Every week the Stereogum staff chooses the five best new songs of the week (the eligibility period begins and ends Thursdays right before midnight). This week’s countdown is below, and you can listen to a playlist of all our 5 Best Songs on Spotify.
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The five best songs of the week are below.
Despite maintaining a consistent essence for a decade running, Nothing have always tweaked their aesthetic with each new release, emphasizing their grunge or shoegaze or industrial bona fides depending on the needs of the moment. Whereas 2018’s phenomenal Dance On The Blacktop rendered their dream-pop at its heaviest and most immersive, the lead single from The Great Dismal speeds headlong into a dreary electronic pop influence like a muscle car into clouds of mist.
The moody and hard-hitting “Say Less” finds a satisfying midpoint between Depeche Mode and Stabbing Westward, Domenic Palermo’s detached singsong dissolving into waves of blistering noise and a relentless drum-machine thwack that reminds us this band shares its name with Trent Reznor’s record label. Theoretically it’s a pop song, but it’s pop at its meanest and skuzziest and most depressed. –Chris
The New York rapper Elucid excels at broken-world expressionism, at refracting the stresses and cruelties of the current dystopia through prisms. He does that pretty directly on “Safehouse,” the first track from his new team-up with Michigan producer the Lasso. But the Lasso’s abstract funk beat — Afrobeat horn-stabs, skittery guitar interjections, a great lumbering bassline — takes the focus off of Elucid’s feverish rage. Elucid slides right into the pocket, his gruff meditations arriving right on time. Elucid has always sounded like a New York rapper, but he’s always sounded like a bent, shattered version of one. On a beat as weirdly beautiful as this one, Elucid just sounds like a New York rapper. –Tom
“Annie, Annie, they’re playing our song/ And for a moment I’m transported to where I’m from,” Annie sings in the opening lines of “The Streets Where I Belong.” If you’re gonna make a song about the transportive power of music, you better make damn sure it’s transportive as hell. Luckily, Annie nailed it. Her wistful reverie takes us back to times long past, sketching out tidy little character studies in a few short lines: the DJ she fell in love with, Johnny the guitarist who had a thing for short-haired girls, the “beauty queen that met her end on a motel floor.” The immaculately nostalgic ’80s-era synth-pop already sounds like a fond memory, the kind you’ll revisit often. –Peter
Jeff Rosenstock’s throwaways are better than a whole lot of bands’ main deal, as evidenced by the handful of tracks he put up earlier this week as 2020 Dump, made up of songs that he’s recorded in the last couple of months. “DONE DONE DONE” is my favorite of the four — bashing and fuzzy with a catchy, mournfully woozy guitar line that cuts through everything and echoes Rosenstock’s discontent.
Like many of us, the Rosenstock of “DONE DONE DONE” is fed up with people who have no care for their fellow humans. A lot of that frustration is, naturally, aimed at the police and the network of good old boys who only look out for each other. “Stupid loser on his phone tried to hit me with his SUV,” he recounts. “The entitled with a hall pass killed a sleeping EMT and they set him free.” Rosenstock’s answer is a resounding anthem to shut them out completely: “They want us to believe/ That equality is somehow the enemy/ We want you to leave.” –James
Across their massive level-up of a sophomore album Every Bad, Porridge Radio could do a lot of things at once. They could push their songs towards dream-pop, then something grungier, then maybe something a little more direct and poppy. Their songs could often bowl you over emotionally at the same time that their melodies wormed into your head. But most importantly, the group was just operating at a ridiculously high level. And their new song “7 Seconds” continues their streak.
In some ways, “7 Seconds” is once more something a little different for Porridge Radio. Its little glittering synth part serves as the core of its arrangement for much of the song; there is less of the big, overflowing sense of catharsis that’s glimpsed across Every Bad. Then Dana Margolin is still wrapping her powerful voice around personal strife and anguish, the ways in which it’s difficult for us to communicate ourselves to each other — and sure enough, once more she guides the song into a volcanic release, just about two minutes in. But that, too, is different. Margolin and the instrumental build work together to intensify “7 Seconds,” instead of the litanies on which Margolin often relies. The whole thing makes “7 Seconds” feel ever so lighter compared to Porridge Radio’s previous material: It loses none of the heft of their other work, but you can hear them move through it all just a bit more effortlessly. –Ryan