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Top 10 Songs of the Week (3/11)

on March 11, 2016, 11:00am
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Unfortunately, AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson was ordered by his doctor to stop touring, at the risk of total hearing loss. Beyond each and every one of us at CoS feeling an itch to check out whether all the years of gigs have hurt our hearing, the idea of other vocalists fronting the “Back in Black” band became the topic of discussion. So, as you scroll through here, know we discussed it all: ANOHNI singing “T.N.T.”, Doomtree’s P.O.S. on “Thunderstruck”. Hey, you never know.

10. RY X – “Only”

RY X

It’s possible that RY X has played rooms full of more people than lived in his entire hometown — apparently, he was born in a tiny Australian surfing town with a population of about 200. On “Only”, he sings as if he’s sharing a secret, the kind he’s not even necessarily sure he wants you to hear. The intimate track breathes and sighs, the kind of thing that’s perfect for a dark night sitting alone in bed. Sam Smith covered RY’s “Berlin” for the BBC, but if things keep up like this, it’d be difficult to imagine anyone but RY singing these songs. His debut full-length, Dawn, drops May 6th via Loma Vista. –Adam Kivel

09. Anna Wise – “BitchSlut”

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When Kendrick Lamar came across Sonnymoon’s “Nursery Boys”, he immediately tracked down the vocalist responsible for the song’s snappy, retro crooning: Anna Wise. Since then, Wise has been featured on good kid, m.A.A.d city, To Pimp a Butterfly, and untitled unmastered.. The theme of her upcoming debut solo EP is “women,” and single “BitchSlut” wastes no time detailing why. Over a trickling hip-pop beat, Wise layers her vocals to outline double standards women are held to, complete with a Dirty Projectors-esque vocal slide into the soon-to-be anthem of a chorus: “If I say no, I’m a bitch/ Say yes, I’m a slut.” If you identify as a woman, it’s hard not to feel understood at the least and empowered at best by the time the second verse kicks in — because, really, sexist double standards need to stop. –Nina Corcoran

08. Adesse Versions – “That’s What Friends Are For”

Adesse Versions

“That’s What Friends Are For” harkens back to a time when DJs still developed storylines on the dance floor. Built atop a voluptuous synth pulse, Adesse Versions has established the gateway to a psychedelic, underground club experience, an experience where the house lights never come on. The female vocals offer guidance, as one further disassociates into a dark celestial realm. Forget the typical build/drop dynamic; Versions thrives in the tension of the unknown. Grab the 12” vinyl March 25 via Numbers Records. –Derek Staples

07. Julia Jacklin – “Pool Party”

Photo by Nick McKinlay.

On first listen, Julia Jacklin’s debut single sounds so similar to Angel Olsen’s “unfucktheworld” that it’s difficult to believe the two are separate beings. An Australia native who’s only just beginning her career (with her debut LP coming out sometime later this year), Jacklin has yet to see her heart truly break in the way that makes Olsen’s music so tragic. Instead, Jacklin focuses on drug abuse and the pain of watching a loved one struggle with addiction on “Pool Party”. It’s tragic, but in an alternate way. It’s the type of waltz that has you hold someone close, slow your breath, and pray the acoustic guitar solo whisks you away to somewhere else for a momentary break from life’s neverending punches. –Nina Corcoran

06. Ash Koosha – “Biutiful”

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Born and raised in Tehran, Ashkan Kooshanejad (aka Ash Koosha) has been forced to great lengths to develop his artistic palette (a process documented in the award-winning docu-fiction No One Knows About Persian Cats). Trained outside of Western musical forms, Koosha’s stuttering motifs only know one home: the genre-breaking Nina Tune. Set for release April 1st, as part of the lengthy 15-track I AKA I effort, “Biutiful” arrives weightlessly on the tortured melodies of a forgotten music box before being forced through a gauntlet of divergent filters. No matter the peaks, punishment, or interspersed sorrow, there is a state of grace that is never abandoned. Strength through the struggle. –Derek Staples

05. Julianna Barwick – “Nebula”

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It’s been three years since Julianna Barwick released her last album, Nepenthe, but to anyone that’s listened to that beautiful record, it’s unlikely it’s left them. Even still, the announcement of a new album, Will, comes as a warm surprise. Upon first taste, “Nebula” feels a lot like AIA-era Grouper, vocally, yet those washes of sublimely echoed vocals are paired with a trail of synth bubble arpeggio. The synths fade as the track draws to a close, leaving Barwick’s high harmonies to shimmer and ring out over each other like celestial spheres. If it takes three years to produce something this disconcerting and stunning, we’ll wait — but only if we have to.  –Adam Kivel

04. Joey Bada$$ – “Brooklyn’s Own”

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Notorious B.I.G. died 19 years ago this week, on March 9th, 1997. Joey Bada$$, meanwhile, was born on January 20th, 1995. For those of you not interested in doing the quick math, Joey was just two years old when Biggie was killed, making the 21-year-old a strange choice to be memorializing the legend. And yet, Bada$$ has always been an old soul, a throwback to classic hip-hop, and that proves to be a winning formula on “Brooklyn’s Own”. Over production from Statik Selektah, Joey gets to display his connection to one of the all-time greats, even hinting at some more direct connection: “Bury me in gold 47 karat casket/ Resurrect my soul come back as your favorite rapper.” –Adam Kivel

03. Weaves – “Once More”

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In just over two minutes, Toronto art rock act Weaves push the traditional setup of pop melodies into a world of vibrant, goofy, tempo-racing hooks that want to celebrate independence as much as they just want to have fun. “Once More”, the lead single off their self-titled debut LP out June 17th, hinges on the band’s conflicting styles. The bass deals in funk, the guitar rattles through noisy distortion, and the drums channel the intense, sunny energy of The Walkmen. Most importantly, frontwoman Jasmyn Burke drives it all. She plays with her delivery, flipping between joking monotony and high-pitched screams, never letting up. As she said in the song’s press release: “It’s going out and getting drunk, and it’s not like a fairy tale — sometimes it’s more shitty and pizza and that’s ok! That’s gonna be life for a while!” —Nina Corcoran

02. P.O.S. – “sleepdrone/superposition'”

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It’s been two years since P.O.S. of Doomtree and Four Fists had a successful kidney transplant. For Stef Alexander’s return to his solo rap career, nothing less than a supreme, multi-generational, and multi-genre posse cut would do. “sleepdrone/superposition” runs nine minutes for nine artists, including Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, The Julie Ruin), the mighty Lizzo, Allan Kingdom (notably featured on Kanye West’s “All Day”), and Alexander’s own son, Hard_R. Yet at the end of the day, P.O.S. rules the track. In his hands, it’s both meditation and mission statement, an exhilarating product that demands repeated listening to process all his frustration and ambition. –Karen Gwee

01. ANOHNI – “Drone Bomb Me”

ANOHNI

Listening to ANOHNI’s music is an exercise in empathy, wherein the artist formerly known as Antony Hegarty challenges you to imagine living the lives of sentient beings the world over. On “Drone Bomb Me”, she sings from the perspective of a young girl begging for death by drone attack so that she may join her destroyed family. ANOHNI’s distinctive voice trembles with emotion over layers of synths, delivering lyrics beautiful and visceral (“Explode my crystal guts/ Lay my purple on the grass”). She takes images cheapened and trivialized by 24-hour newscasts, nonprofit ads, and politicians’ doublespeak, rendering and redeeming them with care and compassion. Listen in at the 2:50 mark below. ANOHNI’s new album, Hopelessness, will be out May 6 via Secretly Canadian. –Karen Gwee

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