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. (Also, read music critic Lindsay Zoladz on Azealia Banks's new album.)
BenZel, "Wasted Love"
BenZel, a.k.a. Two Inch Punch and Benny Blanco (not wunderkind Japanese teenagers “Umi Takahashi and Yoko Watanabe,” as they claimed to be for some time), most recently produced Jessie Ware’s latest album, Vulture Songs of the Week favorite Tough Love, and now they have their own EP: Men. British singer Stevie Neale joins them on “Wasted Love” and it’s a distorted masterpiece.
—Lindsey Weber (@LindseyWeber)
Father John Misty, "Bored in the USA"
When Father John Misty played this song on Letterman last week, he began singing in somber, earnest close-up at the piano … before the camera cut and revealed that it was a player piano and he wasn’t actually playing anything at all. Folk prankster Josh Tillman is no stranger to these sorts of ironic sleights of hand: His music often uses bleak humor to interrogate uncomfortable truths. And “Bored in the USA” just might be his best song yet — a stirring hymn of modern American malaise complete with an honest-to-goodness laugh track. —Lindsay Zoladz (@LindsayZoladz)
José González, "Every Age"
When using Pandora, no matter how much you want to, never thumbs up José González. González is terrific and chill as hell, but, if you do, his songs will soon dominate the playlist. It's a weird phenomenon, but his songs sound so much like his songs that they constantly trigger the algorithm. González is about to release his first solo album in eight years, with Vestiges & Claw coming out on February 17. "Every Age" is the first single. It sounds just like José González! —Jesse David Fox (@JesseDavidFox)
Nick Jonas featuring Tinashé, "Jealous" (Remix) and Nick Jonas, "Jealous" (Gospel Version)
Oh my God, is this song a problem: a problem that creeps into your dreams; a problem that’s catchier than the "Too Many Cooks" song; a problem Nick Jonas will smartly milk until its very last breath. “Jealous” is bound to carry Jonas’s entire solo album and here are two more reasons why: a new remix featuring Tinashé and a “gospel choir” version. Both are good; both are important. —LW
Mark McGuire, "Entity (Presence)"
Mark McGuire remains my go-to for music to play in the background while writing. Noctilucence, his new EP, which came out today, finds MM dancier and more twinkly than ever. "Entity (Presence)" is particularly great, if only because it sounds like it's scoring an arcade game that is only in your mind. —JDF
Phantogram featuring Danny Brown and Leo Justi, "Black Out Days (Remix)
I don't even like Danny Brown's own music that much, but as a guest, I'm always like, get in my ears' belly. —JDF
Damien Rice, "Trusty and True"
It's hard to pick a favorite song off Damien Rice's new album, My Favorite Faded Fantasy, which came out this week. I can't be an objective adult about it. I hear his so frail and so Irish voice, his oddly hard guitar strums, and his dramatic (if not overly so) orchestration and get shot 11 years in the past, when I was a college freshman, wide- and sad-eyed. O was such a pivotal album in my college-length transition from a person who listens to John Mayer to a person who listens to José González. (In a way, isn't the Riceman a mid-point between the two?) Anyway, I think I love "Trusty and True." I can't tell if it is good or bad, but if your experience with Rice is similar to mine, I'm pretty sure you'll love it too. —JDF
The Amazing, "Picture You"
If Real Estate had been around to make a song for the Garden State soundtrack, it would sound like the first half of this song. The second half, well, that sounds like a Explosions in the Sky–style guitar party. —JDF
Carrie Underwood, "Something in the Water"
Carrie Underwood is out there, as they say, continuing to pick and sing wonderful ballads that you likely aren’t aware of. I wasn’t, until I stumbled upon “Something in the Water,” a.k.a. the song with "Amazing Grace" at the end, for which the video came out this week. Even as a heathen (read: Jew), I found myself beyond moved by a song about baptism. Turns out Jesus is what’s “in the water." No matter, just imagine it's about a nice day at the beach. Waves are soothing! —LW