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Top 10 Songs of the Week (10/23)

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Sometimes a massive new song gets posted right after we’ve finished our roundup of the week’s best new tracks. It might seem like we’ve forgotten something (*cough* Adele *cough*) but stick with us — that just means we’ve got a whole week to spend with that song before it’s eligible for the next countdown. In the meantime, we’ve still got plenty of earworms and high-energy jams ready to take you into the weekend, ranging from Danny L. Harle’s brainy PC Music to Savages’ heartfelt post-punk.

10. Merlyn Wood – “Lazy Wood”

Merlyn Wood

Treading the path of countless adolescent males before him, Austin’s Merlyn Wood is working through the sexual frustrations of the day with his latest release. Although carrying the “Lazy Wood” title, Wood is keen enough to construct a near repetition-free narrative instead of resting on a few unintelligible 16s across a cut-and-paste club beat. Keeping the city and its newest hip-hop collective, the Brockhamton crew, extra weird is JOBA, whose twisted samples push out enough bass to keep the haze circulating. –Derek Staples

09. Danny L. Harle – “Forever”

Broken Flowers EP 1400x1400

In just two years, PC Music has evolved from scrappy Soundcloud hive to Columbia-backed powerhouse, a move that many of its followers have anticipated for some time now. The UK producers’ pristine hyper-pop seemed aimed at broad channels from the start, but the first single to emerge from the collective since it got absorbed into one of the majors adheres to PC Music’s brainier side. “Forever” comes from Danny L. Harle’s forthcoming debut EP, Broken Flowers, and while it trickles with lovesick bubblegum vocals, it never leaves enough space for a traditional hook to solidify. Harle marries pop shimmer with his mutant production flair — a hopeful sign that PC Music will get to hold onto the more unnerving side of their collective personality even as they expand their reach. –Sasha Geffen

08. Tale of Us – “Silent Space”

Tale of Us Silent Space

Without ever relinquishing traction to that hypnotizing minimal techno pulse, Matteo Milleri and Carmine Conte, known collectively as Tale of Us, slice “Silent Space” with the agitated synths most commonly associated with IDM. To balance that mechanical intensity, the duo bring in the harmonious tones of the bassoon. The oncoming echoes of a warning siren are nearly maddening, but as it aligns with the organic repetition, the tones welcome in the fatigued spirits of the early morning dance floor. It’s in that momentary break from the self-induced bedlam that one discovers this deceptive “Silent Space”.  Find yours November 11th via R&S Records. –Derek Staples

07. jennylee – “never”

jennylee warpaint mia kirby Top 10 Songs of the Week (10/23)

jennylee is the solo project of Warpaint bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg, who usually does backing vocals in her main band if she sings at all. So, it’s refreshing to hear Lindberg really stretch her voice in “never”, the first single from right on!, a 10-song collection out December 11th via Rough Trade. In this loose track that sounds like it sprung from a cozy studio with little pressure and lots of friends, Lindberg alternates between singing, drawling and wailing lyrics like “Not for you, not for them, not for all the things that make me feel bad.” The words are opaque and hazy, but by singing them over and over, Lindberg affirms her independence of anything or anyone who thought they could keep her pinned down. –Karen Gwee

06. Eluvium – “Confessor”

Eluvium

About six years ago, Portland composer/ambient soundscapist Eluvium put out a box set collecting just about everything he’d ever released, called Life Through Bombardment. And as if that lovely bombardment weren’t enough, the man born Matthew Cooper is releasing a sequel, containing the six years of material since. That includes the stunning and previously unreleased “Confessor”, which is a bombardment in and of itself. Layers of piano, strings, and more wash over like a stunning formation of clouds, the track building and dissipating over nearly five minutes. Life Through Bombardment Vol. 2 can be yours on December 18th via Temporary Residence. –Adam Kivel

05. Kindling – “Painkiller”

Kindling Painkiller

It’s so easy for shoegaze bands to run on autopilot, to let the dreamy grooves of their genre color in the empty space. Kindling don’t go easy on themselves. The Massachusetts band has a healthy affinity for reverb, but beneath that static wash lurks the kind of ferocity that would stand up even if you tugged the power cords out of their amplifiers. The drums hit fast and hard, the vocals hone a subtle snarl, and the whammy-powered chords crash into each other in a massive display. This is dirty, toothy rock that shares more genes with space rock act Hum than any of the other bands who’ve been aping My Bloody Valentine in the past 20 years. –Sasha Geffen

04. Kirin J Callinan – “The Teacher”

Kirin J Callinan

If you’ve ever suffered the strange mix of resentment and sweetness of an imbalanced relationship, Kirin J Callinan has your back. For “The Teacher”, his first single off his sophomore record out in 2016 via Terrible Records, Callinan teams up with his friend and collaborator Connan Mockasin for a tale of self-salvation from lopsided love. It begins crackling with distortion, awash in sepia, and you imagine the Australian maverick kitted out in a tux, tickling the ivories in a classy old-school establishment. Then the drums kick in, and Callinan’s singularly dynamic voice surges to the forefront, drawing out precise, uncomfortable imagery of pleasurable detention and encounters behind the cricket nets. –Karen Gwee

03. Michael Christmas feat. Logic – “Where You Been”

Michael Christmas

I first came across rapper Michael Christmas a couple years ago, via the track “Michael Cera”, in which the Bostonian dropped clever references with a perfect hook: “I think I’m Michael Cera.” While the dude’s hilarious and affable as hell, there was never any fear that he was a “joke rapper,” as his technical ability always backed up the chuckles. That’s as clear as ever on the excellent “Where You Been”, where Mickey insists upon how normal he is over a groovy Teddy Roxpin beat. Though a verse from Logic, it’s Christmas who runs this show, even if he’s still paying rent and answering calls from his mom. “Where You Been” is the final sample from Where You Been, which drops in full today. –Adam Kivel

02. Savages – “The Answer”

06-Savages

Nothing is more subversive in 2015 than unyielding optimism, and no one drags optimism up through post-punk’s charred bones as fervently as Savages. Take away Jehnny Beth’s lyrics on “The Answer”, and you’re left with a two-chord chug that wouldn’t sound out of place in New York 30 years ago, when the city was dirt cheap and brutal, when detached art rock and violent nihilism powered a healthy sector of underground culture. But then you’ve got Beth at the head of this band, charismatic and unflinching, singing “love is the answer!” as if the words belonged only to her. Sure, it’s a well-worn sound bite on its own, but the only thing cornier than saying everything matters is insisting that nothing does. –Sasha Geffen

01. Sidewalk Chalk feat. Lili K – “G.L.A.D.”

Sidewalk Chalk

Lili K always delivers some of the lushest jazz-inspired vocals in the game, and working on “G.L.A.D.” with fellow Chicagoans Sidewalk Chalk. The collective flutters around the intersection of jazz, soul, and hip-hop, and this track covers all the bases. The swank horn section and organ give a royal backdrop to Lili and Maggie Vagle’s intertwining voices on the hook, while nimble drums and a stuttering guitar line propel MC Rico Sisney’s verses. The song feels like a summer day in Chicago: vibrant and busy in the daylight, and smooth and cool as the sun sets. –Adam Kivel

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