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Top Songs of the Week (4/24)

on April 24, 2015, 1:30pm
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Some weeks are light and bouncy, full of shiny new songs, fun hooks, and big smiling singalongs. Some weeks just … aren’t. Something was in the air, clearly, as acts ranging from Fuck Buttons side project Blanck Mass to reunited heavies Loop are hitting and hitting hard. That’s not to say it’s all dark and dreary, though: Those hoping to find some sweetness can join in with the “Unstoppable” Lianne La Havas. Regardless of which end of the spectrum you’re drawn to, big emotions abound.

10. Loop – “Precession”

Loop

Will the reunion angle ever get old? Well, maybe not, if the bands on multi-decade hiatuses return sounding as good as Loop do on their first new recorded material in 25 years, “Precession”. The London outfit delves back into the Krautrock end of the pool on the track; Robert Hampson notes that “the life that you save may be your own” through a watery effect, though the menacing motoric groove is far more dense. “Precession” is the first preview of Array 1 (due this June), which itself is said to be the first of a three-part return project. –Adam Kivel

9. Big Wild – “Aftergold”

Big Wild Aftergold

Big Wild’s fusion of mid-tempo hip-hop, tribal percussion, and celestial melodies is a mirror for our innate human curiosity. “Aftergold”, the second release through ODESZA’s Foreign Family Collective label, plays like a fusion of Pretty Lights’ heady electro-hop soulfully blended with the organic downtempo electronica of Bonobo. Hailing from Los Angeles, Big Wild embraces the city’s metropolitan vs. naturalist duality. The producer is comfortable in his ability to tease a pulse-quickening build that plateaus into the serenity of an isolated campsite. Casual in its delivery, these are the vibes that carry festivals from sundown to sunrise. –Derek Staples

8. De La Soul feat. Nas – “God It”

de la soul Top Songs of the Week (4/24)

It’s a missed opportunity to get Nas on your song and not have him rap, but De La Soul’s Posdnuos, Dave, and Maseo must be feeling pretty confident in themselves given that the Kickstarter they set up to fund their upcoming album has more than quadrupled its goal. “God It” reflects such a confidence, with both Pos and Dave giddily declaring their relevance 26 years after debuting with 3 Feet High and Rising: “I still got it, baby boyyy.” Producer G_Force chops up Otis Redding’s cover of “Stand by Me” to funky effect, and the uncluttered foundation allows each voice to flow unrestricted. The song won’t be on De La Soul’s And the Anonymous Nobody, but it’s a promising preview of the music to come. –Michael Madden

7. Blanck Mass – “Detritus”

Fuck Buttons Blanck Mass

Benjamin John Power might have the coolest name in music, and his latest track as Blanck Mass lives up to it. On “Detritus”, Power (one half of Fuck Buttons) is all muscle and sinew, flexing a wall of noise at once overpowering and awe-inspiring. While the other early taste of his upcoming album, Dumb Flesh, sat in a dark pocket of electronic music, this one reaches into the ecstatic, industrial effects turned into something shinier. Dumb Flesh is set to hit shelves on May 12th via Sacred Bones. –Adam Kivel

6. Fucked Up – “California Cold”

Fucked-Up-1

Toronto rippers Fucked Up might never try to top the ambition of their mammoth 2011 concept album David Comes to Life, but one listen to “California Cold” proves that they’re not placing any limits on their sound, either. Over the course of eight minutes, the song, which is the B-side from the band’s “Year of the Hare” Zodiac series 12-inch (out June 16th via Deathwish), moves from hardcore stomper to seemingly infinite psych wildfire, the pointed guitar leads becoming dripping faucets of fuzz. It’s a journey, one that hardly even needs frontman Damian Abraham’s formidable bark to sound like Fucked Up and Fucked Up only. –Michael Madden


5. Lianne La Havas – “Unstoppable”

Lianne La Havas Blood

UK soul singer and guitarist Lianne La Havas scored a minor classic in 2012 with her debut, Is Your Love Big Enough?. Now, the 25-year-old has returned with the first sampling from her sophomore effort, Blood, which arrives via Warner Bros. on July 31st. Like the name hints, “Unstoppable” is a dreamy anthem that leaks positivity from every pore. Gentle bass riffing melts into strings, piano, and the subtle buzz of electric guitar, as the song’s effervescent atmosphere lifts La Havas’s voice. Just when it seems like it couldn’t get any fuller, the music multiplies itself and spills over before gliding to a finish. La Havas sounds confident and in love — a powerful combination for a gravity-defying single. –Sasha Geffen

4. Boosie Badazz – “Retaliation”

Boosie Badazz Retaliation

Baton Rouge rapper Boosie Badazz was released from prison in March 2014 and soon let the world know that he wrote over a thousand songs during his five-year stay — claims that he backed up by dropping new music (including the great Life After Deathrow mixtape) left and right. On May 26th, Boosie will drop Touch Down 2 Cause Hell, and the early track “Retaliation” should help to establish the album as the product of a rapper who has an outstanding ability to capture the essence of desperate circumstances. Over white-hot producer London on da Track’s eerie keys, Boosie raps of street violence and the urge to retaliate when someone close to you becomes a victim of that violence. With Boosie insisting in interviews that he’s going to stay out of trouble, it’s more like he’s playing a role here, but that doesn’t make it feel any less real. –Michael Madden


3. KEN Mode – “These Tight Jeans”

KEN Mode Success

Winnipeg noise rock band KEN Mode will circle back on June 16th with their sixth studio release, Success, and they offered the second taste of the record this week. Unlike the album’s lead single, “Blessed”, “These Tight Jeans” jettisons the band’s low-end sludge for a high-speed chase through barbed wire. Jesse Matthewson tosses zinger after zinger into the mic, chaining together lines like “I would like to learn how to kill the nicest man in the world/ Make him feel uneasy, make him feel strange.” A fury of sour guitar lines and post-hardcore drums erupts behind him as he trades lines with backup vocalist Jill Clapham. There are no vocal melodies to speak of, but it’s still the kind of song that can get stuck in your head like a circle saw. –Sasha Geffen

2. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”

Unknown-Mortal-Orchestra-2015

Whether it’s post-fight, pre-coitus, or one of a million other passion-filled moments during a relationship, we have all experienced that moment when we can’t help but keep one eye on our smartphone screen in anticipation. Unknown Mortal Orchestra frontman Ruban Nielson is caught working through that mobile obsession on “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”. With the funds to fix broken equipment and further equip their studio, UMO took a new “super fi” approach during the recording sessions behind the band’s forthcoming Multi-Love — evident here with the onslaught of handclaps, walking bass, processed vocals, and funky antiquated synths that line the album’s latest single. Beginning with what sounds like the credits from some 1970s mystery mini-series, does Multi-Love have more to reveal beneath the new layers? Find out when the album drops May 26th via Jagjaguwar. –Derek Staples

1. Shilpa Ray – “Burning Bride”

Shilpa-Ray

Nick Cave is one of Shilpa Ray’s biggest fans, which makes sense: They’re both so good at making threats. Ray’s new song, “Burning Bride”, is the first track off her forthcoming album Last Year’s Savage (out May 19th), and it simmers with subdued hate. “She’s dancing till she feels nothing,” she repeats over minimal organic instrumentation and a swaying beat. “You’ll be lucky when she runs out of desire.” Ray leaves us so much negative space here, so much opportunity to fill in the blanks. Is the song’s character a victim or a killer? Is she both? Ray’s powerful vibrato quavers and doesn’t give any answers. All we get from her is smoke, darkness, the smell of something smoldering just past what we can see. –Sasha Geffen

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