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Top 10 Songs of the Week (5/20)

on May 20, 2016, 1:00pm
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This week belongs to Chance the Rapper. He’s on such a roll that when he announced a mysterious event surrounding the release of his excellent new project, Coloring Booka few of us at the CoS office leapt at the opportunity to buy tickets. But what did we pay for? Will it be a Chance performance? The tape playing over speakers while you play mini-golf? A pizza party? We’re as curious as you are. Until then, we’ve been finding just enough room in our day to spin a fresh batch of excellent tunes beyond spinning Chano’s tunes on repeat.
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10. Charly Bliss – “Ruby”

charly bliss press pic credit to shervin lainez Top 10 Songs of the Week (5/20)

One of the biggest trends of the last few years is, undoubtedly, a return to the ’90s. In a sea of bands mimicking Stephen Malkmus, Kurt Cobain, and Rivers Cuomo, few have been able to stand out, injecting their own style into an otherwise easy format. Brooklyn up-and-comers Charly Bliss are well on their way to being one of those few. On “Ruby”, the four-piece romp through pure bubblegum grunge, creating the type of unashamed hooks and thick guitars that saw Veruca Salt and Kim Deal gaining attention. Frontwoman Eva Hendricks wields her nasally vocals with the skill of someone twice her age, sliding down scales and rasping on falsettos with an endearing tone. It’s two minutes of deja-vu goodness where you’ll swear you felt yourself in jellies again. –Nina Corcoran



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09. BadBadNotGood feat. Sam Herring (of Future Islands) – “Time Moves Slow”

badbadnotgood sam herring Top 10 Songs of the Week (5/20)

The last time we heard from the relatively obscure BADBADBADNOTGOOD was last year on the collaborative project Sour Soul with Ghostface Killah. Since then, the quartet have added a new member, Leland Whitty, who will be assuming string and saxophone responsibilities. Now the jazz outfit are gearing up for their new album, IV (out July 8th), which will feature Kaytranada, Charlotte Day Wilson, Arcade Fire collaborator Colin Stetson, and Mick Jenkins. In support of the album, they released a new track entitled “Time Moves Slow”, featuring Future Islands’ frontman Sam Herring. The song is a languid and melancholic number with Herring’s deep baritone contemplating solemn ruminations. –Alejandra Ramirez


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08. Brand New – “I Am a Nightmare”

brandnew nightmare Top 10 Songs of the Week (5/20)

Releasing one song a year may not be their goal, but Brand New carry out the act as if it’s the only way they could share music with the world. Out of nowhere, the pop-punk staples dropped “I Am a Nightmare”, a standalone single presumably off their upcoming (whenever that may be) fifth album. And yet, it almost seems necessary for them to do so. Surprise releases from a band retching with angst pushes listeners to debate the worth of a track — an odd, uncomfortable thing to ask here with a song that screams major label while being released on their own Procrastinate! Music Traitors label. The devil and god keep raging inside Jesse Lacey, only now there’s fear holstered at his side. “Do I have to die to see the other side?” he sings. “I am a nightmare and you are a miracle/ Coming out of the ground, it’s kind of freaking me out.” His words speed over the most articulate hook Lacey’s written in easily over a decade, recalling the simplicity of Your Favorite Weapon without the lo-fi feed. If “Mene” was an extension of Daisy, then “I Am a Nightmare” is an extension of every fan’s shout for “Seventy Times 7” at their shows. Brand New know their career owes a lot to its starting point, and, finally, they’re willing to cater to that. –Nina Corcoran



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07. Hanni El Khatib – “Paralyzed”

hanni el khatib new Top 10 Songs of the Week (5/20)

Fans pack “selling out” into their slingshot and rocket it far, far away whenever one of their near-and-dear musicians drops music fit for a commercial. When pristine hooks are tailor-made to sell products, it shouldn’t be seen as a negative, but as a gain for listeners, and Hanni El Khatib unfolds in a similar way. The groove-heavy “Paralyzed” wastes no time laying down guitar licks over an inching bassline and disco drums. Khatib plays every instrument on the track himself. That explains the urge to dance in a wall of circling beats, a song caught up in vintage funk to the point where it feels like a hit written because Khatib himself needed it. “When I made it, I thought I actually don’t feel like screaming. I feel like dancing,” he told Zane Lowe. Yeah, dude. We hear it. –Nina Corcoran



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06. Okkervil River – “Okkervil River R.I.P.”

okkervil river away new album

The three years since Okkervil River released the lauded The Silver Gymnasium were an especially trying time for band leader Will Sheff. As divulged this week around the release of “Okkervil River R.I.P”, the soon-to-be 40-year-old weathered many of life’s unavoidable obstacles: the death of a loved one, the dissolution of friendships, and the subsequent feelings of abandonment. Just when Okkervil River was set to be put down, Sheff surrounded himself with a new roster of talented musicians and utilized that dismay to cultivate a new path of artistic freedom throughout the forthcoming Away. For those still reeling from their own loss, anticipate a flow of massive tears as Sheff leans into his acoustic guitar and the soul-searching moments. Explore the project’s spiritual rebirth September 9th when Away lands via ATO. –Derek Staples


