The 10 Best Songs of the Week

The 10 Best Songs of the Week
Let’s cut to the chase: this week had an unholy amount of fantastic new music. This has been a uniformly great week for everyone with this constant stream of new music, but not for the writers who compile this list. They had to narrow it down to just 10 songs, leaving out great music from Run the Jewels, Deafheaven, Clipping., and more. That being said, it should go without saying that these 10 songs selected are top notch, cream out the crop joints that must be listened to. Check out our picks below and let us know how wrong we were in the comments.


10. “200 Press” – James Blake



The phrase “four-on-the-floor late night rover” doesn’t normally conjure images of James Blake, but his latest track “200 Press” (named thus because “only 200 [vinyl records] will be pressed up”) is exactly that. Unveiled on his Thursday night BBC Radio1 show, the tune is a low-down, sinister beat with clangy idiophones and a scraggly cry that seems to claw at your insides. Whilst eerie, a deep, slow-mo Andre 3000 sample, buzzing bass movement and sirens lend a roughened street quality to the mix that keeps it from getting too unsettling. The track can be heard here a little after the 30-minute mark and, if you listen further, Blake’s new edit of Airhead’s “Shekure” also features, as well as a forthcoming track by Airhead himself called “Macondo”. – Justin Kwok


9. “No Tears (feat. Future) - Young Jeezy



Once, Young Jeezy was dangerous. He was extorting Def Jam for seven figures on his lead single. He hit the kitchen lights; marble floors everywhere. The roaches were dead. His enemies were dead—then, for a few years, so was his career. He had all the guest features, but Jeezy records became a vehicle for Kanye to work out the kinks in his Autotuned id, or for President Carter to flex his dusty chops. He sat on shelves so long that his very essence became stale; this year, Freddie Gibbs’ “Real” played as a veritable nail in the coffin. But against all odds, the singles from Seen It All (September 2nd)—including the Hov-assisted title track—have been his most vital material in years. For “No Tears”, Mr. 17.5 teams up with fellow Atlantan trap god Future to spend coke money on yachts. In the video, there’s a shot of a regal looking rooster, and Jeezy is a resolute Nick Carraway. – Paul Thompson


8. "Break the Rules" - Charli XCX



After wildly successful collaborations with Iggy Azalea and Icona Pop, on “Fancy” and “I Love It”, respectively, the 22-year-old pop star seems destine to break out in a major way. Her sophomore album, Sucker, will be released on October 21 via Atlantic. While the previously mentioned songs featured Charli in a secondary role, she’s at the forefront now. Her new song, “Break the Rules”, is a song destined for radio rotation. While the lyrics aren’t necessarily groundbreaking (“I don’t want to go to school/ I just want to break the rules”), that’s nothing new with Charli. Remember, she’s the girl who’s featured on songs about: driving your car into a bridge because you are “a ’90s bitch” and getting drunk on a minibar. Where this juvenile sense of style might be a problem for another artist, Charli has an edge about her that makes her anthems more rebellious. “Break the Rules” has the potential to be massive, and it’s the first true great pop song slated for the fall. – David Hammond


7. “I Can’t Pretend” – The Drums



The Drums have been synonymous with summery surf pop since their 2009 debut EP Summertime, but there's always been something darker lurking under their angular riffs and reverbed sheen. Their second single from forthcoming record Encyclopedia reaffirms this with some strong nods to moodier influences like the Cure. "I Can't Pretend" starts out slow and sweet, with a singular synth riff that reverberates throughout the track. Jonathan Pierce's dreamy vocals lighten the bass-heavy mood, until the layers build up into an intense climax that sees him belting in a full piercing voice. It's truly a slow-burner of the highest order. – Hailey Simpson


6. “COP” - Busdriver



Busdriver is smart, and that’s not meant pejoratively. He is not sneering down the nose of his wire frames at the unwashed masses, whatever impatient critics will have you believe. Regan Farquhar’s politics are real, personal, and human, not academic. People will rattle off quips about his technical wizardry, his vocabulary—as code words for ‘inaccessibility’—but it has added up to one of the worst disservices in the documentation of L.A. rap. On “COP”, the Blowedian alumni imagines himself as a police officer, “With a uniform fit with colonists’ seams/Peeing in niggas collard greens as they discuss politics of dreams”. Busdriver’s Perfect Hair is due out September 8th, and it’s one of the finest records of 2014. – Paul Thompson


