Top 10 Songs of the Week (3/19)

Because you don't have to go to Austin this week to discover great new music


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    We can’t imagine how you’d have missed it (especially given the Obama headlines), but just in case you weren’t aware, South by Southwest is on this week. And as with every SXSW in recent memory, there’s grumbling on how big and corporate the music-film-tech conference-festival-showcase series is getting, but also plenty of FOMO from those of us left scrolling down our timelines for updates. You don’t need to make the trip to Austin to check out good new music, though — just peep the list ahead. Sadly, this is my last installment of Top Songs. However, the intrepid Alejandra Ramirez will be stepping in, and if her writing on Kendrick Lamar and surrealist hip-hop resistance is any indication, your weekly ranking will stay in good hands. So long, and keep on keeping on!

    –Karen Gwee
    Staff Writer

    10. Mantar – “Only”

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    In our list of the 20 Most Anticipated Metal Albums of 2016, Jon Hadusek and Sean Barry bemoaned the fact that German duo Mantar hadn’t broken from the genre niche and gotten the crossover esteem they deserve. With each new hint of their new album, Ode to the Flame, the idea that they’ll continue to go unnoticed fades further. New track “Schwanenstein” rips and roars, a massive slab of extreme metal ready to crush you under its weight. When Ode to the Flame drops in full on April 15 on Nuclear Blast, the enormity of their music should just push them out of their niche, but until then, “Schwanenstein” could do the trick on its own. –Adam Kivel

    And courtesy of our friends at Soundstage Direct, you can get discounted vinyl with the code: CS12


    09. No Regular Play – “Back to You”

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    Greg Paulus and Nick Debruyn have been friends for too many years to count. Personal bonds aren’t often apparent in electronic music, but under their No Regular Play moniker, the two use their tightknit friendship to create the type of slow-burning dance that makes songs like “Back to You” so addictive. It’s a hit ready for the club as well as the warming months to come. Over the course of six minutes, sticky synth and light percussion keep things above sea level, bringing to mind the energy and tone of acts like Friendly Fires. It won’t take long for their newest EP, titled after the single, to rise on the charts when it drops March 18th via Wolf + Lamb Records. –Nina Corcoran

    08. Deftones – “Doomed User”


    The latest from Deftones is more than an aptly titled song from an aptly titled album — Gore, due out April 8th. “Doomed User” sees frontman Chino Moreno ripping through his vocals, scratching his throat to deliver lines on conceitedness and the casual denial of such, while the rest of the alt metal act keeps their instruments in a guttural register. At nearly 28 years as a band, Deftones are masters when it comes to the art of approachable metal — which includes being able to understand screeched lyrics. Those who think they may not be interested in this kind of music will be pleasantly surprised when they give it a shot. –Nina Corcoran

    07. Hooded Fang – “Impressions”

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    “You know in E.T., how when he came down, everyone aside from a few got scared and paranoid and basically ruined what could have been a beautiful mutual learning relationship?” Toronto act Hooded Fang told Consequence of Sound in a recent chat. “This song is about those types of encounters.” Sure enough, “Impressions” delivers an off-kilter absurdity on the loss of culture expansion by ignoring visitors. The song mirrors its lyrics with anxious guitar lines, stringing them up in the air to get a tinny, electronic, shrill vibrancy. Expect even more attention-demanding songs when the full record, Venus on Edge, drops May 13th via Daps Records. –Nina Corcoran

    06. Tink – “Home”


    Being an impassioned, single lady has its perks, but so does the connection to a trusted lover. As her career builds ahead of the forthcoming LP, Tink’s career focus and time on the road have left her longing for the latter. “Home” exposes a new vulnerability within the Chicago rapper. Tink’s softened delivery and Dre3mforever’s cloud-pop instrumental incite daydreams as the warmth of spring and hope for new love approaches. Still without a release date, we look forward to the songstress revealing more layers of her personality ahead of ThinkTink–Derek Staples

    05. BJ the Chicago Kid feat. Jay Rock – “OMG”

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    If sex is a drug, BJ the Chicago Kid’s whispers are a fiendish elixir. This vocal sensuality coming so naturally, BJ reportedly recorded in excess of 300 tracks for his sophomore full-length effort, In My Mind. “OMG” is just one track saved from collecting dust — Jay Rock’s gruff delivery piercing through the throwback soul-infusion. While a proud Chicagoan, BJ (and his many featured vocalists) is building a new momentum behind Detroit’s influential Motown sound. And should it be another three-plus years for an official follow-up, it seems BJ has plenty of choice collaborations to keep interest piqued. –Derek Staples

    04. White Denim – “Had 2 Know (Personal)”


    White Denim’s forthcoming album is titled Stiff, but “Had 2 Know (Personal)” is anything but. “Oh, we’re gonna have music,” voices coo sweetly at the beginning of the track, and what music indeed: The Austin, Texas, band have conjured up coiling riffs so peppy and spirited that they yank you out of your seat for a dance, even though frontman James Petralli’s singing about being on the receiving end of a somewhat abrupt breakup. The overall effect isn’t that strange, though — “Had 2 Know (Personal)” sounds like a liberated, “oh well” shrug to a relationship that was nice while it lasted. Stiff is out next Friday on Downtown Records. –Karen Gwee

    03. Terrace Martin feat. Kamasi Washington and Rosegold – “Think of You”

    Terrace Martin Think of You

    Frequent Kendrick Lamar collaborator Terrace Martin brought plenty of jazz depth to To Pimp a Butterfly, so no one should be surprised by the strength of his solo material. But then he’ll drop a gem like “Think of You”, and it’s even more slick and groovey than you could’ve ever imagined. This time he’s joined by fellow sax master Kamasi Washington and the ever soulful Rosegold, and the three will sink deep into your soul, until you crave more of this smooth beauty. Martin’s new album,Velvet Portraits, will let you do just that on April 1st, via Sounds of Crenshaw/Ropeadope. —Adam Kivel

    02. M.I.A. – “MIA OLA” / “Foreign Friend”


    Immigration is probably one of the most pressing global issues of our time, a topic that’s important and personal for M.I.A., herself a British Sri Lankan. On the two songs she released yesterday (in a single track), “MIA OLA” and “Foreign Friend”, she raps with tongue-twisting panache over banging beats about dodging the patrol along the Mexican border and the experience of being an immigrant. Keep an ear out for sharp and eminently quotable lines like, “Most of the things I do they banned it/ But I’ma still do it, I’ma bandit” and “When I jump that fence I’m gon’ get a Benz/ Then I leave my tent, and I gon’ be your foreign friend.” There’s still no word on a full-length M.I.A. album, but according to an Instagram post by her collaborator Blaqstarr, both songs will be featured on a forthcoming mixtape. –Karen Gwee

    01. Michael Christmas – “Video Game”

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    So, let’s get this out of the way: Michael Christmas got a guy named Young Vagisil to produce his new track, “Video Game”. Okay, now that we’ve all digested that (sorry), let’s get down to the track itself, which is a bleepy slice of rad, Xmas coming at you hard, dropping some classic ’90s insults (“olden face Ivan Ooze”). In perhaps the toughest nice guy move of all time, he promises his sister will “beat you up” if you don’t like his raps. It’s a good thing his raps are so great that no one needs to get worried. –Adam Kivel