The 5 Best Songs Of The Week

The 5 Best Songs Of The Week

By Stereogum / September 20, 2013

On Sunday night Nothing Was The Same leaked, so there’s some likelihood that in the midst of a listening frenzy, you missed some of the best music of the week. Or, maybe you eschewed the entire NWTS hype machine and want to know if some of your picks made the cut. Find out what did below.

5. Castevet – “The Curve”

Castevet are part of the Brooklyn/Queens metal scene that also includes Krallice, Kayo Dot, Vaura, and Dysrhythmia, among others — all basically virtuoso-level avant-garde and/or prog bands whose artsiest tendencies are balanced (or masked) by prominent elements of black metal. On “The Curve,” though — from Castevet’s breathtaking sophomore LP Obsian (out next month via Profound Lore) — it feels like those oft-disparate textures have been furnace-baked into a singular, wholly unfamiliar new one. The ridiculous time signatures somehow serve nuanced melodic interplay between Andrew Hock’s guitar and Nick McMaster’s bass; the instrumental tones frequently recall the dreamy, lush late-’90s engineering work of John McEntire (Tortoise; the Sea And Cake); and Hock’s tortured shriek bears a definite resemblance to that of Weakling vocalist John Gossard. I know it sounds nerdy as hell when I put it that way. But don’t listen to me, by god, listen to the music — because that sounds utterly captivating, thrilling, and explosive. – Michael

4. Katy B – “5AM”

Before Skrillex happened and when dubstep was a sensualist bass-fogged strain of UK pirate-radio dance music, Katy B was the best bet to become its pop face. Over those grimy and wobbly instrumentals, she brought a teenage tough-chick everywoman snap, translating it into something breezy and conversational and life-affirming without dulling the music’s edge. “5AM” has no trace of that old dubstep. Instead, she does the same to big-room house music, singing about the desperate edge of the night, the moment where you’re looking to go home with someone, in a song that you might actually hear at that moment. And she sells the motherfuck out of that hook. – Tom

3. Palehound – “Drooler”

Earlier this year, Veruca Salt announced via Facebook that the original lineup had reunited, “hatchets buried, axes exhumed,” but had they not, bits of their spirit would still be alive in Ellen Kempner, the Yonkers teen behind Palehound. Her song “Drooler” is essentially the link between American Thighs and Eight Arms To Hold You, but much more bent guitar strings. Sonically, it haunts a little bit, but it’s her lyrics that stick with you, particularly puzzles like “And vandalize my body / if it helps you sleep.” But Kempner has a penchant for lyrical oddities (ex.: “Gonna blow you away / put a hole in your brain / gonna make you miss your mom” from Dog On Crutches track “Blown”) and that combined with her lo-fi polish is what makes this song clutch you. It’s no wonder her forthcoming cassette Bent Nail is coming out on Exploding In Sound — they’ve had just as tight of a vice-grip on our ears this year. – Claire

2. Eddie Vedder & Neil Finn – “Throw Your Arms Around Me” (Hunters & Collectors Cover)

The original, a ballad from the band Hunters & Collectors, was prime Aussie ’80s bolo-tie rock, a creepily devotional hymn sung by a guy who looked like he could’ve been part of the Lost Boys vampire-gang. But it was also always a Pearl Jam song in waiting, and Pearl Jam knew that; they’ve covered it live a bunch. In Vedder’s warm and perma-sincere vocal chords, those slick pickup lines about squeezing the life right out of you and shouting your name into the blue summer sky sound like earthshaking prayers. Here, he links with Neil Finn (who’s also covered the song, and whose own Aussie ’80s band Crowded House had Hunters & Collectors family connections) for the greatest acoustic-guitar campfire-lullaby rendition we’ve heard in quite some time. Comfort-food music of the highest order. – Tom

1. James Blake – “Life Round Here (Remix)” (Feat. Chance The Rapper)

Rappers love James Blake, so the British dubstep balladeer could seemingly work with any A-List MC he chooses. But Blake’s RZA collab played like a second-rate Tricky track, so such combinations are not guaranteed to yield something special. This, though? This is as special as it gets. Blake’s found his rightful rap foil in raspy Chicago spaz-master Chance The Rapper, a fellow prodigious upstart whose high-energy introspection melds magically with Blake’s bassy mood music. Their chemistry is otherworldly, and this world needs more of it pronto. Fortunately, Blake and Chance seem to recognize what a good thing they’ve got going, and more songs are on the way. In the meantime, bask in this thing all weekend while watching the leaves turn. – Chris