Every week, members of the Vulture staff will highlight their favorite new songs. They might be loud, quiet, long, short, dance-y, rawkin', hip, square, rap, punk, jazz, some sort of jazz-punk-rap fusion — whatever works for the given person in that given week. Read our picks below and please tell us yours in the comments. Enjoy!
Willis Earl Beal, "Traveling Eyes"
There's life in Willis Earl Beal's rich voice. After being medically discharged from the Army, Beal spent years working low-wage jobs and floating in and out of homelessness. During this time, he started recording music and creating art. Eventually he even auditioned for The X-Factor and made it through, but ended up leaving the show in its "boot camp" stage. Simon Cowell's loss is our gain. The incredibly prolific Beal has released two full-lengths and three EPs since 2012, with a new album, Experiments in Time, scheduled for this August. "Traveling Eyes" is the first song off it and highlights Beal's version of minimalist, free-form blues. Mostly, though, it highlights that voice. —Jesse David Fox (@JesseDavidFox)
FKA Twigs, "Two Weeks"
Twigs has been making herself known for some time now among those in the know, but her new video for “Two Weeks” pretty much demands you take notice: All Hail Twigs. The song, made of airy falsetto and an R&B rhythm, is one that the likes of Ciara and Beyoncé should be jealous of. —Lindsey Weber (@LindseyWeber)
Grimes originally wrote this song for Rihanna, but Rih turned it down — so Claire Boucher recorded it herself. This is basically my ideal description of any musical undertaking: Talented person writes a Top 40 song and then makes it weird. Give me all your Rihanna Music Camp rejects. We need a new Song of Summer, anyway. —Amanda Dobbins (@AKDobbins)
How to Dress Well, "Repeat Pleasure"
Generally, I kind of hate How to Dress Well. Not sure why, but he really grinds my gears. His music sounds like '90s R&B slow-jams if they had been made by a philosophy Ph.D. student. Mainly because that's what it is. But "Repeat Pleasure," off his new album What Is This Heart?, is really fun, featuring a dance-y '80s pop beat. —JDF
Vic Mensa, “Major Payne”
There are few things I like more than when rappers hop on electro melodies that actually suit their voices. Chicago up-and-comer Vic Mensa — who recently joined Damon Albarn onstage to perform a freestyle version of the Gorillaz hit “Clint Eastwood” — clearly knows how to adapt his rhymes to suit a beat, like he does on the blippy, filthy “Major Payne,” off his upcoming Street Lights EP. It’s like a “Bandz A Make Her Dance” for the indie kids, equal parts dance and hip-hop that still celebrates its roots in the streets. —Brennan Carley (@Brennan_Carley)
Kacey Musgraves, "The Trailer Song"
While it’s unclear whether this is a new Kacey Musgraves song (it says 2014 on Spotify) or an old Kacey Musgraves song (she’s played it a bunch of times during her live show), we’ll take what we can get. “The Trailer Song” is Musgraves at her finest, taking familiar Country tropes and modernizing them: "I ain’t gonna ask whose been mowing your grass /So you ain’t gotta ask who mows mine.” Trailer living sounds kinda fun. —LW
Santana feat. Miguel, "Indy"
Santana’s latest album, Corazón, came out in May, and even I’ll admit that I slept on it. I basically ignored it until I caught a glimpse of the tracklist: Juanes, Pitbull, Gloria Estefan and … Miguel. Miguel! “Indy” is a wonderful melding of Santana’s wailing guitar and Miguel’s wailing vocals. It’ll also hold you over until the next Miguel full-length. —LW
Spoon, "Rainy Taxi"
Spoon is coming out with a new album in August. This is very exciting. (For me, at least.) I intend on sharing every new song from it that I can. Spoon played "Rainy Taxi" on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and it is great. It sounds like Spoon. It also sounds like it could soundtrack a spooky short film about a skeleton descending into depression after he realizes he's a skeleton. —JDF
Ryn Weaver, “OctaHate”
Though it might seem like Ryn Weaver exploded out of nowhere, her debut single “OctaHate” tells a very different story. It showcases Weaver’s gripping vocals as well as her impressive songwriting (courtesy of Charli XCX, natch) and production by big guns like Michael Angelakos (Passion Pit), Benny Blanco, and Cashmere Cat. It’s something entirely new and not of this earth, yet also instantly familiar and gushing with warmth. If this song isn’t burning up the radio by the end of the summer, I’d be shocked. —BC
The Weeknd, "Often"
Remember the Weeknd? He was the much-buzzed-about R&B singer behind three incredibly popular and fairly influential mixtapes in 2011, most notably House of Balloons. Then after some time and last year's disappointing Kiss Land, he fell off the map. He has come back with a new single, "Often," which is classic Weeknd (meaning it's about boning), but actually has a solid hook, which is something we haven't seen from Drake's friend in a while. —JDF