Looking for some music therapy to help alleviate the pain of President Donald Trump’s inauguration? We’ve got an eclectic mix of music to help lift your spirits as we head into these divisive and unpredictable times. (We also recommend you take a look at the powerful protests from this past weekend, because they were truly inspiring.) This week’s selection includes a new banger from Atlanta power trio Migos, a fuzzy distorted jam by psych rocker Ty Segall, and much more. Press play and let this stressful week wash away with our weekly SoundCloud playlist.
J. Cole - High for Hours
If you need help coping with the unexplainable reality that is President Donald Trump, sit back and smoke one to J. Cole’s fiery new number “High for Hours.” The surprise loosie cut, released on Martin Luther King Day, features the North Carolina rapper slaying the smooth Elite & Cam O’bi-produced beat with scathing rhymes about the hypocrisy of politics, religion, and policing in America.
Cole spits critical lines that fit this disparaging political era, like, “You get the power, but you know what power does to man?/Corruption always leads us to the same shit again,” making this joint an ideal anthem for these dark times. The conscious rapper also rhymes about his eye-opening experience meeting President Barack Obama. “High for Hours” follows the release of Cole’s album 4 Your Eyez Only, which dropped back in December.
A$AP Ferg x Kirk Knight - Setup
New York City, stand up! This past week, Brooklyn producer and rapper Kirk Knight linked up with Harlem native A$AP Ferg on the explosive new joint “Setup.” The two city slickers stunt over the lurching sub bass and rapid-fire hi-hats, trading off a pair of savage verses about stacking cheddar. Ferg bodies the fierce beat with his waggish rhymes, spitting lines like “used to take a shower with detergent/now I’m rich, feelin’ on the Persian.”
Coming off of his 2016 studio debut, Late Knight Special, Pro Era crew member Knight displays his versatility as both a beatmaker and lyricist on the rambunctious track. “Setup” was dropped on Jan. 17 for Yams Day, which honors the late A$AP Yams.
2 Chainz (feat. Quavo and Gucci Mane) - Good Drank
Hip-hop fans were treated to a syrupy surprise from trap icon 2 Chainz, who joined fellow Atlantans Quavo and Gucci Mane in a Prohibition-styled music video for “Good Drank.” Featured on the 2016 2 Chainz mixtape Hibachi for Lunch, the Mike Dean-produced single has been reprised in the form of a black-and-white visual, placing the three Southern spitters in a purple drank distillery.
2 Chainz and Gucci Mane flaunt over the lush synth and sporadic trap drums with verses about mixing syrup and making millions, while the hook master Quavo provides an anthemic chorus about good drank and drugs. If you happened to miss this banger when it first surfaced on Hibachi for Lunch last year, stop scrolling and hit play now.
This Will Destroy You - The Puritan (Julianna Barwick Remix)
Sometimes the best way to cope with having a divisively nationalistic and potentially fascist president is to clear your mind, and what better way to do that than with the soul-shattering sound of the Texas post-rock band This Will Destroy You? This past week, ambient indie artist Julianna Barwick released a touching rework of “The Puritan,” featured on the group’s 2014 album Another Language.
The Brooklyn songstress steps out of her comfort zone on the This Will Destroy You remix, stripping the emotional original down to depthless and immersive piano loop. Usually known for her layered vocals, the experimental songstress transforms the sorrowfully heavy instrumental cut into a calm, reverberating soundscape. If this tranquil melody suits your fancy, you can pre-order the limited 7” via Suicide Squeeze.
Migos - What the Price
Since achieving viral status and getting a Golden Globes shout-out from Donald Glover for their hit “Bad and Boujee,” this Atlanta hip-hop trio has undoubtedly achieved new levels of hype. With their highly-anticipated album CULTURE coming out Jan. 27, the unstoppable group has just unveiled their new single, “What the Price.”
Backed by a hypnotic hook where the gang boasts about drug prices, the trap triad spits ruthless bars about controlling inflation out on the streets. Quavo kicks off the melodic trap cut, spitting, “Bad Mona Lisa/Slide with my people/Pink slip for the ride/But what’s in the trunk, it’s illegal,” over an ominous piano loop and heavy-duty bass line. From there, fellow members Takeoff and Offset join in to finish flaying the gloomy beat, leaving zero doubt that Migos is on top of the Southern rap game right now.
