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). This week’s countdown is below, and you can listen to a playlist of all our 5 Best Songs on Spotify.
The entertainment news industrial complex ought to be slowing down with Christmas just two weeks away. But instead, all kinds of wacky music updates keep coming, our feeds are full of peoples’ Cyberpunk 2077 penis customizations, and Disney blew up the internet with what should be like half a decade’s worth of Star Wars and Marvel updates. Haven’t we all had to process enough in 2020 as is? Anyway, the five best songs of the week are below.
You try to be a good person but no matter what you do everything turns to shit. That’s the big anxiety at the heart of “sympathy 4 the grinch,” 100 gecs’ unhinged Christmas instant-classic. But in 100 gecs’ world of pure fantasy escapism, you get revenge on the motherfucker that is life. In this case, that motherfucker is Santa. “Never gave me a goddamn thing that I want/ I was good every day but he didn’t give a fuck,” goes the bratty whine of the chorus, and now all of a sudden you’re speeding around with a kidnapped Santa Claus banging around the back of your truck. How did you end up here? Doesn’t matter because it feels so good.
“sympathy 4 the grinch” is a rollercoaster ride, a quick hit of adrenaline that makes all your anger at the injustice of the world feel vindicated. It’s Dylan Brady and Laura Les’ typical blenderful of influences — ska jitters and emo chorus whoa-ohs and glitchy pop matrixes — dialed up to a thousand. Outside of some sleigh bells (not the ear-bursting variety), there’s not much that sounds like Christmas about it, but it certainly feel like Christmas, tapping into the dormant childhood temper tantrum side of yourself that erupts when Santa doesn’t get you want you fucking want. —James
Editrix are releasing their debut full-length on the record label Exploding In Sound, and fittingly its lead single sounds like a nonstop series of detonations. What are they blowing up? The foundations of Western civilization, apparently.
Singer-guitarist Wendy Eisenberg says “Chelsea” is a critique of well-meaning liberals who try to enact change within the parameters of a deeply broken system rather than embrace more radical solutions. Ultimately they decide this is a losing battle: “How could I ask her to be different? I’m not trying.” But if overhauling America is too daunting a task, at least the trio’s music is brimming with inventiveness. Eisenberg tops off the sonic chaos with a sweet high-pitched melody, singing it so intensely that it never comes close to sounding like pop even as it lends an accessible edge to an otherwise raw, pummeling track. The album is called Tell Me I’m Bad, but after hearing this, there’s just no way. —Chris
The Comet Is Coming are used to spending time in outer space. Shabaka Hutchings’ sax lines curve not just skyward but straight through the atmosphere, carried up on shimmering layer after shimmering layer of celestial synths. Most often, the Comet Is Coming make genre-imploding electronic jazz that mulls over afterlives and mingles with star clusters. But every now and then, they remind us they are here on Earth with us, voyaging further outwards in an effort to combat the realities around us on the ground.
Many of those moments are anchored by the Comet Is Coming’s frequent collaborator, Joshua Idehen. Above the group’s more roiling grooves, Idehen can speak on racial strife and the injustices of our world. “Imminent” is just the latest marvel the ongoing partnership has yielded. It begins as almost more straightforward, a showcase for Idehen to rap. Then, “Imminent” blooms open into a cosmic instrumental passage, a raw-throated return from Idehen, before they eventually all find themselves at the song’s cathartic conclusion. Idehen shifts into a more proclamatory voice: “This Black voice is this loud and/ This Black skin is this shiny and/ This Black skin is proud… This Black praise is dance/ This Black sorrow is dance/ This Black pain is dance/ This Black struggle is dance.” The voyage is no less intense, but this time the Comet Is Coming are not taking us to a conjuring, but to a fiery exorcism. —Ryan
Emotionally speaking, we’re all just cereal and medication looking for a cool, dry place to be stored in. On “Cool Dry Place,” the title track of Katy Kirby’s upcoming debut full-length, the Nashville singer-songwriter turns that familiar label into a powerful plea for comfort and connection. “Can I come over? Is it too late?” she sings, her crystalline voice aching with vulnerability. “Would you keep me in a cool, dry place?”
The song seems to gain confidence as it goes on — the spidery guitar arrangement blossoming into a warm folk-rock groove, Kirby’s voice rising from a tremulous whisper to full volume as the track erupts into its climactic crescendo. It’s the kind of beautifully soothing music that you just want to live inside. A cool, dry place, if you will. —Peter
Most of the music Channel Tres makes is for an environment we can’t experience right now. He’s one of those artists: His music belongs in sweaty clubs, where every bit of house-tinged bass burbles can get bigger, more muscular, overtake you entirely. While not straight-up dance music, he’s the sort of songwriter who emerges from what, in 2020 at least, feels like a distant memory. But just as often, Channel Tres’ songs are askew, blurry, a melted echo of something we know well.
In that sense, his new mixtape I Can’t Go Outside is something of a paradox. With tracks like “Fuego,” Channel Tres is back with material that fits right into the sweet spot of his sound, mellower yet insistent grooves underpinning his patient, low-voiced evocations. His and Tyler, The Creator’s lines melt around the beat, a series of come-ons issued from quarantine at the same time they admit “Human contact don’t exist/ Human contact is a risk.”
The name says it all; Channel Tres is remaking a world that isn’t quite accessible anymore. “Fuego,” and the rest of the mixtape, then fit into a certain kind of pandemic trope: Music that emits from isolation and feels fittingly insular, but music that can also bring you back to all the places you can’t go to anymore. “Fuego” is the sound of Channel Tres crafting immaculate sounds at home. It’s also the sound of long cruises around LA, the hyper vivid colors of aimless sunsets, the warmth of the days where we could go outside and move around the world with just a few less worries. —Ryan