With the to-do of the Grammys nearly a week behind us, can the discussion now turn back to the music? Too many exciting tunes surfaced this week for them to be overshadowed by inflated award show controversy. Being Valentine’s Day weekend and all, it’s sort of fitting that gender tension pops up on this week’s list. Florence and the Machine spin another narrative of tortured intimacy, while Braids unabashedly take on the acute sexism of American society. The list also offers some tracks to ease the anxiety on this polarizing time; Dan Deacon helps us all in “Learning to Relax” and Hot Chip is back with all their keyboard quirkiness. If your social feeds have you feeling a bit down, just remember that any week with new Kendrick and Lightning Bolt gets bonus points!
10. Kirk Knight – “Brokeland”
It took a long time for Pro Era leader Joey Bada$$ to release his debut album, B4.DA.$$, but it’s taking even longer for his rapper-producer associate Kirk Knight to release a debut project, period. Judging by “Brokeland”, though, Kirk is convulsing with creative energy right about now. The self-produced track recalls any number of East Coast rap staples from the ‘90s, but Kirk himself is too emphatic in his Brooklyn-centric verses to sound anything but wholly present. It’s the first single off his untitled upcoming project, and you can find him on tour right now with Chicago MC Mick Jenkins. –Michael Madden