Every week, Vulture and friends highlight the best new music. If the song is worthy of your ears and attention, you will find it here. Read our picks below, share yours in the comments, and subscribe to the Vulture Playlist for a comprehensive guide to the year's best music.
Sufjan Stevens, “Chicago (Demo)”
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard alternate versions of “Chicago,” the ethereal hit from Sufjan Stevens’s 2005 album, Illinois. Stevens released three other versions on The Avalanche, an album devoted to outtakes from Illinois. Personally, I would never object to more versions of this rich, beautiful song. Now, Stevens brings us a tenth-anniversary demo that is surprising, but still immensely listenable. The aggressive guitar brings to mind angsty '00s acoustic rock like “Age Six Racer” by Dashboard Confessional or “Collide” by Howie Day (you’re welcome for reminding you about that last song). It’s fascinating to hear more of Sufjan’s process, but I’m glad that "Chicago" turned out the way it did. —Madeline Raynor (@madelineraynor_)
Corinne Bailey Rae, “Been to the Moon”
After six long years, Corinne Bailey Rae and her enviable hair are back to cast another spell on us. And to think, all this time she'd just been hanging out in outer space waiting for Earthlings to be worthy of her presence again. "When we first collide, the timing wasn't right," she coos, to both some foolish man and to us all, for failing to truly appreciate her the last time she was around. Welcome back to Earth, Corinne: Your voice still sounds so refreshingly out of this world. —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)
Iggy Pop, "Sunday"
The third early offering from Iggy and Josh Homme's Post Pop Depression (out March 18) delivers a melancholic ode to rest, freedom, and the end of the week. "The key to everything, I crawl for Sunday, when I don't have to move," Iggy croons. "Caught up in dreams untangled one day, where I don't have to prove." The song's beginning indicates how Iggy's classic sonic template will blend with his collaborator's more contemporary vibes on PPD — and to earworm-y effect. But it's the gloomy outro, which arrives and departs with ephemeral beauty like the very thing the track yearns for, that will ultimately hypnotize you into leaving this on repeat. —Sean Fitz-Gerald (@srkfitzgerald)
Neko Case, k.d. lang, Laura Veirs, "Atomic Number"
To what do we owe this musical marriage of queens Neko Case, k.d. lang, and Laura Veirs? Their upcoming collaborative album, case/lang/veirs, apparently all started when lang emailed Case and Veirs about making sweet, sweet music as a threesome, to which they obviously replied duh! and got to working over the last couple years. If harmonies and violin backdrops are your thing, "Atomic Number" is the one. —DL
Miguel, "Waves" (Tame Impala remix)
Was it possible for this song to get any more gorgeously trippy? Apparently. Tame Impala took Miguel's Wildheart hit and enriched it by cranking its waves of color, reverb, and texture to 11. Now it doesn't sound like you're just listening to a great song underwater, but a great underwater song underneath yet another body of water. Ride these waves, and if you like what you hear, there are four more unique iterations — from Kacey Musgraves, Travis Scott, RAC, and Joshua Tree — available on Miguel's recently released Rogue Waves EP. —SFG
Baauer ft. Pusha T and Future, "Kung Fu"
Last year, Pusha noted to Vulture his work with EDM producers: "People wonder why I do these records, but you can love anything that you’re in the mix of once you’re in that element. Who’s not having a good time at any of those festivals?" That idea of genre-blending born out of euphoria is all you need to know about "Kung Fu," a collaboration between trap lords Pusha T and Future off Baauer's new album. Call it "Trap King" — an ode to the "white world of snort" and every white metaphor for the drug (even Macklemore) that Push can come up with. —DL
Elliphant ft. Skrillex, “Spoon Me”
Perhaps the greatest song about spooning ever produced (sorry, Macklemore), Swedish rapper Elliphant and DJ Skrillex deliver an EDM-infused ode to the big and little spoons in your life. “Spoon me (Spoon me tight) / Spoon me (You gotta spoon me right),” the chorus thumps. Of course, it could also be an allusion to illicit drug use at clubs. But we’ll take Netflix and chill to the comedown of “purple gloom,” thank you. —Justin McCraw (@JustinMcCraw)
Mothers, “Hold Your Own Hand”
My OKCupid profile used to say something to the effect of my favorite songs are usually the first or last songs on albums. I thought this said a lot, by saying a little — mostly it said “Don’t date this nerd.” That said, there is truth in them hills. First/last songs tend to show bands’ extremes. First songs — ideally — are short, fast, rave-ups; last songs are slow, ethereal, sad jams. (For an example: Weezer’s debut starts with “My Names Is Jonas” and ends with “Only in Dreams.”) On occasion, artists will subvert this, playing with the vocabulary of musicals, having more of an overture, explaining intro, and a huge, choir-filled finish. (Combining both traditions, Kanye’s “Ultralight Beam” feels much more like an album closer, which it was supposed to be at first — this only makes it more powerful as an opener.) “Hold Your Own Hand” is very much a last song on a record. It starts slow with mostly solo, finger-picked guitar and Kristine Leschper’s incredible voice, but then it builds with choirlike harmonies, and a tuneful guitar jam. All of Mothers’ debut, When You Walk a Long Distance You Are Tired, which came out last Friday, is fantastic. This song just shows them at the height of their powers. —Jesse David Fox (@JesseDavidFox)
Andrew Bird and Fiona Apple, "Left Handed Kisses"
Fiona Apple just loves to keep us waiting between albums, which is why I squealed when her new duet with Andrew Bird (for his upcoming album) came along. I'll take new Fiona however I can get it — and here, I get it in the form of a faux love song about the problem with writing love songs. To Bird, it's a taxing process she should appreciate. To Fiona, though, it's all "a few 50-cent words" that amount to nothing. In the words of every woman ever: Do better. —DL
The Penn Badgley–helmed MOTHXR is that rare actor-turned-musician band that actually works. There’s no semblance of Lonely Boy when Badgley broods over a relationship that ended before it began in “Underground.” Here, he’s more akin to multi-instrumentalist Lo-Fang than a CW heartthrob, although both have TV-ready hair. The album contains only a smattering of highlights compared to the rest, but it’s a solid first for them and anyone trying to reshape their image. —JM