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Top 10 Songs of the Week (1/22)

on January 22, 2016, 1:00pm

05. A$AP Rocky feat. A$AP Ferg and A$AP Nast – “Yamborghini High”

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The A$AP Mob were dealt a tragic blow last year when they lost founder Steven “A$AP Yams” Rodriguez. The tributes continue to roll in, this time in the form of a Mob cut called “Yamborghini High”. On it, Rocky, Ferg, and Nast team up to pay respect to their fallen comrade, in large part by talking about the grand lifestyle his pushing afforded them. Ferg steps in to cut to the chase: “I’m on a Yamborghini high, flyin’ through the sky/ Yammy’s vision got us rich,” he offers, while Rocky loops in for the hook. It’s been about a year since his passing, but Yams is clearly still missed. –Adam Kivel

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04. Underworld – “I Exhale”

underworld barbara face shining future album new Top 10 Songs of the Week (1/22)

Despite the title of their forthcoming full-length, Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future (out March 18th via Caroline International), Karl Hyde and Rick Smith seem frozen in time — in the best way possible. After early endeavors with reggae-infused techno and guitar-led electropop, Underworld (with the assistance of Darren Emerson) revolutionized rave culture in the early 1990s. As the duo prepare to take over Indio in April, Hyde and Smith aren’t making dramatic sonic shifts to keep up with the EDM Joneses; they’re simply continuing to do what they do best. Their first fresh single in six years (as recent reissues were heavy with previously unreleased material), “I Exhale” opens with a guitar focus similar to their pre-Emerson days. It isn’t until the mid-point that the brash analog decay even begins to compete; the live percussion and psychedelic lyricism quickly taking control of the track. With mega-clubs having trouble in the US, it is this alternative dance music that is starting to peak, but no one had to inform Hyde and Smith — that has been their forte for nearly three decades. –Derek Staples

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03. Mykki Blanco – “Scales”

Mykki Blanco

Every new Mykki Blanco track comes stamped with a smirk and a bite that immediately marks it as Mykki. The rapper’s latest offering, “Scales”, buries that smirk under the skin, pairing Mykki’s gritty flow with a motion-sick beat courtesy of Jeremiah Meece. The bars on “Scales” are as pointed as ever, but it’s the treatment of Mykki’s vocals that sets the track apart from rough-cut punk rock songs like 2014’s “Moshin’ to the Front”. Instead of getting louder or sharper at the hook, Mykki fades into a blur, as if drifting away from the microphone. You have to lean into your headphones to catch the words, a technique that only draws you in deeper to everything Mykki has to say. –Sasha Geffen

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02. Fatima Al Qadiri – “Battery”

Fatima Al Qadiri Brute

Fatima Al Qadiri’s first single from her forthcoming sophomore record, Brute, doesn’t need lyrics to hone in on its politics. Its dissent lies in its lurch, its frightening artificial crunches, the sounds of fanfare twisted and thickened into sounds of menace. “Battery” is a warning. It mangles the human voice into places no voice should go, and it lacquers that violence with a sick sparkle. The dual meaning of the track’s title filters into its function: both a source of energy and a way to describe brutality under the hot lights of the law. –Sasha Geffen

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01. Eryn Allen Kane – “How Many Times”

Eryn Allen Kane

Chicago-via-Detroit vocalist Eryn Allen Kane has one of those voices that just makes you stop in your tracks and take notice. In fact, Prince did just that, grabbing her for his track “Baltimore”. Spike Lee noticed too, inviting her to contribute to the soundtrack to Chi-Raq. Beyond that incredible voice, though, it helps that her songs are typically just as stunning, and that’s certainly the case on “How Many Times”. Paired with lush piano arpeggios, thunderous percussion, and gospel backing, Kane growls and sways through a stunning performance. “How many lies are you telling me now? I want to see the light,” she insists. This is a powerful statement, with many more sure to come. Her new EP, Aviary: Act II, will be out February 2nd.  –Adam Kivel

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