Top 10 Songs of the Week (5/27)

We've included some righteous rock tunes just for Flea!


You might’ve read that Flea (you know, the RHCP dude who plays slap bass and stuff) recently said that he sometimes feels like rock music is dead. Unlike when it was vibrant and lively in the ’90s … Rather than spend time trying to argue that point, we present you with our latest batch of Top Songs, including some righteous rock tunes that should do the trick. Hope you’re listening, Flea!

10. Kel Valhaal – “Tense Stage”

Liturgy_Amanda Roscoe Mayo_2

On last year’s polarizing The Ark Work, Liturgy pushed and pulled at their ambitious, grinding black metal edges, including a wacky, horn-driven tune called “Kel Valhaal”. Frontman Hunter Hunt-Hendrix has also been using the name for an experimental electronic project on and off for the last six years or so. “Kel Valhaal is the name of the logical agency of faith and acephalic becoming in the The Ark Work, a gesamtkunstwerk which lives at the threshold between philosophical materialism and religion,” he explains. If you don’t have the grad school understanding to pick that apart, you can just immerse yourself into “Tense Stage”, the first track from Kel Valhaal’s upcoming New Introductory Lectures on the System of Transcendental Qabala (out July 15th on YLYLCYN). “Tense Stage” burns and punishes like Liturgy, but through twitchy, gritty electronics. –Adam Kivel


09. Factory Floor – “Dial Me In”

Factory Floor

This week we celebrate the return of London’s Factory Floor and their broken, contorted, absolutely rave-able, “unsettling disco.” With the announcement of sophomore album 25 25, the now-duo of Gabriel Gurnsey and Nik Void have re-established their off-kilter electro charm with “Dial Me In”. Down one member (Dominic Butler), Gurnsey and Void took to a new set of modular systems and machines to kick-start the creative process. With the album set for release August 19th through DFA, this single reflects the “ultra-minimalist” ambiance Factory Floor were curating at the tale end of their last tour. Don’t pay too much attention to that tag; even on “Dial Me In”, the duo stay far more erratic than the true minimal techno emanating from the dark European underground. –Derek Staples


08. Told Slant – “High Dirge”

told slant going by

Lo-fi only works if there’s emotion to fill in its gaps. When it comes to that, bedroom punk act Told Slant have nothing to fear. Going By, their next album, comes out June 17th on Double Double Whammy, and lead single “High Dirge” articulates their awareness of both the self and the world. By accepting time as is, the Brooklyn-based act directs their music down a path of passive walking full of isolated guitar and muted bass drum thuds. “Your mom went out to smoke/ And I can tell that you’re worried about her,” Felix Walworth sings. The song trudges not because it wants to, but because there’s nothing else to do — cultivating a feeling of abstract insecurity and distanced fear that those who have felt terrified of their own existence can relate to. Just when it seems best to give up, the song sees Walworth have a change of heart (“Oh long life/ How is it that you go by?”) as if to suggest that time isn’t best spent anxious after all. –Nina Corcoran


07. Omni – “Wire”

omni wire

There’s a spark at the core of post-punk that keeps it fresh, but for many bands, finding your own light results in a dull guitar tone too limp to remember. On “Wire”, Omni not only find their own appeal within the genre, but they rope in the elastic melodies of straightforward rock with similar ease. The band’s past experience no doubt helps. Ex-Deerhunter and Balkans guitarist Frankie Broyles, ex-Carnivores bassist/vocalist Philip Frobos, and drummer Billy Mitchell know how to write a memorable chorus. So it goes with “Wire”, its scratchy guitar and light percussion recalling The Fall as much as it does Broyles’ own time in Deerhunter, showing the trio’s true knack for songwriting. It speaks highly about what you can expect from their debut album, Deluxe, when it drops July 8th via Trouble In Mind. –Nina Corcoran


