Top 10 Songs of the Week (7/8)

Like the perfect yellow jacket, you'll do whatever it takes to keep these songs close


First there was the legendary rumor of Bono getting back a missing hat by putting it on a first-class flight. Now, to add to that legend, we’ve got the story of Axl Rose and his beloved yellow jacket — except this one comes from a source no less reputable than Cameron Crowe. If only we could find jackets we loved enough to merit an international flight! But alas, we’re stuck with the assemblage of denim and windbreaker currently hanging on the office coat rack. To make up for that disappointment, we’ve got a fresh batch of excellent new tunes and the hope that the summer sun will keep shining long enough that we won’t need many jackets in the near future.

10. The Paranoid Style – “Giving Up Early (On Tomorrow)”
paranoid style rolling disclosure

Last month, a report surfaced that Americans on average spend only 38 minutes per day socializing while the average Netflix subscriber spends three times that amount streaming content. It might be momentarily fun to fantasize about hanging out at the pool with friends or going on epic road trips, but in reality, most of us just prefer to seek the comfort of our couch and nearby snacks. The Paranoid Style’s newest garage glam offering, “Giving Up Early (On Tomorrow)”, is an ode to that reality. The hook-laden, Western swing-tinted single reminds us that even when things are bad, and set to remain bad, there is always the option just to give up and escape to a room of solitude. Make an exception and invite Elizabeth Nelson and co. in when their debut LP, Rolling Disclosure, drops July 15th via Bar/None records. —Derek Staples


09. Ryley Walker – “The Roundabout”

ryley walker Top 10 Songs of the Week (7/8)

Ryley Walker is currently setting up to release Golden Sings That Have Been Sung on August 19 via Dead Oceans, his third studio album and the follow-up to last year’s Primrose Green. While he has already teased the album with the stunning, jaunty “The Halfwit in Me”, the folk songwriter has now released a second cut, “The Roundabout”. Instead of jazzy flourishes like the first single, Walker opts for fingerpicked acoustics and simplistic lyricism. “I take the roundabout because I like to see my house,” sings Walker. “Number four, number five, number six, number seven, and number eight.” With enough dust-devil charm and tumbleweed ramblings, the song’s ruminating keys, gentle strings, and skittered percussion coalesce into a psychedelic folk ballad. —Alejandra Ramirez


08. R.L. Kelly – “Mad”

orchid tapes rl kelly

In 2014, Boring Ecstasy: The Bedroom Pop of Orchid Tapes acted as a sort of primer to the lo-fi goodness that the Queens-based label would spread for the next couple of years. Artists like Alex G and Ricky Eat Acid continued to rise, peddling intimate yet experimental tunes with a surprising level of pop appeal. They’re about to follow that compilation with a sequel, and an early preview from R.L. Kelly (aka Los Angeleno Rachel Levy) suggests that Radiating Light will continue to reveal more relatively hidden gems. If you aren’t already hooked on R.L. Kelly’s tunes, get ready: “Mad” is a charming slice of drone pop, a simple acoustic chord progression and sleepy vocal delivery that’ll cut straight to your ’90s-loving core.  —Adam Kivel


07. Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes – “(I)”

carl sagan's skate shoes

With its annual heat waves and summer flooding, Austin, TX, justifies its ability to churn out noise punk acts pretty quickly. Though Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes are a new addition to that tradition, they’re loud enough to remind you why Butthole Surfers and Scratch Acid found inspiration in the same sweaty city. Opener “(I)” off their debut, self-titled LP (out August 19th via Super Secret Records) sets up with skittering guitar before smashing it in two, the band filling up space with enough distortion and crunchy feedback to bring to mind the grit of Sonic Youth and unstoppable anger of Shellac. It doesn’t matter how low you turn the volume from your speakers; Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes wrote a song so visceral and dissonant that you’ll think they’re playing right next to you in the room. –Nina Corcoran


06. James Vincent McMorrow – “Rising Water”

james vincent mcmorrow rising water

James Vincent McMorrow is gearing up for his forthcoming album, We Move. Scheduled for release on September 2nd, the record will serve as the follow-up to 2014’s Post Tropical. This week, he teased the lead single off the album, “Rising Water”. Straying away from his somber, languid modus operandi, the Irish songwriter opts for a more buoyant synthpop track with traces of earnest R&B. “Because you make me feel alive,” he sings in his slow-burning falsetto, “in spite of rising water.” Featuring help from Drake and Kanye West-affiliated producers Nineteen85 and Frank Dukes, the song combines retro clap electronics with low-end synths, making the track one of McMorrow’s catchiest. –Alejandra Ramirez


