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. (An expanded playlist of our new music picks is available to members on Spotify and Apple Music, updated throughout the week.)
They Are Gutting A Body Of Water - "The Brazil"
Although it can refer to a relatively broad spectrum of music, far more so than the related term “dream-pop,” these days the word “shoegaze” implies certain textures and templates. One of the most exciting things about They Are Gutting A Body Of Water is how masterfully they mess around with those established formulas. The group, led by Jouska‘s Doug Dulgarian, uses the expected swaths of gauzy post-Loveless harmonic guitar noise as just one ingredient in a trippy, scrapbook-y sound that feels closely aligned with Philly neighbors like Alex G and their fellow post-emo experimentalists Spirit Of The Beehive. As heard on “The Brazil,” a highlight from TAGABOW’s new split EP with A Country Western, the approach is both intriguing and exhilarating. —Chris
Fred Again.. - "Danielle (Smile On My Face)"
It seems simple enough: A lively house beat, a rubbery riff-burble, a few coats of dazed synth-sustain, and the chopped-up voice of a New Jersey synth-rapper. But “Danielle (Smile On My Face),” the latest single from UK producer Fred again.., involves the work of four different producers and credits nine different songwriters. Give it a close listen, and those credits make sense. “Danielle (Smile On My Face)” is full of sharp little details, tiny decisions that make the track hit that much harder. The four producers — Fred again.., Benji Gibson, Parisi, and Four Tet — draw out the bittersweet confidence from 070 Shake’s 2019 single “Nice To Have.” They put Shake’s vocals in the context of a dance track, granting that voice a whole new mythic resonance while filling the frame with minute little hooks, sounds that you feel as much as hear. It might’ve taken a lot of people to put this track together, but those folks’ efforts were well-spent. —Tom
Long Knife - "Curb Stomp Earth"
Like most songs on Long Knife’s powerhouse new album Curb Stomp Earth — released this week with no advance notice — the title track is such a fucking blast. Against a raging D-beat backdrop, the band’s guitarists go nuts, cranking out nasty power chord riffs with a touch of classic-rock swagger and then launching into a string-bend inferno for the grand finale. The bass rumbles with the same runaway-train energy as the drum kit. The vocals are all brutish barks, growls, and shouts, calling back to the real-life hardcore history that inspired this Portland combo and to the hyperreal behemoths of comic books and pro wrestling. It’s always a pleasure when music so punishingly larger-than-life materializes out of nowhere. —Chris
Algiers - "Bite Back" (Feat. Backxwash & billy woods)
Don’t feel bad if the opening synth-ripples make you think of the Stranger Things theme music. It won’t last. The next six minutes will take you on a journey. Wracked gospel harmonies will well up out of vast darkness. Drum machines will chatter madly. Tempos will break down into chaos before resolving into even harder neck-crank booms. Two of the greatest and most confrontational rappers in the world today will diagnose a permanently fucked system. At one point, billy woods will boom out a line about “the whole thing cracking at the seams.” He’s talking about society, about present-day life, but he could just as easily be describing the song itself. Algiers are a band with no clear genre, no niche, and maybe that’s why they’re so well-positioned to come out with a feverish, angry, prescriptive monster of a song like this. —Tom
Hammered Hulls - "Rights And Reproduction"
Punk is often viewed as a young person’s game, youthful outrage giving way to complacency and disillusionment as one grows older. But if anything, the more years you clock on this earth, the more bullshit you experience, and the angrier you get. Hammered Hulls — the new-ish project made up of DC lifers Alec MacKaye, Mary Timony, Mark Cisneros, and Chris Wilson — don’t sound as fiery and incensed as they might have in their earlier days, but it’s filled with a tightly coiled, scurrying, nervous energy that builds up and releases over the course of five minutes. It breaks apart halfway through, as MacKaye zeroes in on a pattern: “We can walk around now, right?/ You’ll always jump the fence now, right?” He hits that last word into a stabbing, indignant refrain. The more change you see, the more you realize things stay the same. —James