Top Songs of the Week (6/12)

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With millions of songs easily accessible from most any smartphone, it’s easy to forget how much power a single song can contain. When artists like Skepta use their lyricism to heal, all broken hearts find a moment of solidarity. On the flip side, Action Bronson and Joey Bada$$ allow us to celebrate our victories — while reminding us to all stay humble. Not all tracks need to arrive at some life lesson; transporting listeners to some calming headspace is also a triumph during the commotion of the digital era. And sometimes we just need to get hype to get through the day, so we turn to Martin $ky or Destruction Unit. What mix do you require today?

10. Destruction Unit – “If Death Ever Slept”

Destruction Unit - Negative Feedback Resistor album

Much like others producing sludgy material, Destruction Unit sound like they just got baked on new single “Death Ever Slept” — except the Arizona outfit’s psych rock jam sound sun-baked, blistered and burnt. The first taste of Negative Feedback Resistor finds Ryan Rousseau howling from the middle of a sandstorm of gritty guitars and pummeling percussion, the furious track pausing to break down into a feedbacky mess, like the eye of the storm before the wind kicks back up. Negative Feedback Resistor will hit shelves on September 18th via Sacred Bones. –Adam Kivel

9. ATTLAS – “Boxed”

Attlas

Despite all the trolling deadmau5 is known to do on social media, his numerous coffee runs, and the time spent developing his new live set-up, the dude is still an amazing A&R force behind his mau5trap imprint. At the lead of the label’s new compilation, We are Friends, Vol. 4, is the dark bigroom of enigmatic producer ATTLAS. It has finally been revealed that ATTLAS is in fact not a deadmau5 side project, but rather fellow Canadian producer Jeff Hartford. However, the brooding melodies, spiritual lyricism, and deep textures demand attention no matter the star-power of their creator. This is not for the fist-pumping, glove-show crowd; ATTLAS borrows from dank basement parties to bring a new flavor to the massive festival main stage. –Derek Staples

8. Statik Selektah feat. Action Bronson and Joey Bada$$ – “Beautiful Life”

Beautiful Life

I don’t necessarily believe in the power of lucky numbers, but Boston producer Statik Selektah clearly does: He’s named his 7th LP Lucky 7, and will release it on 7/7. In case that numerology didn’t work out for him, he enlisted the help of both Action Bronson and Joey Bada$$ on early cut “Beautiful Life”. The two New York rappers go over some jazzy keys, swank rhythm, and a trumpet solo, the lush production reinforcing the title’s claim. Action’s verse is full of his usual John Starks swagger, but Joey’s closer might take the whole thing: “No doubt we gettin’ cash now/ Used to be class clown/ Don’t worry about beef/ I’m feelin’ like a cash cow.” Lucky 7 will be available July 7th via Duck Down Records. –Adam Kivel


7. Czarface feat. MF DOOM – “Ka-Bang!”

Czarface-MF-Doom-album-hero-villain

Here are two hip-hop legends, Inspectah Deck and MF DOOM, and two lesser-known but long-proven veterans, rapper Esoteric and producer/DJ 7L. With the collective experience level at work here (not to mention the onomatopoeic title), “Ka-Bang!” could very well be defined by an earned brazenness. Instead, it’s relatively low-key, banking on the strength of the MCs’ bars to color the track. Over 7L’s serpentine, sample-heavy beat, Deck, DOOM, and Esoteric each deliver a knotty, unpredictable verse that doesn’t get caught up in its own cleverness. The song will appear on Czarface’s sophomore album, Every Hero Needs a Villain, out June 16th via Brick Records. –Michael Madden


