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.)
Latto - "Put It On Da Floor Again" (Feat. Cardi B)
It’s just such a treat whenever Cardi B deigns to jump on someone else’s track, talk some unrestrained and endlessly quotable shit and then go back to doing whatever it is she does all day. This Latto track was hard before it got its Cardi verse, but when Cardi arrives, things jump up to a beautiful new level. “I’m sexy dancin’ in the house, I feel like Britney Spears”? “She say she don’t like me ’cause she love me — duh, knock it off”? “All these hoes is mid/ Got her lurkin’ on my page before she feed her kids/ Shittin’ on these bitches, dunkin’ on they heads/ Give these hoes some melatonin, put they ass to bed”? Forget it. It’s over. Tattoo it on your forehead.
Julie Byrne - "Moonless"
“Moonless” is the first song that Julie Byrne ever wrote on the piano, started while at an artist residency in Portugal. She takes to the instrument, trying to reflect a deep isolation through keys and whispers. It’s a break-up song, one that includes all the lovesick yearning that one would come to expect, delivered in Byrne’s haunted poetics: “What does it matter the story? If your absence remains/ I feel it right here/ What eternity becomes.” But she swells into a declaration (“I’m not waiting for your love”) that feels weighty and definite — the vapor of longing dissipates, and what’s left is a song that’s heart-wrenching but not heartbreaking. A subtle distinction, but it’s there. —James
Romy - "Loveher"
When Romy Madley Croft sang about desire with the xx, it was often oblique, muted, sensual but not forwardly so. On “Loveher,” the first song she wrote that made her realize she was ready to make a solo album, she turns that natural introversion into something to cherish. She sings of a love that feels so natural it must be right: “Hold my hand under the table/ It’s not that I’m not proud in the company of strangers/ It’s just some things are for us.” It can be difficult as a queer person to navigate how vocal you want to be about your love, both because of the obvious and because some people just don’t want to broadcast their relationship to everyone. That’s valid, but oh does it sound satisfying when Romy lets loose in the hook, letting her avowal of love get subsumed into a sweaty beat, spinning out into something that sounds joyous and freeing. —James
Fiddlehead - "Sullenboy"
The video for “Sullenboy,” the first single from Fiddlehead’s impending third album, is full of tender scenes: Kids hugging their dad, a baby blinking up at the light, dew dripping off of a leaf. The song itself is loud and stormy, driven by crashing guitar chords and Pat Flynn’s overwhelmed grunt-growl, which is now inching into Have Heart levels of intensity. Tenderness and aggression can coexist, especially on a song like “Sullenboy,” where it’s clear that the aggression is there to make room for his tenderness. Flynn roars, “I feel the fear, I can’t repair,” but his connection to his partner and his kids keeps him from sinking into the depression that’s always threatening to open up under him: “I got fire, I got light/ They’re three feet tall and smile bright.” Whether or not you’ve got depressive Irish genes of your own, it’s enough to bring a tear to your eye.
Ratboys - "It's Alive!"
Even if their twangy/jangly lead The Window single is about “the overarching feeling of the world spinning on beneath you while you’re stuck in one place” (as lead vocalist Julia Steiner says), Ratboys are clearly making great strides as they scurry into a new album cycle. For one, the Chicago band’s found a worthy teammate in indie-rock superproducer Chris Walla, who polishes Ratboys’ easy hooks without making things sound too slick. Meanwhile, the track’s running-in-place theme melds just so against Ratboys’ steady rhythm, which picks up as Steiner warbles “It’s alive!” The perfect palate cleanser for what promises to be a killer album.