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Top 10 Songs of the Week (11/14)

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As we’ve officially entered “Deep Fall,” with the days gloomily short and the weather calling for burdensome winter jackets, there’s always the creep of seasonal melancholy. Fortunately, this week’s batch of songs is equal parts beautiful and cathartic. With mesmerizing numbers from Sophie Jamieson and The Amazing taking us to a better place while new tracks from Screaming Females and Kal Marks appeal to our newfound angst, these songs will make you forget about the cold. And, hopefully, they’ll make you smell the approaching Thanksgiving dinner a week early.

10. The Amazing – “Picture You”

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The new album from The Amazing won’t be out until February, but they shared a hefty slice of it this week in the form of its nine-minute title track. “Picture You” is more of a suite than a song in the traditional sense; it bends and curves with layered guitar lines and cresting drumbeats, breaking from a loose Midlake tease-out into a creepy post-rock romp right around its midway point. The Amazing treat guitars like weather, conjuring a wide spectrum of moods with just a few tonal variations. In the end, the instrumental half of “Picture You” ends up feeling more emotional than the part with lyrics. Sometimes you say all you need to in the way you bend a few strings. –Sasha Geffen

9. Dimesland – “Dying Foretold”

Dimesland

Leave it to another Bay Area outfit to give heavy music the elbow it needs to move forward. To challenge this momentum is dangerous; you must succumb to the dark psychedelia that weaves through the primal screams of Dimesland’s “Dying Foretold”. At less than two minutes in length, you’ll quickly adopt the masochistic urge for an extension of this thrash brutality. Wake the neighbors with “Dying Foretold” and the rest of the four-piece’s self-released Psychogenic Atrophy LP on December 9. Listen in at Stereogum–Derek Staples

8. Porcelain Raft – “Closed Eye Vision”

Porcelain Raft

Mauro Remiddi has kept quiet since he released his last LP as Porcelain Raft, Permanent Signal, but he broke that silence this week with an eerie and beautiful new snippet of a song. At a minute and a half, “Closed Eye Vision” is quick even by Porcelain Raft’s snappy pop standards. It lets just three elements play in space: piano, drone, and Remiddi’s voice, which wafts mournfully over the air. This minimal, haunting composition is a far cry from Porcelain Raft’s 2012 pop album, Strange Weekend, but it already sounds like a fruitful direction for the Italian songwriter. –Sasha Geffen

7. Giraffage – “Chocolate”

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The word “future” has been thrown around a lot recently in electronic music, but Giraffage delves more into the modernization of classic textures. Having already amassed a vocal underground with his slightly nerdy flips of sensual R&B classics, the San Francisco-based producer continues to refine his own bass-driven talents with “Chocolate”. The instrumental track is as delectable as its title suggests, mixing the percussive elements of EDM-leaning trap with whimsical found sounds, a walking bass line, and a nostalgic synth. Grab the single and the No Reason EP on November 18 via Fool’s Gold. –Derek Staples

 6. Houndmouth – “For No One”

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Our lives are cluttered; we’re constantly attached to our smart-phones, avoiding deadlines, seeking that next thrill. Houndmouth’s “For No One” relieves us of that chaos, at least momentarily. The four-piece transport us to a dusty front porch in New Albany, IN, as Matt Myers and co. enchant with an acid-fueled look at happiness. “For No One” is the first single for a planned early-2015 full length. And yes, it promises to have that same earnest Dylan-charm we have come to appreciate from Houndmouth. –Derek Staples

 5. Kal Marks – “It Was A Very Hard Year”

Kal Marks Just a Lonely Fart

Carl Shane of Boston’s Kal Marks sings like there’s something in his throat that he needs to purge. On “It Was a Very Hard Year”, he does just that. Off the band’s forthcoming 7-inch Just a Lonely Fart (out December 2nd via Exploding In Sound), the song finds Shane detailing his experience after a traumatic car accident over a pummeling sludge of guitars and noise. It’s a song about survival and resilience, and with every one of Shane’s nasally snarls, it proves to be an incredibly primal and cathartic track. –Josh Terry

 4. Screaming Females – “Ripe”

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New Jersey’s Screaming Females have always been a ferocious act, with no better proof of that than their 2014 Live at the Hideout release. Now, the band is going to attempt to channel that aggression into another studio album, Rose Mountain, which is out February 24th via Don Giovanni. “Ripe”, its first single, is an absolute rager. With a barreling riff, squealing leads, and a characteristically dominating performance from frontwoman Marissa Paternoster, their upcoming sixth LP is one to look out for in 2015. –Josh Terry

 3. California X – “Nights in the Dark”

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The title track off Massachusetts rockers California X’s sophomore album (out January 13th via Don Giovanni — between this and the Screaming Females song, the label had a hell of a week), “Nights in the Dark” is an exercise in contrast: Rarely does melody play so well with heavy distortion. “I don’t wanna be alone in the dark,” confides frontman Lemmy Gurtowsky, who, even in his longing, sings in an inviting tone. Following the band’s debut, last year’s California X, it’s another forcefully tumbling fuzzball. It might also be the band’s most memorable song to date. –Michael Madden

 2. Sophie Jamieson – “Take”

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So far in her burgeoning career, Sophie Jamieson has combined hushed acoustic guitars with soaring post-rock instrumentals for unequivocally gorgeous results. Her most recent offering, “Take”, keeps her firmly planted in atmospheric beauty but with more knotty compositions. Featuring warm electric guitars and flourishes of skittering rhythms and electronics, the UK artist dives into the more experimental side of her personality. What makes the song, though, is Jamieson’s soothing and robust alto, which seemingly envelops everything around her. The track will be on an as-yet-untitled EP due out sometime in 2015. –Josh Terry

 1. Mark Ronson feat. Mystikal – “Feel Right”

Mark Ronson Uptown Funk

Now 15 years removed from its heyday, the No Limit Records roster was full of rappers who were talented but also, in many ways, artless. Fortunately, as he’s gotten older — he’s now 44 — alumnus Mystikal has shown more and more songwriting ability. Like his 2012 “Hit Me”, his collaboration with versatile London-based producer Mark Ronson, “Feel Right” sounds uncannily like James Brown laying down a Southern rap song, full of grunted rhymes, horn blasts, and kinetic energy. Not only is it an exciting preview of Ronson’s Uptown Special (out January 27th via RCA), it’s proof that Mystikal really needs to drop that follow-up 2001’s Tarantula. Listen to a radio rip below. –Michael Madden

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