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Kate Bush, Sigur Rós, and Cloud Nothings Top Our Top Songs of the Week (11/25)

on November 25, 2016, 2:30pm
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Kanye West is going through some things right now. While Snoop Dogg’s response seemed entertaining at first, now that Ye’s been hospitalized, cracking jokes seems in bad taste. So, instead, we’ll simply wish him well and send positive thoughts. When we’ve gone through some hard times, music can be a big help, uplifting from the darkness, or even just helping understand it. In case anyone else out there is having a difficult time, the power of music is here to help.


10. Stove – “Blank”

stove band Kate Bush, Sigur Rós, and Cloud Nothings Top Our Top Songs of the Week (11/25)

Stove are ready to return with yet another release in 2016, but this one seems to delve somewhere darker. Is the Meat That Fell Out, their upcoming EP due December 9th via Exploding In Sound, comes hand in hand with “Blank”, a song that’s dull but still pointed with despondency in tow. Drummer Jordyn Blakely and bassist Alex Molini take the songwriting reigns and steer Stove into a grimier light. It’s the type of downer indie rock that makes Pedro the Lion so easy to love, calling upon some suppressed self-loathing but looking to rounded guitars to balance it out. In that, “Blank” is another brick in Stove’s path, but thanks to the rhythm section’s new take, it feels like a progression forward into darkening fog the band has been primed to explore. –Nina Corcoran


09. Cate Le Bon – “Rock Pool”

 Kate Bush, Sigur Rós, and Cloud Nothings Top Our Top Songs of the Week (11/25)

Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon is prepping the release of an EP called Rock Pool, composed of tracks cut from the sessions of this year’s Crab Day — the “killed darlings,” as she puts it. Considering the vibrant life of the EP’s title track, it’s hard to imagine how this song ever was able to be killed in the first place. The shambolic guitars and sharp-turning vocal lines recall Deerhoof, though the loose and rumbly percussion (courtesy of Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa) and tinny bass strike closer to Tom Waits’ recent output. “I’m only living in a rock pool world,” Le Bon repeats on the hook, chops of electric guitar trailing her words. Grab this and the other killed darlings of Rock Pool on January 27th, via Drag City–Adam Kivel


08. Matthew Squires – “Shape of Your Heart”

matthew squires Kate Bush, Sigur Rós, and Cloud Nothings Top Our Top Songs of the Week (11/25)

Psych pop brightens even the gloomiest of winter days, but it does even more when the person making it lives in the south. Austin-based singer-songwriter Matthew Squires writes this precise type of jangly music that gives you a burst of newfound energy. On “Shape of Your Heart”, a single off upcoming full-length Tambaleo (out via Already Dead Tapes on January 20th), he finds the heartfelt psych of Quilt, the lucid lyrics of the Moldy Peaches, and the ’60s energy of Foxygen. “I am the Antichrist/ I am Mother Teresa, too,” he sings, giddy with the type of delusional joy that stems from melancholic views. As the song slows down to a ’90s slump, Squires’ frown is a bit more visible — but even then, it feels like there’s no point in frowning. “I promise I’ll never abandon you/ Even if you say you want me to,” he sings, and it’s hard not to believe him. This is a guy who’s intent on making things work out, even if the weight of the world is pressuring him to believe otherwise. –Nina Corcoran


07. Lully – “Sans Chapeau”

lully sans chapeau Kate Bush, Sigur Rós, and Cloud Nothings Top Our Top Songs of the Week (11/25)

Earlier this year, an infectious jam called “Slow D’s” hit the net courtesy of a producer going by the name Lully — with no information as to who this beatsmith was or where he or she came from. Even Lully’s Instagram page (which, in this day and age, should be filled with selfies and details of their every intimate daily move) contained carefully created collages of a woman moving to the looped music. Now, Lully follows up that song with the sublime “Sans Chapeau”, a track built on hyperdrive synths, punchy retro bass, a stomping beat, and more obscuring, pitch-shifted vocals. “I never meant to bring you down/ I never meant to expose you/ I never meant to show them your hiding place,” Lully sings, the song full of quirky vocal samples and an energy that’ll drive dance floors wild. We may not know anything more about who Lully is, but we’re certainly even more eager to find out.. –Lior Phillips


06. Angel Haze – “Resurrection'”

angel haze Kate Bush, Sigur Rós, and Cloud Nothings Top Our Top Songs of the Week (11/25)

So much of Angel Haze’s most powerful work has been fueled by pain and suffering; it’s good to hear Haze take a stand and show how strong the rapper can be. “2016, the year I rise/ Like the phoenix, yeah man, my shit on fire,” Haze spits, dramatic strings, a snap-popping beat, and icy, wobbling synths cruising by behind the vicious flow. “I don’t give one single fuck. I’m here with my heart open and my lungs full of what god has given me,” Haze said in a recent interview with Fader. Judging from the vicious swagger of a track like “Resurrection”, that’s not just posturing. Haze’s followup to 2014’s debut, Dirty Gold, is expected sometime in 2017. –Adam Kivel


