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.)
Vines - "I don't mind"
Google your band name. Vines, the musical project of Brooklyn composer Cassie Wieland, elicited a number of confused comments and tweets upon the release of “I don’t mind” this week. People thought they were hearing from a veteran Australian rock band. Clearly, they were not. But anyone who clicked on “I don’t mind” expecting loud drums and guitars was treated to the best kind of surprise: a staggeringly beautiful digital ballad in the Imogen Heap/Bon Iver vein, with Wieland stacking her voice into hyper-processed harmonies as she turned a refrain into a mantra. “I’ll fall apart if I need to,” she sings tenderly, then vacantly. “I don’t mind. I don’t mind.” It’s a wonderful Rorschach blot of a song, one I like better than anything those other Vines ever did. —Chris
Restraining Order - "Misled"
“Misled” is quick and to-the-point. The main power-chord riff could not be more basic. Singer Patrick Cozens barks with blunt simplicity. The runtime barely exceeds a minute, and if it lasted any longer it’d be too much. But what Restraining Order do with those ingredients is powerful and transcendent. Some of it is little touches like that lead guitar melody that slides into the second verse, lending the song extra texture and momentum. Some of it is the sheer aggression with which they play. Some of the best punk and hardcore involves bands paring down the music to its bare essentials, showing how vital those core elements can be. —Chris
Amaarae - "Sociopathic Dance Queen"
There are a lot of gems to be found on Amaarae’s new album Fountain Baby. One of its early highlights is “Sociopathic Dance Queen,” which feels like a more low-key, understated take on the disco sounds that infected the pop charts a couple years ago. The song scans as pillow-soft, but it is in fact delightfully raunchy: “Pussy like Bermuda afternoons!,” “Left me how you found me, fuck my body cold!” Amaarae gives herself over to mindless sensuality, sweaty and fun and infectious. —James
Killer Mike - "Scientists & Engineers" (Feat. Future, André 3000, & Eryn Allen Kane)
Sometimes shoving a bunch of talented people together on a track results in overstuffed, undercooked event-rap. In this case, everyone plays their part beautifully, with stellar results. Not to steal the spotlight from Killer Mike on his album release day, but it’s so great to hear André 3000 rapping in that pinched tenor again (I hope he gets his second wind before age 81) and nearly as revelatory to hear Future luxuriating over gospel-tinged production. They both sound comfortable in the best way, and we have Michael Render to thank for setting them free.
Given that “Scientists & Engineers” was the final shock-and-awe single ahead of Michael, one whose lineup of producers is almost as impressive as its list of features — No I.D.! DJ Paul! James Blake! Three Stacks himself! — I’m happy to report that Killer Mike did not let those Benz friendz upstage him on his own song. (“You think that I’m losin’, you smokin’ a pipe.”) His triplet flow over the soulful, synth-flecked beat is a reminder that he was holding his own on Dungeon Family tracks long before he was ever running the jewels. —Chris
Peggy Gou - "(It Goes Like) Nanana"
Sometimes, words aren’t enough. In dance music, you don’t necessarily need words; the music itself is enough to bring people together. An instrumental version of Peggy Gou’s new single would still work as a shimmering summertime banger — the sort of dizzy house track that changes the chemical composition of the room the moment that it drops. But Gou has given the song words, and those words are about not having words.
Peggy Gou was born in South Korea, and she studied fashion in London before becoming an international dance superstar in Berlin. She’s fluent in many languages. But she devotes “(It Goes Like) Nanana” to a phrase that works in any language. Over thumping bass and pounding ’90s rave keyboards, Gou sings about a feeling that she can’t erase, that she just won’t leave behind. It goes like: “Na na na. Na na na na na.” I know exactly how she feels. —Tom