Top 10 Songs of the Week (8/21)

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This week’s top songs dig into the grit and the gruff, offering up some passionately delivered complaints ranging from burnt pop to classic riot grrrl, brokenhearted indie folk to psychedelic punk. Everybody’s got something to complain about, so picking out a version for you shouldn’t be difficult. Childbirth bring the biting satire, Bikini Kill handle the playground taunting, and Dej Loaf has the lines that’ll change the minds of any haters. We recommend taking a listen to the Top 10 and airing your own grievances before you head into the weekend.

10. Psychic Blood – “Blur World”

Psychic Blood

Psychic Blood goes by Psychic Blood because the band’s real name, Psychedelic Bloodbaths, is either too wordy or too violent for the kids — who knows. But it’s a fair enough descriptor for the onslaught of percussion and feedback contained in the Massachussetts band’s new single. “Blur World”, taken from their forthcoming 12-inch release Aliens, centers Eric Outhuse’s wild, flaring drums in the mix. Frontman and guitarist Jason Vachula has to fight just to be heard above the squall of his bandmates, but it doesn’t sound like he’d have it any other way. Like any respectable noise rock band, these guys thrive on the adrenaline of bashing each other’s eardrums in. –Sasha Geffen

09. Bikini Kill – “Playground”

Bikini-Kill-reissue

Dug up from the early days of Bikini Kill, “Playground” could almost be a sister song to Nirvana’s “School”. “You’re not invited to my party anymore/ My mom’s calling your mom to tell her I don’t like you,” sneers Kathleen Hanna on the newly released B-side to her band’s first tape, Revolution Girl Style Now. Hanna and Kurt Cobain were friends back in the early ‘90s, and both seem to have dipped into the same primordial sludge that would go on to stain both grunge and riot grrl. “Playground” showcases an embryonic Bikini Kill, a band still testing out its own teeth, but it carries enough heft to sound fierce and grimy even at 24 years old. –Sasha Geffen

08. Dej Loaf – “I Got Problems”

Dej Loaf I Got Problems

For some time, it’s looked like Detroit rapper Dej Loaf had gone the route of tourmate Nicki Minaj, whose pop instincts have come to overshadow her serious spitting. But then, here’s “I Got Problems”, an essentially hook-less romp made in collaboration with Dej’s go-to producer, DDS, whose instrumental is a shimmering soundscape just propulsive enough to launch her into full-on snapping mode. “You thought ‘Try Me’ was the only song I had, huh?” she jabs early, referencing her breakthrough hit, then proceeding with bars, bars, and more bars: “Shopping with no limit, I can’t lie, this shit terrific/ Label me a label, but my taste is so exquisite.” She could be talking about her music or her fashion sense. In the case of the former, it’s hard to deny that she’s hit upon a sound of her own — and with “I Got Problems”, she shows she doesn’t even need industry-baiting melodies to keep turning heads with it. –Michael Madden

07. Childbirth – “Let’s Be Bad”

Childbirth Band

Don’t be fooled by the white wine and salads; Childbirth is ready to be totally bad. “Let’s be bad/ And split a dessert,” they whisper over a slinky rhythm, going on to treat themselves and sneak into work a little late. They turn an intense corner, though, and I’m not just talking about the burning guitar solo. The trio, composed of members of Chastity Belt, Tacocat, and Pony Time, have songs that focus on sharp, fun twists on expectations of women (“I Only Fucked You as a Joke”, “Nasty Grrls”) that are definitely funny but shouldn’t get relegated to just parody/satire. The trio’s debut full-length, Women’s Rights, hits stores on October 2nd via Suicide Squeeze. –Adam Kivel

06. Boots feat. Deradoorian – “AQUΛRIA”

Boots-debut-album

“Shake like a gamma ray,” Jordy Asher sings on his latest track under the Boots moniker — and “AQUΛRIA” is the kind of song that’ll make you do that gamma ray shake before you even have the time to process what exactly that would mean. Whatever that means, this is an apocalyptic dance party fueled by a twitchy, sparse rhythm, tinny strings, and synth squiggles, led by the crystalline guest vocals of Deradoorian, like the angel floating above the wasted landscape. “Infect me with your hate/ Beg for Heaven’s Gate/ Tell god my city’s starting to sink, and it’s starting to stink, so let it go,” Boots snarls, and you’ll want to dance as the whole place crumbles. The Beyoncé/Run the Jewels collaborator’s debut full-length drops November 13th through Columbia Records. –Adam Kivel