05. Hodgy – “Barbell”

hodgy press photo Kate Bush, Sigur Rós, and Cloud Nothings Top Our Top Songs of the Week (11/25)

As the years go on, so does Odd Future, but in the form of offshoots and solo projects. On December 9th, rapper-producer Hodgy will release his debut LP, Fireplace: TheNotTheOtherSide via Columbia, and “Barbell” is a thrilling taste of what’s to come. Hodgy feels the need to justify himself, but he goes about it in a way that proves he deserves to be here just as much as any other Odd Future character, comparing himself to both the music-maker (Mike Will) and the wordsmith (Miley Cyrus), stringing eloquent phrases together and going bar for bar the way his comrades can. But what truly shows Hodgy stepped up his game is his delivery. Each verse comes with smooth, unworried ease, the type of weaving that speaks not just to what he’s saying, but his comfortability in saying it. If we’ve learned anything from Odd Future at this point, it’s that its members mature with surprising swiftness and allure — and Hodgy is no exception. –Nina Corcoran


04. Kweku Collins – “jump.i”

kweku collins Kate Bush, Sigur Rós, and Cloud Nothings Top Our Top Songs of the Week (11/25)

Kweku Collins is still celebrating the release of his excellent debut, Nat Love, as evidenced by the young Evanston, Illinois, rapper putting out a new video that takes closer “The Rain That Wouldn’t Save” at its open and adds an inspired new track, “jump.i” to it. Where “The Rain” is a bit of heartfelt balladry, “jump.i” rides that same comfortable energy, though pairing trap beats with some almost island vibe, a perfect house party jam. “The same fucker hatin’ on me show me love now,” he chuckles. “The same one, the same one.” In yet another incredibly stacked wave of young Chicagoland rappers, Kweku’s got a unique energy, an up-and-coming voice worth keeping track of. –Adam Kivel


03. Cloud Nothings – “Internal World”

Cloud Nothings

On their upcoming LP, Life Without Sound, Cloud Nothings are intent on chasing big hooks — and they keep crossing the finish line with impressive results. What might otherwise have come off like cheap pop sounds like a recline into slower material, a much-needed break from the Ohio act’s usual onslaught of jagged guitar and reckless rhythms. “Internal World” sees all four members falling into a sweet, trimmed indie pop song perfect for a drive through suburbia. The drums still hit hard, Dylan Baldi’s voice stretches its range wider, and the addition of a second guitarist lends a dimensionality that fleshes the song out to a fuller spectrum. “No I’m not the one who’s always right,” Baldi sings repeatedly in the song’s chorus. It’s a humble acknowledgement, and yet, in the case of their softened sound, he steers the band toward their older, pop-driven work without losing the heart, proving he’s certainly right this time around. –Nina Corcoran


02. Sigur Rós – “Hoppípolla (Planet Earth II Mix)”

Sigur Rós // Photo by Lior Phillips
Photo by Lior Phillips

If you have a television show that aims to capture the majesty of the natural world, you could do a lot worse than have it soundtracked by an Icelandic band, especially when that Icelandic band is Sigur Rós. The group hail from a land of fire and ice, glaciers and geysers, mountains and ocean, volcanic ash and verdant vegetation, and they capture the grandeur of all those natural extremes in their epic compositions — particularly Takk highlight “Hoppípolla”. They prove a perfect fit for the soundtrack to the new edition of documentary series Planet Earth, for which they contributed a new version of that uplifting masterpiece. Rather than airy piano building to classic orchestration, this “Hoppípolla” grows more quickly, sweeping strings and choral horns ringing out to the heavens. “Even here, in the very furthest flung corners of Europe’s largest wilderness, the scars of human industry are visible, the plans for future encroachments, by dam and smelter, legion. If lost the Icelandic highlands are not recoverable,” the band said in a statement accompanying the song’s release. This is the kind of song that could convey the beauty that might be lost, so spread it far and wide. –Lior Phillips


01. Kate Bush – “And Dream of Sheep”

kate bush and dream of sheep video live water Kate Bush, Sigur Rós, and Cloud Nothings Top Our Top Songs of the Week (11/25)

Kate Bush doesn’t do anything halfway. In recording the video for her new live take of “And Dream of Sheep”, the almighty vocalist sang from a thick, gluey pool of water, floating in a life jacket in the darkness — and it was so cold that she got a case of hypothermia. The song’s about a woman lost at sea, and every ounce of that washes through Bush’s voice, having embodied the experience, submerged in the sensation. “I can’t be left to my imagination/ Let me be weak, let me sleep/ And dream of sheep,” she pleads, begging for release from the pain and cold, though this too would be some hallucination and unreality — a dream, rather than the rescue she so badly needs. Bush’s voice quivers and aches as the song nears its end, the cold setting in, the lone piano gaining a further layer of rime. Recorded for her Break the Dawn performances and album, Bush commits herself entirely, her voice one of the greatest of all time and a welcome return after years away. –Lior Phillips

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