5. “SadioWitch” – Electric Wizard



2014 is the year of stoner metal resurgence. First, stalwarts Sleep returned with a bongload of a new track, now British grime enthusiasts Electric Wizard emerge after five years lost in the smoke. “SadioWitch” is nicely at home within the band’s canon—crusty doom caked with snotty, snarled vocals. While most Electric Wizard tracks reach double digits, this song is a get-in-and-out quick burn that doesn’t waste any time with setting the aesthetics. I’m not sure what makes this time right for the lumbering, eternally red-eyed bands to return, but it’s a nice counter point to the feel good hits of the summer currently clogging the airwaves. – Michael McDermit


4. “Osaka” - Nocando



When you think “Leimert Park legend”, you think Nocando. On “Osaka”, the battle rap legend (who has of late distanced himself from the medium) continues his development as a songwriter. This time, he infuses a bit of that signature viciousness. Written in Japan, the loosie continues the tear Nocan started on this year’s Jimmy the Burnout. The “rap game Kafka/on a bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka” is demanding the money in his hand as soon as he touches down on the American coast, as he should—over the past several years, he has flipped his mic skills into a career as a label head and resident at L.A.’s famous Low End Theory. If “Osaka” is any indication, Nocan is bound to continue the upward trend. – Paul Thompson


3. “Body Full of Lightning” – No Limits



The band No Limits has a nominal following and a minor presence in the media. Fortunately, their electro indie-rock sound and obvious interest in the aesthetic design work behind their tracks will prove them a rising star. “Body Full of Lightning” is anticipated to live up to the success of their previous track, “Another World,” which garnered over 100k views. Shimmering electronic scratches lead into the track with shrieks and screams echoing in the background. An acoustic guitar strums along, and a breathy voice joins. The song repeats the same 8 lines throughout, bearing a glimpse into a passionate love affair where our singer asks, heart on his sleeve, “How vulnerable do you want me to be?” The body full of lightning in reference is a person full of love, an electric description of infatuation. The beat plods along in syncopated rhythm, building anticipation as the question hangs in the air, line after line, unanswered. “Or did you fall in love with the mystery,” adds a dash of bashful overthinking. The song disappears into thin air as it ends, instruments disappearing one by one as swiftly as they came to be. – Shelby Tatomir


2. “Drink, Smoke, Breakup (L-Vis 1990 4D Vocal Mix)” - Mila J



A day after dropping his alchemical remake of Mila J’s tune, L-Vis 1990 is back at it again: remixing his own remake in a stuttering rhythm & grime fashion that sounds more akin to the groundbreaking Night Slugs imprint that he co-owns with Bok Bok. With a vast array of percussions crushing the skull behind Mila J’s take-no-prisoners delivery (whose voice is decidedly more soulful than her lyrics), the remix is brazen and club-ready—the kind of song that’ll have you throwing your weight down even as you (drunkenly) recite its lyrics. – Justin Kwok


1. "Hotel Blues" - Last Ex



LONG LIVE THE SAMPLER: This week, countless music bloggers gave the directive to fast forward to the ten-minute mark on Constellation Records’ fresh three-song sampler in order to check out the new Ought track (the first taste of an upcoming EP, a relatively subdued song called “Pill,” relative that is to the frenzied 2014 debut LP More Than Any Other Day, but I digress). That directive was a grievous mistake, though. The blogosphere’s attention deficit is now contributing to the abandonment of the nectar-filled label sampler, a release form akin to an admission-free mini-concert. When one sees Ought play a live show, she can’t just fast forward through Last Ex’s set. But you already knew that. That’s why you’re here. You’re the disciplined one who left that Cleveland bar to see the opener while all your friends were like, “We only want to see Dr. Dog,” and there you were, standing next to me, shit-grinning as Here We Go Magic played its whole set to us alone. Wasn’t that great? Anyway, here’s what the others missed at the front end of the Constellation sampler this week: Part 1. Leaden drums pops bubble beneath an industrial spring. Part 2. Demented circus arpeggios are goaded on by an up-tempo snare. Part 3. A mid-1980s Dolby Surround sound check erupts into spontaneous composition, recalls vertical hold of ancient TV sets (all achieved through analog tape distress and degradation). Part 4. Angular guitar sounds occur at will—textural, tidal, etc. If you sense the atmosphere is rich, it’s because these guys originally formed to score a horror film as Timber Timbre. That didn’t work out, but now look at them—their contrapuntal musique concrète is sampler-opening for Ought. And you were there when it all went down. - Lawrence Lenhart



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