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Top 10 Songs of the Week (2/27)

on February 27, 2015, 1:00pm
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So, clicking through this list, you might notice a conspicuous absence. The release of any new Kanye track will cause heads to turn, and the flamethrowers and crowds surrounding “All Day” certainly did that. But for the purposes of this list, we’ll be waiting on the studio version to dominate here (and likely elsewhere). In the meantime, we’ve got a diverse list to tide you over, ranging from a hip-hop collaboration from pals T.I. and Young Thug to a new track from iconic indie rockers Built to Spill. Whether you need something bruising and dark like electroacoustic experimenters Shampoo Boy or tender and thoughtful like throwback soul singer Leon Bridges, this list has something to satisfy.

10. Shampoo Boy – “Spalt”

Shampoo Boy Crack

Electroacoustic music isn’t always the most subtle stuff, preferring to bust up your speakers with raw power or burn at a low, constant rattle. But the latest from improvisatory trio Shampoo Boy ripples and wrinkles, building to its scorching peak in a confluence of layered guitar buzz and electronic whirs in a way that post-rock fans will certainly find familiar. The group toss handfuls of gravel into their churning rapids of deep-tar bleakness. “Spalt” and the rest of their upcoming album, Crack, will be available from Blackest Ever Black on April 6th. –Adam Kivel

9. Tyondai Braxton – “Scout1”

Tyondai Braxton

HIVE1, from which “SCOUT1” is sourced, arrives from a live multi-sensory exhibition that ex-Battles frontman Tyondai Braxton originally premiered at New York’s Guggenheim Museum in 2013. At over nine minutes in length, there is plenty of room for Braxton to wander. It takes nearly half a minute for the first few notes to arrive, and as the elements evolve, the track shifts from a casual electro-tribal discussion into an all-out blitz of acid and analog-decay before exploding into some parallel astral plane. Don’t try to steer, just remember to breathe. And be sure to grab HIVE1 on May 12th via Nonesuch. –Derek Staples

8. Samo Sound Boy – “Baby Don’t Stop”

Samo Sound Boy

“The idea that dance music could be considered one noted or lacking in depth has never made sense to me. I think the very simple way it builds up and down is so fundamentally reflective of living in the world,” reflects Body High co-founder Samo Sound Boy on the motifs within his forthcoming Begging Please LP. The LA producer’s debut solo album is a collection of tracks that recounts a painful breakup, and those frail emotions certainly run deep in the emotive club cut “Baby Don’t Stop”. Drawing from the candid moments of post-turmoil pillow talk, the single avoids the over-the-top frills and soaring vocals of festival house, keeping the textures transfixed around an intimate connection with the producer. Begging Please is out April 28th on Body High–Derek Staples

7. Colleen – “Captain of None”


Colleen’s fifth album, Captain of None, arrives from Thrill Jockey this April, and its mesmerizing title track floated into the world this week. Here’s a composer who deals in layers: Colleen (real name Cécile Schott, from France) quilts patterns that evolve like slowly mutating organisms. Like Julia Holter, she wields her own voice as an instrument without necessarily giving it prominence over the rest of her music. “Captain of None” gives all its elements space to grow steadily; strings brush up against percussion and percussion grounds the lyrics. The chords don’t even get a chance to change, but the tune blooms anyway. Schott dares you to pay attention to the slightest movements in her alien world. –Sasha Geffen

6. T.I. and Young Thug – “Off-Set”

TI Young Thug

With “Off-Set”, T.I., a rapper who’s been around since the start of the Fast & Furious franchise, bridges a generation gap by joining forces with Young Thug, the relentless “youngster” who shares his hometown of Atlanta. Here, Tip raps fast without relinquishing his technical crispness, and Thug tightens his idiosyncrasies to help yield a song that’s more precise than most of the tracks he keeps rap blogs busy with week in and week out. That’s not to mention C Gutta and JP’s pounding synth storm of a beat, possibly the highlight of a song worth checking out for its star power alone. It’s on the Furious 7 soundtrack, which drops March 17th via Atlantic; the movie is out in theaters April 3rd. –Michael Madden

