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12 Best Best New Songs of the Week

Photo: Amy Harris/Corbis, Tim Mosenfelder/Corbis

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’s write up of new albums from Run the Jewels, Bully, and Grouper.)

Arca, “Wounded”
You might not know Arca’s name yet, but it’s very likely you will soon (and not because you are reading this blurb — we mean, you’ll know it know it). Besides producing some stuff for FKA Twigs, Arca is best known Stateside for being one of the producers on Kanye West’s Yeezus. You can hear Yeezus all over Arca’s Xen, which came out today and is filled with similarly menacing, disjointed beats. The quite beautiful “Wounded” is the exception. It sounds like those brief moments in Gravity where Sandy Bullock is floating around peacefully right after some terrible thing happened and right before some other terrible thing is about to happen. —Jesse David Fox (@JesseDavidFox) 

Big K.R.I.T., “King of the South”
There are lots of redundant, big-boy swear words packed into this one. Somehow, though, they don’t detract from K.R.I.T.’s insane flow. Also, slams like, “When you’re flexin’, it’s hard to stay humble / Talkin’ fourth down, can’t throw the ball to Def Jam, cause they might fumble,” and “To rain from the mountaintops, still blood stains on the leaves / I don’t do it for the Blogspot comment box, I do it for the OGs.” This is essentially three-plus minutes of K.R.I.T. killin’ ’em in virtuosic fashion. —Sean Fitz-Gerald (@srkfitzgerald) 

CHVRCHES, “Dead Air”
Hunger Games? You guessed it! The Lorde-curated soundtrack is filling up with songs that all seem to be written especially for the occasion. This one fits right into postapocalyptic world of Mockingjay: “We hold up to an idea / And we’ll fight what we can’t see / We just hold up to an idea / We keep going till we can’t hear.” —Lindsey Weber (@LindseyWeber)

The Decemberists, “Make You Better”
I’ve never been a huge Decemberists fan. They sounded a bit too much like a campfire jamboree for me, and I like campfire music to be sad — not to mention all those fanciful lyrics about sea captains and fair maidens or whatever. The first single from their upcoming What a errible World, What a Beautiful World instantly solves both those issues. As lead singer/songwriter Colin Meloy explained in the press release, “Having a family, having kids, having this career, getting older — all of these things have made me look more inward.”  —JDF

Fifth Harmony, “Sledgehammer”
Before I reveal something, press play. Sounds good, right? Well, this banger (ha!) is actually written by Meghan Trainor — yes, that “All About That Bass” girl. Now you’re almost halfway through, and you can’t … quite … turn … it … off. This thing’s an earworm. —LW

Grouper, “Holding”
When I think of Grouper, I think of the time I had a cold and took Nyquil during the day, put her last album on loop, and slipped in and out of naps for a weekend. Now, looking back, that really is a perfect encapsulation of her music: sleepy, frail, amorphous, out of time.  “Holding” is a standout from her new album, Ruins. Listen to it with headphones on. —JDF

The Growlers, “Good Advice”
What’s most amazing about this music video is how normal the Growlers look. They are wearing clothes, have normal hairdos, and are wearing shoes. One thing: If you have a fear of slithery snakes, just picture this guy, when it cuts to the reptiles’ close-ups. —SF

Calvin Harris featuring HAIM, “Pray to God”
Calvin Harris’s Motion, which came out this week, is full of guest-stars: John Newman, Ellie Goulding, Big Sean, Gwen Stefani, and Tinashe — but start with “Pray to God,” featuring the ladies of HAIM, who jazz up the dance track and send you right back to their 2013 album, Days Are Gone. Worth it. —LW

David Guetta, “Dangerous” (Steve Aoki remix)
It’s not that there was anything wrong with the original “Dangerous.” It’s just that now it sounds more like the stuff of epic Hollywood movie montages. Less Europe, more streets of downtown Los Angeles. Like maybe Jake Gyllenhaal listened to this to get pumped up for all those manic scenes in Nightcrawler. —LW

Theophilus London featuring Kanye West, “Can’t Stop”
Okay, it’s not just that we’re desperate for new Kanye, we swear. But the Theophilus London track has so many pre-Yeezus ‘Ye trademarks that it’s impossible not to feel nostalgic. Just listen to his verse: “You know I always hit you deeper than a baritone / Bone you with my jewelry on, that’s a herringbone.” —LW

The Lone Below, “Fake Roses”
On first listen, you’ll be like, “This song is chill and pretty enough, but I haven’t listened to anything like this since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot first came out.” But this song is a grower, which makes sense considering Aaron Dessner, of the definitive grower band the National, produced it. By your third listen, you’ll find yourself looking to buy some Oklahoma ranch just so you can listen to this song while looking longingly out on dusty farm.  —JDF

Shamir, “On the Regular”
Shamir’s cowbell-filled “On the Regular” is another in hip-hop’s grand tradition of “This is me” mission-statement songs. Rapping, not unlike stand-up comedy, is a lot about persona, so it’s good to do a little explainer of who you are and what you’ve come to do. Shamir is here to be a delightfully charming weirdo. Now you know; now you’re ready to love him.  —JDF

Best New Music of the Week