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Top Songs of the Week (5/8)

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    As a music obsessive, not much tops long road trips soundtracked by great mixes or surrounding yourself with fresh tunes while strolling through a crowded city center. With temperatures finally topping 70 across most of the nation, we can now all indulge in spring/summertime exploits. Whether you prefer charming the cul-de-sac with Ducktails, serenading the block with Little Boots, confusing grannies with ASAP Rocky’s Rod Stewart sample, or setting off car alarms with the likes of Nocturnal Sunshine and Lil Silva, this week’s list promises to keep the weekend lively.

    10. Tronik Youth – “The Healer”

    Tronik Youth

    Saturday night and Sunday morning come crashing together on Tronik Youth’s “The Healer”. A mix of incendiary disco and soulful gospel, Neil Parnell takes to the decks as a synth-backed preacher for this nearly six-minute dance floor sermon. This fusion of hedonism and scripture has its lineage in Chicago’s earliest underground house parties, yet, when crafted by scene vet Parnell, the vibes continue to arrive with the same mystical force as they did back in 1985. Grab “The Healer” on May 18th via Parnell’s own Nein Records, and look for Tronik Youth’s debut album to come out this summer. –Derek Staples

    9. Ducktails – “Headbanging in the Mirror”

    Ducktails St Catherine

    As the lead noodler for Real Estate, Matt Mondanile might have one of the most instantly recognizable guitar tones in the business right now. He carries that light touch to Ducktails, where his pearly licks kick in on a spookier strain of soft rock. “Headbanging in the Mirror” indulges a swath of psychedelic squiggles and layered vocals. Like Strand of Oaks’ “Goshen ’97” last year, this new Ducktails cut takes a look back at where Mondanile’s come from and where he’s going — and the music that’s been getting him there all the way. “Headbanging in the Mirror” arrives as the first sample of Ducktails’ forthcoming record, St. Cathedral, due out July 24th from Domino. –Sasha Geffen

    8. Nocturnal Sunshine feat. Chelou – “Believe”

    Nocturnal Sunshine

    Maya Jane Coles, who produces hard, lean beats as Nocturnal Sunshine, lets the London act Chelou take vocal duties on her latest offering, “Believe”. The two artists make a startling study in opposites: Nocturnal Sunshine sets sharp drum machines and warm, muted bass loose in the track’s airspace, while Chelou’s wrinkled rock vocals trace minimal melodic patterns in the foreground. “I don’t believe in anything,” goes the chorus, and before long, the synths are melting into the voices, and the line between human and machine blurs. “Neither here, neither there, neither anywhere/ I am nothing,” sings Chelou at the bridge — as if they can feel themselves dissolving into the night. –Sasha Geffen

    7. Little Boots – “Better in the Morning”

    Little Boots

    Little Boots, aka Victoria Hesketh, is regularly compared to today’s biggest pop stars, but it’s telling that new single “Better in the Morning” benefits from its lack of grandeur, favoring a smooth electropop bounce. That’s not to say it doesn’t have a chance at remarkable commercial success; as easy as they seem to come to her, the “doot-doot-doots” and the titular chorus land as being scientifically well-placed. “Lost track of the time/ I never meant to make you wait,” Hesketh sings here, but the fact is that she’s working fast, having just released a four-song EP in December, with a new full-length on the way. “Better in the Morning”, then, is a convincing reason to get you to keep up with her. Find it on her third album, Working Girl, which arrives July 10th via Dim Mak/On Repeat. –Michael Madden

    6. Lil Bibby feat. Lil Herb – “Better Dayz”

    lil bibby change Top Songs of the Week (5/8)

    Lil Bibby and Lil Herb might be Chicago’s best rap duo, and they aren’t even an official pair; it’s just that the East Siders have recorded so many strong songs together that they pretty much owe the rap world a joint project. If such a collaboration ever sees the light of day — and Bibby has said that it might happen soon — it probably won’t sound much like “Better Dayz”, which, compared to their harder past collaborations, sounds unusually bittersweet due to producer C-Sick’s mournful piano and strings (not to mention the rain in the background). Lyrically, the song is about riding the road to lasting fame and fortune while keeping an eye on threatening forces coming up from behind: “Word around town, Bucks made it now/ But I’ma go hard till they take me out,” Bibby confirms. –Michael Madden

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