It has been a bittersweet week over here at Stereogum HQ as we bid farewell to our good friend and super-talented colleague Claire Lobenfeld. Fortunately, we got a deep pile of new songs to distract us from our bumming. This week’s 5 Best span the spectrum, from noise to hip-hop to electronic to drone-R&B — and even so, we left a bunch of other worthy stuff on the cutting room floor. So what made the final cut? See for ya self below.
We didn’t do a Black Market in October (it’ll be back this month, though! I promise!), but before our brief hiatus, we did compile our list of last month’s best metal songs, and on that list was Sandrider’s nose-breaking “Gorgon.” So I’m glad we’ve got another chance to big-up Sandrider now, and especially glad we’re doing so outside the metal ghetto, because, (A) like many of metal’s most exciting bands in 2013, from Deafheaven to Castevet to SubRosa, Sandrider are … not really a metal band? And more importantly (B) because Sandrider’s pugilistic, gleeful sludge-grunge-noise assault is the kind of thing that will pretty instantly win over any listener who simply loves the sound of guitars. And bass. And drums. Sandrider kick ass and crush all those cowering before them in much the same way Welsh legends Mclusky did when they were overtaking nations with Napoleonic fervor: with a combination of violent insanity, outsize confidence, suicidal abandon, and somewhat deranged humor, plus acrobatic agility and pure fuckin’ muscle. Don’t be misled by the song’s title; for all the surgical precision of its instrumental interplay, this thing hacks and hits like a machete. –Michael
Rappers releasing sequels to their most revered albums (which, Raekwon’s Cuban Linx II notwithstanding, rarely sound anything like the original) is standard practice at this point. But isn’t it a little surprising that Busta is reviving (the admittedly rad) E.L.E. rather than When Disaster Strikes…, the record that made him an MTV icon? Not that “Thank You” would fit on either of those cartoonish freakouts — it rides a smooth disco-soul groove that functions as a fine bed for Busta and Q-Tip’s exquisite hippity-hopping. And if “Thank You” wasn’t already fit for blaring from boomboxes in truck beds while cruising the neighborhood, the Weezy/Yeezy shout-outs cement “Thank You” as this frigid fall’s official summer park jam. –Chris
When he’s recording under his own name, Matthew Dear has ideas that he wants to explore — ideas about melody, and sleaze, and slinkiness, and how far a Midwestern studio nerd can push himself into slithering neon-cityscape dark-lord status. But when he’s recording under his Audion alias, Dear just wants to crush your motherfucking brain. “Motormouth” is updated classic Detroit techno, except rendered with European precision and Japanese ruthlessness, and its seasick weeble-wobbling synth line bores its way deeper into your skull as each of the tracks’ unrelenting six minutes blur past you. If someone ever reboots the F-Zero video game franchise, they should be aware that this is music for drag-racing on the elevated futuristic superhighways of our dreams. –Tom
For a mostly-instrumental B-side in-studio goof, the Champs’ 1958 honkfest “Tequila” has had a shockingly long life. The song is one of the all-time great fluke novelty hits, rocketing to a Billboard #1 after a DJ flipped over the Champs’ “Train To Nowhere” single. Dick Clark presented the band with a gold plaque on air. Dizzy Gillespie and David Sanborn and George Benson all recorded covers. The Ventures recorded their “Tequila” cover twice. Latin rapper A.L.T. had a minor hit when he sampled it in 1992. Pee Wee Herman danced to it onscreen. So did the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And now the Champs’ original version is Action Bronson’s preferred vehicle for letting us know that he wears a bib all motherfucking day. Take a bow, “Tequila.” –Tom
When I first saw the tracklist for Mexican Summer’s Anniversary Compilation last month, I won’t lie, I was prepared to get the whole thing based on seeing that Autre Ne Veut would be making a track with Christian Fennesz. To hear this ambitious up-and-comer paired with one of the giants (literally; dude’s crazy tall) of glitch and drone music was the sort of thing you’d never think of, but once you do, it makes total sense. AVN’s Anxiety was R&B-informed (and performed — via musical input by Daniel Lopatin and Joel Ford) by the sort of sound Fennesz defined on previous records, most notably 2001’s straight-up masterpiece Endless Summer. Still, “Alive” surpasses any expectations. Arthur Ashin’s soul production melts with Fennesz’s achingly beautiful guitar-glitches that punctuate the track. Fennesz hangs off to the sides at first, creating little details before coming front and center midway through as Ashin’s vocals well up under a geyser of sunny, processed noise. It’s on par with the best track Ashin’s created, while hinting that there’s still better to come. Meanwhile Fennesz sounds completely revitalized; it’s really one of the finest things to come from him in the many years of waiting on a new album, and a good reminder of how unfuckwithable of a guitarist he has always been. I can’t even imagine what would happen if these guys teamed up for something long form, but in the meantime let’s all bow down and Watch The Drone. –Miles