Top Songs of the Week (5/1)

Titus Andronicus, Refused, and Dog Party made this week loud and large.


    Sometimes, you start the work week, and the next thing you know, it’s already Thursday. This week felt that way around here, as it was packed with great new releases and standout songs. Heck, this year has felt that way — it’s already May, with a third of the year clocked away. But, to ease some of the anxiety that comes with the calendar pages flipping by, we’ve got some new tracks from a bevy of heavy-hitters. We’re psyched on the return of Titus Andronicus, grooving with R&B crooner Gallant, and riding with young rap phenom Bishop Nehru. And that’s less than a third of the list.

    10. Bishop Nehru – “Harmony in a Glass”

    Bishop Nehru

    After releasing a project with MF DOOM in the form of last fall’s NehruvianDOOM, 18-year-old New Yorker Bishop Nehru is now showing that he doesn’t need a big-name collaborator by his side to progress as a rapper. In fact, once he begins his first verse on the silky “Harmony in a Glass”, he’s too zoned in to even let the beat breathe, much less invite a guest rapper into the fold. That’s not to say the song is tensely introspective, although Nehru’s opening lines (“Not a day passes that the glass doesn’t spill/ Because my happiness and sadness interact before the thrill”) do set up the track to be a reflective one. Still, he eases up to give it a youthful tint: “Blowin’ doja so the aroma’s in the coat stuck/ Showin’ no fucks, I just stroll with the funk.” Find the song on Nehruvia: The Nehruvian EP, out May 11th via Mass Appeal. –Michael Madden

    9. Ten Walls – “Blue Orphan”


    Hailing from Lithuania, Ten Walls is still a relatively unknown force in the deep/tech house community. A producer’s producer, he packs the same disorienting/enchanting melodies and bassoon undertones into the fresh “Blue Orphan” that first tantalized dance floors during the rise of 2014’s “Walking with Elephants”. With plenty of organic and sci-fi textures to break the repetition of the bass line, this is a deep house single ready for those transitioning from dark big room to the underground groove. “Blue Orphan” arrives as the B-side to “Sparta”, out May 2nd via BOSO. –Derek Staples

    8. Valkyrie – “Wintry Plains”

    Valkyrie Shadows

    If Virginia doom band Valkyrie is to be considered a side project of Baroness guitarist Pete Adams, then “Wintry Plains” makes it seem absolutely crucial that he doesn’t let seven more years pass before putting together another album with this group. Spanning nearly seven minutes, the first four are soaring and monstrous, but then the song falls back into a gorgeous psych-folk drip, ultimately launching into a titanic groove once more. It’s a thrill ride of a song with impeccable pacing, and you can find it on Shadows, the first Valkyrie album since 2008’s Man of Two Visions, out May 19th via Relapse. –Michael Madden

    7. Ezra Furman – “Lousy Connection”

    ezra furman

    Whether backed up by a solitary acoustic guitar or a full brass band, Ezra Furman is a charmer. New single “Lousy Connection” veers close to the songwriter’s maximalist edge, singing against piano, saxophone, guitar, and drums in an almost comically overwrought frenzy. But Furman’s an expert songwriter and a terrific bandleader, too — if anyone can nail a tune about modern alienation while saxes wail in the background, it’s Furman. Furman’s Bella Union debut, Perpetual Motion People, arrives July 6th, and so far it’s shaping up to be one of the more kinetic and exciting summer releases on our radar. –Sasha Geffen

    6. Gallant – “Talking in Your Sleep”


    Similar to Mind of a Genius boss ZHU, LA’s Gallant has kept largely out of the public eye and allowed his emotive future R&B to bubble organically to the top of the blogosphere. Casting his effortless vocals atop a dynamic STiNT-produced beat, “Talking in Your Sleep” pairs a fluid How to Dress Well charm with an intermittent Portishead bleakness. Like the first few moments of rest, “Talking In Your Sleep” inhabits both the light and dark of existence, cherishing all of those moments no matter how uncertain. Expect this single to appear on a Gallant release later this year via Mind of a Genius. –Derek Staples

    Gallant - Talking In Your Sleep | Listen for free at

    5. Angelic Milk – “IDK How”

    Angelic Milk IDK How

    The first single from St. Petersburg songwriter Sarah Persephona, who records as Angelic Milk, bubbles over with hardboiled teen ennui. Persephona retreated to her solo project once her punk band fell apart in 2013, and now the project sees the light of day thanks to PNKSLM Recordings. “She called the project angelic milk, which actually means nothing,” reads Angelic Milk’s Facebook bio. Still, it’s a fitting label to slap on this grunged-out guitar jam, which weights each downstroke with molten lead. “I don’t know how/ But if I learned how, I’d be the best,” she sings. Sounds like she’s well on her way. –Sasha Geffen

    4. Titus Andronicus – “Dimed Out”


    If you’re going to announce a 29-track, 93-minute rock opera, you better do so with an unstoppable sample. The ever-ambitious and literary Titus Andronicus — their band name is a Shakespeare play and their new album’s title, The Most Lamentable Tragedy, is a theater reference too — did exactly that with the furious, fun “Dimed Out”. “As long as there’s a law I’ll be a criminal,” frontman Patrick Stickles howls, the song’s rebellious spirit a sign that the rock opera will be more on the approachable side of the spectrum than the pretentious. The Most Lamentable Tragedy hits shelves July 28th via Merge. –Adam Kivel

    3. Chelsea Wolfe – “Iron Moon”

    Chelsea Wolfe - Abyss - new album

    Chelsea Wolfe returned this week with a new single and an album announcement, and the former is just as heavy as its title implies. “Iron Moon” batters with its weight from its opening seconds, when overdriven guitar and doom metal bass crash into the ear and then suddenly withdraw. Wolfe’s voice against clean fingerpicking supplies a delicate counterpoint to the storm that starts the track, but it doesn’t take long for her to join in the fray. “Iron Moon” bends into a muscular roar by its apex, but Wolfe’s knack for melody never gets drowned out. Wolfe’s new album Abyss arrives via Sargent House on August 7th. –Sasha Geffen

    2. Dog Party – “Peanut Butter Dream”

    Photo by Natly G Paco

    I’ll never forget the first time I got an email about Dog Party. It had been a long week, and the prospect of hanging out with some collies or something sounded amazing. But alas, I’d been fooled again — it was just a note about another rock band. I was delighted, however, to find that the teenaged sisters using the delightful name had the fun, upbeat pop punk that deserved the name. That continues on the fist-pumping “Peanut Butter Dream”, a track that could’ve been a hit with the Daria crowd, only Lucy and Gwen Giles aren’t old enough to have a memory of that era. This absolute gem and the surrounding album, Vol. 4, drops June 16th via Asian Man Records/Burger Records. –Adam Kivel

    1. Refused – “Elektra”


    Refused hardly stuck around to partake in the musical future they envisioned with The Shape of Punk to Come, breaking up months after the album was released in 1998. After reuniting in 2012, then bringing the reunion to an end, then reuniting again, “Elektra” is the Swedish hardcore band’s first new song in 17 years. Co-written with (um) pop hitmaker Shellback, it’s an apocalyptic lightning storm of a song, striking with rapid riffs, drummer David Sandström’s expert smashing, and Dennis Lyxzén’s howls. “The time has come/ There’s no escape,” he sings, and if he’s talking about Refused’s return, we’re more than happy to be on lockdown. Find the song on the band’s upcoming fourth album, Freedom, out June 30th via Epitaph. –Michael Madden