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Top 10 Songs of the Week (4/10)

Tame Impala, Desparecidos, Mick Jenkins, Billie Marten -- a chunk of a dream festival lineup.

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With the advent of festival season comes the scouring through the lesser-known acts for new favorites to fill the midday section of your schedule. Heck, we did just that ourselves with Coachella within arm’s reach. We do that same digging here for the top songs of the week — think of our list this week as a chunk of a dream festival lineup. We’ve got something for everyone. Hip-hop heads can hype with up-and-comer Mick Jenkins or heavy-hitter ASAP Rocky. Those looking to rock out can hit up Desaparecidos and METZ. Those in need of a breath of fresh air can look to 15-year-old English singer-songwriter Billie Marten. And you won’t even need to worry about packing the sunscreen.

10. ASAP Rocky – “M’$”

Asap-rocky-m's

ASAP Rocky’s upcoming At.Long.Last.A$AP (out “seriously soon,” he said three weeks ago) is being touted as the Harlem rapper’s most progressive move yet, so although “M’$” has an immediate pounce, it’s no surprise that there’s also something experimental about it. Mainly, it’s the beat: a revving, blackened clatter courtesy of the Honorable C.N.O.T.E. and Mike Dean, with the kind of hard rock tint that seemingly only Dean can work into a potential hit rap song. But Rocky is inventive in his own right, changing flows like he’s trying to show just how many ways he’ll be able to get millions regardless of inevitable shifts in the industry. For now, though, the industry has no choice but to watch this trendsetter’s every move. –Michael Madden

9. Billie Marten – “Heavy Weather”

billie marten e1428697909166 Top 10 Songs of the Week (4/10)

It’s hard to be 15 years old, but it’s even harder to articulate just how difficult those early teen years can be. But UK singer Billie Marten has been performing since she was 12, and those three years have equipped her with a nimble feel for poetry. “The rain is ours and we are lovers/ Of heavy weather,” she sings on “Heavy Weather”. Falling in love when you’re still in high school can feel a lot like the sky is falling, and Marten renders that intensity with her hushed vocals and plaintive guitar picking. It’s not that she sounds wise beyond her years; Marten just knows how to extract the wisdom that comes with being young, in pain, and in love. –Sasha Geffen

8. METZ – “Spit You Out”

Metz // Photo by Philip Cosores

Clearly, nobody ever told METZ about that old cliche about how Canadians are disarmingly polite, even meek. They’re not saying sorry on the latest preview of the forthcoming METZ II, charming accent or otherwise. There’s a Nirvana quality both to the sludgy distortion and the manic breakdown that sits at the song’s core, and Alex Edkins spits the song’s title in the chorus as if it both causes him pain and it could to anyone who hears it. Guitar and bass slash across each other, leaving behind a scorched earth on which Hayden Menzies’ drums pound out their elephantine steps. METZ II hits shelves May 4th via Sub Pop. –Adam Kivel


6. White Reaper – “Make Me Wanna Die”

white reaper Top 10 Songs of the Week (4/10)

“Make Me Wanna Die”, the lead single and opening song off White Reaper Does It Again, the upcoming debut from Louisville rockers White Reaper, leaves a serious mark despite lasting just two and a half minutes. Frontman Tony Esposito’s wails may sound unhinged, but it becomes clear pretty quickly that he’s onto something; this song might be the catchiest we heard this week, which is amazing considering this band is far from a pop act. If the stickiness of Esposito’s vocals seems like a stroke of luck, though, Ryan Hater’s equally indelible keyboard lines show that the band can (um) do it again. White Reaper Does It Again is out July 17th via Polyvinyl. –Michael Madden

5. Towkio feat. Chance the Rapper, Lido, and Eryn Allen Kane – “Heaven Only Knows”

Chance the Rapper - Mr. Happy short film

Prepare to be inspired. Pulled from the forthcoming .Wav Theory mixtape (due out April 28th), “Heaven Only Knows” is a street gospel jam courtesy of Chicago chameleon Towkio. The antithesis of the Windy City’s drill aesthetic, Towkio and his Save Money crew serve up a much more soulful, house party-inspired take on the city’s culture. Featuring Lido on the instrumental, backing vocals supplied by the angelic Eryn Allen Kane, and the unmistakable Chance the Rapper, it’s saturated in happiness and hope — feelings that thrive despite the area’s highly publicized turbulence. –Derek Staples

4. Bully – “Trying”

Bully By Pooneh-Ghana

Bully‘s self-titled debut EP snuck past us last October. The six-song release held itself with a charming slouch as Alicia Bognanno’s vocals navigated the terrain between chunky power chords and sweet, bright leads. Now there’s no ignoring the Nashville rock band. Cut from their debut album Feels Like, due from StarTime International/Columbia on June 23rd, “Trying” ups the fidelity of those first tracks while keeping their attitude. It’s a chirpy guitar song laced with dark, frustrated lyrics about just making it through the week without losing your mind. When Bognanno’s voice scrapes against the chorus, she dispels any worries that Bully might’ve cleaned up for their first big outing. They’re bringing all the grit with them. –Sasha Geffen

3. Mick Jenkins – “Alchemy”

Mick Jenkins

“They say I be talking ’bout water too much/ You hear that?” Mick Jenkins sneers during the outro of his new song, “Alchemy”, just before the beat drops out entirely, adding a concise message: “That’s how many fucks I could give.” After his excellent The Water[s] mixtape last year, anybody dissing Jenkins for its central conceit clearly needs to be put in their place — and this new smash will do the trick. The smoldering beat (courtesy of Lee Bannon and ThemPeople) gives rise to his conflicted status, denying any sort of role of deity, but taking power from his ability to turn his pencil lead into gold. The potent “Alchemy” bodes well for Jenkins’ upcoming tape, Wave[s]–Adam Kivel


2. Chromatics – “In Films”

Chromatics – Dear Tommy

Synthpop wizards Chromatics are tremendous at conjuring cinematic intensity, but “In Films” — with its title and lyrics that are actually about the movies — is less about atmosphere and more about pop immediacy. There’s the wordless hook reminiscent of M83’s “Midnight City”, while, in between, Ruth Radelet sings her verses in an invitingly sedate tone. None of this is to imply the song was written effortlessly; a great deal of attention must have been paid to tempo and balance, as the song glides smoothly for the duration of its five minutes. Dear Tommy, Chromatics’ follow-up to 2012’s Kill for Love, is expected sometime this year via Italians Do It Better. –Michael Madden

1. Tame Impala – “‘Cause I’m a Man”

Tame Impala new song

After hearing Kevin Parker open his soul to some unnamed woman during the brooding psych of “’Cause I’m a Man”, you really just want to buy the dude a few shots. Pulled from Tame Impala’s upcoming third album, Currentsit’s Parker’s aim to overtake the listener in washed out guitars, a lazy percussive line, and intermittent sensual coos. More than a “man vs. woman” battle, Parker is acknowledging the troubled humanity at the core of us all. And the weight of another’s happiness could possibly be even more daunting for someone that has become accustomed to his solo time in the studio — “’Cause I’m a Man” was written, performed, recorded, produced, and mixed by Parker on his own. –Derek Staples

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