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Top Songs of the Week (6/19)

This list should function as an escape, no matter how momentary

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We often look to the music world for some sort of distraction, salve, or catharsis, and this week’s top songs should offer a small dose of each. Sing out your hurt feelings with Palehound, slide into the seductive world of Falcons, or jump into outer space with Thundercat — the list should function as an escape, no matter how momentary.

10. Falcons feat. GoldLink and Chaz French – “Aquafina”

Falcons Aquafina

The melodramatic bird chips to intro this new single from rising Fool’s Gold recruit Falcons is a false lure toward the track’s elbow-flipping fire. “Aquafina” is littered with all the ingredients of a massive summer banger: fame, cocaína, ecstasy, broken condoms, and some sticky icky. The smooth interplay of GoldLink and Chaz French remains unaffected atop Falcons’ effervescent beat, the multi-faceted producer knowing just when to allow his vocalists to lyrically wander. Grab the track July 17th on the Terra EP — and remember to stay hydrated. –Derek Staples

9. Rome Fortune – “Leaders”

Rome Fortune

Blue-bearded ATL rapper Rome Fortune has always prized atmosphere in his music, valuing lengthy intros and outros and glowing textures. So, his creative relationship with English electronic producer Four Tet is only somewhat of a surprise. “Leaders” isn’t the most experimental song the two have done together — in fact, it enters with a surprisingly familiar-sounding drum loop — but it is a unique one. The combination of Rome’s almost uncool motivational lines (“We could see and be the leaders”) and Four Tet’s glinting synth melodies make for a track that splices style into its directness. Rome has yet to score a breakthrough hit like collaborators iLoveMakonnen or OG Maco, but with songs like this, he’s at the creative forefront of Atlanta rap anyway. –Michael Madden

8. Homeshake – “Heat”

Heat

Picturing life on the road in Mac DeMarco’s backing band, the mind jumps to late-night 7-Eleven stops, loud Barry Manilow in the van, and lots of smoke, which sounds like a blast for many. Guitarist Peter Sagar, though, was looking for something else, so he headed back home to Montreal, sat down with a synth and a drum machine, and recorded an album under his Homeshake banner. “Heat” is the first preview of that record, and it’s a woozy, groovy jam led by Sagar’s steamy falsetto. “She talks to me about heat,” he coos over a particularly wobbly bass and a just off-key synth, as if the temperature were warping the tape. Homeshake’s second album, Midnight Snack, drops in September via Captured Tracks sister label Sinderlyn. –Adam Kivel


7. Two Fingers feat. Noisia – “Salah”

Two Fingers Salah

What’s most impressive about the new track from Two Fingers, the hip-hop-infused side project from Brazilian producer Amon Tobin, is how it maintains its precision and delicacy while flexing a filthy low end. Tobin helped pave the way for contemporary electronic upstarts like Arca and Sophie, and now he’s racing neck and neck with the new generation. “Salah”, taken from Two Fingers’ forthcoming Six Rhythms EP, twists, slithers, and hammers down the bass without mercy. This kind of tune takes skill with the knobs, but more than that, it takes guts. Six Rhythms is out June 22nd via Division. –Sasha Geffen

6. Kiiara – “Gold”

Kiiara

“Gold” is a treat for the voyeur in us all. Peering from behind Felix Snow’s rippling instrumental, we are witness to Kiiara wrestling with the challenges of young love. Snow reflects this turmoil in his jittery melodies, distorted duets, and twisted percussive lines. Despite, or in response to, this trauma, Kiiara’s vocals only grow more confident and beautiful as the beat rolls. Just a week ago, Kiiara wasn’t much known outside of her day job at a hardware shop in Illinois; soon she’ll be caressing thousands of broken hearts. Kiiara’s debut EP, Meet Me in the Cornfield, is expected to land this summer. –Derek Staples

5. Alessandro Cortini – “La Sveglia”

Alessandro Cortini

Alessandro Cortini will release Risveglio, his fourth album under his own name, on July 27th. He’s dabbled under plenty of monikers and side projects, but he’s probably best known for accompanying Trent Reznor in the live incarnation of Nine Inch Nails. You wouldn’t guess his industrial rock roots from his latest song, though; if anything, “La Sveglia” recalls the beautiful interlude “A Warm Place” from NIN’s The Downward Spiral. It takes that meditative headspace and stretches it to seven undulating minutes as warm analog synths ripple in and out of tune. The song’s chord progression is simple and repetitive; the intrigue comes from the texture, which slowly grows more complex and erratic as the song moves forward, growing, aging, and dying like a living thing. There’s no quick payoff to be found here, but Cortini’s unflappable patience makes his work all the more alluring. –Sasha Geffen

4. Miguel feat. Kurupt – “NWA”

Miguel-tour-dates-concert

“NWA” is about as stripped-down as things get with Los Angeles R&B singer and songwriter Miguel, whose past material has proven him capable of skying melodies and similarly towering walls of sound. The song, which Miguel uploaded to SoundCloud back in December and released in its official form this week, finds him and West Coast OG Kurupt invoking any number of forms of debauchery over a track defined by its menacing guitar tone and quietly persistent percussion. Pleasure-seeking oozes in every direction, which goes for the lyrics as well as the intoxicating mist of the song itself. Find it on Miguel’s WILDHEART, out June 30th. –Michael Madden


3. Thundercat – “Them Changes”

Thundercat

Out of nowhere, Thundercat announces a new mini-album of his own, preparing to release The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam on June 22nd. The virtuosic bassist made a starring appearance on Flying Lotus’s You’re Dead! last year and helped Kendrick Lamar complete his vision of hyperactive fusion hip-hop with To Pimp a Butterfly a few months ago. Now, he’s come around with something a little smoother; “Them Changes” places Thundercat’s twisting funk bass at the forefront, leading his smooth vocals through a lush and unpredictable wonderland of sax, piano, and those weird synth flourishes that give away FlyLo’s production hand. The creative partnership between Stephen Bruner and Steven Ellison is a rich one; we’re lucky they keep sharing its fruits. —Sasha Geffen

2. Beck – “Dreams”

beck 2015

After his surprising Album of the Year win for Morning Phase at this year’s Grammys, plenty of listeners waded into Beck’s world for the first time only recently — and certainly, some of them came to find that album’s slow, heavily ornamented folk boring. “Dreams”, a catchy, danceable helping of psych rock, is not boring. It stomps and struts and swirls for over five minutes, with guitar riffs that are heavy but still kinetic. “I wanna get me free,” Beck sings, and with the range he’s shown transitioning from Morning Phase to this, he’s never sounded more willing and able to stray from the path he just found success on. –Michael Madden


1. Palehound – “Molly”

Palehound

The Exploding in Sound roster might just have a deeper bench than the Golden State Warriors. The latest example: Ellen Kempner and Palehound. The knotty, sharp lyrics and propulsive energy of “Molly” recall another Massachusetts band, Speedy Ortiz, but the time signature changes and bright coils of guitar in the bridge display Kempner’s unique take on the college rock revival. “I swear, you better stick with me,” she insists before the song transitions from its mathy chug into a springboard call-out of “selfish Molly.” Palehound may be on the bench now, but when their debut full-length, Dry Food, hits stores on August 14th, they might just climb into the starting lineup. –Adam Kivel

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