As a result of 97 percent of the music industry being busy with SXSW, this week has been lacking in big-deal singles. Hell, the biggest one, Jay Z and Daft Punk’s “Computerized”, is an unreleased demo. But the relative slowness doesn’t mean the following list is in any way weaker than usual. It just means we had to do some extra digging this week. Who would ever complain about that?
10. How to Dress Well – “Words I Don’t Remember”
Tom Krell, aka How to Dress Well, has been so personal in his music as to rattle off names of dead loved ones like he’s scrolling through his contacts list. “Words I Don’t Remember”, meanwhile, is a six-minute helping of tranquilized R&B that doesn’t need words to convey the weight on Krell’s spindly shoulders — rather, the sighs, whirlpool synth progressions, and distant snaps here are sufficient. –Michael Madden
09. Generation Loss – “Enter the Void”
The latest product of San Francisco’s ever-active garage rock scene, Generation Loss are a DIY act with a ton of upside, as heard on “Enter the Void”. Spiny guitars pace a sluggish post-punk groove, and the vocals are deranged shouts where only the title — “Enter the void, enter the void!” — is distinguishable. These days it seems like any band can get by on lo-fi aesthetics and nihilism, but Generation Loss have a craziness that can’t be contrived, that it-factor that separates the strong punk bands from the shitty ones. –Jon Hadusek
08. Dread Sovereign – “Cathars to Their Doom”
“Cathars to Their Doom” is a nine-minute opus that sees Dublin’s Dread Sovereign maturing as musicians and songwriters. It’s simply on another level as compared to 2013’s Pray to the Devil in Man EP. The multi-movement song twists and turns from dirge-like doom metal passages to spiraling blues guitar sections by Bones (of ZOM and Wizards of Firetop Mountain). Dread Sovereign will release their debut full-length, All Hell’s Martyrs, this month on Ván Records. Listen in here. –Jon Hadusek
07. The Snow – “Memory Loss”
Captured Tracks supergroup The Snow is composed of members from Wild Nothing, Beach Fossils, and Holograms, and their synthesis on “Memory Loss” rings with nostalgia for most of your favorite ’80s bands. Andres Langstom’s croon croaks like Robert Smith, while the band surrounding him dresses the jam with chorus effect-loaded arpeggios and bold bass lines that resemble The Smiths. When combined, each member’s mastery of these aesthetic compounds makes for a jammy, dream-bound adventure. Be sure to put this 7″ on your Record Store Day wish list!–Sam Willett
06. DJ Scream feat. Que, Gunplay, Waka Flocka Flame, and Tracy T – “Always”
As trap-rap instrumentals go, MPC Cartel’s “Always”, from DJ Scream’s upcoming LP, Hunger Pains, is at risk of going down like a breakbeat you never recognize right away. On the lyrical end, it’s another story. These five rappers are at different stages of their careers, but they’re all committed to mischief 25/8. Ascendant Atlanta native Que leads the way with stacks of Benjis, Gunplay condones his five-drug minimum, Waka’s verse could be phoned-in but splits skulls nonetheless, and Tracy T reminds us that if he’s an MMG foot soldier, he’s packing just as much heat as his superiors. –Michael Madden
05. YG feat. Kendrick Lamar – “Really Be (Smokin N Drinkin)”
Of course it takes discipline to bring a local style to the national stage as YG did with the figure-8 quake of the “ratchet” sound. But even the Compton rapper’s ardent supporters would’ve had a hard time predicting something as widescreen as “Really Be (Smokin N Drinkin)”, which will be on YG’s My Krazy Life, out next week. Plinky and creaky with a formidable low end, it skates a lot like good kid, m.A.A.d City’s Jay Rock collaboration “Money Trees”. Kendrick’s actual presence here, meanwhile, only insures the song’s ambition. Don’t forget your ski mask. –Michael Madden
Listen in below (via In Flex We Trust).
04. Mac DeMarco – “Brother”
Mac DeMarco’s latest single, “Brother”, commences with a deep exhale, relieving the stresses of his everyday life and kicking back with a Viceroy. The song reads like an advice column as it attempts to direct eyes towards home, a worry-less paradise. The chorus scoops the listener up and leads the way with tinny guitar riffs and swoon-worthy harmonies. One of the most attractive elements of DeMarco’s style is his easy-going catchiness, which makes his music comfortable, and “Brother” captures that perfectly. Keep an eye out for his next set of slacker jams, Salad Days, due April 1st via Captured Tracks. –Sam Willett