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Top 10 Songs of the Week (9/26)

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A sound never truly dies; it just fades away until a new generation arrives to breathe new life into familiar sounds. In that spirit, this week’s list leans sentimental. Although Weezer returned with their best track in over half a decade, it’s Chicago’s Kittyhawk that truly push the emo revival, Diarrhea Planet once again charms the entirety of the blogosphere, and Hurray for the Riff Raff share one of the most impactful protest songs in recent memory. And although Kendrick Lamar didn’t disappear for long, it’s great to hear the kid return with such powerful intent with “i”.

10. Anklepants – “Tap 2001”

Anklepants

Best known for his live antics during an infamous Boiler Room appearance, this production by Berlin’s Anklepants is much darker than most would expect to arrive from a man sporting a prosthetic dildo for a mask. There’s a sacred old-world vibe that steers the way for the track’s eventual melodic breakbeat. Brooding from the launch, comfort only arrives when one falls into its shadowy electronic folds. It’s an instrumental track prime for the crisp nights that are quick to arrive. –Derek Staples



9. Drake – “Worst Behavior” (Saint Pepsi Edit)

Drake - Saint Pepsi

The 7-inch Saint Pepsi unleashed this summer quashed any doubts that he could cook up a song from scratch. With “Fiona Coyne” on one side and “Fall Harder” on the other, both featuring the producer’s vocals, the single pushed Ryan DeRobertis out of the “remixer” role and into something more like “songwriter.” That doesn’t mean he’s lost his knack for repurposing huge-hitting singles, though; this is the guy who took Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” and turned it into a seven-minute lovesick behemoth. He gave Drake the same treatment this week, liquefying and gargling “Worst Behavior” from last year’s Nothing Was the Same. Drake’s vocals are subsumed by an acrobatic Pepsi disco beat that picks out only the most pointed edges of the original and throws them for a brassy spin. This is more fun than Drake ever knew he could have. –Sasha Geffen



8. Rockie Fresh – “Hesitate”

Rockie Fresh Hesitate

“I came here with my own shit/ I’m too proud to beg your pardon,” goes Maybach Music rapper Rockie Fresh on “Hesitate”. But while the song is full of hubris, it’s actually a classy look at success and its pressures, though the gaw-jus, piano-speckled beat from Peezy and Cam only suggests the positive. With Meek Mill’s Dreams Worth More Than Money delayed until further notice, now’s the time for Rockie to make his move to the forefront of MMG. While the clique’s biggest fans might be used to steelier verses and production, “Hesitate” is an intricate change-up, clocking in at just 2:15 but spanning the entirety of Rockie’s come-up. –Michael Madden



7. Windhand – “Forest Clouds”

Windhand

Despite Dorthia Cottrell’s vocal control, despite the ascendant guitar soloing, it might just be the sound: With “Forest Clouds” and other songs like it, Richmond doom metal band Windhand have built an aesthetic that hits hard while leaving room for psychedelic distortion and reverb to fill the mix. The guitar, bass, and drumming here provide an impenetrable base, but ultimately, the song leaves the ground and never looks back, arcing toward the band’s as-yet-unannounced follow-up to last year’s Soma. “Forest Clouds”, though, is off the band’s upcoming  split 10” with Salem’s Pot, which you can pre-order starting tomorrow, September 27th. –Michael Madden



6. Diarrhea Planet – “Heat Wave”

Nina Corcoran, Portrait, Diarrhea Planet 2

Photo Nina Corcoran

Throw caution to the wind, and get ready to dive in headfirst with Diarrhea Planet’s new scorcher, “Heat Wave”. Between riffs that seem to arrive from every direction, guitarist/vocalist Jordan Smith takes a moment to open up to an old friend. That’s right, for about 30 seconds the DP chaos actually halts, but good luck making out the lyrics over all the prior amp-induced ringing. –Derek Staples



