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.
Did this summer feel like it went on for-fucking-ever for anyone else? Thank god it’s officially autumn. The five best songs of the week are below.
“Sometimes I Forget How Summer Looks On You,” the opener from Ben LaMar Gay’s forthcoming album Open Arms To Open Us, is a strange, transfixing thing. The whole song amounts to furious, combustible jazz drums, hazy keyboard gurgles, and hypnotic plinks. Gay and Ohmme’s voices weave together, his a conversational reflection, the two Ohmme singers a cosmic current wrapping around the track. Altogether, it sounds like some kind of festering dream, both haunting and nostalgic. “I forget how much you glow,” Gay intones. “Summer looks lovely on you.” It’s a tribute to something lost, a memory disappearing into fragments and fogs. Delivered right as autumn approaches, it’s one last gasp of humid visions of possibility in what was our post-not-post-pandemic summer, an almost psychedelic portrayal of the past just as it begins to fade into the ether. —Ryan
Last night, I got high and then walked my dogs, an activity that I recommend. On the walk, I had a thought: A big problem with indie rock nowadays is that too many motherfuckers are throwing quotation marks around their shit. Everyone just wants to play referential games. Nobody wants to be great. Bartees Strange is the exception. Strange is not afraid to be great. He strives for greatness at every available opportunity. “Weights,” a stray track being added to a deluxe album reissue? Great. It’s two and a half minutes long, and yet it surges upwards and outwards with grace and intensity. It’s about feeling disconnected, and yet it hits with a rare emotional directness. It’s the sound of an artist unencumbered by any self-imposed limitations, one who’s not embarrassed to howl at the sky. —Tom
Sometimes when artists who make only too much sense together end up collaborating, the results can be a bit of a disappointment. Not here. Open Mike Eagle and Armand Hammer have teamed up once before, on a track that sampled Cults’ “Go Outside,” no less, but OME’s new track “Burner Account” features traded-off verses from billy woods and Elucid, both halves of Armand Hammer, and a beat courtesy of Quelle Chris. So “Burner Account” lurches forward on the charisma of all four, boasting a murky, soul-inspired beat that’s punctured by their voices. It’s a heady, potent listen. My only complaint is that it’s somehow over all too soon. —James
Limitations can lead to beautiful things. Bottle episodes — TV episodes that use as few sets, actors, and effects as they can — serve a budgetary purpose, but they’ve also led to absolute classics like Breaking Bad‘s “Fly,” Mad Men‘s “The Suitcase,” and Seinfeld‘s “The Chinese Restaurant.” And “Bottle Episode,” the new song from Mancunian post-punk band Mandy, Indiana, might just be another classic in the making. There’s a raw intensity to its minimalist industrial groove, the martial drums and air-raid siren guitars simmering down into a barely-there rhythmic pulse and then exploding back up with Valentine Caulfield’s increasingly agitated French vocals. Mandy, Indiana’s first season is shaping up to be a good one; don’t forget to tune in next week! —Peter
“The light streams, I’ve stepped into a movie scene,” Rosa Walton sings. “Where my secrets are written on the bathroom walls.” Comparing your own experience to something out of cinema is often a lazy cliché, but “Hall Of Mirrors” sounds the part. While managing to hold on to some of Let’s Eat Grandma’s initial homespun charm, the duo’s new single is a grandly sweeping synthpop track that sounds equally fit for the arena or the club. It’s a song about being caught up in intoxicating attraction, a feeling evoked by its noisy swirl of strobing synths. When the sax hits halfway through, “Hall Of Mirrors” unlocks new levels of breathless excitement, like Chvrches cruising through “Midnight City” on their way to a crystal castle, and you might find yourself as enchanted as Walton when she continues that lyric: “It dropped clean, like a penny in a slot machine/ I know that I want this so.” —Chris