6. Kim Gordon and J. Mascis – “Slow Boy”

kim gordon j mascis

In our initial post on “Slow Boy”, Ben Kaye wrote that listening to Kim Gordon’s lyrics, “you’re not sure if [they’re meant] in a sexy way or an ass-kicking way.” That’s a conundrum that’s popped up many times in her legendary career, a blurry line that gives her vocals appealing intensity. “Slow Boy” teams Gordon with longtime pal J. Mascis — himself another legend, thanks to his work in Dinosaur Jr. — and the two fill the track with an appropriate amoung of feedback, sky-cracking riffage, and don’t-look-back energy. “Slow Boy” can be downloaded now via Soundcloud, or you can wait for the release of CONS EP Vol. 3, the latest in a series from Converse that brings musicians together for exclusive collaborations. –Adam Kivel


5. Sweat Lodge – “Slow Burn”

sweatlodge  Top Songs of the Week (6/12)

Black Sabbath comparisons trailed the band’s early output, but it looks like the Austin-based psych metal outfit Sweat Lodge will firmly establish its unique identity with the release of its debut album, Talismana, out August 7th via Ripple Music. First taste “Slow Burn” is a pretty good start, a sludgy howler that, despite its title, reveals its charms quickly. Frontman Cody Lee Johnston has grown more confident as a vocalist over time; he sounds less like Ozzy Osbourne and more like a fully charged frontman ready to make his (and his band’s) own mark. –Michael Madden


4. Kehlani X Mr. Carmack – “All In”

Kehlani Carmack All In

Kehlani, the 20-year-old R&B singer from Oakland, is an intriguing prospect. She might start churning out legitimate hit after legitimate hit, or she might continue to harness the progressiveness that made her You Should Be Here full-length an immersive listen front-to-back earlier this year. (Or both.) Every new song of hers, then, offers a glimpse of what’s sure to be an exciting future, and the Mr. Carmack-produced Songs from Scratch installment “All In” is an example of her command as a vocalist and her willingness to let an instrumental create new worlds. Kehlani softly but assertively sings of wanting to get the most out of a relationship, while the Los Angeles-based Carmack turns in an impressive performance of his own, his beat culminating with a gorgeous ambient outro. –Michael Madden


3. Martin $ky – “Self”

Martin $ky

“They mad at me cause I been on my self/ Grindin’ all day and all night to get the wealth,” Chicago rapper Martin $ky drops in the hook to the appropriately self-produced “Self”. As the synth fires off in minimalist curls and the sub-bass rattles, $ky makes no bones about his intentions. “I’m putting on for the fam/ That’s it, I’m so selfish,” he drops, his clear-eyed flow daring anyone to challenge him. “This is a competition at the end of the day,” $ky recently told The FADER. “I’m just letting the world know I’m here.” With more jams like this, the rap game won’t need the reminder. –Adam Kivel


2. Class Actress – “High on Love”

Class Actress 2015 new music

Add Class Actress’ Elizabeth Harper to the long list of talent that production-mastermind Giorgio Moroder has assisted during their career ascent. A staple in the emotive dance realms for over three decades, Moroder combines his skills in disco, electro, and understated pop to create a shimmering walkway for Harper to flaunt her salacious delivery during “High On Love”. A passionate synthpop producer in her own regard, Harper is also credited as producer on the track, along with DJ Mess Kid. From the single’s open to its closing whispers, nothing but radiance lines this path. Class Actress’ forthcoming Movies EP arrives via Casablanca on June 23rd. –Derek Staples


1. Skepta – “Lukey World”

skepta Top Songs of the Week (6/12)

Recently dormant, UK grime is once again beginning to make some moves stateside. London’s Skepta offers a sobering example of UK-bred hip-hop with “Lukey World”. At only 32 years old, the track finds Skepta dealing with the loss of a close confidant and studio collaborator. Reflecting his inner turmoil with a dark, minimal beat, Skepta isn’t afraid to accept the softer side of his being through: “I cry tears in my cup of Hennessey for these fucked up memories.” As moving as this heartfelt eulogy might be, there is always a hope that the violence stops and rappers (from both the States and the UK) can actually grow old and successful. —Derek Staples

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