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Top Songs of the Week (5/15)

Familiar faces and CoSign alumni check in to this week's countdown.

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We use our CoSign feature to highlight music’s best and brightest up-and-coming performers. In this edition of Top Songs of the Week, not one but two recent recipients of the CoSign check into the countdown with excellent new tracks: Chicago rapper ShowYouSuck brings the positive mental attitude, while Louisville garage rockers White Reaper deliver a fiery new cut from their upcoming debut. Add to that the likes of electronic wizard Nicolas Jaar, metal riffers High on Fire, and more, and you have a list locked and loaded for a wild weekend.

10. Lil Durk – “What Your Life Like”

Lil Durk Remember My Name

Lil Durk is one of Chicago drill rap’s most popular voices, which is a double-edged sword: He gets credit for being at the forefront of an ever-evolving movement (the term “drill” hardly encompasses the variety of the city’s darker rap sounds) and finds himself cited as a scapegoat for the glorification of violence. Maybe more than any Durk song since 2013’s “Dis Ain’t What U Want”, “What Your Life Like” distills the finer points of his often misunderstood artistry. He acknowledges the magnetic pull of the streets and recognizes the importance of staying out of them for the benefit of what has proved to be a successful rap career. “I ride with too much Auto-Tune/ I heard that shit before,” Durk shrugs, and here, over Young Chop’s sinister beat, the effect is used for good, not evil. His braying is altered to intensify his determination: “I’m addicted to sidewalks/ I’m workin’, no time off/ Gotta gain that time lost.” Find the song on his Def Jam debut, Remember My Name, out June 2nd. –Michael Madden

9. HANA – “Clay”

HANA Clay

HANA, the 25-year-old singer-songwriter who used to record under her full name of Hana Pestle, swapped her acoustic guitar for a sleek set of beats on her debut mononymous single, “Clay”. Like her friend Grimes has been known to do, HANA teamed up with Blood Diamonds for the track, and together they’ve produced a buoyant and slowly blooming instrumental backing for her crisp, expressive voice. “Now I’m going that way/ And you’ll never find me,” she sings. “Nothing to show but my name.” It’s a bitter breakup tune that doubles as a confident statement of purpose for the young singer, and we’re excited to see where she runs with it next.–Sasha Geffen

8. ShowYouSuck – “Love PMA”

 Top Songs of the Week (5/15)

CoSigned Chicago rapper ShowYouSuck is a malleable, easygoing presence in a Chicago rap landscape that sometimes suffocates individuality, and the two-minute “Love PMA” is a quirky song of twisty rhyme patterns, unpredictable pop culture references, and even some sentimentality, as Show remembers Christmas 1988 and his mom’s hard work over the years. It all coheres to form a glimpse of his versatility. Mike Jaxx’s beat is fluid and breezy, but also slightly off-kilter, mirroring Show’s unwillingness to put anything but his own unique stamp on a track. –Michael Madden

7. Sorority Noise – “Art School Wannabe”

Sorority Noise

Where do you shelve all the lives you never lived? On Sorority Noise‘s new single, Cameron Boucher is haggard, tired, and badly dressed as he spills through his 20-something angst. “Maybe I’m my own greatest fear,” he wonders against the bright bleed of his band’s guitars. But he doesn’t get bogged down with the thought; by the end of the chorus, he flips it. “Maybe I am not the person that I never wanted to be,” he sings, twisting a double negative into the shape of the sentiment that it could always, always be worse. Backed up by some spirited play from the Connecticut band’s drummer, Charlie Singer, “Art School Wannabe” promises fun things to come from Sorority Noise’s forthcoming album Joy, Departed, due June 16th from Topshelf Records. –Sasha Geffen

