our selections some added weight. We’re still posting about our 10 favorite songs, but they’ll be ordered in quality from 10-1. Who takes home #1 this week? You’ll have to click ‘Next’ to find out.

10. Hey Marseilles – “Bright Stars Burning”

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Hey Marseilles hail from Seattle, and just like their Washington brethren Death Cab for Cutie, they write gentle indie pop that aims straight for the heart. “After all these years, you are leaving here despite what should be otherwise,” frontman Matt Bishop calls. His voice is strong and controlled, set amidst a smattering of low-key instrumentation. He’s brokenhearted, yearning to know why the relationship had to end. Nick Ward’s guitar peeks out as the notes grow louder and the chords hit harder. By the end of the track, Bishop is still unfulfilled, though he’s beginning to understand why his lover left him. “Bright Stars Burning” is the lead single from Hey Marseilles’ forthcoming LP, Lines We Trace (out March 5th). -Jon Hadusek

9. Elephant – “Skyscraper”

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London duo Elephant fall into the “dream pop” umbrella quite easily, especially if you’re dreaming that the girl groups of the ’60s could hook up with vintage orchestral backing and modern reverb tech. On new single “Skyscraper”, the idealized past sweetness recalls Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks pop songs as much as it does Beach House, Amelia Rivers’ rich, spectral delivery draping over the waltzing mass. Though often obscured by the icy beauty of the music (not to mention overshadowed by her haunting presence), the simple, mournful edge to lyrics like “skyscrapers/ scrape the skies/ only to fall down” reveal the dark core underneath all of the rime. -Adam Kivel

8. araabMUZIK – “The Prince is Coming”

 Top 10 MP3s of the Week (2/8)

Paced by pattering bongos and a boom-bap beat, araabMUZIK’s “The Prince is Coming” is the ominous opening track off of the uber-producer’s new mixtape, For Professional Use Only (available for download February 15th). Menacing sirens penetrate the rhythms, and swaths of dark ambience create an overcast backdrop. It sounds like a warning. Whoever this prince is, he’s certainly not a pleasant figure. -Jon Hadusek


7. Dungeonesse – “Shucks”

dungeonesse shucks Top 10 MP3s of the Week (2/8)

She of many projects (let’s not forget Wye Oak or Flock of Dimes), Jenn Wasner is back at the mic on a new track from dance pop project Dungeonesse. The infectious groove of “Shucks” builds around White Life/Art Department member Jon Ehrens’ trickling synths, sounding not unlike those used on mega-hit “Genius of Love”. “I know they think it’s just a crush,” Wasner smirks, later adding “it’s love, and I know that it’s good enough.” That sentiment and the bouncing R&B beat could melt even the iciest heart (*HINT*Valentine’s Day is coming*HINT*). This is the second taste of the duo’s self-titled debut album, due May 14 via Secretly Canadian -Adam Kivel

6. Four Tet – “The Track I’ve Been Playing…”

fourtetsongmain1 Top 10 MP3s of the Week (2/8)

Electro craftsman Kieran Hebdan, AKA Four Tet, released a new single that’s 24 words long: “The Track I’ve Been Playing That People Keep Asking About and That Joy Used in His RA Mix and Daphni Played on Boiler Room”. A wacky beat bounces while a collage of voices shout, wail, and chant. Wildly original, it’s no surprise that listeners were so curious about the track. The lengthy meta-title references the current EDM trend of sharing new music via webcasts and internet mixes rather than live at clubs and concerts. Undeterred, Four Tet’s label, Text, will release the single as a 12”.  -Jon Hadusek


5. Drake – “Started From the Bottom”

draked started from the bottom Top 10 MP3s of the Week (2/8)

Drake is back with his first solo recording since 2011’s Take Care. In a Kanye-esque move, the rapper posted “Started From the Bottom” on his blog last Friday. Accompanying the track was a short letter that provides context for both the song and Drake’s career. “I feel sometimes that people don’t have enough information about my beginnings and therefore they make up a life story for me that isn’t consistent with actual events,” he writes. He drives this message home during the song’s chorus: “started from the bottom now we’re here / started from the bottom, now my whole team’s fuckin’ here.” Drake spits with aggression; he’s pissed that you’d even suggest that his fame wasn’t earned. Producer Mike Zombie’s crackling beat is equally uncompromising. -Jon Hadusek

4. Mikal Cronin – “Shout It Out”

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Though he might not have the Wolfman intensity of running mate Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin should be more confident than he claims on new track “Shout It Out”. The first cut from his Merge debut MCII (due May 7th) shows some of that major label glean, the clean recording one obvious sign. The tune’s lyrical stream of uncertainty (“Do I want it now? / Do I need it though? / Shit goes on and on and on”) is balanced out by a jangly pop melody and a sublime burst of harmonic oooos. As if the balance in the San Fransisco garage rock universe was in danger of veering into the melancholy, Cronin digs into a righteously distorted riff. -Adam Kivel

3. James Blake – “Retrograde”

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Just as the furor for James Blake’s sophomore album Overgrown (due April 8th via Republic Records) seemed to be hitting a fever pitch, the London-based singer calmed the fans with a preview in the form of “Retrograde”. A recent live staple, the keys and claps driven track builds to a wash of rich, square-wave synths, Blake smoothly insisting that his object of affection show him “where you fit.” In many other deliveries, that’d be a creepy pickup line; in Blake’s cool demeanor, it’s entirely undeniable. That shows in the song’s slow fade, retreating down the hall to a quieter place.  -Adam Kivel


2. Chance the Rapper – “Juice”

screen shot 2013 02 01 at 11.48.27 am e1359741097511 Top 10 MP3s of the Week (2/8)

Chicago teen phenom Chance the Rapper has been getting some major buzz around the Consequence of Sound watercooler ever since his sick mixtape 10 Day. The promise of a still release date-less follow-up called Acid Rap has been looming large, and with “Juice” we finally get an understanding of where the 19-year-old is headed. Chano balances the ultra-smooth soul beat with bursts of vocal grit, shouting out Sosa and taking a shot at Kobe. Get in on the hype now before he starts dominating Twitter feeds: “Maybe I just gotta get suspended more / Hash tag it, get mentions for it / Make you love it, get it trending more.” -Adam Kivel

1. My Bloody Valentine – “Only Tomorrow”

mbv high res e1359859268426 Top 10 MP3s of the Week (2/8)

“Only Tomorrow” was my first taste of mbv, and I only listened to it because I had to write this blurb. Being such a huge fan of Loveless, I was apprehensive — scared of being disappointed by the album I’d anticipated for years. But upon hearing “Only Tomorrow”, my fears are quelled. All of My Bloody Valentine’s trademarks — cavernous guitar drones, Bilinda Butcher’s aching voice, methodical repetition — are present and arranged around a verse-verse-solo song structure.

That said, such a quantified analysis defeats the point. The most important element is the mood: can you get lost in this music? The simple answer is yes. Unlike any other musical act, including the many that try to cop Kevin Shields’ sound, My Bloody Valentine tap into a variety of emotions and feelings that are hard to put into words. They’re melancholy, but not sad. Desperate, yet patient. Romantic, only unrequited. Conflicted, though confident that things will work out. And in the case of mbv, they did. -Jon Hadusek

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