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.)
Parannoul - "We Shine At Night"
Parannoul’s breakout album To See The Next Part Of The Dream was frenetic and unpredictable. Using a computer, the Seoul musician collided the signifiers of shoegaze, emo, and lo-fi bedroom rock to create a dizzying sonic soup that was as gleaming as it was inscrutable. Over the past couple years, the Parannoul universe has expanded by way of collaborations and side projects that have only further underlined the project’s digitized bids at sonic transcendence. “We Shine At Night” is one of the most tactile compositions they’ve released yet, the kind of shaggy rock song you could actually imagine hearing out in the world and not just blaring from laptop speakers. Or at least the first half does — before the fuzzy guitars slip away and we’re left with a chorus of voices that come together to hum along to what sounds like the crescendo of some song from the early aughts half-remembered. It’s the sort of atmosphere that Parannoul conjures up best: a communal, yearning nostalgia for a past that we haven’t been able to let go of. —James
Nicole Dollanganger - "Married In Mount Airy"
“All you have to bring is your love of everything.” That seems like a tall order, doesn’t it? But that was once the sales pitch for Mount Airy Lodge, a Poconos couples resort that the writer Ada Calhoun recently described as a “sex lodge.” That line about “your love of everything” was an insidious advertising jingle, and now it’s also an eerie line in the gorgeous title track from Nicole Dollanganger’s striking new album. Over a slow, languorous acoustic-guitar figure, Dollanganger harmonizes with her own spectral coo. Dollanganger’s narrator and per paramour chose Mount Airy Lodge as their wedding site “in its prime, sometime in the late ’60s,” and she evokes a loose-drifting American dreamstate, a disoriented rapture that’ll always be out of reach to those of us born too late. The song is sweet and scary in equal measures — a beautiful portrait of dead things. —Tom
Everything But The Girl - "Nothing Left To Lose"
I have missed this duo like — I don’t know — let’s say some kind of arid and sandy geographical feature missed — let’s see here — perhaps a kind of liquid precipitation. Everything But The Girl started out in the ’80s sophisti-pop world, but they hit their peak, both commercially and creatively, when they embraced the sparkling angles and empty space of late-’90s club culture. Now, nearly a quarter-century after their last album Tempramental, they’ve returned with a song of wobbling, skittering, bottomless longing that sounds extremely 1999 and also extremely right now. Over architecturally precise pulses and wobbles, Tracey Thorn is smooth but guttural with a raw and grown-up agony in her alto: “Kiss me while the world decays/ Kiss me while the music plays.” That’s poetry. —Tom
M83 - "Oceans Niagara"
Look, I get it. After pushing the boundaries of overblown grandeur as far as the M83 project would allow, Anthony Gonzalez had no choice but to revolt against himself. An album as quirky as Junk was a necessary clearing of the slate. But damn, it feels good to have him serving up gargantuan retro-futuristic bliss once again. Somehow chintzy and spectacularly gorgeous all at once, “Oceans Niagara” is no mere retread of past glories, but it taps back into that same bigger-than-life impulse that powered M83’s most enduring work. The laser synths! The digitized utopian choir! The screaming guitar solo! The sweeping scope and surging bombast! It might not be an all-timer on par with “Midnight City” — truly, what is — but I love how this song piles up layers of beauty until you can’t find the bottom anymore, until you realize that you’re not even anywhere near the ground. You’re soaring. —Chris
Shalom - "Happenstance"
You know that feeling of not wanting to go anywhere but still wanting to be invited? It’s like the liminal space between FOMO and ROMO (Relief Of Missing Out, as I have recently learned). That’s the space recent Saddle Creek signee Shalom inhabits on their spectacularly catchy “Happenstance,” which hurtles forward with kicky drumbeats, poppy piano, and a perennially dissatisfied energy as she admits: I feel so out of place/ I’m just trying to erase myself/ Whenever I get the chance/ my need to evaporate/ And receive validation at the same time/ Is just happenstance.” We do love a joyful — and ever so slightly melancholy — melody coupled with uneasy lyrics. Whatever party’s Shalom is throwing, I want in (though I may not show up). She’ll understand. —Rachel