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.)
Bernice - "Underneath My Toe"
Songs written about friends are way underrated; I’m just going to lead with that. Off the top of my head, the most recent friend-themed song coming to mind is Let’s Eat Grandma’s “Happy New Year,” a celebratory banger. Anyway, Bernice’s “Underneath My Toe,” written with long-distance companions in mind, is much more low-key and offbeat, with Robin Dann contemplatively singing over keyboard twinkles, gentle drum taps, and a flurry of jerky effects. Simultaneously patchy and pretty, the sometimes-together, sometimes-not aspect of “Underneath My Toe” in fact represents friendship at its best: even if the family you choose scatters all over the place, it will eventually come back together, stronger than ever.—Rachel
Susanne Sundfør - "alyosha"
She back. It’s been six years since the last album from Susanne Sundfør, the Norwegian musician who seems perpetually underrated in all circles except the Stereogum comment section. “alyosha” is one of two early tracks she’s shared from her upcoming new one, and it finds Sundfør at her most cinematic and sweepingly majestic. Filled out with an expansive array of pianos and strings, Sundfør’s voice is steadfast and determined to declare her devotion: “It’s you, it’s you, Alyosha, it’s you/ You are all that I believe in, my love.” Towards the end, once everything is built up and she really belts it at the end? It kind of reminds me of “My Heart Will Go On.” And that’s a good thing in my book. —James
Militarie Gun - "Do It Faster"
Militarie Gun started off as a lockdown-era one-man home-recording project. Even then, it was strange and exciting to hear Regional Justice Center leader Ian Shelton’s barking out big, melodic hooks over catchy alt-rock riffage. As Militarie Gun have become a full-time band with an actual recording contract, the hooks have only gotten bigger and cleaner. “Do It Faster” is an alternate-universe rock-radio hit, a song that belongs in a montage of loser high-school students getting ready for the big dance. But even in this context, the band’s background shows through. Militarie Gun crank through all those hooks in less than two minutes, and Shelton’s hyper-charged gorilla-grunt hits even harder when surrounded by spangly guitars. Leave it to this band to get poppier and harder at the same time. —Tom
Wednesday - "Bath County"
The way Karly Hartzman piles up details in Wednesday songs is nothing short of masterful. “Bath County” threads together a bunch of different memories into a mangled collage: a procession out of Dollywood, a kid sipping some “piss-colored bright yellow Fanta,” a near-death experience in a Planet Fitness parking lot. Hit ’em with a dose of Narcan! Hartzman’s fractured narratives take root in music that sounds like munching on shattered glass; the band zigs, zags, crashes into noise, and smooths itself back out again. The result is exhilarating and endlessly rewarding, each sick and twisted riff giving way to a thought that’s just as evocative. —James
Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit - "Death Wish"
Jason Isbell is now a famous country-rock dad, but the man has seen some things and been through some things, and you can still hear that on a song like “Death Wish.” The first single from Isbell and his band’s forthcoming album is about being in love with someone who’s depressed and addicted, but it’s also about the appeal of oblivion — about trying to help someone through to the other side while still understanding why that person is drawn to the void. The 400 Unit makes a majestically clangy minor-key racket while Isbell, his voice raw and desperate, howls about taking a whole lot of medicine to feel like a little kid. When the song reaches its raging climax, it’s positively operatic. Sometimes, nothing feels better than a song about feeling so bad. —Tom