The month’s best music: Rae Sremmurd, Maddie and Tae, Beverly and more

Rap duo Rae Sremmurd. (Max Hilva)

A ranked selection of notable new recordings we heard in July.

1. Rae Sremmurd, “No Flex Zone”

As OutKast, Lil Wayne and Crime Mob have proven in summers past, great rap songs require beats, rhymes and teenage endorphins.

These two Mississippi teens (the group’s name is “Ear Drummers” spelled backwards), released this oddly euphoric anthem months ago, but it’s gotten a boost thanks to a fresh pair of remixes featuring Pusha T and Nicki Minaj rapping like they’re kids again.

2. Maddie and Tae, “Girl In A Country Song”

In country music, if you’re gonna throw punches, be sure to have a good hook. That’s what this teenage duo is doing with its breakout single, a song that takes aim at female objectification and Music Row cliches with a chorus that’s as smart as it is catchy.

“We used to get a little respect,” they sing. “Now we’re lucky if we even get to climb up in your truck, keep our mouths shut and ride along/And be the girl in a country song.”

French singer Sebastien Tellier. (Ruda Cabral)

3. Sebastien Tellier, “L’Aventura”

The sixth album from this way-out French beardo is a dreamy double-ode to childhood and bossa nova that enlists veteran Brazilian composer Arthur Verocai while channeling the ghost of Serge Gainsbourg. It’s as playful and weird as anything Tellier has ever done, but the sheer beauty of these arrangements obliterates any whiffs of kitsch.

4. Beverly, “Careers”

Rock-and-roll should never be compared to an ice cream bar, but it’s summertime and the debut album from this New York trio is cool and sweet, and it might remind you of your youth, and that’s better than saying, “This kinda sounds like the Breeders,” right?

5. Trey Songz, “Trigga”

When it comes to narrating the lifestyles of the rich and oversexed, few in R&B have proven more reliable than 29-year-old Trey Songz. On “Cake,” the first track from his sixth album, he sings about over-indulgence as if it’s entirely logical: “They say you can’t have cake and eat it, too. But ain’t that what you’re supposed to do?”

Songwriter Jenny Lewis. (Autumn de Wilde)

6. Jenny Lewis, “Just One of the Guys”

If you’re willing to forgive a lot of bad lyrics for a few great ones, then half-listen to the other nine tracks on Lewis’s new album “The Voyager,” and set your ears on “Just One of the Guys,” a terrific reflection on how society expects women to cry discreetly in the bathroom, start families and not wear amazing airbrushed blazers like the one Lewis is sporting on her album cover.

7. Wolves in the Throne Room, “Celestite

Is metal a feeling? A philosophy? And does it require guitars? This Olympia, Washington duo is asking all of those questions on its new album, a suite built primarily around synthesizers and woodwinds. It sounds like apocalyptic spa music, with a few rumbling guitar riffs providing the deep tissue massage.

Listen to selections from the months’s best music below.

WARNING: Some songs may contain explicit lyrics.

Read more:

The month’s best music – June 2014.

The month’s best music – May 2014.

The month’s best music – April 2014.

The month’s best music – March 2014.

The month’s best music – February 2014.

Chris Richards has been the Post's pop music critic since 2009. He's recently written about the bliss of summer songs, the woe of festival fatigue and a guide on how to KonMari your record collection.



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Ron Charles · July 30, 2014