The 5 Best Songs Of The Week
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.
The week has ended with some good news that, somewhere on the horizon, there is indeed a new Kendrick Lamar album in the works. Who knows how soon that’ll actually show up, but in the meantime you can enjoy the five best songs of the week below.
I never knew post-hardcore could sound like Gin Blossoms, but I like it. With “Call From You,” their first new single since signing with the venerable Run For Cover Records, the Connecticut rock band Anxious have perfected a strain of eminently catchy yet urgently aggressive guitar-pop. There are traces of all kinds of scenes and subgenre in the song’s breathless rush — some emo, some pop-punk, even some of the rocket-fueled melodic hardcore practiced by singer Grady Allen’s other band One Step Closer — but mostly it just strikes me as incredibly jacked-up power-pop, like Teenage Fanclub gone off that creatine. “This is all too much for me!” Allen sings, backed by a wave of wordless harmonic backing vocals. “But in the morning I’ll try again.” It’s as if he doesn’t realize he and his band already nailed it. —Chris
“Always A Mess” is technically a B-side, but when a band only makes good songs, they don’t afford you the luxury of skipping the B-sides. The Greek punks in Chain Cult have absorbed all sorts of dark, obsessive forms of music — goth, death-rock, post-punk, all the various substrains where those things overlap with one another — and they’ve transformed them all into a sparse and fiery throb of their own. But Chain Cult are also a punk band on a fundamental level, and so they spike their brooding with speed and fire and hooks. “Always A Mess” is a prime example of what this band can do. It’s a warp-speed wallow, all twisty hooks and militaristic barks, and it never lets up. In the right communal situation, a song like this could cause a whole lot of people to sweat off their pancake makeup. —Tom
Haley Fohr’s work as Circuit dex Yeux is consistently fascinating, and her new single “Dogma” is no exception. It’s hypnotic and twisty, subtly creeping into a groove that threatens to swallow her up. Fohr said that she “became obsessed with black holes” during the making of the album, and “Dogma” does indeed feels like she’s being sucked into a vortex. Her voice alternates between morose and feverish as she begs for understanding: “Tell me how to feel right/ Tell me how to see the light/ Tell me how to feel real.” Fohr is pushing back against the unbearable weight of grief, and the song sounds appropriately gloomy and elusive. —James
“So it is my role, but sometimes I wish it wasn’t. I think that the artists who don’t get involved in preaching messages probably are happier.” That’s the Nina Simone quote that closes out “I Notice,” the one single from Brooklyn rapper Ka’s new album A Martyr’s Reward. Up until that point, the only voice you hear is Ka himself, rasping over a drumless beat that’s all eerie hums and tingles, meditating on growing up in a community ravaged by drugs, violence, and systemic racism: “Cops got us under microscopes to make sure we see cells/ Know my first vitamin was iron, but I just wanted to be 12 … I’ve been to hell and back, that’s a solid fact/ Seem every boy’s raised to shine unless the son is Black.” By the song’s conclusion, he’s just repeating one phrase: “I notice the onus was on me.” Because Ka, like Nina Simone, has a message. —Peter
As Low continue to delve into their fragmented, adventurous new aesthetic, it has felt like the HEY WHAT material is a study in contrasts in comparison to the pervasive darkness of Double Negative. The sound is still damaged and corroded, but there is more space for some kind of brightness, some shattered beauty, to creep through. Case in point: Low’s new song “More” opens with an urgent guitar howl, processed and warped and choked. But the heaviness and the digital grime of the track are answered by a vocal from Mimi Parker that, similar to “Days Like These” and “Disappearing,” almost feels like a hymn delivered in a maelstrom. “More” is as haunting as any of Low’s other recent material, but there’s just the slightest hint of redemption as Parker layers her voice in a gorgeous outro. —Ryan