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Top 10 Songs of the Week (1/8)

While we wait for new music from LCD Soundstem and GNR, check out some fresh tracks

    Welcome back! It’s our first Top Songs of the Week post since revealing the Top 50 Songs of 2015. The big news in the interim, of course, was the return of both LCD Soundsystem and Guns N’ Roses — and we couldn’t be more excited. It might be some time before we hear new music from either in 2016, but don’t let that distract you from all the great new tunes already filling up our countdown, ranging from the reemergence of Yeasayer to the intense grime of Novelist.


    10. Sunflower Bean – “Easier Said”

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    Whether indulging in lo-fi, dream pop, or psychedelic rock, Brooklyn trio Sunflower Bean sure like their fuzz. Its never sounded as warm and sweet as on “Easier Said”, the latest cut from their debut album, Human Ceremony. Bassist Julia Cummings’ vocals lead the way over precious guitar tinkling from Nick Kivlen and Jacob Faber’s surreptitiously deep drumming. “Easier said than done/ I heard you right the first time,” she repeats in the hook. Throughout, she gives slightly different soaring takes on the simple melody, never content to sit in simple prettiness. Human Ceremony hits shelves February 5th via Fat Possum. —Adam Kivel


    09. Lemaitre – “Stepping Stone”

    Lemaitre Stepping Stones

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    Norwegian duo Lemaitre make catchy, energetic music fit for any good party. Surprisingly, what sticks out about “Stepping Stone” is its lyrics, which are relatively bleak by EDM standards. Over booming bass, thrumming synths, and an insistent groove, wearied vocalist Mark Johns lays out an intriguing chorus: “Tripped on my stepping stone, got up and kept on going, just me, traveling alone.” It’s not drugs that “take me all the way,” but desperation. Here, Lemaitre eschew the carefree, escapist indulgence of middling EDM to squarely face the thankless grind of modern existence. The duo’s new EP, 1749, will be out January 29 on Astralwerks in the US and Universal in the UK. –Karen Gwee


    08. Sia – “Reaper”

    Kanye Sia

    You don’t hear Kanye West’s voice on “Reaper”, and you don’t really hear his fingerprints, either. What you hear is how close a kindred spirit he is to Sia, who’s gearing up to release an album full of other people’s songs called This Is Acting. Unlike “Alive”, the repurposed Sia ballad originally meant for Adele, “Reaper” stalks and squirms around, full of frayed nerves. West claims co-writing and co-production credits on the tune, which settles perfectly into Sia’s crimped voice. That’s enough to suggest that “Facts” was a Soundcloud throwaway, and West hasn’t lost his knack for playful, itchy pop cuts. Neither, of course, has Sia. –Sasha Geffen

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    07. Washer – “Got Drunk and Ate the Sun”

    Here Comes Washer

    What’s the equivalent of the “Drunken Sailor” sea shanty for an anxious young adult landlocked in a major American metropolis? You know, something equally woozy and tuneful? The kind of thing where you need to grip tight to the nearest stable surface so you don’t fall down, all while singing aloud vehemently with everyone around you? Oh, right: It’s the latest from New York’s Washer. “So when everyone/ Was down and drunk/ I tried to eat the sun/ For a short while,” Mike Quigley sings, over a bombastic, loping epic. The band’s appropriately titled debut, Here Comes Washer, drops January 22nd via Exploding in Sound.  –Adam Kivel


    06. Pinegrove – “Old Friends”

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    Evan Stephens Hall sings like he’s been telling stories his whole life, like he tells stories to fill the air between conversations, like he makes shit up and then loops it back in to better tell the truth about himself. His new song with Pinegrove, “Old Friends”, binds together anecdotes with the reliable glue of shame. He looks back at times he’s been selfish, feels rotten about it, keeps doing it, keeps wrapping himself deeper in the stuff he hates about himself, and then, what the hell, he writes a song about it. Sometimes that’s the only way to break yourself out of a yarn you don’t like; sometimes just getting the story out makes its subject easier to swallow. –Sasha Geffen