6. Michael Christmas feat. Royal – “Home”

Michael Christmas

With his contagious grin, it’s only fitting whenever Boston rapper Michael Christmas sounds genuinely warm and good-humored on a track. That anti-seriousness is the backbone of “Home”, which he released to celebrate being at home for his 21st birthday following some touring (for which he humbly wore the same pair of Jordans throughout). It features a number of goofy moments, notably the line “Hope I make them bullies all stutter like Maybach” and his accompanying adlib of MMG’s signature watermark. Still, Xmas is not exactly a “joke rapper,” at least not to the point that he can’t display real technical ability; “Home”, a song defined by the harmony of his good-natured rapping and the piano-led fluidity of Royal’s beat, clicks into place most gorgeously when he hits a crisp, accelerated flow. –Michael Madden

5. La Luz – “You Disappear”

La Luz band surf rock hardly art

La Luz‘s surfy psych rock keeps a darkness coiled deep inside itself. Who better to draw it out than the scuzz-pop prince of the West Coast? Ty Segall produced “You Disappear”, along with the rest of the Seattle band’s forthcoming sophomore effort, Weirdo Shrine, out August 7th via Hardly Art. The single’s guitar licks stink of salt water and peroxide, but its itchy rhythm section hints that not all is well under the sun. But the song’s centerpiece has to be the way the band’s vocal harmonies intertwine, lending just the right dose of noir to the upbeat affair. La Luz is the shark hiding beneath the surf seconds before its fin breaks water. –Sasha Geffen


4. White Reaper – “I Don’t Think She Cares”

white reaper1 Top Songs of the Week (5/15)

The recently CoSigned dudes from White Reaper are tearing through spring 2015. While preparing to deliver their pumped up garage rock to venues across the US to close out the season, the Kentucky-bred outfit are debuting new burners as they approach the July 17th release of their debut LP, White Reaper Does It Again (via Polyvinyl). The album’s title might come off a bit cocky, but “I Don’t Think She Cares”, like “Make Me Wanna Die” before it, reinforces that strong sentiment. From the initial percussive blasts to the distorted vocals to the lone guitar freakout, White Reaper own their punk rock exuberance, even if the woman in question decided to walk away. OK, so picking up a guitar won’t help you land every available female, but even when things turn sour, at least you’re left with new material. –Derek Staples

3. Nicolas Jaar – “The Three Sides of Audrey and Why She’s All Alone Now”

nicolasjaar01 Top Songs of the Week (5/15)

Nicolas Jaar has always been fond of leisurely tempos. With the rest of the world beating at 120 BPM or higher, Jaar hovers around 100. As the tempo slows, he discovers more room to practice his dark electronic wizardry. At more than seven minutes in length, “The Three Sides of Audrey and Why She’s All Alone Now” is an expansive canvas of alluring ambiance, haunting echoes, and broken melodies. Amid this downtrodden chaos exists a fleeting glimpse into its source, Jaar muttering precious few intelligible words. Despite all the elements, Jaar never totally relinquishes control, the many parts eventually finding a route toward a peaceful cohabitation. Just as with life, the path isn’t always comfortable. Find “The Three Sides of Audrey and Why She’s All Alone Now” as the A-side of Jaar’s new Nymphys II EP. –Derek Staples

2. Roses – “Quiet Time”

Moaning-Roses-560x560

It was selfish to hope that off-kilter Los Angeles punk outfit Abe Vigoda would last as long as the character actor they were named after — the guy’s still going at 94 years of age. But if they were going to burn out, at least we get the promising new outfit Roses as consolation. Featuring Abe guitarist/keyboardist Juan Velasquez, the new wave project works with some high-quality John Hughes soundtrack guitar tones and Cure bass, but makes way for some distortion as well. Find “Quiet Time” on an upcoming Converse 7-inch as well as the group’s cassette split with Moaning. Listen at Stereogum. –Adam Kivel

1. High on Fire – “The Black Plot”

High on Fire Luminiferous

Metal maestros High on Fire teamed up with producer/Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou for their new album, Luminiferous, and that decision is already paying dividends. Early taste “The Black Plot” features some of the trio’s best chain-lightning riffage and Matt Pike’s vocals at their most rabid. The song is supposedly about the way aliens have secretly affected world history, but the howling, shredding, and galloping on “The Black Plot” sound more like the work of mythic warriors than interstellar visitors. Luminiferous is due June 23rd via eOne Music. –Adam Kivel

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