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Top 10 Songs of the Week (5/30)

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Week after week, we’re able to draw comparisons between the artists we cover in Top Songs and artists we cover elsewhere. This week, though, saw the release of standout tracks composed by acts who did a great job of either sounding like themselves or employing songwriting techniques that will always sound warmly familiar (as JJ does with the piano progressions of “All White Everything”). Besides Woods (who have always brought to mind classic pop-rock strummers of the ’60s and ’70s), it’s been a week that made cross-pollinators elsewhere in the music world look indecisive.

10. BOYTOY – “Blazed”

boytoy Top 10 Songs of the Week (5/30)Throw “Blazed” on the summer smoking playlist. The big guitars and distant echoed vocals are equal parts Lush and Queens of the Stone Age, and the psychedelic instrumental bridge goes beyond the rigid song structures typical of contemporary garage acts. BOYTOY is fresh on the scene, but have already attracted the attention of Burger Records, who are putting out the Brooklyn rockers’ debut LP as a cassette — a rite of passage for many an aspiring guitar band. –Jon Hadusek

09. Adult Jazz – “Spook”

AdultJazzy

In the middle of Adult Jazz’s “Spook”, the band states that they write songs to trick, and after experiencing the zaniness of the song’s structure, that makes a lot of sense. “Spook” employs this strategy through a number of instrumental movements, whether it’s guitar orchestration a la Dirty Projectors or ambiance built from reverberated piano keys. The track is featured on their upcoming debut album, Gist Is, which is set for release on August 4th via Spare Thought. –Sam Willett


08. Lower – “Soft Option”

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With the cold, taunting “Soft Option”, Copenhagen’s Lower have a catchy punk scraper on their hands; there’s no reason to believe frontman Adrian Toubro wanted to write something hooky, even though he groans lines like “Step aside, take precautions” with all possible deliberation, meanwhile bringing to mind Joe Strummer’s snottiest deliveries. Musically, it’s a throttling clump of itching guitars and snapping bass, the turbulence mirroring the relationship between Toubro and the song’s subject. Seek Warmer Climes, Lower’s debut album, is out June 17th via Matador. –Michael Madden

07. 1987 – “Michelle”

1987

Even though the lyrics to the latest from 1987, “Michelle”, are largely indecipherable, the melancholy producer showcases his feelings for the song’s mysterious subject through the track’s lyrical mood and tone. While its foundation is delicate and dreamy, he gradually escalates his emotions to a point where he needs to cry out her name. —Sam Willett

06. Woods – “Tambourine Light”

Woods Tambourine Light

On the heels of With Light & With Love, Woods prepped a new 7″ single of jammy favorites that didn’t make it onto the masters. “Tambourine Light”, one of those tracks, dances with the lingering shadows and spirits of unsettling mourning. Singer Jeremy Earl uses stunning harmonies to call out to the sun, echoing sunny tracks like the full-length’s “Only the Lonely”. Check out the “Tambourine Light”/”Tomorrow’s Only Yesterday” split on July 8th via Woodsist and Captured Tracks. –Sam Willett


05. JJ – “All White Everything”

jj sweden Top 10 Songs of the Week (5/30)

“What you know about that? No, you don’t know a thing,” insists JJ’s Elin Kastlander on “All White Everything”, as her confusion at the start of the song (“Time to pray, time to say what’s been on my mind”) finally melts away. Opening as a tender piano ballad, it grows into something more crowded but no less considered, and it’s a natural progression. V, the third JJ album, is out August 19th via Secretly Canadian/Sincerely Yours. –Michael Madden

04. Foxing – “The Medic”

Foxing The Albatross

Emo revival act Foxing has remastered and given a wide release to their debut, The Albatross, a daring effort that focuses more on piano lines than the stereotypical guitar distortion. “The Medic” exemplifies that best and builds a subtle, gorgeous atmosphere with twinkling guitars and digitalized drum foundations. The band lives up to essentials of the genre too, spilling their guts with powerfully belted lyrical tales about love failed too quickly. Check out the rest of the remastered Albatross here–Sam Willett

03. YAITW – “Betrayed By Light”

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A bloodcurdling a cappella scream opens the lead track of the sophomore LP from YAITW: “When life comes to death.” It’s a statement of morbid intent and disillusion from the pessimistic Charlotte crust punks, who unleash a blackened hardcore assault on “Betrayed By Light”. The production brings out every jagged edge in the buzzing guitar work, d-beat drums, and guttural delivery of frontman Kable Lyall. The result is pure violence. –Jon Hadusek

02. Ghostface & BADBADNOTGOOD feat. Danny Brown – “Six Degrees”

ghostfacedannybrown Top 10 Songs of the Week (5/30)

“Six Degrees” is a meeting of the old school and new school, as Ghostface and Danny Brown trade verses over a jazzy instrumental by BADBADNOTGOOD. And it’s that beat that pulls this one together, providing the slinky backbone for Ghostface’s pseudo-gangsta intellectualism and Brown’s spasms. The latter is the highlight on this track; his chaotic verse clashes with the order of music. We haven’t heard much from Brown since last year’s excellent Old, but he sounds as sharp as ever here. The collaboration is the A-side to a forthcoming 10” out June 24th (via Lex Records) and is backed by an instrumental called “Tone’s Rap”.–Jon Hadusek

01. A Sunny Day in Glasgow – “Bye Bye, Big Ocean (The End)”

A Sunny Day in Glasgow

A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s tangly, distortion-heavy “Bye Bye, Big Ocean (The End)” sounds like four or five songs in one, none of them alike. It’s a grower, then — duh. The first seconds of the first listen tell you absolutely nothing about what this thing is or where it’s going. In fact, Jen Goma and Annie Fredrickson’s soft but purposeful vocals are the only element to latch onto. Everything else congeals into a glorious sweep that splits the difference between ambient and dream pop. Sea When Absent, the band’s fourth album, is out June 24th via Lefse. –Michael Madden

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