Top 10 Songs of the Week (8/5)

In need of an escape from all the politics? We've got the cure


Sure, some of you out there had a good time at Lollapalooza. I know we did, some of us even doing so just from the comfort of our couch and a live-stream. But then, no one had a time as good as Malia Obama. Not only did she get to see some totally rad music, but she also got to step away from the insanity of the political conventions. Good for her! If you need your own little escape from the insanity, read on and discover a 10-pack of great new tunes.

10. Bodhi – “Ngoma”

bodhi ngoma

This duo from Wales has made their rounds through underground clubland, releasing through the likes of Rinse, Exploited, and Black Butter Records. Today, Bodhi’s deep, effervescent house finds a new home at W&O Street Tracks. Dropped throughout the synth stabs and blissful low-end wake of “Ngoma” are tribal chants, a celebration of the universalism of collective dance. Dark, yet tropical, “Ngoma” represents the mystical hedonism of Playa Del Carmen’s BPM festival. And while dance singles can burn out quickly, chances are this one will still have legs when BPM’s 10th anniversary arrives in January 2017. –Derek Staples


09. Arab on Radar – “Piggin’ in the Pumpkin Patch”

arab on radar

It’s a real pleasure to be able to write Arab on Radar’s name into a Top Songs of the Week post, especially considering its not 1999. The Providence no wave outfit produced noise so trainwreck-compelling that they became a touchstone for fellow weirdos around the world, getting big enough that they could even open for Marilyn Manson. (The late ’90s were a strange time, man.) But they were done by 2002, so there’s no way I’d get to write about them here — but think again! Chicago’s Skin Graft Records unearthed a pair of unreleased Arab on Radar B-sides, including the scraggly “Piggin’ In the Pumpkin Patch”, driven by Craig Kureck’s “nailgun through aluminum siding” snare drum and Eric Paul’s shrieking. The track and its compatriot will be available August 19th via Skin Graft. –Adam Kivel


08. Fond Han – “New Alright”

fond han new alright

There’s always a reason to by happy in life and there’s certainly always a reason to be sad. But sometimes you don’t need justification. After all, you feel the way you feel. New York-via-Boston label Exploding In Sound seems to sign acts who abide by that rule. Fond Han are set to release their official debut album, Sham Cloud, through the label on September 23rd, and with that news comes wrecking ball of a number “New Alright”. As easy as it is to point to their various influences — the messy guitarwork of ’90s Modest Mouse, feedback warpings of Attic Abasement, vocal twists of a young Animal Collective — over the course of the song, Fond Han step out of the indie rock pack by hurling themselves against mental walls. Thomas Baumann and Kira McDonald tear through emotional exhaust in “New Alright”, prying into wounds from love and the struggles of independence until there’s little left unfelt, deconstructing art punk along the way.  –Nina Corcoran 


 07. Jesse Boykins III feat. Isaiah Rashad – “Everybody Shut Up”

jesse boykins bartholomew

Following up his 2014’s Love Apparatus LP, Jesse Boykins III has released his new project, Bartholomew. While the mixtape features the likes of Dej Loaf and Willow Smith, standout track “Everybody Shut Up” features the lately quiet TDE rapper Isaiah Rashad. Softly ricocheting percussion, feather-light keys, and faint, looped horns coalesce into a relaxed jazz jam with Boykins’ smooth-as-honey vocals. His soaring croon ascends at a distance while Rashad’s low-pitched bass rhymes boost the tranquil track. –Alejandra Ramirez


06. Swet Shop Boys – “T5”

swet shop boys

Swet Shop Boys are a couple of handsome, great-rapping celebrity fellas — the pairing of Heems (formerly of Das Racist) and Riz MC (aka Riz Ahmed, British actor and star of The Night Of). You’d think the only trouble they’d have getting through an airport would be getting mobbed by adoring fans, and yet their latest track together, “T5”, is fueled by the absolute inanity of the TSA. “Oh no, we’re in trouble/ TSA always wanna burst my bubble/ Always get a random check when I rock the stubble,” goes the hook, each dude taking their turn to roll their eyes at the stupidity. Heems has been one of the most interesting voices in music when it comes to being brown in a post-9/11 world, and Swet Shop Boys is shaping up to continue that hot streak. –Adam Kivel


