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“Dolby’s Top 10 Tracks Jan. – Mar. 2019”

10 T-Rextasy – “Girl, Friend”

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T-Rextasy is a rambunctious, hilarious crew of teenage girls out of Brooklyn who truth be told are NOT too bad at all at their instruments, with the copious help of avalanche drummer Ebun Nazon-Power. You could call “Girl, Friend” the centerpiece of their sophomore pop-punk album prehysteria, I guess, with its central theme of soul searching and reaffirming that you’re too boring to even be a lesbian (that was tongue-in-cheek, of course), so you better make some caterwauling music out of it.

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9 Stephen Malkmus – “Rushing the Acid Frat”

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I ALMOST stopped listening to the new Stephen Malkmus album during the first song, but then maybe that’s part of its charm, like a friend who knows you really well or a teacher that really challenges you. Well, then, there’s almost nothing challenging, or electro, about this track-six slab of ’60s pop, it’s just Monkees-approximating greatness with the claustrophobic, ingenious knack for songwriting that went to authorize the underrated Pavement album Brighten the Corners.

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8 Sundrifter – “Death March”

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This Sundrifter is a preternatural grunge-metal beast that’s reared its ugly head, appropriately enough, the same winter in which I really got into Dead Meadow, my new favorite band. “Death March” like most of their stuff is long and epic, but governed by a Fender riff that’s incredibly simple and direct, so as to make the song refreshing and understandable.

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7 The Dandy Warhols – “Next Thing I Know”

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The Dandy Warhols are definitely some of the more frustrating, confusing noise-making blokes on the other side of the Mississippi, or this one, with this new LP so full of this cool-guy sneer that you just want to punch him, and as I state a head-spinning bevy of musical styles, including not least notably this Prince-referring stone-out spearheaded by one of the more trippy, ethereal synth riffs you’ll ever chomp into.

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6 Shiny Times – “Here Comes the Sun”

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As a whole LP Can’t Be Depressed is an undeniable, melancholy twee-pop success from South Carolina’s Kim Weldin, or Shiny Times, if you prefer. “Here Comes the Sun,” channeling a Beatles influence as you’d expect as well as the obvious Marine Girls and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart which come with the territory, just seemed to have one of the terser, crisper chord changes, as to demonstrate the sacrifice and hopelessness wound into these bars, to go with Weldin’s canary-like vocals.

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5 B. Cool-Aid – “syruphands”

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If Yeezus taught us about anything, other than Kanye’s modest upwardly-mobile progress as a burgeoning deity, it’s that, uh, Motown samples in hip-hop friggin’ rule. This is especially obviously the case if you can unleash one that’s not too recognizable on cursory listen, which the LA duo of Ahwlee and Pink Siifu have here under some dope but straight-ahead Drake-like rhymes about smoking herb and keeping your mind in.

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4 Cydonia Collective – “Oculus”

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To this day I don’t know how many people Cydonia Collective is (it’s Four Tet-likening IDM so it could very well just be one, belying of course the name) or where it’s from and this almost is the way I like it, in a way, because this stuff is just like the PERFECT ambient sound, so I like to think of it as coming from Heaven, like some corny joke about a girl or something. All the songs on this album meld into an easily digestible and phosphorescent whole, but they’re nothing without this opener, which saunters out with just a little more bite than the rest, to keep you honest, maybe.

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3 Steve Gunn – “Paranoid”

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This album was so powerful and memorable a listen that I’m almost wary of going back over it, just for its sheer sense of gravity and transcendence. Titled The Unseen in Between, it follows the major life event in Gunn of a loss of a father, and is full of undeniably deliberate folk-rock melodies and song structures created with precociously little instrumental flair or fanfare. “Paranoid” is the unforgettable, show-stopping album closeur, which turns the dial on those who ascribe others with the mental disease, indicating that it’s the people who try to pull paranoia cards on others who are actually crazy, because in this day and age in America, who wouldn’t be scared of calamity?

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2 Sharon Van Etten – “No One’s Easy to Love”

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I first fell in love with Sharon Van Etten (aurally, ahem) when I took in 2010’s Epic EP, which certainly was just that. I hesitate, then, to say that her playbook changes DRASTICALLY for this 2019 work — it’s sort of just the full realization of her potential that was already there the whole time, channeling probably the Beatles for this indie-pop opus and also, I think, Up-era R.E.M., although that’s obvious a pretty squirrely influence to attach to any musician (but an underrated one, or so DD purports). My personal favorite pair of lyrics (ever) is “There was a question you asked / Is your father a man? / No but I think you should do / Ask of yourself the same”.

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1 Dexter Story – “Bila”

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I mean just HOW DID I KNOW that this dude would be from Los Angeles… maybe it’s because like Kamasi Washington’s stunning creation “Cherokee,” this music just plays like a part and parcel with America’s founding DNA — the inherent sense of loss, tragedy, brutality and sacrifice, wound up with simultaneously a certain stature as beautiful and owning to some of the most fertile soil in the world, full of unparalleled possibilities and progress. It would seem impossible to neglect the spooky majesty of this song, from the incessant, overarching horn riffs, the incandescent “hey-ya” background vocals, and, is that a drum beat that sounds like horses trotting? Yup, I think it is. Anyway, just sit back and marvel. You won’t be sorry.

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