This week there was something strange and new from Jane’s Addiction, Drake released the anti-“Started From The Bottom,” and Ryan Hemsworth laid A$AP Rocky over a tweaked out version of Britney Spear’s “Everytime” and made it sound like something that belongs in a jewelry box. These did not make the list, but another rapper-crooner, past Black Market honorees, and three more did. Get into it below.
“Mythos” arrives well into the back half of Sky Swallower, the herculean debut album from New Hampshire post-black metal band Vattnet Viskar, but it’s clearly the record’s zenith, if not its centerpiece. It’s a study in tensions and textures, momentum and grandeur. The guitars are roaring, volcanic beasts, but are also creamy, almost luxuriant, set against a Gravitron whirl of blast beats, near-tribal breakdowns, and Nick Thornbury’s death-y, clipped bark. The sound is so clear that it feels almost minimalist, but the song is nothing short of massive. – Michael
Part of the reason why Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music was one of my favorite records of last year was that it felt like a perfectly complemented mix of rapper and producer. That’s the sort of chemistry young rapper Haleek Maul has with Matthew Barnes, better known as Forest Swords. Anxious, menacing, and just plain dark, it’s an eye opener how well Maul can move through Barnes’ maze of drums and drones. – Miles
From “You Deserve It” to “Bugatti,” Future is the first rapper to really finesse lyric repetition since Juvenile in the ’90s, I’m just being honest. And if other rappers tried to load their tracks with falsetto coos, we’d cringe, but with Future, it’s suave, I’m just being honest. And if this song had come out any earlier, it’d have been a contender for Song Of The Summer, I’m just being honest. – Claire
I often found Julia Holter’s music worked better in the context of a full album, whether it was Tragedy or Ekstasis. But “Maxim’s I” I could listen to in pretty much any context or place. Over the sprawling six-minute drift Holter shifts through so many different sections and types of vocal delivery without breaking a sweat. When the opening minute of clattering dissonance gives way to Holter’s luxurious arrangement it’s like the sound of every tension just giving way to pure bliss. – Miles
More often than not, when we talk about the Julie Ruin, we talk about it as “Kathleen Hanna’s band.” Because she is one of the biggest, if not the, punk feminist icons, the fact that she is putting out a proper album for the first time since 2004 is truly a big deal. With something as reliant on synths as “Ha Ha Ha,” it’s hard not to harken back to the Julie Ruin LP. But something that will certainly be more apparent once their album has been released and they are touring, is that this isn’t the Kathleen(-and-Kathi Wilcox show), the Julie Ruin is a band. Last night, they played their first real New York headlining gig and seeing them perform together put the music in a new context. Those synths are not just there to back up Hanna, it’s Kenny Mellmann wailing on the keys. And those vocals on the hook aren’t just layers of her voice, it’s all three women in the band. This song is already fun-loving while heartbreaking, but knowing it’s a team effort makes it even better. – Claire