songs of the week

10 Best New Songs of the Week

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Every week Vulture highlights 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. Note: Today’s list encompasses the last two week’s releases.

Phosphorescent, “Christmas Down Under”
Phosphorescent’s “Christmas Down Under,” can now officially enter into the pantheon of Sad American Songs Loosely Connected to Australia (Bill Callahan’s “America!” is, of course, the gold standard of this subgenre I just made up). This track is gorgeous and melancholy, a callback to Pride-era Phosphorescent, where exhaustion is the dominant feeling, even as Matthew Houck’s cracked voice excavates beauty from everyday life. —Sam Hockley-Smith (@shockleysmith)

Yves Tumor, “Lifetime”
I’m going to make a controversial statement: No current artist has captured the spirit of Bjork while sounding nothing like Bjork better than Yves Tumor. Previously, Yves Tumor records felt like experiments. Song sketches bled into vocal collages. The vibe of any given song dominated over the content or intended message. It was often brilliant, often difficult work. “Lifetime,” and really the rest of the newly released Safe in the Hands of Love, places the artist in a whole new realm. He’s not so much succumbing to pop music as he is bending its rules to fit his sound — his voice here weirdly recalls Lil Peep and vintage Animal Collective, while existing on its own terms. Over a stumbling drum loop, Yves Tumor sings some of the more plainly affecting lyrics of the year. Never has a phrase as simple as, “And I miss my brothers,” sounded so potent. —SH-S

Thom Yorke, “Suspirium”
I’m already at maximum levels of hyped for Suspiria, but the song Thom Yorke released this week to preview his score of the coming remake from Luca Guadagnino got me even more worked up. “Suspirium” is a beautiful piano-driven track, with vocal accompaniment from Yorke, whose voice is as ominous as any other sound if you put it in the context of a horror movie. It’s a song that pulls you under and lulls you into a comfortable little bliss — which is exactly how I want to feel when I’m actually careening towards the brutal, violent horrors of a scary movie. I want to forget about my dread, so when it sneaks up on me again it’s startling and all-consuming. “Suspirium” tells me that Yorke’s debut score will toy with my emotions and create a sonic palette that is as lush as the visual one, which, in horror, is exactly as it should be. —Jordan Crucchiola (@jorcru)

Yowler, “Angel”
There’s a point in every New York summer when I — and presumably you as well — just give up. It’s too hot. Too relentless. Everything feels like a greenhouse, except instead of plants in that greenhouse, it’s a bunch of car exhaust, 16 trucks blaring their horns, and some guy in the distance yelling about something you don’t care about. This exhaustion with the formerly coveted warm months is what conjured into existence the Onion’s Mr. Autumn Man; it is also what makes songs like Yowler’s gorgeous and warm “Angel” so appealing. Music this fragile doesn’t feel like it should exist at all at the end of August. It’s meant for gray days, melancholy fall evenings, or bummer winter mornings, but failing that, it works well if you can find a situation where you can listen to music without the interference of a rattling air conditioner and every single drill in the universe carving through cement at once. Call me if you know where that might be! —S-HS

Blood Orange, “Holy Will”
I’ve been praying a lot lately — mostly for Ben Affleck’s sobriety, but for other things too. “Holy Will,” from Blood Orange’s new and very tender Negro Swan gets me all in my lapsed–Baptist/Catholic schoolgirl feelings. It’s a gracious exhale: “‘Holy Will’ is like church on Sunday after going out Saturday,” Dev Hynes told Pitchfork. “It’s the cleanse.” It begins simply — “I just want to be rooted and grounded in thee” — and then Hynes plays with the arrangement, and invites the synths to come in. It’s repetitive, and sounds ritualistic. There’s a hip organ sound, fixing the song as part of some grand religious tradition. I grew up listening to Kirk Franklin and Mary Mary — there’s no way I’m not loving this. —Hunter Harris (@hunteryharris)

Black Belt Eagle Scout, “Indians Never Die”
The beauty of the natural world can sometimes punch you in the face. In this video for “Indians Never Die” — which was filmed on the ancestral lands of the Chinook, Chinuk Wawa, and Tillamook tribes — Black Belt Eagle Scout, a.k.a. Katherine Paul, sings about the destruction of the world and, generally, what nature has to offer. But she doesn’t get all hippy-dippy about it. “Indians Never Die” does something really hard instead: It wraps up environmentalism, the complicated realities of indigenous peoples’ (lack of) rights, and a sense of loss into a gorgeous song that never veers into preachy territory. —SH-S

Nothing, “I Hate the Flowers”
“I Hate the Flowers” unabashedly harnesses that sweet spot between grunge and ’90s shoegaze, where everyone sounded like they’d had a very long nap in the sun. To Nothing’s credit, though, “I Hate the Flowers” does not sound like it should’ve existed in a previous decade; instead it takes the good, timeless parts (that riff!) and leaves all the junk behind. —SH-S

Ariana Grande, “These Times” (Thundercat cover)
Ariana’s music taste has never been one thing, though her influences may not always translate to the music she ultimately creates. Sweetener, however, broadened that scope ever so slightly away from what we used to think of as radio-serving pop, challenging fans who’d prefer the old to evolve with her and give the new a chance. The Ariana of two albums ago might’ve rolled up to the BBC Live Lounge and pulled out all the stops for a Whitney, Mariah, or Aretha cover, but this Ariana took a song she says is one of her favorites of the last year and a half: Thundercat’s “These Times.” If you’re surprised, you haven’t been paying attention — Ari’s voice suits jazz and it sits comfortably in the lower register required to really make Thundercat’s funk mastery slap. Maybe we have Mac Miller to thank for putting her onto it, but I’d like to think this song would’ve found its way into Ari’s orbit one way or another. —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

Onyx Collective featuring Sporting Life, “Space-Wars”
If Sun Ra’s immense catalogue of cosmic free jazz feels too daunting, but you like the idea of it, then you’ll probably dig this collaboration between downtown’s Onyx Collective and Sporting Life of Ratking. It’s not so much the sound that recalls Sun Ra as it is the imagery, but that doesn’t mean this is an easy listen either. “Space-Wars” initially appears tangential; it almost feels like it’s meant to act as a transition between two meatier pieces of music, but it’s surprisingly deep — largely because of the faint synth that runs over the top of everything, which makes it sound pretty and uneasy at the same time. —SH-S

State Champion, “Death Preferences”
“Warmth” is one of the more overused descriptors in music. Is it an actual sound? Is it more of a vibe? Whatever! You know it when you hear it. “Death Preferences” is a title that absolutely should not denote any kind of warmth, but it’s here anyway: Picture, like, a tendril of smoke rising from a chimney or a Cheers-esque bar where people aren’t afraid to get kind of dark, but in that comforting way that acknowledges the universality of personal pain. The real show here, though, is the lyrics, which are glittering jewels of zonked out, weirdly touching regular-life details like: “I dressed and left so fast that I think my shadow must have been confused for a minute,” or the unexpected depth of this simple line: “It’s Saturday night, it’s Sunday morning … everybody’s smoking weed.” By the end of the song, it feels like we’ve been eavesdropping on an entire town, and that’s no small feat. —SH-S

Best New Songs of the Week