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.)
Gia Margaret - "Hinoki Wood"
When Gia Margaret lost her voice a couple years ago, she did not despair but got to work. Or rather, she probably did despair, but the resultant album (2020’s Mia Gargaret) treated her temporary limitation as a challenge, forced her to lean on her compositional skills to create meditative soundscapes that focused on what her body was putting her through using few words of her own. She has since regained the use of her voice but has now embraced the ability not to use it as a stylistic choice. Romantic Piano looks not inward but outward, highlighting the environment that surrounds you: the crunch of leaves, the chirping of cicadas. On “Hinoki Wood,” its opening track, she finds inspiration in incense that she was burning while recording. The way the piano ascends and dissipates sounds like smoke in the air, the way you can hear the keys press down is immersive and tactile. Though it’s only 90 seconds long, the smell of it is intoxicating. —James
Kari Faux - "Make A Wish"
Though it is an utterly smooth bit of music at its core, there are so many elements in “Make A Wish” that jump out, and all of them contribute to a portrait of Arkansas native Kari Faux as one of the more exciting voices in rap right now. That squealing keyboard riff that sounds like it was either sampled from or inspired by “Tha Crossroads”? The beat switch from breathy, dreamy, almost neo-soul-esque R&B to nasty Southern club rap in the Three 6 Mafia mold? Commanding bars like “The earth controls the moon/ The moon controls the tide/ But I can’t control when you n***as go and tell a lie”? The track is a tour de force without making a big show of it, and it paints Faux and core collaborator Phoelix as old souls with bright futures. —Chris
Sign Language - "The Nothing"
The villain of the 1984 film The NeverEnding Story is the Nothing, a faceless and empty void that threatens to swallow the entire magical land of Fantasia. “Depression” wasn’t a buzzword in 1984, but it was still a thing that existed, and the Nothing made for a frighteningly accurate metaphor. On their song “The Nothing,” Cincinnati’s Sign Language sing about the lure of numbness, the comfort of oblivion, but the music rages hard against it. Lots of bands are currently working on the intersection of grunge, post-hardcore, and shoegaze, and plenty of them are great: Narrow Head, Soul Blind, Fleshwater, maybe even Nothing. But few of those bands rock with as much spirit and ferocity as Sign Language, and few of them offer better reasons to resist the Nothing. —Tom
Armani White & A$AP Ferg - "Silver Tooth"
The Philly rapper Armani White made a name for himself last year, rapping animatedly over a lightly-chopped version of the Neptunes’ beat for NORE’s “Nothin” on his single “Billie Eilish.” You could say that this was a cheap nostalgia-move; I might counter that it was glorious to hear the “Nothin” beat back in the zeitgeist. On his latest, Armani goes back to the well again, rapping animatedly over a lightly-chopped version of the Neptunes’ beat for Lil Bow Wow’s “Take You Home.” He also recruits A$AP Ferg, which is practically its own kind of nostalgia move. But when something works, it works. That beat is joyously funky, and both rappers bring the dizzily ignorant energy. Ferg, in particular, reminds the world of why he was once so omnipresent, moonwalking on these hoes with diamonds in his socks. And given that there are about a million great Neptunes beats from that 106 & Park era, Armani White won’t run out of material anytime soon. —Tom
Loma Prieta - "Glare"
Loma Prieta’s version of post-hardcore is so raw and explosive and epic that it might be for the best that they take so long between albums. The world needs time to recover and to prepare. “Sunlight,” the 2022 single that portended their return, was a vicious blast of aggression that lasted all of 90 seconds. “Glare” is a different beast, extending well past the five-minute mark and making the most of that runtime. They spend basically the full length of the last single warming up here, building anticipation before the floor falls out and chaos reigns. Eventually the throat-searing barks and incremental shellackings are infused with post-rock grandeur, cohering into the most beautiful violence before dissipating into epilogue. Except it’s more like a very promising start to this band’s next chapter. —Chris