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Run the Jewels, Laura Marling, and Julien Baker Highlight Our Top Songs of the Week (12/2)

Will any of these sneak onto our upcoming top songs of 2016 list? Stay tuned

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    It’s only been a few days since we released our list of the Top 50 Albums of 2016, and the music world just keeps on rolling. That’s right, this week alone there were 10 rad new songs released that may just make it onto our list of the top songs of the year, coming your way shortly. Until then, brush up on the year’s best albums and get to preparing your own lists — hopefully these songs will inspire you!


    10. Alex Wiley feat. Jay Prince – “Still Calling”

    Alex Wiley

    Chicago rapper Alex Wiley relocated to the west coast and, by the sound of it, found himself a new home that’s easy to sprawl in. “Still Calling” sees him walking across a track of deep, slurring beats reminiscent of King Krule’s low-swinging trip-hop LP from last year. It’s a cloud of drug depth, the type of drawl that stretches on forever just as you hope it will. Instead of getting lost in the song’s smokey haze, he flags his hand in the air, letting his verse challenge guest Jay Prince to step up his game. Wiley may have softened his delivery, but he keeps his words sharpened, opting to reel back word count in favor of punch. It’s a welcome introduction to Village Party III: Stoner Symphony, his upcoming album out January 18th, and a reminder that location doesn’t just define someone; it helps push them forward. –Nina Corcoran


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    09. Peter Silberman – “Karuna”

    Nina Corcoran, Peter Silberman of The Antlers-3399 smaller

    Photo by Nina Corcoran

    The idea of losing any of your senses is terrifying, let alone losing one that is essential to your livelihood and passion. That’s exactly what struck Peter Silberman, though, when he lost hearing in one of his ears. The Antlers frontman had struggled with tinnitus in the past, but this experience (the sound of “rushing water” becoming silence entirely) was new and devastating. After learning to adjust to this new staticky pain, his return to the music world comes in the form of an upcoming solo album due February 24th via ANTI. Early taste “Karuna” displays the lessons he learned in his time of quiet, both in terms of performance and message. First, Silberman learned that he needed to play guitar and sing quietly to avoid serious pain, and the subtle, mellow track carries a tender fragility without sacrificing the power of his compositions. The song also works to “put a microscope on what’s going on in my mind at a given moment,” he explained to NPR, and the stretched-out chords, long builds, and interioralized lyrics (“I’m disassembling piece by piece/ Deteriorating, decayed, decreased”) are the clear product of a learned patience and self-examination. —Lior Phillips

    Listen in at NPR.

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    08. Burial – “Nightmarket”

    burial young death nightmare stream mp3 Run the Jewels, Laura Marling, and Julien Baker Highlight Our Top Songs of the Week (12/2)

    There’s something innately familiar about “Nightmarket”, one of two new tracks from mysterious producer Burial. The rustling sounds that permeate the track feel like deja vu, like the sound of digging through a drawer for something without knowing exactly what it is you’re looking for. The synths, too, come from someplace deep down yet unspecific, from 100 different classic electronic tracks and yet clearly entirely unique in their stuttering array. The wisps of wordless vocal melody and subsumed spoken word are equally dreamlike, their meaning somehow just out of reach. Burial may have been unmasked as William Bevan, yet he’s no less mysterious, still releasing tracks as if magically pulling half-formed memories out of the collective unconscious. Hyperdub unexpectedly released “Nightmarket” and “Young Death” ahead of their intended November 30th release, and the surprise is certainly fitting considering the enigmatic material.–Lior Phillips


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    07. Laura Marling – “Soothing”

    laura marling Run the Jewels, Laura Marling, and Julien Baker Highlight Our Top Songs of the Week (12/2)

    The moment Laura Marling’s newest single begins, you stop in your tracks. It’s those opening notes. “Soothing” begins with offbeat percussion and a jazz-styled guitar that tip-toes over it. Your pulse stutters. Your breath catches in your throat. “Soothing” creeps through your bedroom in a nightgown, laying heavy on intruige and allure while nixing the folk pining Marling is known for. “I banish you with love/ You can’t come in/ You don’t live here anymore,” she sings, contradicting the very seductiveness of the song. “I need soothing.” Hearing her calls for pacification, a river of strings pour over the chorus, filling in the cracks between her words, making the song all the more rich. At times, Marling’s voice shakes with the clarity and timbre of Fiona Apple, a raw intimacy delivered like an emotional reckoning — which is very much a good thing. Short Movie left listeners in a realm of tougher tones and rock-like numbers. “Soothing” lures them back in with softer sounds but doesn’t show all of its skin, instead letting us know that this time around, when Semper Femina drops on March 10th via More Alarming, Marling will be in total control. You aren’t wanted, but someone is, and that someone isn’t up to you to determine, mold, or be. –Nina Corcoran


