The 5 Best Songs Of The Week

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). We’ve kicked off a partnership with TIDAL, the global music streaming service that offers the highest sound quality and Fan-Centered Royalties. You’ll find our new Favorite New Music playlist updated weekly here on TIDAL.

TIDAL’s HiFi tiers offer over 80M+ songs and 350k+ videos in HD, an ad-free experience, and offline listening with unlimited skips. The HiFi Plus plan includes Innovative Audio Formats up to 9216 kbps (Master Quality audio, Dolby Atmos, Sony 360 Reality Audio, HiFi) and Fan-Centered Royalties where the artists you stream get paid based on your streaming habits.

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05

Boldy James is one of those artists that almost becomes difficult to talk about after a while — anything you say about him now pretty much has to lead with the reminder that this guy somehow released four great albums in the span of a single year. Every little bit of music we get from him just seems dialed in. But here’s something specific to “All The Way Out” and Boldy’s collaborations with Real Bad Man overall. As mesmerizing as a more experimental album like Manger On McNichols was, there’s a simple endorphin-rush joy to hearing Boldy go in over hard, straightforward beats. Real Bad Man provide that again, giving Boldy a creeping beat and fluttery keyboards over which to do his thing. And, as usual, he sounds amazing. —Ryan

04

Joyce Manor pulled a “Buddy Holly” in the video for their last single. This new one is on more of a “Green Album” tip, if the Green Album was rawer and leaner and, uh, better. On “Don’t Try,” Barry Johnson and his band bash through two minutes of inspired pop-rock, ultra-catchy yet scraping and visceral, applying a meticulous touch to a strikingly simple foundation. There’s some incredible less-is-more craftsmanship on display in the song’s arrangement, and Johnson mirrors that technique with a quick series of images that sketch out a whole movie’s worth of plot. It all centers on a chorus that could not be more direct or relatable: “Sometimes I feel so far away/ I missed you so much today.” When the basics are executed this well, there’s nothing rudimentary about it. —Chris

03

Could there be a more obvious instant click than a Joan Shelley x Bill Callahan duet? The two singer-songwriters approach folk music from wildly different places, and both are consistently brilliant. Together they attempted to concoct “a conversation between two constellations” or “a mythical bedtime story,” seeking to rekindle childlike wonder from an outpost somewhere deep in adulthood. The weight of all those years is apparent on “Amberlit Morning,” so I’m not sure they totally achieved their goal of recapturing a youthful perspective, but the song is incredibly soothing and powerful nonetheless. Backed by a spectral acoustic motif, Shelley’s soprano soars over Callahan’s baritone with an unteachable grace, spinning tales of love and fear and pride and cows. “For it takes so much to be human,” they lament before apologizing to the animal that gives us its milk and its hide. It’s one of those songs you could spend hours analyzing, but its beauty is apparent right away. —Chris

02

Friendships are inherently complicated, and I can only imagine how much they are tested in a band environment. So much is written about how to communicate your issues in a romantic relationship, but the same definitely cannot be said about friendship, which is probably why so many of them end without a word. Given society’s limited language for healing friendships, it’s refreshing that Brighton’s Porridge Radio made this the focal point of “End Of Last Year,” which Dana Margolin called “a love song for my bandmates and myself.” Over organ strains, muted horns, and pounding, cymbal-filled percussion, Porridge Radio embrace the ups and downs of the peculiar sort of alliance one gains in a band and how fragile those connections can be. “Don’t know where I’m going/ Don’t know how to get it back,” they harmonize before deciding: “I don’t want to go back.” Having achieved a certain clarity, Porridge Radio realize that you can’t successfully move forward as a group if you’re always looking in the rearview. —Rachel

01

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever are so consistent you can’t really complain about any of their songs making it out into the world. But now that you all can hear the album for yourselves, I’ll admit some of their single choices for Endless Rooms were curious to me, primarily in that it kills me that “Blue Eye Lake” — now one of my favorite RBCF songs, period — wasn’t a single. Same goes for “Saw You At The Eastern Beach” and maybe even “Vanishing Dots.” There are some bangers hiding out in the back half of the album, and initially I was confused why, say, “Dive Deep” got some shine instead of them.

Here’s one reason: The band consider “Dive Deep” crucial to the genesis of Endless Rooms, one of the songs that began to open up the album for them and encourage them to subtly push the edges of their sound. Maybe that’s why it took a little getting used to for me. “Dive Deep” has a patient, lightly funky lope to it, with big searing guitar leads — little of the highway rush or glittering jangle we associate with RBCF’s core sound and key tracks. Now I get it though. “Dive Deep” shows a different side of the band, cruising instead of racing, but the end result is the same as ever. Now that it’s got its claws in me, I can never get it out of my head. —Ryan

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