Pussy Riot - "Putin Lights Up the Fires"
It's getting real in Russia, where feminist punk band Pussy Riot was sentenced to two years in prison for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" after a provocative protest against Vladimir Putin at Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral. This is song is their rebuttal, set to a slideshow by The Guardian.
Taylor Swift - "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"
Much speculation about who Ms. Swift is singing about this time around, but you don't have to know the gory details to appreciate a tell-off anthem, particularly coming from a goddess of that particular game. And did you notice how smoothly she transitioned out of country mode entirely with this one? That's a McKayla-quality stick. I'm sure Ms. Maroney would be impressed. Swift's new album, "Red," is coming Oct. 22 on Big Machine Records.
Ty Segall - "The Hill"
"Magical Mystery Tour" amped up to Sabbath-level crunch. Segall is getting it done like no other this year. His third LP of 2012, "Twins," is coming Sept. 4 via Drag City.
Freddie Gibbs featuring Kirko Bangz - "Bout It, Bout It"
Kirko sounds a lot better emulating Wayne with a Bone Thugs spin alongside Gangsta Gibbs than he does in the too-close Drake impression he dropped this week. Freddie's "Baby Face Killa" Gangsta Grillz tape with DJ Drama is coming soon. Kirko's project "Procrastination Killz 4" is out Monday.
Fat Tony & Tom Cruz featuring Main Attrakionz - "Double Up"
This is dope. Don't know if I've heard a better rap song this year. You can even download it for free at Soundcloud, so do that.
Mac DeMarco - "My Kind of Woman"
There's a little bit of Mark Kozelek's sad-sack guitar rock in Mac DeMarco's latest single, but also a sort of frailty I can only describe as twee. This strange brew of sadness bodes well for his Captured Tracks debut, "2," coming Oct. 16.
Flying Lotus featuring Erykah Badu - "See Thru To U"
Basically, FlyLo's next Warp release "Until the Quiet Comes" is going to be incredible. I love living in a world where this guy teams up with the likes of Earl and Erykah. Wait patiently until Oct. 2.
Spook Houses - "Bad Sound"
Spin's Marc Hogan sagely compared "Bad Sound" to this impressive list of forebears: early Modest Mouse, early Weezer, Yuck, Japandroids and Titus Andronicus. If that doesn't cause your mouth to water, I don't know what to tell you. Spook House's "Trying" is out now on the word tangle that is Double Double Whammy, Evil Weevil Records and Chill Mega Chill Records.
Juicy J - "Can't Stop Us"
Kind of surreal to hear Juicy rapping out from under a disorienting smoke haze and away from burly Lex Luger bombast, but he goes hard on Crazy Mike's clear, crisp, Biggie-sampling beat. In case you missed him at the Newport, Juicy will be in Athens on Sept. 29 for the 10th edition of #FEST.
Jay Rock - "YOLA" /// Ab-Liva - "Nibiru" /// Schoolboy Q - "Party"
Huge week for L.A.'s Black Hippy crew with burning new solo tracks from 3/4 of the group plus news that Kendrick Lamar's releasing a single with his biggest fan, Lady Gaga. It's momentous enough that we've expanded to a dozen tracks this week just to jam in all the Black Hippy goodness. See Schoolboy at the Newport on Oct. 6 with A$AP Rocky, A$AP Mob and Danny Brown.