In the music world, transformation is frequently a difficult concept to understand. Fans want to hold on to a specific conception of an artist or song that reflects a special time in their lives, and when artists go beyond that, it can be life-chanigng, for good or bad. Thankfully, our roster of songs this week exemplifies risk-taking at its finest, whether its a rapper honing in on more conservative introspection or synth collective taking on creepier landscapes. This week, rediscover your perspective on change and break out of your comfort zone.
10. Illustrations – “Take My Body Away”
Austin band Illustrations are self-releasing their debut LP, In Vain, on Tuesday, but in an untimely development, some of their equipment (including an entire drum set) was stolen at a show in San Antonio earlier this week. Hopefully it’s found and returned, because Illustrations are that rare band that can deftly operate in the grey area between punk and metal, and you know, having a drum kit helps. On album cut, “Take My Body Away”, the rhythm section evokes the heaviness of Entombed, while the vocalist takes on a more affected metalcore howl. In Vain is available for pre-order (on limited clear vinyl) via the band’s website, and all leads on the missing equipment can be posted on their Facebook. –Jon Hadusek
9. Chelsea Wolfe and King Dude – “Be Free”
Los Angeles-via-Sacramento songwriter Chelsea Wolfe and Seattle’s King Dude (T.J. Cowgill) are a match made in whatever Leonard Cohen’s vision of heaven is. Both are adept at shouldering existential weight, the former with her falling-angel tone and the latter making you wonder if there was some accident at birth that caused his mouth and voice box to end up in his stomach. “Be Free” is a wintry strummer with drums that clop like the hooves of decidedly un-wild horses. The quarrel between the two narrators reads like a once-a-week deal, but the way it plays out magnifies the deadening tension of the prior few days. Theoretically speaking (IRL, Wolfe and Cowgill are surely just friends!) the night will probably end with a round of vaguely mirthful makeup, uh, hugging. –Michael Madden
8. Real Estate – “Crime”
“Crime” is the latest single from Real Estate’s forthcoming LP, Atlas (out March 4th via Domino), and touts some serious fretwork. Just watch the accompanying music video, in which guitarists Martin Courtney and Matt Mondanile tab out the whole thing in realtime. Intricate melodies intermingle and jangle in unison while the song drifts by with the same nostalgic, springtime melancholy that made Days such a striking record. –Jon Hadusek