Every Sunday the Astral Penguins Blog takes stock of the 10 biggest – and best – songs around right now.
There’s four new entries on this week’s list and three of this week’s top 10 have stuck around for four weeks, which is the maximum songs can stay on the A List.
Here are the best 10 songs around:
1. Jamiroquai – Automaton (Non-mover; 4th week)
Fourth and final week – and a fourth week at number 1. Automaton is an electro pop masterclass with euphoria, menace, and a playful 90’s pop-meets-hip hop breakdown. Come December, this is destined to be high in the top 50 of 2017 list.
2. Brutus – Drive 3/4s (New Entry)
A new entry from Belgiun post-hardcore trio Brutus. They’re led by Stefanie Mannaerts, who acts as both vocalist and drummer, and their debut album came out this week. Drive 3/4s is a stunningly good rock track; its impressive in its ambition alone, but the delivery of intricate melodies, shifts in style and epic chorus makes this track an absolute monster.
3. Parcels – Allaround (down 1; 4th week)
With beautiful vocals that sound like they’ve been borrowed from Kings of Convenience, layering them onto a track that plays with disco and funk – a la Jungle – and delivering some stunning musicianship along the way, this is a superb piece of music.
4. Vince Staples – Bagbak (down 1; 3rd week)
Hip hop is rediscovering it’s political voice and Bagbak is Vince Staples’s contribution on racial identity and politics. Staples is undoubtedly one of the most exciting men in music right now.
5. Allan Rayman – 13 (down 1; 3rd week)
13 is an r’n’b inflected track that could easily have felt at home in Prince’s mid-80’s era work. The standout element of the track is Rayman’s smoky soul voice is rich, pure, fragile and honest – often all in the same note. In 13 his rasping delivery of the opening verse is formidable but it’s the quieter moments that leave you breathless; in 13 he drops his voice and almost whispers some of his hoarse, sorrowful judgements.
6. Code Walk, Smerz – Guess What (New Entry)
This track is a collaboration between two Scandinavian duos, Norwegian pair Code Walk and Copenhagen couple Smerz. Guess What revolves around shimmering techno beats and top line percussion. Everything about this track is ice cold. Simple and yet highly effective.
7. Sub Focus – Lingua (New Entry)
Slower and more minimalist than a lot of his other works, Lingua sees Sub Focus straying closer to dancehall and hip hop than his usual drum and bass, but it’s a banger all the same.
8. Priests – Jj (down 3; 4th week)
There’s great fun nestled within this track; it’s like being trapped in the getaway car from a bank robbery in the wild west: country-twinged, all action, energy and attitude.
9. Ibeyi – Lost In My Mind (down 2; 2nd week)
A sparse, beautiful and affecting track that speaks of loneliness and isolation. It’s a track that lingers with you. It ends with a more positive – or is it pleading? – feel, but throughout you feel there’s a deep sadness that inspired it.
10. Blood Youth – Reasons to Stay (New Entry)
Melodic hardcore trio Blood Youth have produced a real balls-to-the-wall track in Reasons to Stay. A tale of a relationship ending in a complicated way, this will be an absolute monster live.