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.)
Zach Bryan - "Sarah's Place" (Feat. Noah Kahan)
Over the past year and a half, the rootsy singer-songwriters Zach Bryan and Noah Kahan have become gigantic stars, and they’re both still adjusting to it. On the warm, sloppy duet “Sarah’s Place,” the two of them get together to sing about feeling like losers. The song is a glowing, amiable chug, and you can hear Bryan and Kahan’s in-room chemistry, even if they’re not natural duet partners. Together, they sing about a specific situation. An ex has moved to New York, trying to make something of herself. She’s in the East Village, workin’ for some folks that don’t know her name — been there — but they’re still amazed that she’s pulled out of the go-nowhere party cycle and taken steps to make something of herself. Their backyard parties aren’t the same without her, and these two guys, sharing one messy voice, start to realize that they need to make some changes of their own. It’s a perfect little small-stakes story, and it’ll be weird and great to see it become a stadium singalong. —Tom
Adam Miller - "Illusion Pool"
It’s heartening that in the wake of Chromatics all of its non-monomaniacal members have continued on: Ruth Radelet made her solo debut with The Other Side last year. Nat Walker (alongside Ida No) is about to release his first album as Fawn next month. And Adam Miller, the founder of Chromatics, is gearing up to put out a new EP, Illusion Pool. Its title track is pure, melancholy bliss. Miller’s voice, which he said he used to hide out of embarrassment, shines in this phoenix-rising-from-the ashes song: “I hid all my love inside a stranger’s dream/ And when I woke up, there was nothing left of me/ The bright distractions have their power/ And I live to smile another hour.” You can read into it, if you want, but let’s instead just appreciate it, because something this luminous came out on the other side. —James
Thank You, I'm Sorry - "Mirror"
“Is this just growing up? A constant state of overanalysis? And if that’s what this is, I’m not into it.” That’s Lleen Dow, leader of the Minneapolis indie band Thank You, I’m Sorry, getting into some real and uncomfortable shit on “Mirror.” That feeling of being stuck inside your own head is all too familiar to way too many of us. But most of us can’t translate that feeling into fired-up fuzz-pop. The challenge, when you’re stuck overthinking everything, is to force yourself out of your internal cycle, to get out and do something. With a song like this, Dow addresses that feeling head-on by turning it into something visceral and physical — the kind of song that, just for a minute, might help you kick all the bullshit out of your own head. It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while, the diagnosis is also the cure. —Tom
Katie Dey - "dawn service"
Gosh, how does she do it? “dawn service” is another perfect little pop song from Katie Dey, a mass of texture that never goes where you might expect but fuses into a hook that’s hard to get out of your head. I love the heavy drop before the chorus, a stab of darkness before the bright light sets in. I love the way her voice sounds, staticky and disaffected, how the invitation to the “dawn … service” lands like a protracted ellipses. Dey said it was inspired by attending an ANZAC Day service when she was younger — the internet tells me that’s equivalent to Memorial Day in the US — and feeling out-of-step with everyone that was there but emboldened by that reality. The lyrics reflect this, wry and coyly defiant: “Make everyone nervous/ Bet it’s filled with perverts/ Who knows what they think.” And the track builds to what amounts to a challenge, a crest of guitars and pinched noise that groove just as hard as they transcend. —James
Armand Hammer - "The Gods Must Be Crazy"
Its not a perfect analog, but the comparison feels fair to me: Armand Hammer are to the 2020s when Run The Jewels were to the 2010s — a pair of veteran rappers with an experimental streak who teamed up on the brink of middle age and found a massive listener base both within the hip-hop world and outside it. In other words, billy woods and Elucid have become your local indie rock fan’s favorite rappers, for better or worse. So it makes perfect sense to hear them spitting rugged impressionism over a burbling, clattering El-P beat.
On “The Gods Must Be Crazy,” these guys get in some of the finest bars on We Buy Diabetic Test Strips, be it Elucid’s “I think I mighta left in my right mind/ Why I still gotta dress for a thought crime?” or billy’s dig at “white women with pepper spray in they purse interpolating Beyoncé.” There’s also an amazing apocalyptic screed about violent spectacles and cell phone service, a sequence too layered and expansive to unpack at blurb length. This is dense, intellectually charged music; you have to sit with it for a while to get the full effect. Yet on a surface level they make the weird shit hit like blockbuster entertainment. —Chris