    05. Novelist – “Street Politician”

    Novelist

    As a West Side Cleveland resident, this track hits close to home. Incendiary from birth, Novelist’s “Street Politician” offers a first-hand perspective of the international epidemic of police brutality. “Who’s criminals? Us or them?/ They hate us and we can’t stand them/ A gang to them’s what we are/ I’m an angry teenager,” protests the South London-bred 18-year-old. To further emphasize the faulty governmental oversight, producer Nick Hook overdubs the British Prime Minster himself, David Cameron, into the single. (“Keeping people safe is the duty of the government.”) As Novelist suggests, it’s not the progressive youth to be scared of, but the feds themselves. Like a cloaked vigilante, details on a forthcoming Novelist album remain vague. –Derek Staples


    04. Soda – “Blonde on Blonde”

    Soda Without a Head

    When I asked Editor-In-Chief Mike Roffman, himself a proud Floridian, to describe Gainesville, he gave me one word: “hot.” That menacing, encapsulating humidity plays out in the latest from Gainesville three-piece Soda. That song may be called “Blonde on Blonde”, but don’t go in expecting any folksy caterwauling. Instead, fans of burning, noisy indie rock of decades past will get their kicks,Arlington Garrett and Lara Lookabaugh dropped in a rusty old spin cycle for the dizzying chorus. Without a Head, the band’s debut 12-inch, is due January 15 via Parquet Courts frontman Andrew Savage’s Dull Tools imprint. –Adam Kivel


    03. Yeasayer – “I Am Chemistry”

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    If you’ve been to many Yeasayer live shows, it’s entirely possible you’ve dabbled in your own bit of psychedelic exploration. The collective celebrate these occasions with their first single in over three years, “I Am Chemistry”. Like an extended psilocybin-aided trip, the dialogue is broken with moments of blissful ambience. Not to get lost in these atmospherics, a strong sensuality prevails: “She doesn’t need my help poisoning the well beneath the rue leaves/ She only needs my help pleasuring herself beneath the rue leaves.” Be sure to grab Yeasayer’s fourth full-length, Amen & Goodbye, officially arrives April 1 via Mute. Now, please continue as I go grab my chemistry notebook! –Derek Staples

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    02. TEEN – “Tokyo”

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    It seems apt that a band named TEEN would write a song about “our societal obsession with youth culture and our ingrained fear of aging and loss of power,” according to singer and multi-instrumentalist Teeny Lieberson. On “Tokyo”, the Brooklyn four-piece sing of a man who fantasizes about leaving his wife after becoming bored of her, barely hiding their smirks behind memorable lines like, “Dreaming, dreaming, of a pair of coffins.” The song’s chirpy, reedy synths give it shine, but “Tokyo” is not a smooth listen: You can only uneasily sway to its loping rhythm, and a zany synth line reminiscent of recent St. Vincent zooms into the song after the first chorus. The track appears on their third album, Love Yes, out February 19 on Carpark Records. –Karen Gwee


    01. Savages – “Adore”

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    Like a lot of nth-wave punks, Savages tread so close to the edge of tooth-grittingly corny that a good deal of their power comes from watching just how long they can walk the tightrope. They keep their balance on “Adore”, the near-eponymous new single from their forthcoming Adore Life that dares to be bombastic and empowering and gut-bustingly optimistic, no matter how many people are waiting to watch them fall. “Is it human to adore life?” Jehnny Beth asks over and over, stretching out that second-to-last syllable like the whole of her philosophical quandary needs to fit inside it. And then she finishes her thought: “I adore life.” The question changes, becomes not “Should I adore life?” but “Am I human?”, and she repeats it to death in the song’s swarming coda. “I adore life. Do you adore life?” It’s a simple question, a simple politics, but it’s sung like that life she adores depends on it and yours does too. –Sasha Geffen

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