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.
What’re you all going to be for Halloween? The five best songs of the week are below.
What if Yaeji, but rock? That’s the question that the Korean-American producer and singer’s new collaboration with OHHYUK, leader of the Seoul indie rock band HYUKOH, both poses and answers. “29,” one of the two songs they recorded together, begins with mechanistic clockwork percussion, opens up into a hulkingly heavy bass groove, and then blooms into a blissfully summery indie-tropicalia breeze, a deft melding of both artists’ distinct styles. “I been a bit/ Held up with shit/ Draining my energy left and right,” Yaeji intones, her characteristically monotone vocals belying the genuine excitement of the collaboration. If Yaeji, but rock, then hell yes. —Peter
Sasami Ashworth’s debut album was steeped in warm textures, fuzzy guitars, resounding horn sections, and Ashworth’s dreamy delivery. That sort of sound is on display on “The Greatest,” the other new single she released this week, but she’s on some whole other shit on her new album’s opener “Skin A Rat.” It’s a taunting, pummeling blast of noxious noise. She recruited Megadeth’s Dirk Verbeuren to pound out drums and Vagabon’s Laetitia Tamko and actress/comedian Patti Harrison to do sneering gang vocals, and Ashworth herself is caught up in the torrential storm. “In a skin a rat mood/ Cut ’em, crush ’em/ Big, big boot,” she exhales in the chorus, threatening and frustrated and ready to flay everything that gets in her way. It’s a fearsome re-introduction to SASAMI, one that’s less focused on pleasing and more interested in provocation. —James
Mentally, we are all where Aminé is on “Charmander,” the Portland rapper’s first new song since his 2020 album Limbo. Lyrically, “Charmander” is an instantly catchy meditation on staying inside with your partner, your dog, the treadmill, and maybe something to smoke, because “people be so phony.” (This is an ode to introverts if ever there was one.) And yet, the rhythm of “Charmander” is so nervous-energy hyper, you get the sense that Aminé’s a bit too at home with being home. Can’t blame him — I guess the year and a half has made us all a little agoraphobic. —Rachel
Now here is one of those partnerships you didn’t expect but sounds amazing when it happens. For almost 10 years now, Ibibio Sound Machine have been working in a vein all their own, melding Afrobeat with western dance music, all manner of polyrhythms and synths colliding into idiosyncratic jams. For “Electricity,” they’ve teamed with Hot Chip — the long-running purveyors of a squiggly, arty dance-pop that have at least some DNA overlap with what Ibibio do. Introducing the song, vocalist Eno Williams said they were specifically looking to “mix Afrobeat with Giorgio Moroder–style synth” this time around. The result is as infectious and groovy as you’d expect, Williams keeping it cool over a roiling, percussive backdrop. If Ibibio Sound Machine and Hot Chip’s collab produced a banger like this right out the gates, hopefully there’s more where “Electricity” came from. —Ryan
Spoon have been so consistent, and so consistently excellent, that it’s hard to believe they’ve gone five years between albums. A quarter-century into their run, it feels like they’ve always been around, always recognizable, always great. But despite the reliably Spoon-y quality they bring to each new offering, Britt Daniel and friends have actually morphed quite a bit from release to release. Like key inspirations Tom Petty and the Rolling Stones, their discography has discernable eras, and the one they’re ushering in right now sounds extremely promising.
“The Hardest Cut” is the lead single from Lucifer On The Sofa, Spoon’s 10th full-length studio album. Their last one, 2017’s Hot Thoughts, found them cribbing from disco and David Bowie with help from Flaming Lips co-conspirator Dave Fridmann. That phase is over. For LP10 they returned to their hometown of Austin to make a self-professed “classic rock” record. Producer Mark Rankin has worked with Queens Of The Stone Age, and you can hear Josh Homme’s poppy stoner-rock in the new song’s heavy chooglin’ groove. Daniel says he got really into Texas forefathers ZZ Top while writing the album, and you can certainly hear them in “The Hardest Cut” too.
The guitar in Spoon songs has often functioned as part of a greater whole, but it’s the central focus here. Within this tight little arrangement, there’s room for the instrument to go nuts without sending “The Hardest Cut” off the rails. Here, guitars descend into gnarly low-end string-bends, the most metal-sounding sequence in the band’s catalog. They blast off into rapid-fire licks like a match being lit, each one so smoky it might burn the whole roadhouse down. Meanwhile Daniel is still there making earworm hooks sound like grizzled rock ‘n’ roll, and his bandmates are as locked-in as ever, lest we forget Spoon are indie rock’s kings of rhythm. It all adds up to a case of truth in advertising: This cut is, indeed, the hardest. —Chris