Damn skippy: Chloe x Halle, “Busy Boy” - Truthfully, I could have put anything from Chloe x Halle’s excellent new album Ungodly Hour here. But I went with “Busy Boy” because when it flips from its sparse and nearly dark verses into a jubilant chorus calling out a “busy, busy boy” (a player, really), I get serious Destiny’s Child vibes. The whole thing is assembled so well, from the Mustard-esque electro-bass propulsion of the chorus to their harmonies, it’s as though it’s been plated by a gourmet chef. All throughout Ungodly Hour, Chloe x Halle give you just enough to leave you wanting two more bites. —Rich Juzwiak
TBH, yeah: Ashnikko feat. Grimes, “Cry” - I don’t even remember how I first came across Ashnikko, but I’ve been following her on Instagram for months now without actually listening to her music (I just liked her blue hair). But after listening to “Cry,” I’m at least moderately interested in what else she has to offer. Like my colleague Maria Sherman said on Slack, the song is basically nu-metal, and it does a great job making the case that nu-metal revival is for the girls. Admittedly, the vocals gave me serious Hayley Williams/Paramore vibes but only in the best way, and Grimes’s haunting vocals during the chorus add a dash of delicate eeriness to an otherwise aggressive song. But when it comes to the video, I can take it or leave it (someone in the YouTube comments said that it looked like a crossover between Winx Club and Silent Hill, which is... apt).
Anyone who manages to make “BITCH!” sound pretty is talented in my book, and Ashnikko did just that. Honestly, my only complaint is that the two-minute and five-second long song isn’t longer. —Ashley Reese
No, never, absolutely not: Gabbie Hanna, “Special” - Apparently, I’m a masochist, because whenever YouTuber Gabbie Hanna releases a new song, I can’t help but listen. It has never yielded any pleasures (at least, nothing nearing the “Monster” meme from 2018.) “Special” sounds like a restrained Evanescence demo, and that’s too flattering of a description. Where’s the hook? Is she writing her own songs? Surely she can afford to hire someone else to do that for her? —MS
Y: Guerilla Toss, “Own Zone” - Imagine a robotic future soundtracked by punk-funk gems and generous use of the vocal vocoder. Or don’t, because it’s already here in Guerilla Toss’s “Own Zone.” I can’t believe it is a b-side—there are contemporary post-punk bands who can only dream of writing something so catchy. —MS
I’m down: No Joy, “Nothing Will Hurt” - Lately, the only thing that makes me hop out of bed are images of adorable animals and synthpop. Luckily, Montreal’s “Nothing Will Hurt”—the song and the lyric video—provides both. According to Stereogum, the clip was filmed at “Ferme du Domaine Quinchien, a Quebec organization that saves and rehabilitates farm animals,” which fills my heart with something other than existential dread and so I will take it. —MS
Yep: The Beths, “Out of Sight” - The Beths are a great band from New Zealand that is definitely worth checking out, and “Out of Sight” is a nice introduction for newbies. It’s a nice, summery tune that’s great for blasting in the car when you want to feel like the star of your own indie movie. In fact, it almost convinces me that this summer won’t be as fucked up and weird as it is almost certain to be. —AR
Hell yes: Traxman, “Modus Operandi 005" - This is not a track but several of them in a 50-minute mix from Chicago producer DJ Traxman, who spans rather hard disco house to frenetic footwork in his mix’s brief running time. It feels not just like a salute to his city, but to dance music in general, as manipulated samples from hits by the likes of Teena Marie, Sylvester, and Black Box flutter in and out. I’ve worked out to this several times this week and I can’t get enough! A total thrill. —RJ