Top 10 Songs of the Week (4/4)


    Whatever preventative measures you take to avoid hearing loss, get ‘em ready, because we have a boisterous countdown this week. From Thee Oh Sees’ tight songwriting to Jack White’s vicious instrumental, this is a list loaded with frenzied rhythms and six-string warfare. Competitive rhymes from Drake and nostalgic hiss from Ricky Eat Acid are here for good measure, but that’s relatively easy listening.

    10. Thee Oh Sees – “Drop”


    It’s possible Thee Oh Sees have appeared on this countdown more than any other band, and that’s not just because they release a lot of songs. John Dwyer runs his label, Castle Face, and his various musical projects with businesslike efficiency, but never at the expense of his art (this is 100% DIY, a la Rough Trade and Merge). And he’s wise when it comes to choosing which album cuts to tease. Latest single “Drop” — the title cut from their forthcoming, pre-hiatus-recorded album — is tight, cheerful, and more song-oriented than the neurotic psychedelia of last year’s Floating Coffin. There are “oohs” and “ahhs” and Kinks-esque riffing, and those guitar solos after the verses are the kind of wild moments Thee Oh Sees are known for — sure to spark moshes and put the sweat on the floor. –Jon Hadusek


    09. Ricky Eat Acid – “Can You See It’s Bloom”

    Boring Ecstasy

    Here in Chicago, we’re currently experiencing a dead spring. Even though the air is starting to feel warmer, our surroundings are still bare-boned and dead. Ricky Eat Acid’s “Can You See It’s Bloom” looks beyond those brittle characteristics and toward renewal. Its simple, two-note keystrokes bring tranquility, further developed with wind chimes and sporadic electronic manipulation. Sam Ray, the man behind the project, attempts to illustrate the gradual growth of the season’s greenery and beauty with every layer, and if taken seriously enough, you can feel it, too. The track is a part of Orchid Tapes’ newest compilation, Boring Ecstasy: The Bedroom Pop of Orchid Tapes, available here–Sam Willett

    08. Drake – “Draft Day”

    drake cover 650 Top 10 Songs of the Week (4/4)

    “In this position that we’re in, it takes major sacrifice,” Drake told ESPN’s First Take last September when asked about buddy Johnny Manziel, the Texas A&M quarterback jock-tastically depicted in this surprise song’s cover art. Arriving a month ahead of Manziel’s inevitable selection at the 2014 NFL Draft, however, the Lauryn Hill-sampling “Draft Day” is a victory lap, the rap equivalent of Johnny Football finger-wagging at an opposing cornerback after tossing Mike Evans another touchdown. “That boy singin’ on every song when he know he can spit,” Drizzy raps, impersonating a loyal fan; here, he primarily spits. There are a couple throwaway lines (under whose celestial jurisdiction is Drake our “darkest angel”?), but eventually he finds a zone: “I play like I’m on ‘roids, no Canseco, no Oakland A’s though, shout out the Bay though.” —Michael Madden

    07. Jack White – “High Ball Stepper”

    jack white 2014

    The half-burnt raging of “High Ball Stepper”, our first taste of Jack White’s Lazaretto (out June 10th via Third Man Records/Columbia), recalls the mercenary focus of the scene in It Might Get Loud when White constructs a functional guitar from an empty Coke bottle, a wooden board, and other domestic debris. After the initial blues rock guitar drips, there’s a piano break during which White presumably takes a long drag from his cigarillo. Eventually, we’re re-launched into a groove that is, spiritually speaking, close to the bluster of today’s blockbuster rap production. Did we mention there’s no singing? —Michael Madden

    06. How to Dress Well – “Repeat Pleasure”

    howdresswel001 Top 10 Songs of the Week (4/4)

    Last week, Tom Krell (aka How to Dress Well) played Chicago and blew us away, and now he’s dropped a new single, “Repeat Pleasure”, and announced a new album, “What Is This Heart?” (out June 24th via Domino). On this track, like his other recent single, “Words I Don’t Remember”, the crooner shifts his crafty R&B toward danceable pop, though it’s still calm and concentrated. There’s an uncertain melancholy in his voice, as if it’s so pure that it could crack into shambles in an instant. Synths pulse, while tiny ticks and tocks keep the rhythm. –Jon Hadusek

    05. Tweens – “Be Mean”

    tweens Top 10 Songs of the Week (4/4)

    The pop punk of Cincinnati outfit Tweens buzzes with nostalgic analog warbles and melodic female vox that call back to the Bangles, only sassier and punkier. Singer Bridget Battle ain’t down with all that twee fluffy stuff. “Your sweetness is killing me,” she sings on “Be Mean”, a highlight cut off their self-titled debut (streaming here). A masochistic anthem or pure sarcasm? Tweens leave that up for interpretation. –Jon Hadusek

    04. Parquet Courts – “Sunbathing Animal”


    Parquet Courts’ latest single, “Sunbathing Animal”, intends to demolish the band’s “slacker” tag, evidenced by this rundown posted on their blog. Its hard-hitting guitar strumming pumps adrenaline into their most sophisticated lyricism yet, honing in on undeniable habits and personal weakness. Nonetheless, they have fun ripping through gnarly guitar solos and epic punk jams. Keep a look out for their upcoming album, Sunbathing Animal, due June 3rd via What’s Your Rupture?/Mom+Pop. —Sam Willett

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