The 10 Best Songs of the Week

The 10 Best Songs of the Week
It's been a pretty rough week for everyone. With Robin Williams passing away, horrifying crimes happening at home, and atrocious conflicts happening abroad, music can be a perfect way to combat the constant stream of awful. Check out this week's bright spots and share your own thoughts below.

10. "Cosplay" - Captain Murphy

As Flying Lotus makes final preparations for his new full-length (You’re Dead!; October 7th), his alter-ego continues to terrorize the people. As part of Adult Swim’s series of singles, FlyLo drops off “Cosplay”, courtesy of his rapping id Captain Murphy. As is to be expected, it’s dark, murky, and rattles your brain for hours after the tape pops. FlyLo continues to defy expectations as a rapper—his vocal control is superb, and he’s as nimble in his own lane as any major producer-rapper today. “Cosplay” is some of his finest work. “The hairs along my neck come alive.” – Paul Thompson

9. “Onward” - Daedelus

Academic beatsmith Daedelus revealed this week that his newest album The Light Brigade would be forthcoming on Brainfeeder at the end of September, teasing the scenic third cut (and lead single) for his soundcloud followers to fawn over. Never one for conventions, “Onward” is a beatless single, mixing heavenly textures with haunting melodies from collaborator Young Dad in a somber requiem. As a shifting chorus of voices reach out from murky pads— jarring at times in its slight off-tune harmonies—the spine chills, and a vast sense of despair and longing creeps in. – Justin Kwok

8. “Sick Beat” - Kero Kero Bonito

Entering the trend-of-the-minute fray like a nipped-out kitten on holiday, Kero Kero Bonito are the latest in a whole slew of quality electronic dance outfits, centered mostly around London and New York who specialize in pure pleasure and play for play's sake. It's not exactly party music; it's too intelligent and frankly strange to slap that moniker on it, but oh my goodness is it's danceable. With stylistic shifts that come with Tumblr-esque frequency, "Sick Beat" is never boring. The trio's ability to blend J-pop with dancehall is itself a feat, worthy of at least a couple high fives, while front-lady Sarah's switchblade delivery is perfect for a peace-signs up summer cut. My favorite line: "Windows 98. Remember those days?" – Daniel DeVaughn

7. “Lose My Mind” – Bel Esprit

A persistent drum elbows its way through a speedy trio of guitar riff. A set of smooth, understated vocals with a raspy Billie Joe Armstrong character wash over the developing rock beat. “Lose My Mind” spins the story of a complicated love interest in a punk rock fashion, with a healthy dose of cynicism and loathing. Singer Billy Herklots’ vocals spill his soul, ”I know I can’t be young forever, /I don’t want to grow old and clever, / Wanna stay just the fool I am. / I scowl at photographs, /it makes me sick to see her laugh, /but I wanna lose my mind.” His honest delivery comes from a place of heartfelt creativity; their band name was borrowed from the fund author T.S. Eliot, of the “Wasteland”, established to pay Ezra Pound to continue writing. Intellectual and in touch with their alternative side, Bel Esprit properly steps out with “Lose My Mind.” Their energy is siphoned from the indie rock scene and coupled with, as they put it, “the artistry of Andy Warhol’s factory,” promising a flood of more creatively inspired rock to come. – Shelby Tatomir

6. “I’m Calling” - Tennis

Last year, while the Haim sisters and Lauren Mayberry (of CHVRCHES) presented as 2013’s indie female juggernauts, it seems bands like TOPS and Tennis were scratching their chins in Montreal and Denver studio-cum-discotheques, architecting 2014’s soundscapes. TOPS and Tennis have now released two singles each from their forthcoming albums, giving us a preview of what I believe will come to define the second half of indie music in 2014. With this second Tennis single, “I’m Calling,” it’s apparent from the outset—a dribbling synthesized guitar over hollow synth keys—that the resurgence of disco guitars, rhythms, and decadence will be an aesthetic surety from Ritual in Repeat. Through airy mezzo-soprano, Alaina Moore channels sexy-savvy Debbie Harry of Blondie (see “Heart of Glass”). Two minutes in, Patrick Carney’s production is especially apparent in the middle-eighth guitar noodling, a faint Black Keys watermark that can be shrugged off because of the return to the glitzy chorus whose last word dilates into a popped-out scale: “away-ay-ay-ay-ay.” – Lawrence Lenhart

5. "Sweetest" - Cam'ron

“You’ve got that pink mink on from ’03, and it’s the end of July. Fuck outta here, nigga.” Cam, tearfully: “Fuck you!”

