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.)
Joanna Sternberg - "Neighbors"
You’ve done it. I’ve done it, too. We see the same people on our street every day, and some of them remain complete strangers to us. Maybe we don’t even wave or offer a cordial, “Hi, how are you?” as a formality. Joanna Sternberg — a singer-songwriter who has more than a little in common with Mr. “Hi, how are you?” himself, Daniel Johnston — has written a brilliant song about these awkward non-interactions and what we lose by opting not to say hello. Over jaunty old-fashioned piano chords, Sternberg sings profound thoughts in plain language, explaining how their fear of looking like a fool wins out over their fear of missing out on a great friendship. By the time Sternberg breaks into a playful wordless finale, their point is made. So, what’s next? — Chris
Rick Ross & Meek Mill - "Shaq & Kobe"
Over the past week, two of rap’s biggest stars got grumpily defensive over indie-rap beats — Drake over a Conductor Williams track on “8AM In Charlotte,” J. Cole over some Alchemist production on Lil Yachty’s “The Secret Recipe.” (This morning, Drake and Cole got together, but that’s another story.) It’s fun to hear those guys trying to recapture some old fire through some new methods. But I’d rather hear old Maybach Music buddies Rick Ross and Meek Mill, two guys who don’t enjoy the same pop-titan status, burning through an epic synth-churn like “I’ma Boss” was 12 minutes ago, not 12 years ago. These guys have made their millions and established their place in history, but they still sound hungry. —Tom
SLIFT - "ILION"
On the 11-minute opener and title track from their new album, the French heavy psych trio SLIFT sound like cavemen waging intergalactic warfare. The beats are swing thunderously, the solos spiral out of control, and the collective force of it all feels like an eruption. “ILION” is a journey, a sonic shapeshifter. SLIFT are men of taste, of sophistication, of atmospherics. They don’t just rock out unimaginably hard, like if the whole damn 300 army was charging down into that bottomless pit to fight the hounds of hell. But yeah, cosmic ripshit bombast is the selling point, and holy shit does this song sell it. —Chris
Cory Hanson - "Western Cum"
Earlier this year Wand’s Cory Hanson released a whole album of graceful, hard-hitting, densely melodic classic rock. Western Cum was like — I don’t know, Jim O’Rourke’s Insignificance with longer hair and more power chords? The riffs were resplendent, the melodies abundant. Teenage Fanclub if they liked to really shred? Any and all fans of rock ‘n’ roll music should have been blasting that shit all summer with their windows down. The album didn’t get nearly enough hype — I blame myself — but fortunately this week Hanson released a new single, also called “Western Cum,” which gave me more chances to sing the man’s praises. This track soars like The Bends if Thom Yorke drove a Camaro. If you’re thinking of scrolling past it or letting the weird title scare you off, just ask yourself: What could possibly be better than ultra-catchy guitar music that rocks? —Chris
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - "Theia"
The theory goes like this: 4.5 billion years ago, when Earth was young, another planet-sized body crashed into our own. The impact threw a vast chunk of debris into Earth’s orbit, and that chunk became the moon. It’s all just an astronomical hypothesis; nobody was there to confirm that this happened. The scientists behind this story have a name for the planet that hit ours: Theia.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard released the first three songs from their new album The Silver Cord as one 12-minute video because they want you to hear the tracks all together. If you can, you should. (We’ve embedded all three here.) The Lizard Wizard are on some trippy synth-magician shit, and it’s truly a blast to hear them veering off into astral rave, sometimes with endearingly terrible rapping. But “Theia,” the opener, only needs three minutes and change to sweep you off into another plane of understanding. And when those hands-to-the-sky keyboard drones line up with that electronic boom, it hits like a rogue wandering planet. —Tom