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. You can hear this week’s picks below and on Stereogum’s Favorite New Music Spotify playlist, which is updated weekly.
R.A.P. Ferreira - "Black Paladin's Theme (free take)"
R.A.P. Ferreira, the man formerly known as Milo, has cultivated a rep as an insular, idiosyncratic rap mind, a man whose lyrics and delivery are so knotty and dense with allusions that you need to sit down with his records and analyze them with talmudic dedication. He’s done so well at this that he can come out with a song where he calls himself the beta tester of poems and the rogue ronin who roams, and we’ll be like, “Whoa, he made a normal rap song!” “Black Paladin’s Theme (free take)” might not be normal by most standards, but it moves. It’s got energy. As Ferreira’s work has trended in the direction of beat poetry lately, this song stands out for its sheer joy and propulsion. Ferreira remains drunk on language and cadence, and you can still spend all day picking his words apart. But you can also just bop to this. You should just bop to this. —Tom
Archers Of Loaf - "Screaming Undercover"
“Reason in decline.” “The dream is a lie.” “Dark days droning on.” No, these aren’t contenders for a new Washington Post slogan. Yes, the dystopian lyrics to Archers Of Loaf’s blistering “Screaming Undercover” do mirror WaPo’s alliterative slogan, “democracy dies in darkness,” which ironically is a lot more optimistic than it sounds. I don’t hear any glass-half-full energy in Archers’ crunchy new song, though. Indeed, the North Carolina rockers sound furious about, well, everything, as they well should! Over ear-splitting distortion and explosive drums, Eric Bachmann’s sandpaper vocals sound ready to tear it all down. Meanwhile, the band’s animated music video kinda looks like a reverse-Archies cartoon (but instead of singing “Sugar, Sugar,” think more like “Poison, Poison”). Archers’ rage is real, and I feel galvanized already. —Rachel
Johanna Warren - "Piscean Lover"
The way Johanna Warren stuffs words into the chorus of “Piscean Lover” is nothing short of masterful. “Anyway better not get too existential/ I cannot guarantee that I’ll live up to my potential,” she sings over stumbling guitars and drums that can barely keep up the pace. “But I guess better safe than sorry/ I’ll never take the last bow/ I don’t know but there’s only one way to find out.” Warren has been making music for over a decade now — her songs have become more mangled and knotted in that time, and she’s found new ways to channel her celestial intensity into something that sounds more like a black hole. “Piscean Lover” is filled with fearsome swells, a song about trying your hardest never to give up hope. —James
Wild Pink - "Hold My Hand" (Feat. Julien Baker)
A John Ross x Julien Baker duet about cancer treatment called “Hold My Hand”? The odds were overwhelmingly in favor of gorgeous devastation, and the odds won out. Wild Pink’s latest ILYSM single begins with cascading piano and brushed drums and just keeps accumulating beauty from there. The lyrics, about Ross’ experience with a nurse just before undergoing surgery, are ideal for the tender, whispery delivery he’s been refining throughout the band’s discography: “Wherever I go when I go down/ Will you be there when I come around again/ To hold my hand?” Baker brings a similar delicate touch to her lines; her voice seems to flail in the wind like a makeshift flag as she offers comfort: “Like a deer underneath the apple tree/ Just lay right here with me/ ‘Cause I love you so much, my friend.” By the time they’re harmonizing the title phrase and the arrangement is subtly blooming around them, you might find yourself weeping as majestically as Mike Brenner’s pedal steel. —Chris
Louis Cole - "I'm Tight"
I hear so many other songs in Louis Cole’s “I’m Tight,” but not in the derivative sense. The LA multi-instrumentalist’s latest kicks off with a “My Sharona”-sounding beat (if the Knack used a drum machine); the funky bass owes an obvious debt to Prince; and the kooky synth-work borrows from early Calvin Harris and ’00s electro-pop pioneers Hot Chip. Again, I don’t mean to suggest that Cole is an imitator — he’s a versatile, classically trained creator who puts his own jazz-pop twist on genre-jumping — which, of course, has only been more popularized by any musician with a WiFi connection. The deadpan funk factory “I’m Tight” is made even more enjoyable by its super-minimalist, completely tongue-in-cheek dance video. I really hope TikTok catches on. —Rachel