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05. Big Business – “Father’s Day”

Image (3) KatieSchuering_TheMelvins_DoubleDoor_DSC_1574.jpg for post 386462

For nearly 10 years, the boys of Big Business, Jared Warren and Coady Willis, have rotated in and out of tours with legendary metal outfit the Melvins, opening shows and filling out the headliner’s lineup in a formation known lovingly to some as Big Melvins. But anybody that’s only known them as “the Melvins’ friends” are doing themselves a major disservice: Big Business make their own big racket. Fans of Buzzo’s wild vocals will likely latch easily onto Warren’s steely cries on new cut “Father’s Day”, as well as his tar-black bass riffs that roll out in typhoon waves. Willis, meanwhile, crushes his drum kit, providing tight-cropped harmonies along the way. It’s hard to believe a duo could be producing this big of an oozy head-banging jam, but this is Big Business after all. “Father’s Day” is the first preview of the duo’s upcoming Command Your Weather, out July 8th via Joyful Noise Recordings. –Adam Kivel


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04. Ne-Hi – “Buried on the Moon”

Ne-Hi

There’s a jangle and warmth to the guitars on any Ne-Hi track that makes it recognizable as the product of the young indie rockers. That’s immediately apparent on their latest, the bombastic and sun-glazed “Buried on the Moon”. The track sounds a bit like a day on the beach, or at least a crowded, slightly grimy Chicago beach. Though don’t start to think that means this one’s a summer radio jam where everything’s sunny. “It’s kind of a reflection on the last year or so being in this kind of creative teenagedom,” the band notes, and the blend of wide-open opportunity, crippling anxiety, loneliness, and togetherness is a surprisingly mature and palpable punch to the guts. It’s like the prospect of being buried on the moon; sure, it’d be amazing to travel through space and do things so few have ever done, but in the end you’re alone, stuck in the ground, even if it’s the moon. This is the first track Ne-Hi have released since recently signing with Grand Jury, and it’s a sign of great things to come. –Adam Kivel


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03. Jonas Rathsman feat. Josef Salvat – “Complex”

Jonas Rathsman

Jonas Rathsman’s “Complex” continues to cement the Crosstown Rebels imprint as a leader in emotive techno and true deep house. Featuring Australian vocalist Josef Salvat, the “tech-blues odyssey” is an ode to the spirited individuality both behind the decks and heating the dance floor during a Crosstown Rebels party: “I’m too young to be accountable, I’m too young to die/ I mean not die like literally, I just mean die inside/ Like everyone I see around me, all so numb, so bored, so tired.” While Salvat spends the track proclaiming how complex he may be, the instrumental depths lure the listener into a hypnotic daze. A master of the deep, dark corners of production, Rathsman seamlessly combines disembodied vocals, psychedelic synth builds, tribal percussion, and crystalline piano into the waves of despondent electronics. Seeing DJ support since Miami Music week, “Complex” is proving itself a proper selection for that long comedown. –Derek Staples


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02. Michael Christmas – “Cell Phone”

michael christmas cell phone

The last few months have been busy for Michael Christmas. The Boston rapper is currently readying the release of his new Baggy Eyes EP on May 25th only a few months after the release of What a Weird Day. In support of the album, the quirky rapper released “Get Up” — a Durkin-produced beat sporting icy wordplay — and “Paranoia” — a track of insomniac nights and daydreaming. This week saw the premiere of “Cell Phone”, a joint that follows the steps of Erykah Badu’s “Phone Down”, as he contemplates the ills of technology over sleek electronics, bedroom-eyed synths, and a Lord Fubu beat. –Alejandra Ramirez


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01. Chance the Rapper feat. Mick Jenkins, Alex Wiley – “Grown Ass Kid”

Photo by Nina Corcoran

As if we weren’t still overwhelmed by all the amazing tunes on Chance the Rapper’s amazing Coloring Book, a rad track that didn’t make the cut due to sample clearance falls into our collective lap. Featuring fellow Chicago stars Mick Jenkins and Alex Wiley, “Grown Ass Kid” works through more brilliant soul and gospel tones (courtesy of Cam O’bi and Nascent), the three rappers using their verses to tackle the idea of adulthood and growing up. “Now watch how I move, different chapters/ Decisions, missions, visit pastors,” Chance offers. “Everybody finally can say it out loud, “my favorite rapper a Christian rapper.” This is Chance’s second consecutive week at the top of our chart, which may never have happened before. (We’ll have to consult with the Elias Sports Bureau.) “Grown Ass Kid” could’ve been a star even on the jam-packed Coloring Book, which is truly saying something. —Adam Kivel

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