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.
Holy shit LCD Soundsystem are coming back again and it’s a little hard to think about anything else in the music world today but some very excellent songs also came out this week. The five best of them are below.
Martha Skye Murphy kicked off the year by screaming her head off on Squid’s “Narrator.” But across her early releases, Murphy’s own songs exist in a much more elusive, haunted place. They are little static clouds, piano ballads lacerated by horror movie strings or something approaching quiet folk songs obscured in distortion and distance. “Stuck” sits in that same space, but it just may be one of the most evocative and striking songs to Murphy’s name yet. It aligns with her work otherwise — her voice, airily moving above an at times barely there arrangement of warped background vocals and simmering distortion, There’s something hypnotic about how Murphy slowly builds these songs, so that when her voice arcs up into “see me” or when more noises rise up around her, it feels like you’re staring into the center of some approaching storm. “Stuck” pulls you in — and, true to its name, you can’t really get out of it once you’re there. —Ryan
On last year’s KiCk i, Arca embraced her new pop star status without compromising any of her experimental freakiness. “Incendio” might still be in that sphere, but it’s also some of her most confrontational music ever. It’s like a more chaotic, expressionistic version of KiCk i opener “Nonbinary,” with Arca rapping about fire and blood in different voices and cadences over defiantly clangorous, noise-bombed production. “I’ll throw a firecracker at your face,” she spits in Spanish. “Elastic female, whiplash/ You just listen to me/ Catwoman without hesitation/ That steals your phone, haha.” How about a firecracker in your ears? —Peter
They may be coy, but Wet Leg are not subtle. The UK duo’s debut single “Chaise Longue” was strewn with abundant innuendo about buttering muffins and whatnot, and “Wet Dream” dispenses with the symbolism altogether. From the title on down, it’s a sex song, one that blurs the line between fantasy and reality but comes across with a wide-awake clarity that belies its title. Wet Leg once again have deployed a few maddeningly catchy lyrical motifs — “Baby, do you want to comе home with me? I’ve got Buffalo ’66 on DVD” — and the music this time around is even catchier and more direct, verging on dance-punk in its body-moving vigor. “What makes you think you’re good enough to think about me when you’re touching yourself?” Rhian Teasdale teases at one point, but by the song-ending countdown it sounds like her skepticism has melted away. Two songs into the band’s career, some of us feel similarly smitten with Wet Leg. —Chris
Making underappreciated art can be hard. Wendy Eisenberg, who has had their hand in many cool projects over the years in addition to making music on their own, spends a lot of their new single “Analogies” mulling over how creativity can function in a society that is in decline. “Can I protect the world from those forces that promote empty things and say that they can change the world that they benefit from while making things that I still believe in?” they ask. That’s a mouthful of words, but Eisenberg delivers it in a sing-song way that almost makes evading suffocating capitalist structures sound playful. For their new album Bent Ring, Eisenberg composed all the songs on banjo — “Analogies” is prickly and precise and always building, a hypnotic piece of work that exists, as Eisenberg puts it, “both in and in spite of it.” —James
The first time I ever saw someone do a backflip in a moshpit, it was at a Converge show, a circa-2002 matinee with Glassjaw. For decades, Converge have excelled at splintered, concussive, mouth-frothing hardcore tantrums, the sorts of aggressive energy-bursts that might cause someone to attempt a backflip in a moshpit. But Converge also have a history of summoning dark spirits and channeling them into long, expansive, melodic metal dirges that only briefly veery into hardcore-tantrum territory: “Jane Doe,” “Wretched World,” “Eve.” For some of us, that Converge is the best Converge. And now, that Converge is spreading its wings and soaring.
Five years ago, Converge toured Europe and played Roadburn with what they called Blood Moon, an expanded band lineup that featured ambitious friends like Chelsea Wolfe, Ben Chisholm, and Cave-In’s Stephen Brodsky. “Blood Moon” dates back to those days, and the studio version is worth the wait. Over eight minutes, Converge and comrades cycle through guttural goth wails, monolithic funeral doom, and apocalyptic scraped-raw screeches. In its vast totality, “Blood Moon” is a swirling scrawl-symphony, a towering monument to ecstatic hopelessness. Can you believe we’re getting a whole album of this? —Tom