05. Factory Floor – “Ya”

Factory Floor

Signing to DFA Records is like completing paperwork that says you came here to make people dance like your job depends on it. For UK electronic trio Factory Floor, that impulse is in their blood. Their bass-heavy numbers keep jogging at a constant pace, drawing on sharp modern glitches and steady live drumming to keep things tight — and “Ya” is no exception. Synths and rattled percussion (including a woodblock) keep things light while a terribly deep voice repeats the song’s title over and over with various inflections. It’s the type of hypnotic movement you can expect off their upcoming LP, 25 25, out August 19th. Deadpan vocals have never been so alluring, especially on the dance floor. —Nina Corcoran


04. Jamila Woods feat. Chance the Rapper – “LSD”

jamila woods

“A lot of people get Chicago wrong,” Jamila Woods said in a release accompanying her new song, “LSD”. “I’ve developed this protective feeling about how we’re portrayed, and at the same time I’m acutely aware of the issues we face and the root causes of these issues.” Many Chicagoans will identify with that feeling, loving the city intensely despite being enraged at and disappointed in the city’s systemic racism, massive failures in justice, and near-constant violence. In the entrancing “LSD”, Woods sees Lake Michigan as a sign of strength and stability and the highway that rides alongside (Lake Shore Drive, also known as LSD) as a communal intersection joining the city by the lake. “The water’s gonna save me,” she sings. Chance the Rapper adds a verse, lamenting the violence and vowing to change it, in order to make a safer place for his daughter. Chicago is an amazing, terrible place, one full of danger and beauty, grief and joy. Listening to voices like Chance and Jamila, we should all be inspired to recognize the faults of the city as well as its strength and to look for ways to make positive change. —Adam Kivel


03. Local Natives – “Fountain of Youth”

local natives villainy song mp3 Top 10 Songs of the Week (7/8)

There’s always been an individualistic magic to the harmonies of Local Natives. With their highly anticipated LP, Sunlit Youth, out on September 9th, their latest single highlights their voices in a more subtle manner. “Fountain of Youth” begins slowly, fading in like their voices caught a hold of a chilly drift. The chorus gets in a tepid brawl with bass and then untangles itself, rolling forwards and backwards like it has no say in the matter. The song flexes its form somewhat passively. “We can do whatever we want/ We can say whatever we mean/ And if we don’t care, then who cares?” they sing, a proper ode to the days of endless freedom. The entire track builds towards an emotional crescendo, their voices finally giving way to a rhythm section, percussion, and a lonely guitar, bridging the gap between nostalgic teenagerdom and the shaky footing of the present day. Is it possible to stay young if your brain knows that youthful freedom isn’t what it seems? –Nina Corcoran


02. nonkeen – “Glow”

nonkeen glow

nonkeen’s forthcoming Oddments of the Gamble (out July 15th via R&S records) arrives just five months after the Berlin-based trio’s debut output, Gamble. As the album title suggests, this new LP was birthed from the remnants of the original — a collection of former rehearsal scraps that have been re-arranged to highlight the scope of sounds curated by boyhood friends Nils Frahm, Sebastian Singwald, and Frederic Gmeiner. A complex, almost distant interplay of percussion and strings propel the ambiance of “Glow”, Frahm utilizing his collection of custom instruments to tease ears with rarely explored tones and textures. –Derek Staples

01. Air Credits – “All I Need (Part II)”

aircredits Top 10 Songs of the Week (7/8)

Back in the day, I’d hang out with my friend James, and we’d play NBA Live on his Playstation, spending most of the time drafting dream teams for the Chicago Bulls. The new band Air Credits feels a lot like the results of those GM sessions, highlights of the Chicago scene mashed up into an unstoppable force. CoSigned rapper ShowYouSuck and party-starting mashup maestros The Hood Internet already sound like peanut butter and jelly on one of the tracks from their first single as Air Credits, the slippery, celebratory “All I Need (Part II)”. “PaRappa the Rapper/ Toe-tagger, toe-tapper,” Show drops, adding some notes about Snapple caps and Frank Zappa as STV SLV unwraps a soulful groove. We just caught the supergroup’s live debut and this one sounded even more rad live, if you believe it. Keep your eyes peeled for more from Air Credits. —Adam Kivel