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Top 10 Songs of the Week (2/12)

Looking for a Yeezy-less batch of new music to get excited about? Look no further

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    Hey everybody! While Kanye was off being Kanye all over the place, making music, offending people, making video games about his deceased mother, there were plenty of other artists quietly putting out excellent new music, no video games or offense needed. Others released excellent new music slightly less quietly, yet with less odd accoutrements — namely the return of both Queen Bey and James Blake. So, if you’re looking for some Ye-less new music to get excited about, click on and enjoy!

    10. Fruit Bats – “From a Soon-To-Be Ghost Town”

    Fruit Bats

    Indie folk rock mainstays Fruit Bats are back with their first album in five years, as previewed by new single “From a Soon-To-Be Ghost Town”. The red dust clings heavier on this track than some of their past records, a twang in Eric D. Johnson’s vocals and a sunbaked warmth to the piano and acoustic guitar. “It’s hard to be the last one in a soon-to-be ghost town/ When all that you’ve loved is now gone,” Johnson sings, and the melancholy ring to his vocals suggests this is about more than someone sticking around in a dead-end town — there’s some heartbreak too. Video of Johnson playing this one solo appeared last year, and it’s even more affecting with the full band backing his tender voice. Fruit Bats’ new album, Absolute Loser, drops May 13th via Easy Sound Recording Co.  Adam Kivel

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    09. Wolf & Witnessing – “Acapulco”

    Wolf Witnessing

    This collaboration between Mexico City/Montreal-based Wolf and full-time Montreal resident Witnessing finds an uneasy footing between Arca’s twisted fantasies and Bonobo’s windswept atmospherics. Set to be released March 4th through Berlin’s WDIS, it was actually the duo’s shared Latin American heritage (similar to Arca’s Venezuelan roots) that inspired this strained instrumental. While Acapulco evokes imagery of palm trees and vibrantly colored daiquiris, this 3:31 is far more challenging on the senses. Kudos to any DJ talented/self-assured enough to unfurl these broken melodies in the live setting without clearing the dance floor! Listen in at Fader–Derek Staples

    08. Facial – “August”

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    Vocalist Cameron Dmytryk originally wrote “August” in, yes, August … of 2005. After bringing the material to Facial practice, it got a makeover. The song’s skeleton — lonely guitar supported by parental bass — begins with breathy inhales caught in the mixing session and the soft scratches of a finger catching on the grooves of a guitar string. Once Dmytryk starts using his deep baritone vocals, he takes on the persona of a young Matt Berninger or Mogwai’s “Bill Is Dead”. Then the revisions kick in. Paranoia takes a hold of an otherwise sleepy state in the form of distorted fuzz, running aimlessly with anxiety pinned to its tail, until Dmytryk is left alone with the bass once more. It’s a moment of self-laceration that finds its voice a decade later. –Nina Corcoran

    07. Tunji Ige – “I Just Wanna”

    Tunji Ige

    Philadelphia’s multi-faceted Tunji Ige is gifting us with a bit of a twofer on the recently uploaded “I Just Wanna”. We’re re-introduced to the sultry side of Ige during the first half of the cut, his harmonies creating a channel for the timid 808s to bump. Purveyor of beats, raps, and hushed lyricism, “I Just Wanna” pulses with a distinctly Ige-paced syncopation. With those same patterns intact, the latter portion of the track (potentially dubbed “Lurking”) is more of the codeine-flavored club-centric stuff. Keep an eye open for release details and be sure to secure the track when it officially drops so Ige can properly finance a “rich, white appetite.” –Derek Staples

    06. James Blake – “Modern Soul”

    jamesblake Top 10 Songs of the Week (2/12)

    Sure, Beyoncé dropped a game-changing single and, yeah, Kanye spent the week being Kanye, but another beloved artist came forth from the shadows to release a new song this week: James Blake. “Modern Soul”, which the producer revealed during his BBC Radio 1 residency, is a slow-burning, theatrical number, Blake’s blue-tinged voice simmering in the midst of chilled piano and waves of percussion. Just when you get lulled into a mournful moment, he builds everything back up, and just when you start to groove, he pulls the rug out. Blake knows dynamics and crescendos, and this one demonstrates that expertise. –Adam Kivel

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    05. Attic Abasement – “Guarantee Jesus”

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    Attic Abasement handed 2010 one of the most gut-wrenching DIY albums of the year. This week, seemingly out of nowhere, the Rochester, NY band returned with “Guarantee Jesus”, a song that sees them picking up right where they left off. Like the album’s cover — sunset colors flooding stacked bedrooms on a cold night — the song descends through warm pockets of isolated guitar and open cymbals. It’s when frontman Mike Rheinheimer lets out a voice-cracking scream that the Silver Jews and Pedro the Lion similarities surface. Sometimes you don’t know you need a punch in the gut until after you recognize the pain. –Nina Corcoran

    04. Acid Dad – “Don’t Get Taken”

    Acid Dad

    Right from its opening chords, Acid Dad’s new song sounds like Parquet Courts’ semi-buzzed little brother — but give it some time. Once it feels comfortable, “Don’t Get Taken” stretches beyond DIY punk into the garage psych of Ty Segall’s infinite bands, except Acid Dad emphasize clean guitar lines over layers of feedback. It’s a welcome surprise in the form of progression, specifically in one band’s evolution over the course of three minutes to turn their chorus into a heady banger, their vocals into a signature style, and their drums into a full-on breakdown reminiscent of — of all bands — The Vines. –Nina Corcoran

    03. Sheer Mag – “Can’t Stop Fighting”

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    The joy of waging righteous war runs through “Can’t Stop Fighting”, the latest track by Philadelphia punk band Sheer Mag. This call to arms against gender-based violence references the Ciudad Juárez femicides (the horrors of which have since been swept out of global consciousness by the ceaseless news cycle) and spotlights “the eye of the catcall” — have you heard a better pun on a particular Survivor song that captures the power dynamics of street harassment? The irrepressible Christina Halladay carries the striking lyrics of “Can’t Stop Fighting” atop hopeful guitar lines by Kyle Seeley, creating a perfect song to soundtrack the long but necessary struggle against injustice. –Karen Gwee

    02. BJ the Chicago Kid feat. Kendrick Lamar – “The New Cupid”

    bj the chicago kid kendrick chance rapper Top 10 Songs of the Week (2/12)

    Pairing a sample of Raphael Saadiq’s “Oh Girl” with a cooed “Chi city in the building” is the kind of thing that will get anybody with an inch of connection to Chicago hyped and ready for the latest from BJ the Chicago Kid. And for those of you unlucky enough not to have ties to the Windy City, BJ unfurls an effortlessly smooth story of Cupid at the club, and even gets some help from none other than Kendrick Lamar riffing in the periphery before dropping a verse about the Commodores, hustling, and finding love. “The responsibility/ Lies on me/ Since Cupid’s not around,” BJ offers, adding that you’re falling in love with his music — and he’s not wrong. “The New Cupid” and the rest of BJ’s new full-length debut, In My Mind, is available at NPR. –Adam Kivel

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