Sherwood & Pinch (feat. Lee “Scratch” Perry) - Lies
Looking for some smooth dub to gently wobble your mind around to? Well, renowned UK dub producer Adrian Sherwood and dubstep pioneer Pinch recently teamed up with reggae legend Lee “Scratch” Perry on the shuffling dance number “Lies.” The three-minute track showcases a tasteful fusion of swaying saxophone, spirit-lifting percussion, and Rastafarian soul.
The eclectic musical trio offers an equal chunk of their inventive styles, forging well-balanced rhythms and infectious grooves that will keep your feet tapping along with the beat. The multifaceted single will be featured on the upcoming collaborative effort by Sherwood & Pinch, called Man vs. Sofa, out Feb. 24.
Joey Bada$$ - Land of the Free
Widely recognized as a revivalist of ’90s-style hip-hop, Pro Era frontman and NYC native Joey Bada$$ decided to use the presidential inauguration weekend to voice political concerns on the fresh cut “Land of the Free.” The quick-spitting rhymer conquers producer Kirk Knight’s smooth beat with his impeccable wordplay and unbridled honesty.
Bada$$ is only 22, but he’s well-versed on the imminent danger that Trump’s inexperience presents to the country, as well as his frustrations with the previous administration. “Obama just wasn’t enough, I need more closure/And Donald Trump is not equipped to take this country over/Let’s face facts ’cause we know what’s the real motive,” he laments with his immaculate flow. “Land of the Free” will be featured on his upcoming sophomore release, A.A.B.A., due out sometime in 2017.
Ty Segall - Break a Guitar
San Francisco-based psychedelic rock savant Ty Segall is constantly conjuring up fuzzed-out anthems to headbang your brain out to. This past week, the multi-instrumentalist unveiled “Break a Guitar,” the second offering from his forthcoming, self-titled LP.
Fueled by bellowing distortion and brittle vocal howls, the aggressive garage rock anthem will get you ready to hit the streets and protest the patriarchy. All the while, the entire jam is laced with amplified guitar shredding, proving that the ferocious heart of Segall’s electrified sound has remained unchanged after a prolific and lengthy career. If you vibe with this new album teaser, check out the previously released single “Orange Color Queen” and be on the lookout for the new self-titled record on Jan. 27 via Drag City.
Kelly Lee Owens (feat. Jenny Hval) - Anxi.
“This is the narrative of reality,” croons experimental artist Jenny Hval on her new collaboration with London producer Kelly Lee Owens, “Anxi.” The lyric floats effortlessly over the slippery beat, which sounds as if it were concocted in an underwater sound studio.
After the Norwegian singer-songwriter drones over Owens’ translucent production at the start, the atmospheric dance number reshapes itself into a mesmerizing piece of shape-shifting bass and unfathomably deep vocal samples. Prior to this eclectic collaboration between the experimental duo, the rising Welsh musician remixed Hval’s song “Kingsize” back in 2015. If this damp audial journey tickles your fancy, make sure to check out Owens’ self-titled debut when it drops on March 24.
Cloud Nothings - Enter Entirely
After solidifying their space in the lo-fi rock scene with their unconstrained guitar-driven tunes, Ohio indie rock group Cloud Nothings (last featured here in November) has returned with a polished sound that still packs a powerful punch. The band has placed renowned producer John Goodmanson at the helm of their forthcoming studio LP, Life Without Sound, and his influence shows on the latest single “Enter Entirely.”
The catchy jam is driven by the contemplative lyrics from frontman Dylan Baldi, who gruffly hums a self-deprecating anthem about failing to realize your full potential. “There’s someone I would like to be if I could be, but the path is frightening,” he sings in a raspy growl. If you’re feeling down and out, or just discouraged by the recent happenings around the world, “Enter Entirely” will help you push through the struggle and find that silver lining.
CocoRosie (ft. ANOHNI) - Smoke ’em Out
A great way to leave this unwelcome inaugural weekend behind us is with an inspirational ballad by experimental folk sister duo CocoRosie and feminist artist ANOHNI. “Smoke ’em Out” spreads an empowering message of resistance against the Trump administration, calling on citizens of all races and genders to stand up in the face of tyranny and injustice.
“The new sound circles round/Slaughter raging death dice/Fall hot house burn down/Foes upon foes, west to east, it goes,” CocoRosie’s Bianca Casady offers with her stream-of-conscious vocal style. ANOHNI follows through with a hook that could have been used at the unprecedented anti-Trump protests that took place across the world last weekend, calling on the president’s dissenters to “smoke ’em out” the White House.