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Top 10 MP3s of the Week (7/12)

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cassettes Top 10 MP3s of the Week (7/12)

Staff writer Sam Willett makes his “MP3s” debut on a countdown that features everything from aged grunge bands going punk to aged punk bands going pop. And there’s even some Mike D. Prepare to feel old the nostalgia.

10. Jonathan Rado – “Hand in Mine”

Jonathan Rado

Jonathan Rado has taken a break from Foxygen to work out a collection of his own songs. His solo debut, Law and Order, drops in September (via Woodsist), and it promises to reference all the right ’60s psychedelia and folk, per Rado’s signature style. Boy-girl duet “Hand in Mine” sounds like it came from some alternate reality in which Bob Dylan and Joan Baez requited their love for one another and decided to express their romance in a sappy pop song. “I won’t leave you standing in the rain again,” they sing. “I won’t let you stand at all.” —Jon Hadusek

9. Islands – “Wave Forms”

Obits Bed & Bugs

Islands’ newest single, “Wave Forms”, guides his listeners on a pop wave to explore a multitude of self-contradictions and roadblocks. Throughout frontman Nick Thorburn’s expansive musical history with both The Unicorns and Islands, he has approached long avenues that have tested his patience for breakthrough. The track dreams of the “golden hour holding onto burning embers,” a time where he satisfied his desires, but his worst intentions can take control and force him to walk away from the music he loves. While the song illustrates tones of struggle and disillusion, the instrumentation is coated with pop-friendly keyboard chimes and soothing vocal tones, almost as if he were taking pointers from Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos. Ski Mask, the artist’s upcoming album, will surely unleash more of these emotional black holes that have been secretly locked in between Thorburn’s teeth. –Sam Willett


8. of Montreal – “fugitive air”

Ovlov Am

When did of Montreal turn into a classic rock and roll band? Regardless, their newest set of chops is definitely intriguing. Instead of having Barnes wail with explorative vocal tones to open up the band’s newest single, “fugitive air”, he assumes a laid-back vocal character similar to songsters like Jeff Tweedy. The band follows suit with twangy slide guitar riffs and dreamy bridges that cloud the track with a dreamy haze. All of these stylistic changes are made in efforts to avoid “the familiar of wishful decay,” which influenced them to practice recording processes and instrumentation inspired by the ’60s and ’70s. The band’s left turn from their art pop roots may land a powerful right hook in delivering an impressive change of pace on their new album, lousy with sylvainbriar. We’ll just have to wait and see. –Sam Willett


7. FUZZ – “Loose Sutres”

Fuzz

I can only imagine Ty Segall has a lot of time on his hands. To regularly collaborate with Mikal Cronin, release solo LPs, and start new bands every other month — the guy’s a workhorse. His heavy-psych project FUZZ continues to trickle out new singles, “Loose Sutres” being the latest. The multi-movement romp opens with a bass-y groove a la Deep Purple before descending into a collage of pedal sludge and atonal doom. Disclaimer: Keep an eye on your bass dial; this track may have just blown my earbuds. —Jon Hadusek

FUZZ – “Loose Sutres”

6. Mike D – “Umberto Vs. The New Reactionaries: Christine and the Queens Remix”

Mike D Umberto

When Kenzo kicks off their Spring/Summer 2014 fashion line along the runway, they better have their models head banging and strutting with a punk-infused stare in their eyes. “Umberto Vs. The New Reactionaries: Christine and the Queens Remix” is a punk-trap experiment mashed together for the newest chic by no one other than Beastie Boy Mike D, a musician who is no stranger to rearranging the DNA of multiple music genres and fusing them together. The track rigidly cuts in between rapid-fire drumsbeats and power chords loaded with distortion. Mike D stated that he gained inspiration for the track from the hardcore punk roots of Kenzo’s creative director, Humberto Leon, while cuing in heavy rotations of trap records from D’s collection. The track captures many instances of raw power, assuming that each runway model will have to match the same intensity. To say the least, it’s going to be one hell of a runway. –Sam Willett

5. Superchunk – “You & Me & Jackie Mittoo”

Superchunk

Coming off the brilliant comeback record Majesty Shredding, Superchunk and frontman Mac McCaughan are set to release their ironically titled follow-up, I Hate Music, on August 20th (via Merge). Similar to lead single “FOH”, latest cut “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo” puts McCaughan’s melodic whine against a more restrained arrangement that veers more toward Portastatic than vintage ‘chunk. Instead of darting at punk speeds, the guitars chime and ring with sustain. –Jon Hadusek

4. Ariel Pink ft. Jorge Elbrech – “Hang On to Life”

Hang onto Your Life

Ariel Pink’s Mature Themes concludes with tasty cover of Joe and Donnie Emerson’s “Baby”, a yearning statement to connect with a lover underneath the stars. While the effort also coasts along narratives of ordering drive-thu schnitzel and his flourishing libido as a nymph-o-maniac, Ariel Pink still gained a level of true wisdom and maturity when it was all said and done. “Hold On to Life” stands as one of Pink’s most impressive retro-’80s grooves, including vocal contributions from Lansing-Dreiden/Violens’ Jorge Elbrecht and some of the musician’s most insightful lyrics to date. Both vocalists crisscross along the chorus’s lyrics”you screwed the pooch, now face it; the truth in the sky,” ultimately returning to the same love-filled and mysterious skies as “Baby” to find themselves and develop the newest personality to make its way into Pink’s catalog. –Sam Willett

3. Autre Ne Veut – “On & On”

Woods Be All Be Easy

As the most recent contribution to Adult Swim’s expansive 2013 Singles Program, Autre Ne Veut elegantly coats his smooth R&B tenor onto deep clubs beats dubbed with pulsated vocal cues and droning synth lines with “On & On”. While his impressive debut, Anxiety, thrives in wonderlands of spiraling guitar riffs and subtle dance grooves, the exciting singles project has influenced the soulful crooner to advance the foreground of his music to the next level of intensity. His lyrics glide in finding faith in the late night scene, sparking reminiscences of a “higher love” that even Steve Winwood would be fond of. Autre Ne Veut finds this essence to thrive endlessly while also influencing listeners to press the play button of the track on and on. Stream via EW–Sam Willett

 

2. AlunaGeorge – “Bad Idea”

AlunaGeorge

We already praised AlunaGeorge‘s debut single, “Attracting Flies”, on past countdowns, and the UK duo is back with another excellent track, “Bad Idea”. Aluna Francis, the vocal half of the group, articulates through a British accent a la Lily Allen; however, she latches onto tight melodies that are both melancholic and infectious. Here, she plays the girl who’s cutting it off for the sake of her own sanity: “You’re a car crash waiting to happen/ I’m putting on my breaks just to save myself.” AlunaGeorge’s highly anticipated debut LP, Body Music, drops July 29th (via Island). —Jon Hadusek


1. Pearl Jam – “Mind Your Manners”

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Grunge vets Pearl Jam have flirted with punk rock in the past (“Spin the Black Circle”), though it’s surprising to hear such aggression from them so late in their career. “Mind Your Manners” — the lead single from the forthcoming Lightning Bolt (out October 15th) — does just that, recalling late-era Black Flag during its manic verses. Eddie Vedder howls and screeches at a cadence that slurs the lyrics, and we’re left with only snippets of distinguishable phrases. No matter the words, Vedder sounds pissed. —Jon Hadusek

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