Top 10 Songs of the Week (9/19)


    This week’s new music didn’t bring much in terms of headlines, Jack White and Dave Grohl’s strange non-feud aside, but it did bring some great tracks. DJ Quik made his long-awaited return, while acts like The Rural Alberta Advantage, Beat Connection, and Deptford Goth continued their promising promotional campaigns for their respective upcoming LPs. When nothing grabs huge headlines, it’s best to check out the offerings from bands that mostly skirt outside the attention-grabbing stunts and controversy. Here are selections that may not be showy, but are more than worth your while.

    10. Deniro Farrar and Denzel Curry – “Feel Like That”

    Deniro Farrar Denzel Curry

    Whereas Run the Jewels finessed a heist this week by trading lines in dizzying succession, Deniro Farrar and Denzel Curry‘s “Feel Like That” is neatly bisected: Deniro fills the first half of the song, Denzel the second, and neither appears in the other’s space. The very first thing to notice is producer Ryan “Ryu” Alexy’s evocative vocal sample, and Deniro and Denzel are tasked with matching its melancholy tone. They’re both successful. Deniro, his voice wafting like blunt smoke, sounds sorrowful even as he makes heartless threats. Denzel, on the other hand, quickens and slows his flow with confidence, but he still sounds determined to justify a line that signifies both his coldness and a desire to break bad habits: “My heart equals the 31st of December.” Catch these two now on their Bow Down joint tour. –Michael Madden


    9. Beach Slang – “Dirty Cigarettes”


    “Dirty Cigarettes” is the third new song that Beach Slang have let slip this month, and it might be the toothiest installation in the Philadelphia band’s young career. Following the playful “All Fuzzed Out” and “American Girls and French Kisses”, this new track from the trio’s forthcoming Cheap Thrills on a Dead End Street EP treads close to the shadow of the Stone Roses without losing its early-era Goo Goo Dolls charm. “I fall in love to pass the time,” howls singer James Snyder against a rough and mournful lead guitar riff. “I need the struggle to feel alive.” It’s a hot, barbed jam that features some of Beach Slang’s cleanest and most introspective lyrics: an exercise in simplicity set against big, ambitious songwriting. –Sasha Geffen

    8. Angel Olsen – “All Right Now”

    Nina Corcoran, Angel Olsen 1

    Taken from the upcoming deluxe edition of her beautiful new LP, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, “All Right Now” supplies a glimpse into the bare crafting ritual behind Angel Olsen’s work. With just a few layers of guitars, organ, and the occasional percussive flourish, the formerly unreleased song sees Olsen singing at the upper end of her register, articulating soothing counterpoints to the heartbreak she wove into the album’s devastating tracks. “It’s always been all right,” she sings spectrally in front of a gently swaying instrumental mesh. “All Right Now” comes as a rare reassurance from a songwriter known for her brutal takes on love and losing it, but it’s a lullaby we’ll happily file next to the gut-punches. –Sasha Geffen

    7. Beat Connection – “Another Go Around”


    Be prepared to bask in nostalgic electropop when Beat Connection’s sophomore effort (the follow-up to 2012’s The Palace Garden) drops in early 2015. The Seattle trio’s synth charm cuts through the sorrow that preceded “Another Go Around”, a track for that post-breakup introspection. Live, learn, and then get back to dancing. –Derek Staples

    6. DJ Quik feat. David Blake II – “That Getter”

    DJ Quik

    DJ Quik has been a leader of West Coast hip-hop since DJ Mustard was just a squirt, and with “That Getter”, he sounds perfectly oblivious to the younger producer’s ongoing dominance. The single, which features Quik’s son, David Blake II, does slap, but there’s a more subtle sense of timing, too. For instance, that jittery loop that enters the mix midway through Quik’s verse adds a kinetic fold to an already energetic track. “Motherfuckas in my neighborhood grew up to be nothin’,” Quik raps. “I went around the world stuntin’, they still there doin’ nothin’.” The repeated rhyme emphasizes the slackers’ monotony, and that’s just one trick from a veteran who seems to know ’em all by now. Quik’s The Midnight Life is out October 14th. –Michael Madden

    5. Zola Jesus – “Go (Blank Sea)”


    Zola Jesus has always thrived on making glitchy pop bangers that seep into the listener’s psyche and become more infectious with each listen. On her latest, “Go (Blank Sea)”, another single off her forthcoming Taiga (out October 7th via Mute), the Phoenix-born singer constructs a compelling pop anthem over waves of atmospheric synths, vocal samples, and ambitious drum machine blasts. She’s referred to Taiga as her “true debut,” and while she goes for more straightforward pop structures, the left-field compositions give her enough edge to stake her claim as one of the most interesting pop singers in the genre. –Josh Terry

    4. Lydia Ainsworth – “Hologram”

    Lydia Ainsworth

    There’s a certain wintriness to “Holgram”, the latest from Toronto/Brooklyn singer-songwriter Lydia Ainsworth, but that’s not to say it sounds bleak or slow-moving. Instead, Ainsworth leads with her voice and keeps a fuzzy blanket of piano, strings, and an oddly hooky swatch of vocal samples in motion. “One hologram ends, another begins,” she sings — a tough line to pin down, but its suggestion of newness couldn’t be more fitting. Truly, Ainsworth has a sound of her own. Her debut album, Right from Real, is out September 30th via Arbutus Records. –Michael Madden

    3. Deptford Goth – “Two Hearts”


    The piano chords opening Deptford Goth’s “Two Hearts” vaguely resemble Bill Withers’ classic “Lean on Me”, and the shift from darkly shaded ambience to more uncomplicated pop suits the British producer well. The second taste of his upcoming Songs (out November 4th via 37 Adventures/PIAS Recordings), the track feels like a Motown-inspired ballad, with a soulful sway and delicate harmonies. Daniel Woolhouse highlights his newfound vocal dexterity, cooing over the warm pianos and soft backing vocals. This kind of pop music is timeless, with a less-is-more approach to songwriting that works exceptionally well. –Josh Terry

    2. The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Runners in the Night”


    Songs from The Rural Alberta Advantage work not entirely because of their content, but in their emphatic, visceral delivery from vocalist and chief songwriter Nils Edenloff. With “Runners in the Night”, the third single off the Canadian trio’s upcoming Mended with Gold (out September 30th via Saddle Creek), Edenloff’s nasally howls and string-breaking acoustic strums give enough emotional resonance to make it the best single so far. Though The Rural Alberta Advantage seem perfectly content to keep combining resonant folk with flailing punk energy, the strength of these songs shows that sometimes change isn’t necessary for growth. –Josh Terry