How do you feel about crying to a Cam’ron song? The revisionism on Cam’s post-Dips heyday work is strange, in that it’s mostly true. Purple Haze was great. He was kind of like DOOM for a brief period. He was Wayne’s biggest, most traceable influence. But Cameron Giles is one of the greatest rappers to ever step in a recording booth, and more versatile than anyone who caught on in ’04 will ever realize. On “Sweetest”, from his First of the Month series, he’s worried time is passing him by. From the intro, where his girl accuses him of becoming anachronistic, a caricature, to the laments for fallen friends, “Sweetest” is heartbreaking in a way few songs manage to be. “It’s a dirty world.” – Paul Thompson

4. “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” - Superhumanoids

If Queens of the Stone Age were inspired by cocaine, Superhumanoids were inspired by ecstasy. On their cover of QOTSA's drug-laden jam, Superhumanoids chill out the atmosphere with some blissful results. Sarah Chernoff's crystalline vocals, couched in a vocoded sheen, repeat, "Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, Marijuana, Ecstasy, Alcohol," as the atmosphere gets endlessly dreamier. Starting very sparse sonically, beats and tender piano chords build the ethereal spacey vibes to an intense level. The result is a methodical masterpiece that takes the song to shimmering new heights. – Hailey Simpson

3. “You’re With Me” - Ark Life

A down-and-out spiritual with chill-worthy harmonies, Ark Life’s “You’re With Me” from their forthcoming album The Dream of You and Me perpetuates just the right middle ground between cattle call and late-night front porch smoke. From the initial swell of cymbals leading to the piano-driven verse, this track tears away at the cynical, media-obsessed planet we’re all a part of, grounding the listener to feel the roots between their feet. Alternating male and female vocals and gospel crescendos that get right to soul, “You’re With Me” is a step above traditional, not quite typical and excels in its true-blue simplicity. Companionship, the road and all the jagged faces along the way; it’s a hard trek, but one far easier with the right person riding shotgun. – Christopher S. Bell

2. "Blue Suede" - Vince Staples

This has been LA’s year. After a decade spent mining for ‘saviors’ and ‘the New West’ and other such nonsense, the City of Angels finds itself atop rap again. Odd Future brought some good old-fashioned moral panic, then Kendrick Lamar snatched crowns of all kinds from all corners. When we ranked the five best albums of 2014 so far, two—Nocando’s Jimmy The Burnout and YG’s My Krazy Life—were by lifelong Angelenos, while Open Mike Eagle (Dark Comedy) and Freddie Gibbs (Pinata, with LA legend Madlib) have each lived out West for over a decade. But as the media frenzy swirls in the city, the smog thickens, the days get longer and heavier, and Vince Staples is posted comfortably down in Long Beach. The Def Jam signee (and No I.D. protégé) delivers perhaps the summer’s most undeniable banger with “Blue Suede”, the single from his debut LP Hell Can Wait. Over Hagler Tyrant’s ceaseless synths, Staples reminisces on the shoes he never had. – Paul Thompson

1. “Enemy (MA NGUZU Ironsoul Edit)” - Kelela

Los Angeles has been busy this week—though, in truth, it always is. Outside of the flurry of activity surrounding Flying Lotus’ upcoming album, bass music label and crew Fade to Mind leaked five bootlegs to the public as they staged a midweek takeover of Dazed magazine. One of these exclusives, “Enemy (MA Nguzu Ironsoul Edit)”, sees Asma Maroof (one half of Nguzunguzu) coming back to the track that she and Daniel Pineda originally produced for Kelela, switching out the darker stabs of their earlier version for a more blinged-out grime-RnB crossover. The track is certainly more melodic and upbeat than the original, featuring gunshots, vocal re-sampling and flutes. Honestly, it’s free for download and you should just listen to it. – Justin Kwok

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