5. Weezer – “The British Are Coming”

Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright In the End

After its spoken intro, “The British Are Coming”, the third song off Weezer’s upcoming Everything Will Be Alright in the End, properly opens with melodic acoustic guitar and vocal “ooh”s — a passage from a band that’s pulled off similarly honey-dipped hooks going back to the pre-chorus of “Buddy Holly” 20 years ago. In fact, EWBAITE (out October 7th) represents the reunion of Weezer and producer Ric Ocasek (The Blue Album, The Green Album), who does his part here to underscore the band’s three core elements: the melodies, the metallic riffs, and the un-aging smoothness of Rivers Cuomo’s voice. That’s not all the inventory — there’s a well-articulated guitar solo, too — but it would still be an excellent Weezer song if it were. –Michael Madden



4. Two Inch Astronaut – “Foulbrood”

Two Inch Astronaut Foulbrood

In ways that only a few other labels have accomplished, Exploding In Sound Records has a distinct sound, almost to the point that if you hear an interesting indie rock band with lots of jangle, you can easily tell if they’d fit on the roster. Two Inch Astronaut is one such band that defines EIS’s aesthetic, and on “Foulbrood”, the title track off their forthcoming sophomore album (out November 25th), the hooks are potent and the intricate guitar work is even better. Channeling some of the more mathy sides of the genre, like Owls or Cap’n Jazz, Two Inch Astronaut’s explosive and tight songwriting shows how to be reverent to the past without being derivative. –Josh Terry



3. Kittyhawk – “Seasonal Abjective Disorder”

Kittyhawk- Hello, Again

Kittyhawk have been a force in Chicago’s emo and pop punk scene, updating the formula of acts like Lemuria with a distinct edge. Their debut album, Hello, Again, is out on October 14th and includes the earworm “Seasonal Abjective Disorder”. On the track, guitarist Erik Czaja, who’s played in bands like Dowsing, Pet Symmetry, and Joie De Vivre, provides a fuzz-laden guitar riff that channels both the infectiousness of pop punk and the slinking leads of ‘90s indie rock. The real star, however, is frontwoman Kate Grube, who adds a sizable chunk of personality in her delivery. This is fresh, lovable indie pop, a song nails its emotional core without falling to the overly twee trappings of the genre. –Josh Terry



2. Kendrick Lamar – “i”

Kendrick Lamar i

Most of the discussion surrounding Kendrick Lamar’s new single, “i”, has been more about the split reaction to it rather than the song itself. Many have begrudgingly claimed he made his own megahit in the vein of Pharrell’s “Happy”, angering purists due to its feel-good vibe and radio-ready structure (even though Kendrick has ventured pretty far into pop territory with recent guest features like the Eminem collab “Love Game”). Continuing with themes he’s touched on with songs like Section.80’s “Hiiipower”, “i” boasts a defiant proclamation of self-love and confidence, a sentiment that’s almost alarming considering the messenger. Here, he raps in a high register, wondering, “Everybody looking at you crazy/ What you gon’ do?/ Lift up your head and keep moving/ Or let the paranoia haunt you?” On “i”, Kendrick moves on,  using a life-affirming sample of The Isley Brothers’ 1973 “That Lady”, complete with funky guitar solos and sunny riffs. This is his most positive release yet, but also, it feels incredibly relevant, even needed. –Josh Terry



1. Hurray for the Riff Raff – “Everybody Knows (for Trayvon Martin)”

hurrayfortheriffraff Top 10 Songs of the Week (9/26)

Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Alynda Lee Segarra wrote “Everybody Knows (for Trayvon Martin)” one year after George Zimmerman shot Martin dead in Florida. That day was also her birthday, and the song that came out of that uncanny overlay of life and death is a quiet one. Recorded with plenty of room space filtering into the microphone, the song holds a sense of humble reflection, as if it were recorded off-the-cuff onto a handheld tape player. Segarra’s band waited more than a year to release it to the public, but after a summer of horrific shootings in Ferguson, Missouri and elsewhere across the United States, it couldn’t be more timely. As Segarra wrote the day she recorded the song, “We must not forget about the work that lies ahead of us.” –Sasha Geffen

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