Top MP3s of the Week (9/13)


cassettes Top MP3s of the Week (9/13)

While Arcade Fire tops this week’s list with their most contagious single yet, it seems that the rest followed suit, naturally. Synthesizers reach soaring highs with Cut Copy, SOHN, and Active Child’s newest releases, while Kelley Stoltz and Miguel coat their tracks with guitar accents that aspire to find the same groove. Have fun tapping your shoes to this countdown.

10. Blitzen Trapper – “Shine On”

Jonathan Rado

Channeling Little Feat circa mid-’70s, Blitzen Trapper inject a little funk into their southern rock on “Shine On”, a new track from their forthcoming LP, VII (out October 1st via Vagrant Records). “I’ve written a lot of songs with a lot of words,” frontman Eric Earley said in the track commentary. “But for this one, I just wanted to do something that was simple, straightforward.” With a steady groove and some wily harmonica playing by Earley, this one hits that southern-boogie sweet spot unlike anything in a very long time. –Jon Hadusek

9. Ducktails – “Honey Tiger Eyes”

dismememberment plan invisible

Matt Mondanile’s return to Ducktails reveals a psychedelic haze over the smooth slacker tones that he’s most well-known from his summer-loving main band, Real Estate. “Honey Tiger Eyes” kicks off immediately into a lush groove, spanning from dreamy guitar waves and bold bass tones. Every second of the track brings smooth athleticism, whether it’s Mondanile’s dreamy croon or the capitalizing guitar solo that defines the track’s outro. Ducktails’ follow-up EP, Wish Hotel, is due October 22nd. –Sam Willett

8. Cut Copy – “Free Your Mind”


Cut Copy‘s new album, Free Your Mind, is defined by a new vision, “freedom… that’s universally positive and timeless,” and its title track strikes invigorating inspiration to spread such an influence around the world. Vocalist Dan Whitford call all to “react as one” and “reach for the sky if you want your life to shine,” bringing back memories of freedom movements from the ’60s. His voice truly leads the track to contiuously expand instrumentally, starting with deep, pulsing tones and eventually climbing to incorporate bright piano chords and sonic winds peering from ear-to-ear. Perhaps Free Your Mind, set to be released on November 5th, will help us realize that leaving summer isn’t so bad after all. –Sam Willett

7. Helen – “Felt This Way”

Felt This Way  Dying All the Time

Liz Harris, a.k.a. Grouper, wandered her way into a self-described “pop band” called Helen — far removed from her ambient drone folk. The A-side of group’s debut 7″, Felt This Way/Dying All the Time, roars louder than any Grouper track, yet retains Harris’ perpetual dreariness. Swallowed by tape echo, she indecipherably moans the words while still carrying a melody. Download the single at iTunes–Jon Hadusek

6. Active Child- “Subtle” (feat. Mikky Ekko)

Hang onto Your Life

As synths soar and weave in Active Child‘s newest single, “Subtle”, Pat Grossi’s sharp hooks and bold harmonies challenge the multiple complexities of his impressive range. Special guest Mikky Ekko, infamous for his contributions to Rihanna’s “Stay”, intensifies the track with an aggressively-pronounced drive that resembles Michael Jackson. You can find it on the forthcoming Rapor EP, due out October 22nd. –Sam Willett

5. Deer Tick – “The Curtain”

Hang onto Your Life

“I could swear I’m in control, I can make the judge convinced,” snarls frontman John McCauley on Deer Tick‘s latest rocker, “The Curtain”. Backed by dirty guitars and twangy riffs, McCauley harbors an uncertainty about his own fate: He might swear that he’s in control, but the pensiveness in his voice says otherwise. Something, or someone, is pulling his strings. Personal turmoil seems to be the conceit of Deer Tick’s Negativity (out September 24th via Partisan Records), as McCauley embraces a more transparent singer-songwriter role. —Jon Hadusek

4. SOHN – “Lessons”


To kick off his recent signing to 4AD, SOHN surely set the bar high. “Lessons” manifests itself as a haunting dream in one’s ears, mixing confusion and personal triumph to repress his largest struggles. When it peaks slightly past the two-minute mark, it builds momentum through its grinding synth scales while treading along subtle snare cracks, introducing a frightening transformation and one exhilarating vocal climax. –Sam Willett

3. Miguel – “Can’t Sleep 2gether”

Woods Be All Be Easy

The Adult Swim Singles Program has been an overwhelming success, bringing us fantastic cuts from Flying Lotus, EL-P, Metz, and others. We’ve featured almost all of them in our weekly countdown, and the latest, Miguel‘s “Can’t Sleep 2gether”, is no different. Tired of getting high and watching Fresh Prince re-runs, Miguel begs for a partner during the chorus: “You should…you should come over.” His anxiety is complimented by a writhing electro-pop beat, and he holds tight falsetto throughout. –Jon Hadusek

2. Kelley Stoltz – “Double Exposure”

Drake - Hold On, We're Going Home

Kelley Stoltz is a true indie-rock success story. The San Francisco popsmith started in 1999, releasing home recordings of fleeting, three-minute episodes of personal escape on tiny local labels. These tunes would catch the attention of Sub Pop, who signed Stoltz in 2006 only to drop him two years later. Jack White, who had just started Third Man Records at the time, saw a viable free agent and signed Stoltz. In contrast to the increasingly corporate Sub Pop, Third Man and its DIY approach was a better fit. For example, White has allowed Stoltz to hole up for the past three years to write/record Double Exposure (out September 24th) at his own pace. The title track is a simple three-chord pop song; however, the dense production, filled with tape loops and bizarre spouts of reverb, are trademarks of Stoltz’ sonic perfectionism. He really cares about the presentation and mood of his songs, so even a simple ditty like this one has a grandiose feel to it. –Jon Hadusek

1. Arcade Fire – “Reflektor”


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