5. Marriages – “Less Than”

Marriages - band - 2015

Last year, Marriages frontwoman Emma Ruth Rundle issued Some Heavy Ocean, a solo singer-songwriter album that placed her modest but capable voice at the fore. It’s not surprising, then, that she sounds so natural at the center of “Less Than”, and particularly so on the neck-snapping chorus. Then again, her vocals don’t even come in until the band is through with an entrancing fuzz rock intro. The five-minute song as a whole feels like an epic; it’s a team effort, from Rundle’s sturdy melodies to the crushing, synth-specked wall of sound behind her. Find it on Marriages’ debut album, Salome, out April 7th via Sargent House. –Michael Madden

4. Built to Spill – “Living Zoo”

Built To Spill - Untethered Moon album

It doesn’t matter how deep we are into peak EDM, or how many times the kids swap their laptops for turntables and back again. Doug Martsch will always make you believe in guitars again. This week, he noodled his way back to us with Built to Spill’s first new song since the release of There Is No Enemy in 2009. On “Living Zoo”, Martsch’s leads quiver and break like a second voice, and as always, they supply a perfect foil to the sound that comes out of his actual throat. His lyrics plaintively dissect the line between humans and animals, making this new single another solid entry in the Built to Spill philosophy canon. These guys never claim to have all the answers, but they’ll sure make you feel warm while you wonder. “Living Zoo” is the first new music from Built to Spill’s forthcoming eighth studio album, Untethered Moon, due out April 21st from Warner Bros. –Sasha Geffen

3. The Tallest Man on Earth – “Sagres”

tallest man

“Sagres” is without question The Tallest Man on Earth’s biggest, shiniest song to date. That means it runs the risk of sacrificing the Swedish songwriter born Kristian Matsson’s best quality, his vulnerability, as he trades in his usual voice-and-acoustic-guitar formula for a more-is-more landscape populated by violin, mandolin, and backing vocals. It’s comparable to The War on Drugs’ own leap forward in ambition last year (also by way of lusher instrumentation and longer song lengths), but Matsson doesn’t let the production do all the work. His vocal melodies and guitar figures feel expertly effortless, marking an exciting return from a born songwriter. Find “Sagres” on Tallest Man’s fourth album, Dark Bird is Home, out May 12th via Dead Oceans. –Michael Madden

2. Leon Bridges – “Lisa Sawyer”

Leon Bridges

A lot of people wonder what Otis Redding would’ve put out had he not passed so young. Others spend their time chasing that sound desperately, trying to ride in his wake. Fort Worth’s Leon Bridges, though, cuts to the core of the iconic R&B/soul sound so guilelessly that I’d believe him if he told me he’d never heard Redding (or Sam Cooke or Percy Sledge or…) before in his life. The ultra-smooth “Lisa Sawyer” tells the life story of Bridges’ mother, noting how “she was born in New Orleans” and how she “had the complexion of a sweet praline” in a way too tender to be twee. Add in some immaculately produced girl group harmonies, horns, and easy loping rhythm, and you’ve got a throwback gem. This track and the rest of Bridges’ debut will hit shelves this summer via Columbia. –Adam Kivel

1. Warpaint – “No Way Out”

Nina Corcoran, Warpaint 2

It’s been a little over a year since the release of Warpaint’s excellent self-titled LP, but the LA four-piece isn’t staying quiet for long. They’ve just returned triumphantly with “No Way Out”, an apparently standalone single that condenses the best of the band’s neurotic energy into a lean three minutes. Given that Warpaint was such an exercise in endurance, full of long instrumental passages and slow, eerie murk, it’s a treat to see the group throw out such a clean bite. And “No Way Out” is a stomper, too, a labyrinth built from mirrors that feels much larger than it is. Warpaint’s hinted that it’s only the first of a string of songs they’ll release this year, so keep an eye out for more in the coming months. –Sasha Geffen

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