Top MP3s of the Week (10/11)


cassettes Top MP3s of the Week (10/11)

Even though this week surfaced the newest tracks from pop sensation Lady Gaga, seductive R&B superstar R. Kelly, and hyper-clever MC Childish Gambino,  the smaller acts are stacked at the top of our countdown. Open up your ears and discover a band that may become a new favorite.

10. Kurt Vile & Sore Eros – “Serum”


Back in the early 2000s, Kurt Vile and former Violators member Sore Eros collaborated on a handful of tracks, which were recorded on tape and stashed for nearly a decade. Those recordings, entitled Jamaica Plain, are finally receiving an official release on November 4th (via Care in the Community Recordings). The three-track EP will include “Serum”, a hazy lo-fi improvisation that relies on its mood and texture rather than explicit musical structures. Vile’s words are unintelligible, and the guitars and synths swim about, foregoing individual notes. Although it’s taken from an early moment in his songwriting career, it shows glimpses of the ambient folk rock that Vile’s come to perfect on recent releases. –Jon Hadusek

9. Yo La Tengo – “Super Kiwi”

Yo La Tengo Super Kiwi

Just like the sweet tropical fruit, “Super Kiwi” explores the “fuzzier” side of Yo La Tengo (pun intended).  While the track is taken from outtakes from their latest album, Fade, it will also be incorporated into a new art series featuring the band’s newest transformation (on top of their many artistic personas): cute, cartoony vinyl dolls. The track’s soothing croons and driven shoegaze melodies will suit the figures’ concept of traveling through a “mysterious and psychedelic wonderland” almost too well. –Sam Willett

8. Minor Alps – “Far From the Roses”

minor alps

They’ve collaborated before, but now Juliana Hatfield and Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws are officially calling themselves Minor Alps, and will release their debut, Get There, on October 29th (via Barsuck Records). Early single “Far From Roses” showscases their wonderful dual vocals — voices forged through decades of touring and songwriting with their respective projects. Together, they create a somber melancholy. –Jon Hadusek

7. Fiona Apple – “I Want You to Love Me”

Fiona Apple

Even though Fiona Apple has been fending off rude audiences of late, she still has the guts to bust out her  lyrical confessions on her tour with Blake Mills. The newly-debuted “I Want You to Love Me” is a powerful ballad, utilizing soft piano steps that crescendo into a bold conclusion. While she prances along, looking “to love,” she strives to convince her partner away from short-term interest and guide them to the same passionate destination. How could anyone heckle an exposed heart like that? –Sam Willett

6. Destroyer – “El Rito”

Destroyer Five Spanish Songs

Looking back on the long tour supporting his phenomenal album, Kaputt, Destroyer felt English had become overused and only useful for professional purposes. The best experiences with music aren’t about business but, rather, finding that homey feeling. For Destroyer, returning to his native language, Spanish, produces just that, infusing that fun-loving atmosphere that you can only find at home. Bejar pumps distortion into songs by Spanish musician Sr. Chinarro on his upcoming EP, Five Spanish Songs (due January 29th via Merge). His rendition of “El Rito” revives a summer jam with sweet vocal harmonies and encouragement to clap along. –Sam Willett

5. SKATERS – “Deadbolt”

skaters2013 Top MP3s of the Week (10/11)

The flourishing NYC indie rock scene adds another to its ranks with SKATERS. The quartet has already signed to Warner Bros. and will release its debut, MANHATTAN, on February 24th. Lead single “Deadbolt” is a punchy tribute to karaoke (check out the awesome parody video below) with ’80s chorus-delayed guitars and frontman Michael Ian Cummings’ understated vocal delivery. “Won’t you give me one more try, gimme one more try,” he sings. “Or kiss my friends goodbye, unless you gimme one more try.” Romanticizing karaoke night… Cummings and Rob Sheffield should have a chat. –Jon Hadusek

4. HAIM – “Edge”


Co-written by dance fanatic Twin Shadow, HAIM’s bonus cut from their phenomenal LP, Days Are Gone, sways with a groovy, electrified vibe. In approaching “the edge” of a one-sided relationship, Danielle Haim’s lead vocals retain a sharp, rhythmic delivery in attempting to overcome her doubts, while her sisters provide comforting vocal harmonies. Even though the approach is difficult, the lyrical sunset and catchy hook of “no, I can’t fight it off” make the song outrageously fun to sing, over and over again. –Sam Willett

3. Russian Circles – “1777”

In the world of Russian Circles, there are no words. The instruments relay the message. And it’s a message of hope, willing to acknowledge the inherent fallacies and absurdities of the post-modern world, while simultaneously looking past them, and toward love and spirituality. This black-and-white juxtaposition can be hard on new single “1777”, as it releases blissful bouts of major-chord feedback alongside menacing drum-roll spasms and mayhem. It ends on a dissonant resignation, as if the band is undecided on whether to return to the pleasant drones or doom metal, but somehow remain confident in this indecision. –Jon Hadusek

2. Deleted Scenes – “Stutter”

Deleted Scenes Stutter

When The Dismemberment Plan released Emergency & I in 1999, it was a uniquely zany, alternative wonderland loaded with spunky singles and mad science experiments. The vocal attitudes and playful guitar work of that album directly influence Seattle’s Deleted Scenes and their new single, “Stutter”. Just like the Plan’s “Girl O’Clock”, obscured sounds paint a viciously elegant testimony while spinning in circles of insanity. Cries of “does anyone even know what’s going on these days?” reaffirm that sloppy creativity. –Sam Willett

1. Tristen – “House of War”

 Top MP3s of the Week (10/11)

On her forthcoming record, CAVES, Nashville singer-songwriter Tristen openly defies “folkies” and Americana traditions that surround her in the country music capital. She’s backed by an armada of strings and electro beats on “House of War”, opting for Pro Tools trickery and decisively modern aesthetics. But this is only a change in sound for Tristen, who retains her Midwestern grounded-ness lyrically. Here, she’s a tad doubtful and pessimistic: “We are warriors/ I want to know what for.” Tristen’s combination of self-awareness and grandiose pop could garner her a wider commercial appeal (a la like-minded chart-topper Lorde). –Jon Hadusek