Couch Slut, Cardi B, FKA twigs, & The Week's Best New Songs: Listen – Stereogum

The Number Ones
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Album Of The Week
10 Best Songs

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.)

Every song on Cusp’s new Thanks To Much EP is a marvel, but we might as well spotlight its opening number. Between a crisp drumbeat punctuated by hard-thwacking fills and a cloud of atmospherics so thick it’s disorienting, Jen Bender shows off just how good she is at this indie-rock frontperson business. Her melodies are sticky and hypnotic, her voice finessed but commanding, her lyrics thought-provoking. “If they had a dollar/ They’d want fifty cents/ They’d take their three quarters/ And spare no expense,” Bender sings. “That’s the problem with power/ It doesn’t make sense.” Over three minutes and change, “The Alternative” gets louder and more chaotic without ever losing the thread. “I think people are good/ They just make mistakes,” she concludes, amidst the bluster. “And some you forgive/ The rest you just take.” —Chris

Every song on Cusp’s new Thanks To Much EP is a marvel, but we might as well spotlight its opening number. Between a crisp drumbeat punctuated by hard-thwacking fills and a cloud of atmospherics so thick it’s disorienting, Jen Bender shows off just how good she is at this indie-rock frontperson business. Her melodies are sticky and hypnotic, her voice finessed but commanding, her lyrics thought-provoking. “If they had a dollar/ They’d want fifty cents/ They’d take their three quarters/ And spare no expense,” Bender sings. “That’s the problem with power/ It doesn’t make sense.” Over three minutes and change, “The Alternative” gets louder and more chaotic without ever losing the thread. “I think people are good/ They just make mistakes,” she concludes, amidst the bluster. “And some you forgive/ The rest you just take.” —Chris

Cardi B can do this forever. Almost six years after her one and only album, Cardi continues to crank out banger after banger, seemingly without any larger strategy. Why should she need one when she can just do this at will? “Enough (Miami)” is the hardest and most direct thing that Cardi has done in some time, which is saying something. Somehow, it took three producers to make this minimal, sinister rumble of a beat, and Cardi attacks it like it stole something, invoking Dr. Seuss and Crime Mob while plainly stating all the reasons why her competition isn’t really any competition at all. I’m convinced. —Tom

Cardi B can do this forever. Almost six years after her one and only album, Cardi continues to crank out banger after banger, seemingly without any larger strategy. Why should she need one when she can just do this at will? “Enough (Miami)” is the hardest and most direct thing that Cardi has done in some time, which is saying something. Somehow, it took three producers to make this minimal, sinister rumble of a beat, and Cardi attacks it like it stole something, invoking Dr. Seuss and Crime Mob while plainly stating all the reasons why her competition isn’t really any competition at all. I’m convinced. —Tom

As with most things Two Shell, their new single “Talk To Me” came with a gimmick. Versions of the track started to pop up on their Bandcamp weeks ago, all attributed to global superstars (Taylor Swift, Chris Martin, Frank Ocean, Jungkook) in what I can only assume are AI recreations oft their voices. Kind of hate that, but I’ll overlook the hijinks because the final version of “Talk To Me” is just so good. The “real” version of the song is a collaboration with FKA Twigs, whose voice gets clipped and screwed-with on here in ways we haven’t really heard in a while, maybe since the M3LL155X EP. The production is a pure rush. For some reason, I’m reminded of those addictive phone games, your Temple Runs or whatever, where you’re plinking forward with constant momentum, watching numbers go up and just trying to hold on for dear life. —James

As with most things Two Shell, their new single “Talk To Me” came with a gimmick. Versions of the track started to pop up on their Bandcamp weeks ago, all attributed to global superstars (Taylor Swift, Chris Martin, Frank Ocean, Jungkook) in what I can only assume are AI recreations oft their voices. Kind of hate that, but I’ll overlook the hijinks because the final version of “Talk To Me” is just so good. The “real” version of the song is a collaboration with FKA Twigs, whose voice gets clipped and screwed-with on here in ways we haven’t really heard in a while, maybe since the M3LL155X EP. The production is a pure rush. For some reason, I’m reminded of those addictive phone games, your Temple Runs or whatever, where you’re plinking forward with constant momentum, watching numbers go up and just trying to hold on for dear life. —James

There’s a lot to love about Storefront Church’s “The High Room.” Lukas Frank’s sonorous, Hozier-like voice is enough to command any listener’s attention. The lyrics carry almost religiously poetic images: “Her eyes held the sun like a message/ Through chandelier tears she reflected/ The river-street as she spoke to me.” A string section makes the song flutter and crash. Every moment of “The High Room” hits hard. —Danielle

There’s a lot to love about Storefront Church’s “The High Room.” Lukas Frank’s sonorous, Hozier-like voice is enough to command any listener’s attention. The lyrics carry almost religiously poetic images: “Her eyes held the sun like a message/ Through chandelier tears she reflected/ The river-street as she spoke to me.” A string section makes the song flutter and crash. Every moment of “The High Room” hits hard. —Danielle

There’s nasty, and then there’s nasty. “The Donkey (Abridged)” is the second kind. New York noise-rockers Couch Slut go into the guttural-feverish nether zone, coming up with a skull-splitting fuzz-riff so dirty that it would be a health code violation to play it over restaurant speakers. You could recite lyrics from Little Mermaid musical numbers over this, and it would still sound like the most evil shit that anyone ever heard. But Megan Osztrosits does not recite Little Mermaid lyrics. Instead, she tells the hopefully-fictional tale of what happens when she and her friends got fired from the haunted waterpark — a tale that encompasses drugs, gore, and stop-motion animation. It’s just too bad that this version of the song is too abridged for us to learn why it’s called “The Donkey.” I want to know, and yet I don’t want to know. It’s not like this story is going anywhere happy. —Tom

There’s nasty, and then there’s nasty. “The Donkey (Abridged)” is the second kind. New York noise-rockers Couch Slut go into the guttural-feverish nether zone, coming up with a skull-splitting fuzz-riff so dirty that it would be a health code violation to play it over restaurant speakers. You could recite lyrics from Little Mermaid musical numbers over this, and it would still sound like the most evil shit that anyone ever heard. But Megan Osztrosits does not recite Little Mermaid lyrics. Instead, she tells the hopefully-fictional tale of what happens when she and her friends got fired from the haunted waterpark — a tale that encompasses drugs, gore, and stop-motion animation. It’s just too bad that this version of the song is too abridged for us to learn why it’s called “The Donkey.” I want to know, and yet I don’t want to know. It’s not like this story is going anywhere happy. —Tom
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