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.)
Empress Of - "Femenine"
Google Translate is not always the most helpful thing in these situations, but as far as I can tell, Empress Of’s new single “Femenine” is all about wanting to dominate a guy — to make him dance for you, cook for you, call you “daddy.” Sure! Do your thing! Lorely Rodriguez doesn’t often get this freaky when she’s singing in English, but some urges demand that level of freakiness. With “Femenine,” she’s driven to distraction by a nasty, funky old-school house track that was produced, I’m just finding out now, by my friend Nick Sylvester. For those of you who weren’t reading online rock criticism 15 years ago, please understand: The best music blogger at the mid-’00s Village Voice wasn’t the person you’re reading right now. It’s the one who made that stanky-ass bassline. —Tom Breihan
Itasca - "Imitation Of War"
“Imitation Of War” is about the way human relationships can feel like a battlefield or an adversarial dance, but also about Kayla Cohen’s chase for inspiration and about “taking on the costume of muse myself.” There are a lot of layers to it, conceptually speaking, but for all its ideological complexity, the title track from Itasca’s new album goes down smooth. Cohen says she wanted to write a “power pop/glammy song with the chorus effect on the guitar, and have fun with the riffs and guitar arrangement,” which ultimately led to a loose, jammy indie rock sound, like the Jicks drifting off into a gleaming dream. —Chris
Punchlove - "Dead Lands"
Shoegaze is having an obvious moment right now, but there’s also an interesting way the fuzzy genre often serves as an outlet for grief. New York-based five-piece Punchlove’s new song “Dead Lands” is the newest example, using a sweeping, distorted atmosphere to mourn the passing of a family member. The brooding, building guitars capture the uncertainty of everything in the wake of loss; Jillian Olesen’s distant vocals add to the mystery and sense of disturbance. It’s a beautiful reckoning with the void. —Danielle
@ - "Soul Hole"
“Soul Hole” is like early Clairo gone off on that Sung Tongs, or maybe a hyperpop production inspired by the meek grandeur of Sufjan’s Illinois. Centered on the refrain “I’m going to the soul hole, and I’m never coming back,” the track blends intimate bedroom-pop vocals with jarring experimental rock that never lets its abrasive tendencies undermine its epic ambitions. This one’s for all those who love when weird shit goes pop. —Chris
Thy Slaughter - "Bullets"
At the end of the year, PC Music will stop releasing new music. It feels like the end of an era. Though everyone involved will surely continue on, including head honcho A. G. Cook, the new album from Thy Slaughter — a team-up between Cook and Finn Keane, aka EASYFUN — feels like a dispatch from a different time for the label, back when there was an endless drip of random projects and offshoots and the next undiscovered gem was just waiting to be unearthed.
“Bullets” is the sort of song I’ll miss; not “major” by any stretch of the imagination, but a delightful pop curio put out by some ironclad songwriters — including Charli XCX, Noonie Bao, Patrik Berger, and Alma-Sofia Miettinen. It’s a meandering mix of mangled guitars that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere until it does, flickering like friends hanging out around a campfire. It lands like an eulogy for the whole PC Music enterprise: “Doesn’t it feel different now that we’re older? Would you tell me that you’d cried if it was over?” —James Rettig