The 5 Best Songs Of The Week

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.)


Kim Gordon - "I'm A Man"

“BYE BYE,” the teeth-chattering lead single from Kim Gordon’s latest solo album, was a gloriously chilly list of non-sequiturs. “I’m A Man” keeps the same industrial soundscape but has a bit more on its mind. Here, Gordon snarls her way through some posturing masculinity — “So what if I like the big truck? Giddy up, giddy up!” “It’s not my fault I was born a man/ C’mon, sweets, take my hand/ Jump on my back ‘cus I’m the man — and she sounds just as intimidatingly icy as ever. —James


Waxahatchee - "Bored"

It’s risky for just about anyone to sing about boredom, and it’s probably doubly risky for someone who’s been around long enough that someone might take her for granted. How do you sing about getting bored without getting boring? That’s not a problem for Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield, who’s reaching veteran status and starting to take on some of the casual gravitas of her hero Lucinda Williams. On “Bored,” Crutchfield swaggers hard through the verses and hits giant, uplifting notes on the chorus. Her slight rock-star sneer in the video tells you all you need to know. It’s another great fucking Waxahatchee song, and if you can get bored with that, then there’s no hope for you. —Tom


DIIV - "Brown Paper Bag"

“The way we see it, it’s both a pop song and a sludgy song, a country song and a shoegaze song, a dreamy song and a decidedly ’90s ‘rock’ song.” This is one of many keen observations DIIV shared about their own new single, the official introduction to their first album in five years, in a missive to fans Thursday. “Recording it, we talked about Mojave 3, Built To Spill, and the Melvins,” the message continues later on. It’s all there in the crunch of the power chords, the laser-light-show glow of the soaring guitar leads, the pounding plod of the drumbeat, and Z. Cole Smith’s whispered melodies, combining into something spectacular.

“Brown Paper Bag” is a song about dejection, about feeling hopeless, useless, and adrift. “So there I go,” Smith sings, “Torn/ Faded/ A brown paper bag.” He speaks of feeling at peace when he’s in pain, of feeling at home in the flames. On the lyrics sheet, it’s utterly dark. Yet the soundtrack is a triumphant flex — a complete mastery of a signature sound that reflects back glimpses of so much great music yet sounds like no one but DIIV. It is as if, in giving voice to those feelings in this context, the band has conquered them in real time. —Chris


Ekko Astral - "baethoven"

I recently said more bands should try to sound like Death From Above 1979, and Ekko Astral have swooped in just in time to answer my prayers. The DC punks shred with the chaotic, salacious energy of “Romantic Rights” on their new song, brilliantly titled “baethoven.” It kicks off with a titillating bassline before the bewildering opening lines are casually spoken: “The pain of being myself/ At the crypto castle.” Caustic guitars quickly turn the song into what can only be described as a “mascara moshpit,” as the band put it — a glorious, headbanging-worthy cacophony. —Danielle


Jessica Pratt - "Life Is"

She’s back, baby. Jessica Pratt’s “Life Is,” the lead single from the esteemed California songwriter’s fourth album, is pitched at a slightly higher frequency than what we’ve heard from her in the past. “Time is time and time and time again,” she repeats throughout, her voice slipping in and around itself. Pratt has always been delicately smooth and quietly devastating, and she’s frequently been described as timeless, steeped in the folk traditions of the ’60s. “Life Is” is no different, with its shimmering simplicity, but it feels just ever so more expansive — in the subtly shifting landscape of Pratt’s music, that can feel like a whole lot. —James

more from The 5 Best Songs Of The Week