With the music portion of SXSW right around the corner, our ears have been pressed firmly to the ground in the search for exciting new artists. This week that includes the engrossing folk of Kate Stables’ This Is the Kit to teenage Chicago rapper/producer Frank Leone. A few more recognizable names made the cut as well, the likes of Sufjan Stevens and Tame Impala checking in with new tracks. The Top Songs of the Week feature will be taking next week off, but between this excellent batch of tunes and our upcoming SXSW coverage, there’ll be plenty to get hyped about.
10. Frank Leone – “MONSTERS”
19-year-old producer/MC Frank Leone grew up in Monticello, IL, somewhere between Chicago and the expansive greenery of Allerton Park, one of the “Seven Wonders of Illinois.” But he’s pretty clear where his new tape should lead you: out into the woods. Leone has been dropping bits and pieces of EnterWILD since he started working on it three years ago, highlights like “TOAD VISION” only offering a glimpse of the project’s “action/adventure album” story, something akin to vision questing through a dark, supernatural forest. Though originally dropped a bit ago, “MONSTERS” gains an extra psychedelic malevolence in context, equal parts hardcore menace and Hans Zimmer burn thanks to pitch-shifted moans and screams. Frank and fellow Chicagoan Monster Mike trade verses on this fangs-bared burner, the two “monsters coming for your stash.” Check out the entirety of EnterWILD on SoundCloud. –Adam Kivel
9. Crooked Colours – “Another Way”
“Another Way” offers a taste of the indietronica stylings of Perth trio Crooked Colours. Premiered by Dom Alessio of Australia’s triple j, the standalone single is an emotive convergence of Friendly Fires-esque pop with Mord Fustang’s electro mania. The first portion lures the listener into a shallow pool of shimmering echoes before a geyser erupts at 2:12, sending the vibes into nape-tingling territory. Grab the single today via Sweat It Out. –Derek Staples
8. Denzel Curry – “Envy Me”
If nothing else, Florida rapper Denzel Curry, barely 20, is an exciting prospect because of just how much he seems to believe in himself. His verses convulse with speed, emphasis, and, more to the point, a dazzling sense of competitiveness, which is why a song called “Envy Me” is bound to feature some of the most impressive rapping he’s capable of. There are Southern inclinations at play in Curry’s delivery and frequent collaborator Ronny J’s cosmic beat, but you can hear that Curry is in many ways a product of the internet, too; he’s not an artist to be boxed in. “I’ma keep balling til the end of me,” he assures on the hook, and you can tell he sees both obstacles and myriad opportunities for recognition between now and then. Find “Envy Me” on Curry’s 32 Zel / Planet Shrooms double EP, out May 26th. –Michael Madden