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.
As usual, a quiet first week back from the holidays ceded to a deluge of new music. There were a lot of songs released this week. Here are the five best of them.
Patrick Kindlon talks a lot. He’s good at it. The Drug Church/Self Defense Family frontman holds down multiple podcasts, where his co-hosts sometimes struggle to get words in edgewise, and he still comes up with great off-the-cuff lines in interviews. As a writer, though, Kindlon is most effective when he sketches out entire scenarios in a few cutting words. On “World Impact,” it’s a schoolyard stabbing that leads to years in juvie and a total absence of viable future. Kindlon narrates all this in second person, as if “you,” the stabber, are seeing the future laid out before you and unable to keep yourself from launching into it. It’s a sharp, heady consideration of violence and free will, and it comes attached to a massive two-minute sludge-stomp ripper. When you can write like that, you’re allowed to talk some shit. —Tom
Earl Sweatshirt has been in insular, world-weary mode for so long that it’s a jolt to hear him return to some harder territory. It’s not that “Titanic,” off the Album Of The Week-worthy SICK!, is even that chaotic, especially compared to the rapper’s earliest work, but the slip-sliding Black Noi$e beat has some teeth, and Earl is more than happy to sink his own into the track. Earl piles on the wordplay and the references as he reflects on what’s happened since he’s been away. Especially effective is the a nod to the late MF Doom — “Mask on like a supervillain/ Daniel, who you in the den with? Lion” — that’s followed up by some lion roars. Can’t complain about that. —James
Guerilla Toss have come a long way. “Cannibal Capital,” the lead single from their upcoming Sub Pop debut, continues their progression toward poppy approachability without sanding off too much of their freaky edge. After a bit of a cacophonous opening fakeout, “Cannibal Capital” develops into one of G-Toss’ catchiest, twitchiest grooves yet, punctuated by crunchy power chords, synths, and frontwoman Kassie Carlson’s sing-song vocals. “Can I escape gracefully when social left a hole in me?” she asks. “Will I come down easily when parties take the heart of me?” Crippling social anxiety has never sounded so fun. —Peter
When they first emerged, Fontaines D.C. struck me as a darker, pricklier Strokes. As they begin to roll out their third LP, the Dublin rockers have softened significantly, but not into a facsimile of Julian Casablancas and friends. “Jackie Down The Line” does, however, suggest a similar mastery of guitar-pop. In this case that means Grian Chatten channeling Liam Gallagher over a crisp, jangling rumble that evokes classic Smiths, all the way down to its misanthropic protagonist. For a song that “would be summed up with the word ‘doom,’” there are so many pleasing quirks in it: the way gnarly tremolo guitar work emerges behind Chatten’s thickly accented hooks, the way such chunky bass chords still manage to glide, the way such an unmistakably poppy song is littered with lyrics like “So come on down to Sally’s boneyard/ See her spirit in decline.” Skinty fia, Fontaines D.C. rule! —Chris
You expect Spoon to be good. That’s their whole thing — the constant narrative of their consistency, and then like 10 years of course correction along the lines of “We’re taking them for granted because all anyone ever talks about is how consistent they are.” Regardless, you come to new Spoon material, especially after so many years away, and expect great things. That’s the basic standard you’re walking in with. When an artist like that shows up with something like “Wild,” it hits you with that euphoric sense that this is somehow better than you could’ve even expected.
It’s not just that “Wild” is a great new Spoon song — so economic it’s arguably over too soon, a drama-building rhythm in the verse giving way to big Britpop piano chords and an honest-to-god anthemic chorus from Britt Daniel, all of it approaching a synthesis of core Spoon-isms with little touches lesser heard in their music. It’s also that “Wild” feels like one of those times where a band reappears with an instant classic, so endemically them that it feels like it should’ve existed on a past album and will immediately slot in alongside earlier classics. (Shout out to commenter dansolo, who similarly said “Wild” was “such a perfect and perfectly Spoon-y song I almost couldn’t believe they hadn’t made it already.” Great minds, etc.) The fact that such a triumphant Spoon track also carries a certain not-dead-yet wanderlust, with Daniel singing “And the world/ Still so wild/ called to me,” only heightens the sense of this band never wavering or faltering and instead still finding their way to moments of magic. —Ryan