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.
It still seems surreal that the Stereogum staff is in the process of figuring out which fall festival we’re all going to meet up at. The last two weeks have seen a bunch of fest announcements — which ones are you all looking at? The five best songs of the week are below.
“I Lie Here Buried With My Rings And Dresses” marches forward with a grim determination, mangled guitars and blasted beats billowing like an inescapable storm cloud on the horizon. Backxwash’s latest thrilling mashup of metal and rap is razor-sharp and laser-focused. Featured guest Ada Rook opens the song with a guttural howl that sounds like Linda Blair in The Exorcist, returning for each chorus as a more feral counterpart to Backxwash’s considered and foreboding flow, underlining each word with a black Sharpie. She talks about feeling abandoned by God and everyone else around her: “I see the Lord has witnessed the many swords in my rib cage/ Just when I needed him most, I get left ignored,” she raps. “It’s ridiculous, I see no thing as justice/ The world is run by the wicked.” It sounds like both of them are preparing for some primordial battle between their inner demons and the rest of the world. It’s awesome in the Biblical sense of the word. —James
Compared to the high points of St. Vincent’s catalog, Daddy’s Home doesn’t always completely work. But when it does, it’s has the same holy shit impact of Annie Clark’s best output. One of those was the album’s latest single, “Down.” When I was first listening to Daddy’s Home, that sitar-guitar came in on “Down And Out Downtown,” prompting a thought along the lines of: “That’s a really cool sound, the kind a person can’t get away with using in more than one song.” Well, Clark uses it all over Daddy’s Home, and that’s a good thing. Because when you get to “Down,” it’s like all the ideas and sounds of Daddy’s Home click.
“Down” has the same funkiness as other moments on Daddy’s Home, but along with the album’s other highlights (and contrary to its weaker moments), it finds Clark tapping into these ’70s strains while still making something that feels as distinctly St. Vincent as her past peaks. “Down” starts out guttural, then a beat kicks in and Clark relishes the melody as the groove intensifies. She builds drama perfectly here, the “I’ll take you…” repetition finally yielding that first chorus. And, boom, there’s that sitar-guitar, playing a spiraling, infectious riff that might be the single best thing on Daddy’s Home. It’s been impossible to get out of my head these past several weeks, and I’m not mad about that. —Ryan
The Goon Sax are leveling up to Matador for LP3, and the lead single from Ribbon II suggests they’re about to make the most of their new platform. “In The Stone” is propulsive and catchy as hell without seeming to exert much effort at all. Riley Jones and Louis Forster (yes, the son of a Go-Between) unite their voices — like a more straightforward Sorry, or a heartier the xx, or a less ramshackle Beat Happening — unpacking their neuroses over a reverberating bass-powered groove. “Didn’t have to sound so disappointed when I called,” they lament, “If you had ever saved my number in your phone.” About three minutes in, the track takes a dramatic turn as Jones eases into the spotlight and turns up the indie-pop sweetness. And then it all coheres into that jittery-smooth rhythm again, as contagious as you could want a guitar-pop song to be. —Chris
Torres makes dreamy, immersive anthems that are as catchy as they are emotional. This new track “Don’t Go Puttin Wishes In My Head” is no exception; it starts off with heavenly synths and Mackenzie Scott’s silky voice singing, “If we’re calling off the funeral/ Then I’m calling for a hitching/ Just when I thought that it was over/ It was only just beginning.” It builds and builds, becoming a colossal, brave love song, its sound reverberating an aura of simplicity while the ideas gain intensity. Ending with the repetition of the title serves as a kind of triumph before “Don’t Go Puttin Wishes In My Head” fades back into synthy serenity. —Danielle
Change can be scary, but it’s also an inevitable — and necessary — part of life. We would all do well to accept it with the grace that Los Angeles singer-songwriter Shannon Lay exhibits on “Rare To Wake,” her first new music since her 2019’s August. “I’ll miss the sea/ But I’m longing to grow,” she sings. “Without change something/ Sleeps inside us/ Rare to wake.” It’s impossible to overstate just how beautiful the song is, Lay’s voice woven into transcendent harmonies as her patient but insistent acoustic guitar loops itself into a kind of instrumental mantra. Glistening keys and handclaps play around the edges, shading in new colors without ever disturbing the serenity of repetition. If this is what change sounds like, it’s easy to look forward to whatever’s next on the horizon for Lay. —Peter