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.)
U.S. Girls - "Only Daedalus"
No one’s used Greek mythology this effectively since that first Hercules And Love Affair album. “Only Daedalus,” the opening track from U.S. Girls’ magnificent Bless This Mess, is a swaggering dance number, riding along on an insistent groove and Meg Remy’s tongue-tied hook: “Only Daedalus coulda thought of this.” In our interview with Remy, she said that she wrote it with Julian Casablancas in mind, hoping that he would duet with her. That didn’t work out. Apparently Donald Fagen (!) was also floated as an option. That didn’t come to pass either, and it’s a shame — maybe on an official remix down the line. Offering one up to the gods, but the song as it stands now is still divine. —James
Conway The Machine - "Super Bowl" (Feat. Juicy J & Sauce Walka)
Conway The Machine is late. Presumably he wanted to release “Super Bowl” in time for the actual Super Bowl, which took place 12 days before the song actually dropped. The good news for the former Griselda pillar is that “Super Bowl” is so hot that it might still be sizzling in February 2024. A lot of that has to do with the regally booming trap beat cooked up by Juicy J and Crazy Mike, the team that previously gave us such gems as “Hot Girl Summer.” Any competent rapper would sound invincible on this track.
But also, Conway and Sauce Walka and Juicy J are far beyond competent. Conway locks into his rugged, drawling flow, spitting one of those refrains that hits like a hook even without melody: “Big 40, n****, play with me/ Feelin’ like I won the AFC/ Bulletproof truck, to get from A to B/ I’m really what you n****s claim to be.” Walka brings the requisite livewire chaos to the song, name-checking elite white boy Cooper Kupp and his soon-to-be former Rams teammate Jalen Ramsey. (No love for his hometown Texans, but he does work Houston into his verse: “I’m from the home of the queen, that’s Beyoncé/ But I done seen Destiny’s Child die from gunplay.” Spare a bar for Dameon Pierce next time!) And then there’s Juicy, invoking a famous New England Patriots scandal and sounding as smooth and reliable as Tom Brady himself. On second thought, with rapping this good, who needs a killer beat? —Chris
Water From Your Eyes - "Barley"
The thing about genre-jumbling music is that tossing together a bunch of disparate sounds only works if the song itself is good. “Barley” is phenomenal, largely because its brilliant composition and head-spinning arrangement are all tangled up in each other. Not that Water From Your Eyes ever sound like they’re tripping over themselves on the buzzy and discordant lead single from their Matador Records level-up. Every buzz and whirr and “Shh!” is locked into a perfectly jittery choreography, meticulously assembled without missing a beat.
This isn’t usually the sound I associate with the term “noise-pop,” yet what else would you call such a catchy song that’s also such a racket? As Rachel Brown’s vocals go darting through an obstacle course of digital precipitation and spring-loaded twang, I’m reminded of the mid-to-late ’90s, of beat-driven, alt-adjacent hits like Beck’s “The New Pollution” and the Chemical Brothers’ “Let Forever Be” and (affectionately) Fatboy Slim’s “The Rockafeller Skank.” Brown brings a distinctively modern and purposeful affect to their performance, though, so that the song’s central koan — “One, two, three, four/ I count mountains” — never comes across like vibey nonsense. The line may have as many interpretations as “Barley” has sounds, but all of them are deep and meaningful: a burst of signal amidst the noise, to be pondered and reconsidered with each compulsive listen back. —Chris
Lael Neale - "In Verona"
A slow-building eight-minute indie rock song built on Shakespeare references? Nope! Fuck that! I’m out! Too educational! But wait. Hold on. This is really good. Lael Neale, her voice flat and deadpan, chants about beauty word in deed, about starborn purity, about angels stapling prayers to phone poles. Underneath her voice, pianos pound and synths drone and horns howl. It sounds deranged and ritualistic and hypnotic. On paper, “In Verona” is the most pretentious thing in the world. In practice, it’s a whirlwind, lifting you up and spinning you all around. The Velvet Underground were pretentious on paper, too, and nobody’s fronting on “Venus In Furs.” Sometimes, you need to submit. Sometimes, it’s the only thing you can do. —Tom
Drug Church - "Myopic"
Like a great piece of art, let’s just take a minute to admire Drug Church’s opening verse to “Myopic,” which paints quite a picture: “Ever been to a county fair where the games are scams?/ Now apply what you know to all the things you don’t/ Politics and business/ Most love, many friendships/ Throw until your tendons tear, but those bottles stay weighted.” Goddamn.
I love the way Drug Church show how everything is connected via one county fair / milk bottle game metaphor (depending on your point of view, I guess). Even if you are the glass-half-full type, you will at some point (depending on your level of privilege) have experienced the MLM scammy underbelly of most corporate jobs (business) and government glad-handing. The Albany post-hardcore standouts overlay these cogent comparisons with an urgent crush of grinding guitars and booming vocal chants. If you haven’t felt the walls of late-stage capitalism closing in before, “Myopic” might as well be the Death Star’s trash compactor. —Rachel