    06. Run the Jewels – “Legend Has It'”

    run the jewels rtj3 new album 2016 Run the Jewels, Laura Marling, and Julien Baker Highlight Our Top Songs of the Week (12/2)

    Sampled vowel sounds have rarely sounded as good as they do as the backbone of “Legend Has It”, the latest massive uppercut from the duo of El-P and Killer Mike. “RT&J, we the new PB&J/ We dropped a classic today,” Bernie’s pal Mike drops, and he’s not overstating it — this one’s great. From the sampling of the crowd chanting Run the Jewels’ initials to El’s genius rap-game-Tinder analogy (“I am the living swipe right on the mic”), this duo have produced yet another banger worth bragging about. The third installment in their catalog, the appropriately titled RTJ3, will hit the Internet for a free (!) download on January 13th. –Adam Kivel


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    05. Julien Baker – “Decorated Lawns”

    Julien Baker // Photo by Ben Kaye

    Photo by Ben Kaye

    As if the amazing Cincinnati-based organization Punk Talks weren’t doing enough good (they aim to “provide free mental health assistance to bands, industry professionals, and fans while also educating and raising awareness of mental health and self-care”), they’ll bump further up Santa’s “Nice List” with the holiday compilation Jingle Yay! The second preview of that record comes in the form of “Decorated Lawns”, yet another teary stunner from Julien Baker. The chorus (“I love you more than I hate me”) will steal proverbial headlines, but as always, Baker folds intricate, heartbreaking emotion into deceptively simple lines in the song’s verses, here relating to that depression that hits so many near the holidays: “Happier spending December/ Fulfilling obligations/ Without the red pin in my calendar/ Or the last call at the Greyhound station.” Listen to “Decorated Lawns” at 36Vultures, and support Punk Talks by buying the compilation at Bandcamp–Adam Kivel


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    04. Trevor de Brauw – “They Keep Bowing”

    trevor de brauw Run the Jewels, Laura Marling, and Julien Baker Highlight Our Top Songs of the Week (12/2)

    Trevor de Brauw is a busy guy! He’s spent the last decade or so wielding guitar for Pelican, Chord, RLYR, Let’s Pet … I’m probably forgetting a few more. Plus he works as a publicist, is a dad, and, according to his Talkhouse page, a home-brewer (Trevor, if you ever want to collab on a “March into the Sea Stout”, hit me up). But in the middle of all that, he’s apparently been working on material for a solo album, Uptown, which will be dropping February 10th via The Flenser. On early preview “They Keep Bowing”, a stunning six-minute guitar drone, De Brauw builds a sturdy base, layering spidery riffs over the harmonic ringing. As with most of the guitarist’s projects, this one is destined for loud volumes, great headphones, or preferably both. –Adam Kivel


    03. Jenn Grant – “Galaxies”

    jenn grant galaxies Run the Jewels, Laura Marling, and Julien Baker Highlight Our Top Songs of the Week (12/2)

    Photo by Daniel Ledwell

    The groovy keyboard intro to “Galaxies” quickly leads to an astral pop explosion, led by Jenn Grant’s majestic vocals. The Canadian singer-songwriter reaches into outer space with her eccentric syllabic expression, but makes sure to dig in with some good burns as well. “Some things they never change/ Some people, they got to go away/ That’s who you are,” she seems to smirk, before stretching even higher into the “galaxy of us” to look for something more transcendent. The stabs of horn, lush piano, and marching percussion make this a slow-swaying jam worth exploring. Grant’s new record, Paradise, drops March 3rd via Ba Da Bing Records. –Adam Kivel


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    02. Tim Darcy – “Tall Glass of Water”

    tim darcy ought solo album Run the Jewels, Laura Marling, and Julien Baker Highlight Our Top Songs of the Week (12/2)

    When describing Ought, people often begin by describing the band’s vocals. Frontman Tim Darcy brings extra life to the Montreal post-punk act’s music by his stark delivery, stating words, barking others, and elongating letters, playing with his parts like someone who’s told the story a million times. Now, he’s stepping forward with a debut solo album in hand. Saturday Night comes out February 17th via Jagjaguwar. Instead of expecting gritty realism akin to the band’s, expect something brighter. Lead single “Tall Glass of Water” is an exercise in finding form. Darcy sings with joy and honesty, guitars swinging gleefully beneath it, with a delivery free of snark. And yet, his song still hits hard, maybe because of the tempo change halfway through or maybe because of the way he still sings like he’s talking to you and only you. “Tall Glass of Water” is a jolt of post-punk pop that you didn’t know you needed but your body reacts to viscerally, an analgesic that addicts the more it dissolves. That’s a skill Ought mastered on both their debut and sophomore LPs: creating rock that fills an overlooked void. With Darcy in the front seat, that shovel is still in hand, and he works effortlessly to fill personal potholes, giving listeners a stable ground on which to stand and fight back against the world that unleveled it in the first place. –Nina Corcoran


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