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.

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05

I admit it, I’m a huge sucker for goth-pop. Give me reverb-drenched drum machines, minor-key melodies, synths, and a driving rhythm, and I’ll be happy, moving around, and probably ideating another dark-floral tattoo. Preoccupations’ first new music in a few years has all of the above sonic elements, plus nihilist themes about “the world blowing up and no one giving a shit,” as singer Matthew Flegel has said about the full forthcoming album, Arrangements. Post-punk purists may also dig the way a phrase like “ricochet and decay” draws influence from classic post-punk lyricism (“I’ve got the spirit, lose the feeling”). Today’s world might be fully in its flop era, but I’m glad Preoccupations are back to dance through the existential angst. —Rachel

04

I love a song whose sound reflects its message, and the cacophony of “Silence Is Golden” does just that. It’s a plea for peace and quiet in a song that just won’t stop moving. The lead single from the Beths’ third album is about feeling overwhelmed by everything around you — “siren screaming,” “jet plane engine,” “6AM construction,” as Elizabeth Stokes lists off at one point. The band drops in and out, layering instrument after instrument on top of each other and building the track into something that’s just about loud enough to drown all those unwanted sounds out. It’s locked-in and insistent, just a perfectly propulsive indie-pop song. —James

03

It was so hard to decide which of Dummy’s two new songs to feature here — one, because they’re presented as thematically connected “mirrors,” and two, because they’re both so great in their own ways. With all due respect to the francophone motorik thrills of “Mono Retriever,” in a pinch we’ll go with the B-side this time.

“Pepsi Vacuum” effectively blurs the distinctions between ’80s-founded dream-pop legends like My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins and the less rhapsodically acclaimed ambient and chill-out music that sprung up in the following decade. From nothing but a pulsing keyboard, the song expands into an otherworldly chorale backed by music that feels like the whole world dancing in a coordinated shimmer, its drumbeat kicking in time with every keyboard oscillation, carried home by squalls of harmonic noise. This is billed as a song “about the spirituality of nature; the powerful feeling of universality and connection, down to the molecular level,” and it puts that sentiment into practice. By simply existing, “Pepsi Vacuum” connects the dots between canon fodder like Loveless and mall-boutique vibe-out music like Moby’s “Porcelain”; to listen is to zoom out and behold entire galaxies of sound. —Chris

02

Great American poet Bryan “Birdman” Williams once said, “When the ice hit the light, it twankle and glisten.” Over the past three decades or so, any number of bands have tried to recapture the dizzy psychedelic magic of the Stone Roses, and most of them have fallen straight down on their faces. The reason, I think, is that none of them have figured out how to make their guitars twankle and glisten. On “Fever Dream,” though, the recovering hardcore veterans of High Vis have found an ineffable spaced-out chime that makes me think they might just be the resurrection. “Fever Dream” glides and swirls with a beautiful sense of swagger, while Graham Sayle bellows out hard-earned wisdom about learning to appreciate the moment: “Feel the skin, and you’ll know you’re alive/ And I feel the urge to survive/ And when there’s nothing else left, take a look at the sky.” Great idea. —Tom

01

Elucid’s latest, I Told Bessie, is often a diffuse, bleary listen, but not without grounding elements. About half the time, it sounds like boom-bap filtered through memory haze and fragmented experimentalism. Given Elucid considers all of his songs “spells,” it makes sense — there is something arcane and unreadable about the pathways this album chooses. Yet every now and then, I Told Bessie locks in. Elucid delivers a more direct line, a beat goes for the throat. Nowhere is that truer than on “Smile Lines,” the song that suddenly crashes on a big swaggering guitar riff. The song is still a spell of its own. There’s a groove, the kind of simmering tension that feels like opening credits blood-pumping moments. At the same time, it’s still broken-down, it still has this wandering sideways quality. But for a moment in the middle of the album, it sounds like Elucid emerges from the fog with his own superhero music. —Ryan

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