Top 10 Songs of the Week (9/5)


Richard D. James and his return with an ultra-rare Aphex Twin track was a real event in new music this week, particularly for the ever-expanding world of electronic. Other styles, however, also had marquee names up and at ’em. Iceage brought their share of ambition to punk. Indie pop got charm in the form of Jens Lekman’s “What’s That Perfume That You Wear?”, not to mention two more new songs from the Swede. Lil Herb, Common, and Chance the Rapper lit up hip-hop with an incisive remix of Herb’s “Fight or Flight”, while more illumination in the genre came from Flying Lotus with Kendrick Lamar on the mic (and ultimately it is a hip-hop song). The list, as you might guess, goes on.

10. YAWN – “What’s In the World”


Chicago’s own psych pop quartet YAWN unveiled the third single off their forthcoming sophomore LP, Love Chills (due out September 9th from Old Flame Records) this week. Though it clocks in at just three and a half minutes, “What’s In the World” finds the band navigating melodies complex enough to set them apart from your dollar bin jangle-sparkle outfit. The song shines on its high end, letting easy falsetto harmonies cruise over deceptively simple guitar riffs. Underneath their sunny veneer, YAWN’s lyrics sneak up on you like a poison dart frog; I dare you to find another late summer jam with a hook that lands on the words “choke me till I die.” –Sasha Geffen

9. Lil Herb feat. Common and Chance the Rapper – “Fight or Flight (Remix)”

fight or flight remix Top 10 Songs of the Week (9/5)

Rising Chicago rapper Lil Herb dedicated his Welcome to Fazoland highlight “Fight or Flight” to “anybody who lost one of they homies.” As someone directly affected from his hometown’s violence, Herb’s verses were gut-wrenching and raw. Now, with more than just Chicago’s violence in the spotlight, he recruited his fellow Chi natives Common and Chance the Rapper for the song’s remix. Both guests are formidable in their respective slots, with Common detailing the problems and Chance thanking his father for being there. Things get really enlightening when Herb raps, “It’s your life, well, tell me what it’s worth/ Cause when you come across that death you don’t get another birth.” It’s a fresh take on an already strong track. –Josh Terry

8. Nude Beach – “See My Way”

drewgurian1nudebeach Top 10 Songs of the Week (9/5)

“But I see the fire in your eyes/ Every time you look at mine/ And it makes me wonder/ Will I ever be alone,” quips Nude Beach frontman Chuck Betz, presumably after a minor domestic quarrel, putting the slight aggravation behind for the passion that lies ahead. If the track can touch the heart of the notoriously broken Roky Erickson, for whom Nude Beach have opened, the harmonies have the potential to brighten even the darkest of evenings. Grab “See My Way” when the band’s ambitions 80-minute double album 77 hits streets October 24th via Don Giovanni. –Derek Staples

7. Jens Lekman – “What’s That Perfume That You Wear?”

jensblackwhite Top 10 Songs of the Week (9/5)

This week, Sweden’s most charming songwriter, Jens Lekman, dropped a mixtape with three unreleased songs mixed in alongside eclectic selections from other artists as a stopgap before his next album. As far as mixes go, it’s one of the most enjoyable in recent memory, in part because of this Bunny Maloney track, but mostly because of Lekman’s new tracks. Perhaps the best of the trio is “What’s That Perfume That You Wear?”, a song that begins with the focus on Lekman’s delightfully off-kilter croon before it kicks into a steel drum and synth-led island jam. Lekman’s simultaneously innocent and snarky enthusiasm makes this a released-too-late summer jam. It pairs nicely with a colorful drink that has those little umbrellas in it. Skip ahead to 15:25 to listen to this track, but do yourself a favor and listen to the whole thing. –Josh Terry

6. Kindness – “This Is Not About Us”

kindnesspromo01 Top 10 Songs of the Week (9/5)

