weekly kick-off: 10 banging tracks your ears must hear

July 30, 2012

Is there any other way to bring in a fresh, new week, than with some banging tracks? Of course not. Whether you’re looking for a summery groove for those perfect, sunny days. Or you want a street-banger you can nod your head to, these tracks by alternative Black bands and artists, will surely give you what you need.

Contributor: Elijah Watson

10. Angel Haze, “Werkin’ Girls”: It’s not surprising that female rapper Angel Haze, has received some much-deserved praise the past couple years. Just one listen to her song “Werkin’ Girls” and you will understand why. Lightning-fast rhymes interspersed with spacey synths and foot-stomping bass, “Werkin’ Girls” will have you working, regardless of gender.

9. Bloc Party, “Octopus:” Although we enjoyed frontman Kele Okereke’s 2010 solo album The Boxer, (if only he had waited a year he could have been a part of this year’s EDM blow-up) it’s great that Okereke has reunited with the rest of the Bloc Party gang. If you had any doubts that the group lost their indie-rock power during their break, think again. “I don’t know why I feel like crying,” sings Okereke over dance-friendly drums and chords that will have you saying, “Bloc Party is back.” Enjoy.

8. TNGHT, “Bugg’n:” AraabMuzik isn’t the only beatsmith trying to fuse hip-hop and electronic dance music. Just ask TNGHT. Composed of Lunice and Hudson Mohawke, the DJ duo specializes in crafting beats similar to that of Lex Luger. Although TNGHT has been his most recent endeavor, Lunice is a part of fellow producer and collaborator Diplo’s label, Mad Decent, and a LuckyMe Recording artist. But enough; listen to the track and become familiar with the dynamic duo.

7. THEESatisfaction, “Sweat:” If you like your music drizzled in funk-psychedelic sounds, THEESatisfaction is for you. A duo based out of Seattle, WA, THEESatisfaction favors otherworldly soulful trips reminiscent of Shabazz Palaces or Sa-Ra. And “Sweat” is a perfect example of that. Bongos bumping in the background, while horns blare in all directions, “Sweat” will surely satisfy your funkiest desires.

6. Lianne La Havas, “Is Your Love Big Enough?:” “You’ve got to let me know” croons songstress Lianne La Havas on this incredible track. Finger-picked guitar segues into beautiful, soulful vocals, before exploding into a chorus full of gospel choir hand-claps and vocals. Our love for you is truly getting bigger, Ms. Havas.

5. Cerebral Ballzy, “Cutting Class:” Although these hardcore punksters may enjoy cutting class, they surely will not be ditching their performance at this year’s Afro-punk Festival. The group is known for their chaotic live performances, and adrenaline-fueled songs. Skeptical still? Check out the track and try not to destroy whatever is around you.

4. Tyler, the Creator and Toro y Moi: “Hey You:” The prince of chillwave and alternative hip-hop’s Sid Vicious? Yup, you read correctly. A collaborative track between the two, “Hey You” leaked online recently and has definitely become a part of people’s summer playlist. “It sounds cool to me” repeats Tyler over fuzzy, dreamy synths. Get lost in the sounds of “Hey You,” and check out Toro y Moi at this year’s Afro-punk Festival.

3. Trash Talk, “Explode:” Another hardcore punk band, the group has become notorious for their wildly insane performances. From stepping on people’s heads, to front and back-flipping off of everything in sight, Trash Talk is a loose cannon. Get it? “Explode?” Loose cannon? Anyways, this is one of their well-known songs. Listen to it and look out for their forthcoming record, 119, being released through Odd Future Records (yup. Odd Future Records).

2. Death Grips, “Double Helix:” This alternative hip-hop trio have been turning heads since last year with the release of their mixtape Exmilitary. Their abrasive and unconventional sound has led to the group’s rise to cult status, along with their undeniably creative videos. Such is the case with the video for “Double Helix.” Did the idea to record a video with your car’s camera ever come to mind? I thought so. If you like what you hear check out their latest release (which “Double Helix” appears on) The Money Store.

1. Frank Ocean, “Sweet Life:” One of many standout tracks on Ocean’s latest album Channel Orange, “Sweet Life” strides with a soulful swagger that is instantly infectious. If you are a Stevie Wonder or Marvin Gaye aficionado, then this song and album, are definitely for you.

Well there you have it! Check back next week as I suggest 10 more songs that your ears MUST hear.

* Find contributor Elijah Watson on Twitter @EliW92. Watson is currently a student at the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in journalism. He also serves as senior entertainment writer for The Daily Texan, the school’s student newspaper, and a contributor to the college section of the Huffington Post. When he’s not critiquing the next big thing in music, Watson can be found listening to hip-hop, ranting about his desires to be an honorary member of hardcore punk group Trash Talk and making new friends on Twitter.