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Top 10 Songs of the Week (9/18)

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    While it’s never seemed like a physical fight was going to break out over what would make it into the Top 10 Songs of the Week, some weeks are a little extra contentious. But when you’ve got as many amazing new tracks jockeying for position as we had this week, you might expect some serious passion to bubble up. Luckily, that debate resulted in a bunch of tracks that includes some numbers to fit with the feisty conversation and some songs to cool everything down. Click on and feel the fire.

    10. Guerilla Toss – “Polly’s Crystal”

    Guerilla Toss

    “Polly’s Crystal” is the first we’ve heard from Guerilla Toss since the now New York-based band signed with DFA Records earlier this year. Topping off the group’s new three-song Flood Dosed tape, the seven-minute track plays out like a whole barrel of songs bundled up into one, a musical set of pharyngeal jaws. The guitars scrape up against shrill walls of synth, but the tight, bouncing bass lines are the secret hero of this weird display as they face off with Kassie Carlson’s wild, biting vocals. Flood Dosed sees an official release on October 9th, and Guerilla Toss is currently readying a new LP for early next year. –Sasha Geffen

    09. Zhu feat. AlunaGeorge  – “Vice City”

    alunageorge Top 10 Songs of the Week (9/18)

    AlunaGeorge lent vocals to Jack Ü’s star-studded EDM collage earlier this year with “To Ü”, and now the UK duo has resurfaced on the new single from ZHU, aka producer Steven Zhu. Armed with classic house sensibilities, ZHU has a subtler hand than either Skrillex or Diplo, and Aluna Francis’ vocals settle comfortably in the mix on “Automatic”, nestled just beneath the rubbery bass line. Her voice laps itself and shifts down a full octave for the chorus, and just when it sounds like things can’t get any more airless, a real life saxophone breathes all over the bridge. ZHU keeps his palette clean and slick, but he sees nothing wrong with letting in a little humor when the mood calls for it. –Sasha Geffen

    08. Jay Electronica – “Holladay (Ruff)”

    jay electronica

    When he actually releases music, hip-hop’s elusive prophet Jay Electronica is about as automatic as his good buddy Drake. But that’s the thing: Unless he shocks the rap world today, he’ll make it to his 39th birthday tomorrow without having released a single album, just incredible individual songs that have some people thinking he’s the best thing to happen to hip-hop since, like, Black on Both Sides, or at least Madvillainy. His latest is “Holladay (Ruff)”, a song that dates back to 2009 and gets worlds farther in its two minutes than you might predict. Produced by Rob Holladay and opening with a bursting, symphonic intro built on Diana Ross and Bob James samples, Jay jumps in to unravel his densely imagistic style. “Puttin’ time in, tryna get a baby out her/ Pull her hair, squeeze her neck, bring the crazy out her,” he raps, presumably about hip-hop itself. Just as long as he consistently pays child support, so to speak. –Michael Madden

    07. Dan Friel – “Life (Pt. 1)”

    Dan Friel

    Plenty of composers can torture a cheap keyboard to within an inch of its life, but few can make the process sound as joyful as Dan Friel. The Thrill Jockey mainstay sounds nothing like any producer out there; you can pick him out of a crowd by the ragged, candy-colored melodies he wrings out of his motley gear. The first single from his new album, “Life Pt. 1” cements the glee he likes to drag out of corrosion, squaring bristled bass lines against shrill, porous leads. This is what would happen if they taught you how to play noise music in preschool — or maybe just if more circuit benders learned to lighten up every once in a while. Life hits shelves October 16th. –Sasha Geffen

    06. Rick Ross – “Work”

    rick ross

    Rick Ross had a lackluster 2014, despite releasing two albums, Mastermind and Hood Billionaire, neither of which connected as a complete body of work like his earlier Teflon Don, Rich Forever, or God Forgives, I Don’t. With his new Black Dollar mixtape — maybe his best project ever — and now subsequent offerings, Ross has turned the yacht around. Not only is the hook on his bleeping, Jahlil Beats-produced “Work” hard to shake, it’s also clever, with Ross sarcastically bemoaning his wealth: “Diamonds all on my hands, know I make it work … 100 karats in the Rollie, I’mma make it work.” There’s plenty of fat-guy swag, too: “Take off my shirt and show my abs like I’m 2Pac,” he goes. When you let Ross have a sense of humor, his kingpin aura breaks down to reveal a rapper who continues to evolve that persona. –Michael Madden

    05. Wolf Alice – “Baby Ain’t Made of China”

    wolf alice you're a germ

    File London alt rockers Wolf Alice alongside bands like Bully for their revival of ‘90s indie rock on a major label in 2015. Following the release of their debut album, June’s My Love Is Cool, the new “Baby Ain’t Made of China” is their latest single, and it’s set to join “Moaning Lisa Smile”, “Bros”, and “Giant Peach” as one of their best-known songs. Compared to the heavy riffage and snarls of other Wolf Alice material, this is smoother and more restrained, at least until the apex of the perfectly executed soft-to-loud buildup and its splotches of shoegaze. “Wash those tears away,” singer Ellie Rowsell repeats toward the end, but by that point, those confident surges of noise have already eradicated the song’s traces of melancholy. –Michael Madden

    04. Pumarosa – “Priestess”

    Pumarosa

    The five members of London’s Pumarosa are remarkably nimble artists at the onset of their careers. Fused in a sweaty 10×10 rehearsal space in Hackney’s Manor House, the quintet of Isabel Muñoz-Newsome (vocals/guitar), Tomoya Suzuki (electronics/saxophone), Nicholas Owen (drums), Neville James (guitar), and Henry Brown (bass) have eliminated all the clutter amid their hypnotizing Krautrock endeavors. Their first official single, “Priestess”, begins with the hum of an unattended amp and evolves into an all-consuming arrangement of guitars, softened electronics, distant vocals, and tribal percussion. Maintain that bliss for now, and download the single via Mermaid Avenue (US) or Chess Club (UK). —Derek Staples

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