On October 13th, Kindness will follow up his 2012 debut, World You Need A Change of Mind, with a new record called Otherness, and this week Adam Bainbridge shared his second single from the sophomore effort. “This Is Not About Us” clatters around with loose percussion, as an almost oppressively warm bass line competes with piano for space. Bainbridge’s layered vocals cruise throughout the minimalist track. “You should find someone new,” he sings as the song itself threatens to fall apart right along with the partnership it captures. But this is Kindness, where even the hardest breakup grooves with a disco beat. –Sasha Geffen

5. TV on the Radio – “Happy Idiot”

tv on the radio seeds

“Happy Idiot”, the taut and hooky first song from Seeds, the fifth album from TV on the Radio and first since bassist Gerard Smith’s death in 2011, may just be their most accessible song ev-ar. “I’m gonna bang my head to the wall/ Till I feel like nothing at all,” sings a suave but sinister Tunde Adebimpe — the humor, to analyze what may well be a truly innocent tune, could be a sly wink coming from a group as political and musically knowledgeable as TVOTR. Seeds‘ immediate predecessor, 2011’s Nine Types of Light, was the most robust TVOTR album to date, and similarly, “Happy Idiot” is as straightforward as it gets with the band (even the funkiness of Dear Science was fussy in its own glorious way). Seeds is out on November 18th via Harvest. –Michael Madden

4. Purling Hiss – “Forcefield of Solitude”


From the opening metallic guitar clangs of their spectacular new song “Forcefield of Solitude”, it’s clear that Philadelphia’s Purling Hiss are at their best. What began as the solo project of guitarist Mike Polizze is now a trio, with classic rock-inspired takes on indie, garage, and power pop. “Forcefield of Solitude”, which opens the band’s forthcoming album, Weirdon (out September 23rd via Drag City). —Josh Terry

3. Iceage – “Forever”


If “Forever”, the increasingly dense track to emerge from Iceage’s upcoming Plowing Into the Field of Love, is not the Danish punks’ best song to date, it’s definitely their most ambitious, starting with guitar strums that sound like the shackles of anxiety and ending in a near cacophony. On a musical level, it’s thrilling — the sudden horns particularly so — but Elias Bender Ronnenfelt’s vocal delivery and laments are in focus above all. “I always had the sense/ That I was split in two,” he begins, which is engaging enough on its own. He captures more of his mindset, however, as he declares that if he could “dive into the other,” he’d “lose myself forever.” Plowing Into the Field of Love is out October 7th via Matador. –Michael Madden

2. Aphex Twin – “minipops 67”

aphex twin

Like the press release behind the forthcoming Syro (out September 22nd via Warp), “minipops 67” is a mangled heap of beautiful motifs. More approachable than the drill-and-bass beats that tore through 2001’s Drukqs, the possessed breaks and wonky analog glitch arrive from that same astral plane that only Richard D. James can habit. With most of the first-world now glued to their computers, RDJ can make us a feel more like an underground hacker weaving our way through the deep web, even if we are just filling out a TPS report. –Derek Staples

1. Flying Lotus feat. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me”

flying lotus youre dead

“Never Catch Me” is the genuinely jazzy and high-BPM collaboration between Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar, both artists from L.A., both innovators, and both preparing to release an album — FlyLo’s You’re Dead! is out October 7th via Warp, while Kendrick’s remains unannounced but on the way. The song is FlyLo’s most accessible production to date (at least as opposed to anything he’s done as Captain Murphy or producing hip-hop acts like the Underachievers) and Kendrick’s the reason. Now the subject of a legit college course, the good kid is purposeful. “Look at my life and tell me I fight/ This that final destination, this that find-some-information,” he goes. Still, FyLo is the architect, splitting his track in two distinct halves. The first is the melodic beat beneath Kendrick, who exits with a hook that might as well apply to both artists involved: “You will never ever catch me, no, no, no.” The second continues the case for FlyLo’s own greatness, a wash of tingly synth and caffeinated bass lines. –Michael Madden