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Top 10 Songs of the Week (5/9)

on May 09, 2014, 3:00pm
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Next Tuesday is a particuarly busy release date for new albums. From The Black Keys’ Turn Blue to Swans’ To Be Kind and the posthumous Michael Jackson album, Xscape, it seems there’s a new record for everyone. Keeping up with individual songs, meanwhile, is a different, less predictable process. With surprise returns from Shabazz Palaces and Braid, this week reminded us why we stay on our toes.

10. Dawn Golden – “Discoloration”


The debut from Dawn Golden on Diplo’s Mad Decent Records, Still Life, isn’t what you would expect from the bombastic electronic label. Instead of honing schizophrenic dance fixtures, Dawn tranquilly stops time with each tone from his synthesizer, especially on opening track “Discoloration”. As his attention is choked by a telephone that won’t ring no matter how much he wishes it would, his production intensifies with pulsing samples, chimes, and beautiful vocoder harmonies. His sorrow for his lost lover will “[swallow you] whole”, but the song’s warmth permeates, dwindling the heartache some. Listen to a stream of this track (and the entirety of Still Lifehere–Sam Willett

09. OBN III’s – “Uncle Powderbag”


As OBN III’s prove on “Uncle Powderbag”, all you really need is three chords and some punk rock charisma. The track is a real starter, channeling the swagger of Jon Spencer and the garage sloppiness of the Oblivians. After tearing up Austin dive bars for the past few years, these guys have honed their sound. The playing is tight and the hooks are huge. —Jon Hadusek

08. Julianna Barwick – “Meet You at Midnight”


Joining the ranks of Pearl Jam and Lower Dens, ambient goddess Julianna Barwick has her own beer, packed with flavors of red rice and wasabi. As part of her collaboration with Dogfish Head, she is releasing the new Rosabi EP, a collection inspired by (not to mention sampling) the brewing process. “Meet You at Midnight” serves as a perfect kickoff, reminiscent of the gorgeous samples of standout album The Magic Place, built with stacked vocal samples and delicate bass rumbling. Grab a six-pack of her exclusive brew and spin the rest of the EP on June 3rd via Dead Oceans. –Sam Willett

07. Braid – “Bang”


Following the trend of exciting emo reunions, Braid recently released word of their comeback LP, No Coast (set to hit shelves in July). “Bang”, the album opener and the band’s first track in 16 years, finds the outfit fresh and ready. Their guitar work is tightly orchestrated, combining swoon-worthy chords with jolting suspense. Vocalist Bob Nanna furthers this, keeping listeners hooked to “listen for the outcome.” Even though they’re now older than most emo outfits and far beyond the teenage angst typically associated with the genre, “Bang” should appeal to youngsters and long-time fans alike. –-Sam Willett

06. Garden City Movement – “Terracotta”

garden City Movement

There’s something so inviting about the mere sound of the glitchy, glistening “Terracotta”, the latest from Israeli production trio Garden City Movement. Lending the track its brightest colors are a stuttering vocal loop and a stringed instrument from one corner of Asia or another, but the compactness of the arrangement is what makes it sound so organic — the drums function less as drums and more like a bumping layer that nudges the track forward. For its breezy beauty, “Terracotta” compares to The Range’s “Washingtons”, from March. Bengali Cinema, Garden City Movement’s forthcoming EP, is out June 23rd via BLDG5. –Michael Madden

05. The Underachievers – “Chrysalis”

the underachievers Top 10 Songs of the Week (5/9)

Over dense drums and a moonbound sample from London producer Death Tarot, The Underachievers here decide against implementing a hook in favor of barrages about mental elevation, whether it means hitting the books or hitting the bong. “I don’t fuck with none of these rapper fallacies,” raps Issa Gold, the more excitable half of this brainy Brooklyn duo. “Chrysalis” is more evidence that they’re continuing to pave their own lane. UA’s debut album, The Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium, is on the way. –Michael Madden

04. OOIOO – “Atatawa”


Japanese experimental rockers OOIOO defy conventional classification, though “tribal” would be an apt descriptor, as the band employ rhythms that resemble wooden sticks played on cave walls. On new single “Atatawa”, these beats becomes the bed for a colossal krautrock epic, building up, receding, and then building back up again. It’s repetitious, but not in an annoying way. Hypnotizing, rather. –Jon Hadusek

03. The Antlers – “Hotel”


In following their broken hearts and broken nights of songwriting, The Antlers reveal “Hotel”, lead single from their upcoming LP, Familiars. Peter Silberman’s croon transitions between calm and confident, trying to rediscover his past self. The tune’s subtle instrumentation provokes a chilling stillness with every chord change. Familiars will hit shelves on June 17th via ANTI-. –Sam Willett

02. Dust Moth – “Cusp”

Dust Moth

Dust Moth is a supergroup that includes members of These Arms Are Snakes, Minus The Bear, Undertow, Aeges, and XVIII Individual Eyes, and their Dragon Mouth EP a is stunning — if fleeting — piece of melodic heavy metal. Irene Barber’s vocals are mysterious and soaring, paced by massive chords and harmonizing keyboards. Think Deftones, as the band finds a similar middle ground between shoegaze and power on highlight “Cusp”. –Jon Hadusek

01. Shabazz Palaces – “They Come in Gold”

shabazzpalaces014 Top 10 Songs of the Week (5/9)

Though Shabazz Palaces has always been a futuristic and deeply strange project, the skeletal “They Come in Gold” has parallels with Ishmael “Palaceer Lazaro” Butler’s more conventional pedigree as a member of ’90s hip-hop trio Digable Planets. But just because the track has sturdy fundamentals and a comparatively simple title (recall the doozies of 2011’s Black Up) doesn’t mean Butler is any less of his wordy, eccentric self: “We converse in ancient languages/ If you come to see us this is what you get/ Specialist, equipped for the long trip.” Shabazz Palaces’ sophomore album, Lese Majesty, will be released on July 29th via Sub Pop. –Michael Madden

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