05. Julien Baker – “Something”

Julien Baker Sprained Ankle

With albums like Matthew E. White’s Big Inner and Fresh Blood and Natalie Prass’s self-titled debut, Richmond, Virginia’s Spacebomb Studios has become synonymous with a distinct, vintage-yet-modern sensibility. But in the case of 19-year-old Julien Baker, who recorded her upcoming debut at Spacebomb, it’s more a stamp of quality than one of its sonic shapes. “Something” doesn’t have the exquisite layers of those previous Spacebomb detonations. Instead, it’s a sparse, acoustic-guitar-picking wanderer that gets strength from Baker’s courageous specificity, as she sings of a love interest leaving her behind: “I just let the parking lot swallow me up, choking your tires and kicking up dust/ Asking aloud, ‘Why are you leaving?’/ But the pavement won’t answer me.” Maybe the humility contained in Prass’s long goodbyes has rubbed off on Baker, or, more likely, she’s just a striking young talent increasingly capable of articulating her personal turmoil. Sprained Ankle, that debut, is out October 23rd via 6131. –Michael Madden

04. Deafheaven – “Brought to the Water”

DeafheavenEricSasquatch2014_1

As emblematic of hipster-friendly American black metal as Deafheaven became with 2013’s excellent Sunbather, you wouldn’t necessarily know it from “Brought to the Water”, the first single and opening song from their upcoming New Bermuda. The sky-high, impeccably placed guitar leads and jaunty piano outro may afford the song a post-rock sheen, but across eight and a half minutes, its irascible pound and George Clarke’s vocals paint the song blacker than the shoegaze-influenced Sunbather. Whereas the Deafheaven discourse used to be about the band’s audience and motives, New Bermuda should make sure Deafheaven is most talked-about because of the music. “Brought to the Water” is a ride too thunderous and too sweepingly structured to shake. New Bermuda is out October 2nd via ANTI-. —Michael Madden

03. YACHT – “I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler”

YACHT BAND 2015

When Claire L. Evans sings that she “thought the future would be cooler,” it comes from a place of authority. The YACHT vocalist is also the editor-in-chief for an online science fiction magazine and the “futures editor” of Vice‘s technology and science spinoff, Motherboard. On the duo’s new single, she and Jona Bechtolt build out a disco groove complete with rubbery bass, roboticized vocals, and a synth solo played on the “choir” setting. “We save our face in public when we erase each other privately,” she cooly notes, as the android track behind her continues its funky swagger. YACHT always know how to blend fun and theory, and their next album takes its name from this song, so expect more. I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler is due October 16th. –Adam Kivel

02. Saintseneca – “Sleeper Hold”

saintseneca Top 10 Songs of the Week (8/21)
Maryn Jones has a stranglehold on 2015 and it doesn’t sound like she’s giving it up anytime soon. The forthcoming LP from SaintsenecaSuch Things (out 10/9 on Anti-), will be the third full-length she’s touched this year after her solo record as Yowler and her upcoming album with pop punk outfit All Dogs. She’s not the primary force behind Saintseneca — Zac Little’s the one at the core of this folk-pop arrangement — but her voice lends a sweetness to “Sleeper Hold” that instantly boosts it into a wider spectrum. It doesn’t hurt that Little can write one heck of a lead melody, either.  –Sasha Geffen

01. Deerhunter – “Snakeskin”

deerhunter fading frontier album Top 10 Songs of the Week (8/21)

As crystalline as past Deerhunter songs are — consider “Agoraphobia”, “Nothing Ever Happened”, “Desire Lines”, or “Helicopter” — their latest single, “Snakeskin”, is a new high watermark for the Atlanta rockers in terms of clarity. It’s genuinely funky. The strutting, immediately gratifying guitar chords just beg for a confident vocal performance from frontman Bradford Cox. He delivers, belting out evocative lines as soon as he takes the mic: “I was born already nailed to the cross/ I was born with the feeling I was lost.” He goes on to reference the physical effects of his Marfan syndrome, and between the life-spanning lyrics, the pureness of the melodies, and the hypnotic heartland sprawl of the song’s second half, “Snakeskin” is one of the most definitive Deerhunter songs to date. Find it on Fading Frontier, their seventh album, out October 16th via 4AD. –Michael Madden

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