06. YG feat. Drake and Kamaiyah – “Why You Always Hatin?”


About 72 seconds after you hit play on this track, you won’t be able to help but jump into the “Why You Always Hatin’?” hook courtesy of YG and Oakland’s Kamaiyah. So, just lean back into YG’s signature throwback G-funk sound and let the bass massage those end-of-week stresses away. Drake holds up the middle of the track, offering a hat-tip to YG and his way with the fairer sex: “Got a couple DMs I done slid in already/ Gotta ask YG if he hit it already.” While YG’s last LP was impacted immensely from the harsh realities of prison, this lead single from the forthcoming Still Krazy is sizzling with a club heat. YG’s sophomore album is expected to arrive in June via Def Jam. –Derek Staples


05. Dinosaur Jr. – “Tiny”

promo dinosaurjr1 Top 10 Songs of the Week (5/27)

It’s been over two decades since Dinosaur Jr. released their debut album, but the band still continue to prove their relevance time and time again. This week they released a video in which Henry Rollins announced a new album entitled Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, which will serve as the follow-up to 2012’s I Bet on Sky and drop this summer on July 5th via Jagjaguwar. The trio also shared their first single to the album, “Tiny”, which they performed on Later… With Jools Holland. The track is a bludgeoning fuzz-rock joint boasting pop hooks and churning punk progressions. –Alejandra Ramirez


04. The Strokes – “OBLIVIUS”


The last time we heard from The Strokes was through 2013’s Comedown MachineJulian Casablancas recently debuted his new SiriusXMU show, Culture Void, on which he shared three new tracks from the band. “OBLIVIUS”, “Drag Queen”, and “Threat of Joy” will be on their forthcoming EP, Future Present Past, via Cult Records out on June 3rd. “OBLIVIUS” is a slinky rock track featuring their staple eclectic guitar layers, booming choruses, sinuous bass lines, and warped solos. You can hear the track now over at Cult Records, where all three songs are set to be streamed later today. –Alejandra Ramirez


03. Mourn – “Irrational Friend”

Nina Corcoran, Mourn 2

Photo by Nina Corcoran

Most of us have had our angry, poetry-fueled teen angst years, and the young punks of Mourn are certainly no exception, as evidenced by the ferocious new “Irrational Friend”. Though not even a minute and a half long, the track seethes and churns, leading to an abrupt burst of laughter from the four Catalan youngsters. Inspired by a William Blake poem, the track is that perfect burst of beauty and terror, brief enough to savor and still want more. This is the latest taste from the quartet’s upcoming Ha, Ha, He., which drops June 3rd via Captured Tracks. –Adam Kivel


02. Russian Circles – “Vorel”

Russian Circles // Photo by Jon Hadusek

Photo by Jon Hadusek

It’s been a few years since we’ve heard new music from metal masters Russian Circles, but the metal outfit are finally back with the explosive epic “Vorel”. Produced (as most great metal and heavy music is these days) by Kurt Ballou, the track aches and scrapes as if at the ribbed arches of a crumbling cathedral, bassist Brian Cook and drummer Dave Turncrantz propelling the lurching beast. Though the idea of post-metal might imply space, slowly developing atmospherics, and twinkling lights, Russian Circles crack things open here and keep the fight going all at the same time. Russian Circles’ latest, Guidance, hits shelves on August 5th via Sargent House. –Adam Kivel


01. Cass McCombs – “Opposite House”

cass mccombs 2016 Top 10 Songs of the Week (5/27)

There’s a handful of songwriters who became staples of today’s singer-songwriter scene without losing their modesty. Cass McCombs certainly allowed himself to become one of those, spending more than the last decade churning out cryptic, hypnotic, detailed work. With his eighth album on the horizon — Mangy Love out August 26th via ANTI — comes “Opposite House”, one of his most authentic tracks to date. As usual, it offers a mood rich with rounded tones and careful production, and, as usual, that grows with each listen. McCombs weds gentle guitar and spoken lyrics in his usual seductive way, but what makes “Opposite House” memorable at the drop of a hat isn’t the talent he establish long ago. Rather, it’s the assurance in his delivery and how he tweaked it ever so slightly to draw in new listeners  — including a backing vocal appearance by Angel Olsen who, in her own work, carries that very torch onwards today. —Nina Corcoran