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.)
Armand Hammer - "Trauma Mic" (Feat. Pink Siifu)
Success has not mellowed Armand Hammer. For years, Elucid and billy woods, both together and separately, have been making jagged music for jagged times. Even as they’ve amassed an audience, those times have only grown more jagged. With “Trauma Mic,” Armand Hammer abandon all connection to the New York boom-bap — a connection that was always tenuous — and go full experimental-noise lurch-clang. In the video, woods and Elucid dig through heaps of scrap metal while producer DJ Haram bangs a wheelbarrow with a pipe, and the song really does sound like that. In the hands of Armand Hammer, though, this grenades-exploding chaos still comes out poignant and exciting. I’m ready for their Neubauten era to begin. —Tom
Carly Rae Jepsen - "Psychedelic Switch"
What, did you think Carly Rae Jepsen was gonna release a French Touch song and it wasn’t going to be on this list? Nestled in the middle of CRJ’s new The Loveliest Time, “Psychedelic Switch” takes the album on a brief detour into circa-Y2K dancefloor euphoria. Soaring through the neon fantasy world of funky house and filter disco marked out by Daft Punk, Alan Braxe, and friends all those years ago, Jepsen sounds exhilarated, and not just by Kyle Shearer’s production. “Sunrise all the time when I touch you,” she exults early on. “I was a sad, sad song before we met,” she continues. “But, boy, your love is such a trip.” One of the best aspects of Jepsen’s music is that she really performs the lyrics, inhabiting the character in the song with a charm that compensates for any vocal limitations. It’s quite effective when backed by a relentlessly fizzing four-on-the-floor beat that’s been built out into a glittering wonderland. I’d be satisfied forever with a couple albums of this. —Chris
Squint - "All"
Squint describe “All” as “dancy,” and the fact that they hear it that way says a lot about both their intentions and the world they’re coming from. “All” is an artifact of a moment when lots of bands with hardcore backgrounds are going pop, infusing their songs with accessible melody and anthemic structure. The song is our latest proof that Squint can hang with the likes of Drug Church and Militarie Gun, bands that have held on to their grit while broadening their appeal. The sound of Brennen Wilkinson screaming “I always pick myself up to fall/ I guess I just can’t take it all!” could be slotted into a much heavier, uglier song, but it sounds perfect amidst hard-charging pop-rock with room in the arrangement for a tambourine. You really can dance to “All,” but it makes perfect sense that the puppets in the video are headbanging. —Chris
Offset & Cardi B - "Jealousy"
It is kind of the ultimate flex to make art out of marital conflict, particularly when it’s still happening(?). Typically, musician partners will rag on each other once the relationship ends (see: the breakup album), but not Offset and Cardi B. They’re using the studio as a therapist’s office and calling up famous friends such as Jamie Lee Curtis and Taraji P. Henson to add their two cents.
Their strategy works, and it ought to remind fans why these two are so good together: “Jealousy” is a skittering, sharp-tongued banger. Regardless of fidelity, Cardi and Offset are clearly marvelous collaborators — the eye-catching “Jealousy” video pays homage to the 2001 movie Baby Boy, with Cardi and Offset mirroring the film’s on-again-off-again primary relationship. Throw in a Three 6 Mafia sample (“Jealous Ass Bitches”), and you get something golden. A close read of the lyrics make you think about how “Jealousy” — in this context — has two meanings: Are Cardi and Offset jealous of outside suitors, or are the outside suitors just jealous of how Cardi and Offset will always come back together? Whatever the case, “Jealousy” knows one thing for sure: All concerned parties should mind their own business. —Rachel
Drop Nineteens - "Scapa Flow"
At this point, it’s become a cliché: A band disappears for a few decades and reunites to an enthusiastic fan base of cultish acolytes and devotees. The internet, and especially the streaming era, can be fickle and unforgiving, but it also can let an album like Drop Nineteens’ Delaware — a modest, fleeting success in its time — be codified into the shoegaze canon, elevated into the kind of totem that makes people clamor for more, 30 years removed from its original release.
Enter Hard Light and its lead single “Scapa Flow,” which both sounds like the the past three decades didn’t happen and also like the musicians involved have matured and reflected on their craft, figured out what made things work and why, all by virtue of their absence. Reuniting (most of) the lineup that recorded Delaware, “Scapa Flow” retains the dreamy guitar tones, the elegiac harmonies, the soul-searching atmosphere. The way Greg Ackell glides through the song is wonderful, especially by the end, when he’s delivering every word like a world-weary prophet: “The truth long forgotten comes due/ And you say it’s the last time … ha!” It’s magnificent, a welcome return from a band that could so easily have been lost to the sands of time. —James