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Top MP3s of the Week (11/21)

on November 22, 2013, 12:00am
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cassettes Top MP3s of the Week (11/21)

After a successful year, this week served as many artists’ last hurrah. Even though many packed a punch with phenomenal album releases and energetic live shows, they’ve come back to give one last taste. While there have been many awesome collaborations that hit the music world as well, the top of our countdown may reveal the best one yet, featuring a young UK electronic duo, a smooth pop powerhouse, and a legendary funk guitarist.

10. Thee Oh Sees – “Block of Ice (Live at the SF Eagle)”

theeohsees singles3 Top MP3s of the Week (11/21)

Next week, Cali garage rockers Thee Oh Sees will release Singles Collection Volume Three, a smattering of out-of-print and rare songs from the past few years, much to the joy of fans and collectors who missed out on these illusive songs when they were first released. Exclusive to the compilation is a “mutated” live version of “Block of Ice”, which perfectly captures the band’s propensity for turning their own songs inside out when performing them live. Here, they create something entirely new and twisted. Stream this track and the entire collection here–Jon Hadusek

9. Solange – “Cash In”

Solange 2 Top MP3s of the Week (11/21)

In an effort to kick off her new record label, Saint Records, Solange and a handful of romantic song writers have contributed to Saint Heron, an example of the raw R&B talent it has to offer. With a more minimal and ethereal foundation, the soulful diva’s impressive vocal range truly stands strong on her contribution, “Cash In”. Her emotion is powered by pure love, wanting to part from material wealth and run to the bank to return her money. It’s as if Solange longs to get away and let the world transform her into a perfect, collaborative being. –Sam Willett


8. Raekwon – “Rainy Day”

Steve Malk & Jicks

Just like Dido’s timid croons dressed the stormy effect of Eminem’s “Stan”, Raekwon twists a similar angelic vocal sample into his newest track, “A Rainy Day”. The Wu-Tang MC splits the track into two moods that mix with the raindrops, on one hand relaxing and the other tragic. Regardless of which half is most relatable, Rae’s down-tempo hip-hop poetry and smooth foundation is the perfect soundtrack for losing yourself behind the wheel of a car. The track will be included on his upcoming LP, F.I.L.A., ready for release early 2014. —Sam Willett

7. ShowYouSuck feat. Unstoppable Death Machines – “Awesome”

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Chicago emcee ShowYouSuck has made his latest EP, #DUDEBRO, available on Spotify, and with it he continues to straddle the line between punk and hip-hop. This fusion is apparent on closer “Awesome”, which features instrumentation from noise metal duo Unstoppable Death Machines. Show is unflinching in both attitude and approach, smothering his vocals in a gritty lo-fi fuzz as he offers up a simple mandate: “If you like this song, go and put me on.” We’re listening. –Jon Hadusek

6. Danny Brown – “Sweeney Song”

dannybrown sweeney Top MP3s of the Week (11/21)

This unearthed Danny Brown song comes from Classic Drug References, Vol. 1, a compilation by the now defunct hip-hop blog of the same name. Brown’s contribution, in reference to blog owner Sweeney Kovar, was recorded sometime prior to 2011’s XXX, and, in addition to being a fine track in its own right, gives us insight into the rapper’s development from Detroit underground favorite to genre stalwart. MNDSGN’s primitive beat of hand claps and organ isn’t far removed from the production on The Hybrid, and Brown sounds right at home, opting for structured phrases, a relatively tame cadence (for Brown, that is), and reflections on his childhood. –Jon Hadusek


5. The Notwist – “Close to the Grass”

The Notwist

When Sub Pop surprised their social media followers by signing an artist and providing only a 15-second sample as evidence, we assumed they had to be someone legendary. Radiohead? Dntel? No, it’s the exciting return of German electro-pop experimenters The Notwist, who signed with the label to release their first album in six years. “Close to the Grass”, the first revealed cut from the album, is as smooth as it is hieroglyphic. While its electronics pan from dark auras to dynamic percussion, Markus Archer’s vocals remain smooth and dream-like, serving as the center of this electronic fantasy. Close to the Grass is due February 25th via Sub Pop. –Sam Willett

4. Mutual Benefit – “Golden Wake”

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Mutual Benefit has gone through an exhilarating and intense series of successes since his impressive debut, Love’s Crushing Diamond, leaked onto the music blogosphere. Thankfully, his music is a means of escape, to find what truly means most to him, even when he’s a bit overwhelmed. On “Golden Wake”, Jordan Lee strives to find this inner peace as he croons, “sometimes my heart and brain conspire to set everything on fire” to rediscover these invigorating values. It’s not terrifying, though, but rather relaxing and tranquil. –Sam Willett

3. The Orwells – “Dirty Sheets”

theorwells dirtysheets Top MP3s of the Week (11/21)

A run of successful EPs, a tour with FIDLAR, and a slot on the Weezer Cruise has The Orwells poised for big things in 2014 (a full-length, perhaps?). “Dirty Sheets” is another raucous one-off single from the young Illinois band, showcasing their fatalistic sense of humor and knack for big hooks. Didn’t take long for Atlantic to catch on: They signed the band and will release “Dirty Sheets” as a 7” in January. –Jon Hadusek

2. ScHoolboy Q – “Man of the Year”

schoolboyq13 Top MP3s of the Week (11/21)

Originally appearing as a snippet back in May, “Man of the Year” is ScHoolboy Q’s exclusive contribution to the NBA Live 14 soundtrack — and an opportunity to multiply his fanbase tenfold. With Live hitting shelves for the first time in years (competing with the 2K series hadn’t been profitable), this will be an introduction to ScHoolboy for many, and a fine one at that. Sampling Chromatics (!), the track touts the obligatory basketball references (the somewhat grating “bounce” line in the chorus) and a whole lotta ScHoolboy being ScHoolboy: manic flow, braggadocio, and chuckle-inducing one-liners. –Jon Hadusek


1. Disclosure, Nile Rodgers, and Sam Smith – “Together”

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Disclosure has dominated our countdown numerous times throughout the year, but nothing has been as contagious as this track. It gives Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” some fierce competition. “Together” features a lush combination of dark house and funkadelic grooves, thanks in part to Daft Punk collaborator and Chic frontman Nile Rodgers, with a dominant vocal from perhaps Disclosure’s best-known collaborator, Sam Smith. It’s short and sweet, but features an unavoidable groove that resurrects the disco dancefloor. –Sam Willett

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