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. 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.)

05

Gay Meat - "Bed Of Every"

“God, I miss afternoons/ Sitting outside your window/ Singing songs about death/ Didn’t know it was for you.” Gay Meat’s Karl Kuehn lays out a sobering dose of reality on his stellar EP title track, which is ostensibly about the loss of his mother, falling into a dissociative episode, and attempting to cope by driving 100 miles to a South Carolina beach town. As Kuehn moves through different corners of his mind, he recalls what sounds like a simpler time — even if that meant “singing songs about death” — but has since been made painfully aware that singing about death does not mean understanding death. Meanwhile, he channels indie/emo pillars Elliott Smith and American Football with minor-key finger-picking, which morphs to chugging distortion. “I’m sorry this sounds so dramatic/ I’m just not myself/ I’m stuck feeling stagnant,” Kuehn sighs. You don’t need to have known loss to love “Bed Of Every,” but I bet it’ll really resonate if you have. —Rachel

04

John Cale - "Story Of Blood" (Feat Weyes Blood)

John Cale turned 80 years old earlier this year. You might forgive an octogenarian for laying off the gas a little, but Cale is thankfully still making vital and exciting music. “Story Of Blood” is intriguing and odd, gliding along its seven minutes in a somnambulant haze. The murmuring gothic simmer gets an assist from Weyes Blood’s Natalie Mering, whose own music owes a lot to Cale’s work.

The song is lush and textural and dramatic, and Cale seems to be reflecting on how weary life can be: “It moves all around It moves all around, brings you down/ It moves all around, wakes you in the morning/ This is the story, the story of blood.” But he finds new ways to process the persistent pumping that comes with being alive. When “Story Of Blood” really settles into that grotesque and amorphous groove? Hell yeah. And when he goes and fucks with it, where in the video he dances with his fingers on a vinyl record? Also hell yeah. It’s that sort of playful experimentation that encourages one to keep going, to confront the world in weirder and weirder ways. —James

03

Knifeplay - "Nobody"

Knifeplay released their sophomore LP Animal Drowning this week, and they do not waste any time by opening with the sprawling shoegaze gem “Nobody.” At nearly five minutes, “Nobody” is a dizzying journey; there’s practically an entire album living within one song, and it’s produced beautifully. Layers of slowcore guitars wash over each other and merge into scuzzy “Cherub Rock”-esque licks. Sharp synths break through the wall of sound like sun beams on a foggy day. Overtop, lead singer TJ Strohmer philosophizes with washed-out vocals: “When I’m old/ I hope to make peace/ with everyone I’ve ever met.” Well, this song’s an excellent start. —Rachel

02

They Are Gutting A Body Of Water - "kmart amen break"

One of the exciting parts of listening to They Are Gutting A Body Of Water is that not only does the band shift and morph from song to song, they often transform within the course of a single track. So it goes on this highlight from the new Lucky Styles, which shoots out of the gate as if trying to beat DIIV in a race and ends up somewhere woozy and unmoored, with a helium-voiced children’s choir affect that drifts off into the space between Deerhunter and Frank Ocean. According to my colleague Tom Breihan, it “sounds like getting high and falling asleep while watching Finding Nemo and listening to Loveless.” As evocative titles go, “kmart amen break” gets an A+ before even pressing play, and the song is as wacky and satisfying as its name implies. —Chris

01

Kelela - "Happy Ending"

Last month, after a years-long absence, Kelela came back with “Washed Away,” a single that felt like a languid stretch after a long nap. “Washed Away” was all anticipation. With “Happy Ending,” we get the payoff. Kelela has mastered the art of the Aaliyah-style serene banger — the dizzy club track that still keeps things cool and calm and mysterious. On “Happy Ending,” producer LSDXOXO’s track combines old-school jungle breakbeat splatter with atmospheric synths and humming, thrumming trumpet loops. A beat like that is a playground for Kelela, whose voice lazily uncurls itself with complete self-assurance. In her hands, “Happy Ending” is only barely a double entendre. This is a sexy, sexy song, and nobody is bothering to hide what it means. —Tom

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