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.
We talked about some seriously good albums this week — Katy Kirby’s A Cool Dry Place, the Hold Steady’s
Before they broke up in 2010, Genghis Tron were a metal band. They were a weird, experimental all-synths no-drums metal band but they were still a metal band. Now that they’ve reactivated with a new lineup, Genghis Tron — two original members, plus a singer from the Armed and a drummer from Sumac — could still be a metal band if they wanted. Maybe they will be. But “Ritual Circle” is not a metal song. It’s a strobing, swirling 10-minute psychedelic motorik zone-out. Tony Wolski, the singer from the Armed, intones the lyrics in the sort of gentle deadpan that about a million Britpop singers attempted in the ’90s. The band pulsates around him, building and surging and diving but never breaking out into the full-on attack that must be second nature to them. Instead, “Ritual Circle” stays at a low boil, and that low boil is a beautiful place to be. —Tom
So many queer love songs are about struggle that it’s a breath of fresh air to get one that just sounds happy. “Same Size Shoe” exudes an easygoing joy and serpentwithfeet’s Josiah Wise wants you to know how happy he feels. “Chile, I got some good news,” he tells the crowd, as a sultry yeahhh echoes in response. “Me and my boo wear the same size shoe.” Wise worships at the altar of Janet Jackson and Brandy and you can hear both in the way he builds out “Same Size Shoe,” airy and bright and full of light, with a confidence in his delivery and a bounciness that’s infectious. He captures the elated feeling you get when you’re hanging out with your boy and things are going alright, a love I wish I heard celebrated in songs more often. —James
Man, it’s been too fucking long without new Lushlife music. The man otherwise known as Raj Haldar has been busy the last few years, but it’s been with success in a totally different realm — children’s books. If you go back to 2016 and 2017, Haldar was building his name as a psychedelic, impressionistic rapper, an old-school flow let loose over songs that drew on shoegaze as much as rap. If you haven’t heard his 2016 album Ritualize, you should get on that. But if not, maybe there’s a new way to get acquainted: Lushlife is finally back in operation, and if “Dépaysement” is anything to go off of, his new EP is going to be something special.
Haldar described that EP, Redamancy, as “a rap album where the emcee only appears impressionistically.” Part of “Dépaysement” is straightforward enough: Haldar and Dälek trade verses in the beginning, trying to grapple with the state of injustice in America over a dusty but immersive backdrop that feels like a faint, pillowy brightness against their words. But then halfway through the song mutates, unleashing a wild-eyed jazz outro led by wailing, desperate saxophones. It’s an epic nine minute piece of work, indicative of the evocative, layered rap music Lushlife is capable of — and the far-seeing visions it can yield. —Ryan
Syd doesn’t need to be showy. The Internet singer is a quiet but captivating presence, exuding confidence and charisma while barely ever raising her voice above a sensual murmur. “Missing Out,” her first new solo track in years, is a perfect showcase of her abilities, a bruised synthetic soul ballad made up of little beyond hazy, dreamlike synths, a persistently thumping drumbeat, and the occasional chime of a glockenspiel. “Hope you findin’ what you need or what you seek ’cause now I’m free/ And maybe in another life, you’d be mine, mine, mine,” she sings. “But you’re missing out/ You’re missing out.” Don’t miss out on it. —Peter
Are we about to get Iceage’s psychedelic phase? It certainly seems like we’re about get Iceage’s psychedelic phase. Sure, “The Holding Hand” in some ways felt like a logical enough extension of Beyondless‘ more scorched-earth moments, just traveling through some slightly more atmospheric territory. But now, with “Vendetta,” the band seem to be signaling a whole new thing. This is like Iceage has suddenly discovered Screamadelica and ecstasy, but not quite given up their majestic allure or smoldering moodiness.
For their new album, Iceage went to Portugal to record with Sonic Boom, the man responsible for helping artists like Moon Duo and Beach House perfect big, glistening sounds in recent years. Iceage haven’t gone full blown-out synth-pop or dream-pop or anything here. “Vendetta” is still a snarling, foreboding Iceage track, moving with the kind of sinister swagger the band has adopted in recent years. But it’s also about as insistent a danceable groove as Iceage have ever utilized. Beyondless often sounded like Iceage at the far edge of an arid near-future world. “Vendetta” sounds like once they ventured a bit further, they found some lost rhythms, ran it through their own Iceage filter, and ended up with a gloomy yet infectious party. —Ryan