05. BLKKATHY – “Lemon”

blkkathy Top 10 Songs of the Week (8/5)

Kate Faust and Kate Linhardt make up the Brooklyn duo BLKKATHY, and they’re set to drop their EP entitled Lemon later this summer. The R&B outfit have now released the first single, a title track brimming with playful, bouncy synths and hushed 808s. Both singers’ harmonies coalesce into a coy wordplay: “I let you lie to me forever,” they sing in a languid, deep timbre. “Let you play me, think you’re clever.” Erratic and layered beats culminate in reverb-soaked electronics that froth at the top and pop like bubbly champagne. Cheers as you’re on to the next one. –Alejandra Ramirez


04. Valley Queen – “In My Place”

valley queen in my place

CoSigned act Mothers captured our hearts and ears at the start of the year with the bare-bones emotion of their folk rock debut. Since then, few songs surfaced that speak to that type of emotional rebirth through newfound independence. Quietly, as if too modest to blare their own horn, comes Los Angeles quartet Valley Queen with “In My Place”, the A-side to a split single due out August 12th via Canvasclub. Singer Natalie Carol wastes no time waranting attention, the vocal powerhouse waxing words about faith and image during a time of youth. As she sings for a liferaft (“I’ve convinced myself my isolation’s holy/ I’ve wasted some time/ I was never yours, never mine”), the band parades forward with clean guitar and impassioned performance, subtle country licks hiding in the background. If you haven’t listened to Valley Queen come the end of the year, well, you messed up. –Nina Corcoran


03. D.R.A.M. – “Cute”


Photo by Philip Cosores

There are almost too many adorable lines in the latest cut from D.R.A.M.. He’s looking to take you out on a date, he thinks you’re cute, he wants to split rent, and you know he’s a foodie so he’ll take you out for dinner. But considering all the Nidoran the kids are going after these days, this one might top the chart: “I choose you like a Pokémon/ I choose you, you’re selection one.” The “Cha Cha” singer gets some help from Charlie Heat’s airhorn-busting production, an appropriately quirky mix of hyped seduction. –Adam Kivel


02. Max Wonders – “World Gone Crazy”

max wonders 2016 Top 10 Songs of the Week (8/5)

Growing up in the Windy City, Max Wonders’ path to adulthood has been one most try to avoid. Just 18, Wonders is taking a long look back at his adolescence on his forthcoming full-length debut Hues To Blame. “World Gone Crazy”, the final single plucked from the album, reflects on the wonderment of youth and home when the rest of society is headed to the brink. Wonders’ singles resonate with a sense of irrepressible fondness for these days past even as the world around burns, a comfort that continues to soothe Wonders when he cannot escape the turbulence of adulthood (and life in the entertainment industry). This ease-in approach manifests in the slow-burning beat as well. Continue to explore this dichotomy when Hues To Blame drops later this summer. –Derek Staples


01. Noname – “Yesterday”

noname telefone

When casual listeners survey the rap scene, a sea of male rappers stare back at them. Women rarely get the spotlight, even though they’re there, they’re making music, and they’re arguably doing it better than the majority of those men. Noname has been confidently holding her own during this time, releasing two popular singles, cultivating a following, and, the reason for most to recognize her name, adding guest verses to several Chance the Rapper cuts. With her debut mixtape, Telefone, finally here, Noname flexes her lines with the emphasis and allure of spoken word, kicking the whole thing off with opener “Yesterday”. With Phoelix, Akenya, and theMIND providing extra vocals behind her, the 24-year-old Chicago rapper confronts the passing of friends, chasing youth, and unavoidable change in a time of cop brutality on “Yesterday”. It’s a flawless opening track, introducing a rapper both smoother and more vocally flexible than most who, with piano chords and jazz drums waving quietly behind her, finally gets to see the spotlight focus on her. –Nina Corcoran