Megan’s Pick: “Home” – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
I have successfully avoided “Home” all summer, denying my true affection. For some reason, however, I spent this week consumed with it. An ode to true love, this odd little tune pulled at my heartstrings. Its sincerity and cuteness appealed to me, while its eccentric and compassionate lyrics remained pleasant and honest. So, as my hesitation ceased, this catchy tune lightened my mood and intrigued me, giving my week a little extra something.
Steve’s Pick: “Lying Through Teeth” – Belle Epoque
I love not being able to easily categorize someone’s work of art. Belle Epoque do just that for me and serve up something tasty with their latest EP, Disillusions of Man, but especially so with the opening track, “Lying Through Teeth.” Oh man, it’s so good. Seconds after deceptively light keys ring, a full, gritty riff pops to each kick pulse and slides back and forth, pushing the song into full swing, and instrumentally lying somewhere between the aggressive rhythm in Thrice’s Major/Minor and the melodic atmosphere of Chiodos’ Illuminaudio. Topped with Matt Goldman’s incredible production value, the ominous music, intricate vocal delivery, and vivid lyrics blend to form the song’s dusk-like aura and with its gorgeous, catchy progression it is sure to light up your musical world.
John’s Pick: “Bitch Bad” – Lupe Fiasco
Lupe Fiasco’s Food and Liquor is honestly one of my favorite albums so naturally I keep pulling for Lupe despite how disappointed I was with Lasers. I’d all but given up when I saw that his latest single was entitled “Bitch Bad.” I thought ‘oh, great another rap song about women who are ill-behaved in a pleasing manner.’ Then I listened to it and realized that the title was made intentionally for people to think that. The song marks a great return to form for Lupe: thought-provoking lyrics that critique current trends in rap and culture alongside his signature style and mastery of multi-syllabic rhyme schemes. The video is also worth checking out. Needless to say, this record has me very excited for Lupe Fiasco’s Food and Liquor Part 2: The Great American Rap Album Part 1. I mean, look at that title; I’ll buy five copies.
Joe’s Pick: “No Power Great Enough” – The Panic Division
Most music lovers seem to know that one band that is absolutely incredible – you’re sure they’re destined for superstardom – but for one reason or another they struggle to make the breakthrough. For me that band is The Panic Division, who craft synth-filled rock songs with layers of guitars and ridiculously catchy hooks. “No Power Great Enough,” off their 2012 release Eternalism, shows the band at its soaring best as Colton Holliday cries, “there’s no river long enough to break my faith in you my love” with such ferocity that you know he means it 100%.
Jacob’s Pick: “Not Over You” – Gavin Degraw
Somehow, I missed out on this song when it was released last year. Luckily, I’ve been alerted to its existence and have since given it a number of plays in the past month or so. That chorus. That melisma in the second verse. Those backing “oohs” in the bridge. This is what a great radio-friendly pop song sounds like. The production’s huge and the lyrics are far from meaningless. I’ve always enjoyed Gavin’s voice, and it is totally on-point throughout this song. If you haven’t heard this one before, prepare to be singing it to yourself for at least the next few days. If you knew it before, you’re probably already singing along. A+.
Jack’s Pick: “Untitled” – Killer Mike
While there are certainly some awesome bangers on Killer Mike’s fantastic album R.A.P. Music, “Untitled” proves that he’s at his best when he is being mature, personal, and thought-provoking. The track opens up with Mike bragging about his elegance, but it quickly morphs into something more meaningful with him wondering what his wife will do if he meets an untimely death and simultaneously commenting on many strong women throughout history. He displays an impressive amount of technical ability throughout the whole song while producer El-P delivers an excellent beat and hook. The end result is a song that makes you think and sounds great in the process.
Jason’s Pick: Trilogy 6 “Forgetting” – Loma Prieta
Catching the band earlier this year with Converge, Loma Prieta blew me away with their crushing rendition of metallic hardcore that more often than not feels like a jackhammer to the brain. This track in particular blasts along like a train coming off the rails before breaking a wall of sorts and pushing into another familiar territory for the band – a sludgy, yet catchy melodic ending that will literally intrude your eardrums if heard on the correct headphones. Whether you’re down for a little bit of mayhem or like your heavy with a bit of melody, this track is a perfect introduction to the chaos this band harnesses.
Corey’s Pick: “Brother Song” – Circa Survive
Circa Survive’s new album Violent Waves is the band’s most cohesive release to date. In fact, it’s one of the best albums released so far this year, and “Brother Song” is one of the biggest displays of that. The track is emotional, musically impressive, and atmospheric in nature. Anthony Green’s fantastic voice soars on this track, making “Brother Song” the ultimate Circa Survive song.
Drew’s Pick: “Speak” – The Chariot
While I am in the minority in thinking that The Chariot’s newest album, One Wing, is not their strongest album to date, I do believe that “Speak” is the best song they have ever written. Not a typical Chariot song, “Speak” is simply Josh Scogin shrieking over a simple piano line. Scogin is one of the scene’s best lyricists whose words often get buried under the chaos of the band’s instrumentation. This song gives him a window to do just that – speak. “To the prince, to the king, to the fathers of the free \ beg for your workers, and pray to god for me.” I could have this on repeat for the rest of the year.