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Top 10 Songs of the Week (10/24)

on October 24, 2014, 2:00pm
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This week, information surfaced about the types of music “smart” and “dumb” people prefer. While one’s ego might feel inflated knowing he or she has a fondness for the more “sophisticated” forms of music, the truth is that standout tracks come from across the “Music That Makes You Dumb” spectrum each week. The chart is fun to look at, but listening to the return of Sleater-Kinney, a new BANKS remix courtesy of Stwo, the enchanting chaos of Panda Bear, the weightless bliss turned classic rock breakdown of Brooklyn’s Howard, or any of the other tracks that populate this week’s list is far more rewarding. Forget the stereotypes and hype; listen to what moves you.

10. Howard – “Song About Something”

Howard-Promo-(Shervin-Lainez)

Howard, a rising Brooklyn folk trio, blends organic tones with electronic undercurrents and stuttering rhythms. “Song About Something” serves as the first taste of their upcoming debut album, Religion (out in November), and its complicated grooves sure are affecting. It’s a track that’s so wonderfully busy in its composition that vocalist Howard Feibusch’s soaring falsetto sets the atmosphere rather than drives the song. Toward the end, the track drastically shifts gears to a psychedelic swirl of fuzzy guitars, proving that the newcomers don’t mind throwing curveballs. –Josh Terry

9. Primordial – “Come the Flood”

Primordial Where Greater Men Have Fallen

Off Irish pagan metal band Primordial’s upcoming eighth album, “Come the Flood” is seven minutes long, which is hardly notable itself — five of the eight songs on 2011’s Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand were longer. What’s notable is the combination of Alan Averill’s vocal delivery (almost a hook in and of itself) and the surge in energy that comes later, around two-thirds of the way through. Both elements help the expansive and stormy track fly by even though it’s not particularly fast. Where Greater Men Have Fallen is out November 25th via Metal Blade. –Michael Madden

8. HAERTS – “No One Needs To Know”

haerts Top 10 Songs of the Week (10/24)

Ahead of the release of their self-debut album, out October 27th on Columbia, Brooklyn band HAERTS teased three brand new songs this week. “No One Needs To Know”, which sits square in the middle of the record, hits an upbeat groove that edges the band ever so slightly closer toward the likes of power poppers the New Pornographers or the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. More impressive than its hookiness is the song’s depth; it’s ostensibly a guitar jam, but chimes, gongs, and synths play like wild in the background. HAERTS has capital-P Pop running through their veins — they’re just not going to give up that secret so easily. –Sasha Geffen

7. Banks – “Drowning (Stwo Remix)”

Banks San Fran-1706

The names might not be regulars in the club circuit as of yet, but BANKS and her team have turned to all the right young upstarts to add some insatiable flavors to her Goddess LP. After posting remixes by Shlohmo and SOHN, the Cali-based songstress added Stwo’s tingling flip of “Drowning” to her SoundCloud feed. The Parisian’s edit of the already dark and sultry track intensifies the prominent tribal percussive line to pull the listener deeper into BANKS’ shallow breaths. Just remember to take a couple yourself. –Derek Staples

6. Panda Bear – “Untying the Knot”

Panda Bear Grim Reaper

“Untying the Knot” might be the least melodic song on Panda Bear’s surprise EP, Mr Noah, but the Animal Collective member’s sense of melody is merely one of his gifts. The marching percussion that cracks open the song seems to foreshadow a deep intensity, and while there is a certain hauntedness to it, “Untying” is more about the lacing of individual loops and the new colors they create rather than mood. The song seems to end too soon, but only by 20 or 30 seconds — just enough to make you eager to see where he goes next, both with the EP’s next song (“This Side of Paradise”) and with the upcoming Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper LP, out January 13th via Domino. –Michael Madden

5. Blue Hawaii – “Get Happy”

Blue Hawaii Get Happy Get Happier

Though they’ve been more or less on hiatus since the release of last year’s Untogether, Blue Hawaii — aka Alex “Agor” Cowan and Raphaelle Standell-Preston — have popped above ground to share a new song, “Get Happy”, and its warbly twin, “Get Happier”. Though neither seems to be the “official” version of the single — you could say each is an edit of the other — “Get Happy” brings Standell-Preston’s voice to the forefront, cutting through some of the smoke that’s clouded the duo’s work to date. The Braids frontwoman articulates lyrics about struggling toward happiness by way of self-medication. “It hasn’t helped much/ Now my heart feels tortured,” she sings, lamenting the “numbing of my mind” caused by a “little cutesy pill.” It’s heavy stuff, though the song plays it light, with gentle strokes of guitar and barely perceptible beats. –Sasha Geffen

4. Chumped – “Name That Thing”

Chumped // Photo by Debi Del Grande

Chumped // Photo by Debi Del Grande

So far, Chumped have charmed lovers of pop punk and indie rock with a couple of infectious EPs. Now,  the Brooklyn four-piece will release a debut full-length album, Teenage Retirement, which is due out November 18th via Anchorless Records. On “Name That Thing”, the band takes the best parts of pop punk with an all-encompassing enthusiasm for emotional honesty. It’s a swift kick of candor and wit, with frontwoman Anika Pyle delivering deceptively deep lines like “And we drank and talked shit and I was happy.” –Josh Terry

3. Ghostface Killah and BadBadNotGood feat. Elzhi – “Parental Advisory”

badbadnotgoodandghostface Top 10 Songs of the Week (10/24)

“I’m a goddamn vocalist,” declares Ghostface Killah on “Gunshowers”, off Sour Soul, the Wu-Tang Clan rapper’s collaborative album with the much younger Toronto instrumental trio BadBadNotGood. He’s emphasizing his array of skills on the mic — meaning he has presence to go along with his airtight verses — and he’s joined here by Detroit’s Elzhi, another veteran about whom you could say the same. (The standout line here is his: “If you hit the rock bottom of the asphalt, it’s likely ya ass’ fault”). BBNG’s accompaniment, defined by guitar and bass squiggles, is compact and low to the ground, like a coiled snake patiently watching its prey. Sour Soul is out February 17th via Lex Records. –Michael Madden


2. CHVRCHES – “Get Away”

CHVRCHES

This one receives a handful of bonus points on audacity alone. Ripped from Zane Lowe’s new soundtrack for Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2011 arthouse action flick Drive, which was already backed with outstanding, synth-based music, CHVRCHES’ new “Get Away” finds Lauren Mayberry layering her lush, impassioned vocals atop Iain Cook and Martin Doherty’s effortless electropop. While Drive was rife with car chases and pulse-intensifying heists, this track seems reserved for the moments of solidarity between the movie’s rogue protagonist and his tormented lover. –Derek Staples

1. Sleater-Kinney – “Bury Our Friends”

sleater kinney no cities to love

Sleater-Kinney pulled one over on all of us. Without a word, they slipped a mystery 7-inch into their box set of reissues, letting fans discover it on their own once their order came in the mail. And when they put the needle to the unmarked vinyl, something brand new played from the stereo — the Washington band’s first new song in nine years, “Bury Our Friends”. It sounds like they never left. Carrie Brownstein’s vocals ring as sharp as ever against the band’s tight guitar work. It’s catchy like her side project Wild Flag was catchy, but it’s packed tight with all that Sleater-Kinney anxiety. The band’s back, and they’re not afraid to exhume their idols, bury their friends, and burn everything that’s clouded them over in their absence. No Cities to Love, their full-length return, is out January 20th via Sub Pop. –Sasha Geffen

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