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Top 10 Songs of the Week (4/25)

on April 25, 2014, 3:00pm
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Even for those who don’t directly partake, Record Store Day can function as a reminder that music is appreciated differently when we slow down, gaze at every square cover art, and generally put more thought into what we’re hearing than normal. Few things, however, are more life-affirming than listening to an eclectic stream of new music, which is where the digital world comes in handy. Our mission each week is to relay that feeling of discovery, and with the following 10 tracks dizzying us this week, it was only a matter of time.

10. Slayer – “Implode”

Slayer

Premiered at the Golden Gods Awards, “Implode” is the lead single from Slayer’s forthcoming album (due out next year) and the band’s first new song since the death of Jeff Hanneman. Recorded earlier this month with Terry Date, the track is a snarling, hardcore-inflected shredder that rails against “the brain dead leaders of the world.” Tom Araya growls and screams, hitting registers that he hasn’t reached in years, while Kerry King delivers the pummeling riffs and spastic solos. For a Hanneman-less Slayer, it exceeds all expectations. –Jon Hadusek

09. Gonga & Beth Gibbons – “Black Sabbeth”

Gonga - Beth Gibbons - Portishead

Portishead vocalist Beth Gibbons has had her eerie moments, but she dove into the creepy pool entirely when working with Bristol stoner metal outfit Gonga. Their cover of Black Sabbath’s eponymous track (here turned into “Black Sabbeth”) is the stuff of B-movie horror nightmares, Gibbons’ whispery vocals turned into curls of evil purple smoke, Latch Manghat’s bass nipping at your heels. While Gibbons has teased a solo album and Portishead work to get back into the studio, we’d gladly see an entire Beth-as-Ozzy album. –Adam Kivel

08. Black Monolith – “Eris”

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The one-man metal project of Gary Bettencourt, Black Monolith amorphously drifts between furious black metal, crust punk, and shoegazing ambience. Veering toward the latter, “Eris” is the closing track from debut LP Passenger (self-released on All Black Records) and evokes post-rockers Russian Circles, as ominous chords quake and churn. As the drums creep in, Bettencourt’s guitar playing takes a triumphant turn, forming into a serene climax that’s more U2 than metal. Bettencourt has a loose definition of the genre, and his music benefits from it, never growing tedious. –Jon Hadusek

07. Joan Shelley & Nathan Salsburg – “Electric Ursa”

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“Electric Ursa” is the first recorded material from Nathan Salsburg since his underrated sophomore album, Hard for to Win & Can’t Be Won. His partner on the song, vocalist Joan Shelley, matches him in daring. Salsburg’s guitar plucking is lyrically endowed, while Shelley’s angelic vocals wisely give direction. When sewn together, the performance narrates the comfort and warmth of a relaxing evening out under the stars, Shelley noting sweetly that “we are only feeble humans.” It’s easy to get caught up in life’s busy complications, but sometimes it’s important to remember our troubles aren’t that big in the great scheme. “Electric Ursa” is featured on Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina, which is available now. —Sam Willett

06. FKA Twigs – “Give Up”

FKA Twigs Video

FKA Twigs made her New York debut last week to a sold-out crowd, unleashing whispered renditions of tracks from her phenomenal EPs. She also revealed a song that looks to be called “Give Up”, a new track that could possibly appear on her upcoming full-length. Instead of attempting to revive broken love, the track suggests forgetting it all. Instead, Tahliah Barnett, the woman behind it all, reassigns her love to spreading the message of her tangled struggles, represented here via chilled production and her effortless falsetto. –Sam Willett

05. White Lung – “Snake Jaw”

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It might not be catchy, but the latest gear-grinding thrasher from Vancouver’s White Lung takes a definite shape thanks in no small part to frontwoman Mish Way’s decisive vocal. Per Way’s chat with Rookie, the song tackles “the idea of what [women are] supposed to be and what we’re supposed to look like.” The urgency of it doesn’t necessarily aid us in deciphering the lyrics right away, but comprehension will come through the compulsive rewinds you’ll log anyway. White Lung’s third album, Deep Fantasy, is out June 17th via Domino. –Michael Madden

04. Torres – “New Skin”

torres Top 10 Songs of the Week (4/25)

Nashville singer-songwriter Torres contributed “New Skin” to Weathervane Music’s Shaking Through web series, and she did so with a little help. Sharon Van Etten, The War on Drugs’ Adam Granduciel and Dave Hartley, and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists’ Chris Wilson all help out on this ambling track, which opens with soft arpeggios that build into complex arrangements of chord progressions. Granduciel’s signature guitar ambiance moves underneath the voices of Torres and Van Etten as they harmonize. In her short career, Torres has proven herself an expert songwriter capable of inserting twists and turns into her songs without disrupting the natural progression of the music. “New Skin” is a fine progression from the sparser material on her 2013 self-titled debut. –Jon Hadusek

03. Jack White – “Lazaretto”

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“When I say nothing, I say everything,” howls Jack White on “Lazaretto”, staking the declaration between verses he spits out a little like Dylan in “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. The idea is enforced when, after swelling with distortion and flying phalanges, the song launches into a psych bzzzz and detours yet again for a fiddle-sweeped closing leg, reminding us that White produced Loretta Lynn not long ago. Just don’t expect either version (this or the world-record-breaking RSD single) to wow the average kindergartner more than, say, the world’s largest sundae. Lazaretto, White’s second solo album, is out June 10th. –Michael Madden

02. Ab-Soul – “Tree of Life”

ab soul Top 10 Songs of the Week (4/25)

“Tree of Life”, in which Ab-Soul rattles off arboricultural line after arboricultural line, marries his loner-stoner language and his ability to masquerade as a flashier, relatively well-adjusted case (“Bitches walkin’ bow-legged out my dressing room”). Curtiss King’s beat, a blackened slither, mirrors Ab’s enlightened but conspiratorial mindset; strangely, the zooming airliner that ripples the track recalls the World Trade Center line from Control System‘s “Terrorist Threats”. Also featuring Joey Badass via a reworked excerpt of that young MC’s “World Domination”, “Tree of Life” is still a document of someone who goes way deep inside his head and relays the worthiest finds. Ab has two projects in post-production, including the third installment of his Longterm series. –Michael Madden

01. Jamie xx – “Girl”

Jamie XX

Although “Girl” has been around under an assumed name for a bit (James Blake showcased it on BBC Radio, crediting it to “Simon Tallywhacker”), Jamie xx can now bask in the glory himself with its proper release. The groove is subtle and floats in and out of focus, making its melody that much more contagious. The multi-layered production (including tracks of ethereal ambiance, funk-loaded bass, and soulful vocals) is packed tightly, so it’s best to lend some high volume and deep dissection to each listen. “Girl” is bound to sound more brilliant in physical format, so be sure to grab his “Girl”/”Sleep Sound” 12-inch on May 5th via Young Turks. –Sam Willett

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