Top 10 Songs of the Week (8/21)


    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”


    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”


    “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