The FADER's Songs You Need In Your Life are our picks for the most exciting and essential new music releases out there. Every day, we update this page with new selections. Listen on our Spotify playlist or hear them all below.
21-year-old Treanne sings with a world-weariness beyond her years on "Please." The simply-constructed song, just the Kansas City resident and her guitar, is rich in its content; a story of obsession, manipulation, inner strength, escape, and regret. There's plenty of air in Treanne's delivery but the words reflect the smothering feeling of an oppressive relationship: "You can’t hold on to what’s not yours," she sings with a mixture of steel and compassion. "Love me today, tonight you’ll be gone." — David Renshaw
Prefuse 73: “The End Of Air”
Guillermo Scott Herren has put out more than two dozen projects under his preferred moniker Prefuse 73 since the turn of the millennium (not to mention his many releases using alternate aliases). “The End of Air” — the third single from his forthcoming album New Strategies for Modern Crime Vol.1 — is a panoramic ride through a surreal cityscape of horns, flutes, synths, and keys, mainly motored along by shuffling, steady percussion. In the absence of the drums, though — most notably at the start, midpoint, and end of the song — the view becomes more ominous, like stepping out of a crowded subway car onto an empty platform before daybreak. (“I wanted to channel [New York’s] surreal landscape, where crime has become a strange form of entertainment and journalistic distraction, into sound,” Herren explains in a press release.) Like the city at night, “The End of Air” can be a tense space to occupy. But beyond the dark corners of decrepitude, there’s endless beauty to be found in the life force teeming behind the cracks in the stark edifices of concrete, steel, and stone. — Raphael Helfand
Young Jesus: "Brenda & Diane"
After the original lineup of Young Jesus dissolved in 2021, leaving bandleader John Rossiter as the sole remaining member, the project’s music began to conspicuously lean into the plusher edges of its experimental indie rock. 2022’s Shepard Head did away with the angular sounds in favor of alt-R&B, jazz, and house, and yet Rossiter’s voice was still capable of a potent energy: that of a tortured siren bellowing from the heart of a forgotten chapter in Americana pop. “Brenda & Diane,” the new single from Young Jesus’ upcoming album The Fool, relies on the power of Rossiter’s vocals to help craft a charging pop ballad with a few ‘80s signifiers and a totally timeless spirit. Rossiter tells the tale of two people on the lamb — the stakes are heavy, but the highway spans to infinity, as they drive “in a car full of cash, / credit cards, and / that reckless abandon.” Rossiter sings with a conviction that’s so passionate and despairing, it could be his own story — Jordan Darville
Lightning Bug: "December Song"
On "December Song," the first single from Lightning Bug's new album No Paradise, vocalist Audrey Kang invokes the myth of Persephone as she writes about a low period in her life. The Greek goddess of the underworld's angst for her missing daughter becomes a metaphor Kang uses for the vanishing of her spirit. Her calm, soothing delivery acts as a landing mat as she sings "I’ll grow branches supple and strong for you to climb," putting a proverbial arm around her own shoulder. The breezy acoustics that start "December Song" give way to uplifting strings as things proceed, adding an extra boost to this patient and humane acknowledgment that all things pass. — David Renshaw
Mercury feat. Niontay: "Jelly"
Listening to Mercury rap, you can get the feeling that she records all her voices the first thing in the morning after a rager, when her throat is filled with sleep and the battle scars of last night’s partying. Her new song “Jelly” features some of her most locked-in bars yet — the haggard timbre of her voice is still there, but she taps into a breathlessness as she delivers a celebration of all kinds of indulgences. “Spread her out like some jelly on some bread,” she raps on the hook, a slight and mischievous smile audible through the speakers. 10K affiliate Niontay matches the energy in his dim-lidded and furious bars, full of charisma and matter-of-fact menace. — Jordan Darville
Nourished By Time: "Hand On Me"
The lead single from Nourished By Time’s Catching Chickens EP is a sprightly cut that feels both shorter and longer than it actually is. On the one hand, its mesmeric but speedy pulse makes it fly by. On the other, NBT packs it so full of ingenious, instantly classic melodies, harmonies, and textures that the track’s sub-four-minute runtime feels implausible. “Have you never loved somebody?” he asks, his magnetic, velvety baritone blanketed by a panoply of sumptuous synths. “I’m always in a memory,” he sings later, “And I think I might be crazy / ’Cause I felt a hand on me.” — Raphael Helfand
Heavee: "Make It Work"
Like most prominent footwork producers, Heavee broke into the scene with Teklife, releasing his debut project WFM on the genre-dominant Chicago label. Since then, however, he’s paved his own path, making bare-bones tracks more in the vein of RP Boo than in the Rashad/Spinn/Earl tradition. His forthcoming record Unleash drops next month on Kode9’s London-based Hyperdub label, which has hosted projects by Rashad, Spinn, and DJ Taye in the past but largely releases other variants of electronic music. For its second single, “Make It Work,” Heavee reimagined his 2020 Teklife track of the same name — “one of [Kode9’s] personal favorites,” he tells The FADER — replacing the original vocal sample with his own voice and stripping the production down to its essentials. While still very much a juke joint, the redux also centers elements of the stark, pounding techno that’s more characteristic of his new label’s output. — Raphael Helfand
Chenayder: "For One Last Time"
"For One Last Time" is a bittersweet break-up anthem, the kind of song to play while waving goodbye to a situation that deep down you know is on course for disaster. The indie pop meets U.K. garage production acts as a bubbly and sweet backing for Chenayder's insecurities as she worries over a partner who she knows is playing games. There's an unvarnished immediacy to the lyrics as if they were written through tears on the walk back from the break-up chat. "Something' I couldn't get off my chest," she sings, composing her thoughts and taking the higher moral ground. "I mean, I wish you the best." — David Renshaw
Zeyne: “Ma Bansak”
The new single from Zeyne is a heady blend of Arabic pop tradition with shadowy R&B production currently favored on the Hot 100 chart. The Palestinian-Jordanian singer emerges from the rubble of a collapsed romance, her voice mournful amongst a gently ornate production where strings rub against techno-coded subbass and a fascinatingly sparse kick drum rhythm that seems to mimic the patterns of her broken heart. — Jordan Darville
Say Lou Lou: “Wong Kar-wai”
Miranda and Elektra June Kilbey-Jansson craft meticulous, dream-adjacent pop. On their first single of 2024 and just their fourth since the release of their sophomore album Immortelle in 2018, they pay tribute to world-renowned Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai, who’s spun some of history’s most resonant love stories over the past 35 years. Like its titular director’s work, the song is perfectly paced, its production building on an understated foundation of acoustic guitar arpeggios with a trip-hop synth and a drum machine beneath Anna and Elektra’s vocals (sung in near-seamless unison) until the floodgates open on a cathartic showstopper of a chorus: “I want love like Wong Kar-wai / Red Walls, Mirrors, Gemini / Drive me to another life, and / Give me love like Wong Kar-wai.”
Where Wong Kar-wai’s films often end in heart-wrenching ambiguity, though, “Wong Kar-wai” wraps up all its loose ends in a neat three minutes and 18 seconds with a crystalline climax and an immaculate denouement. The track’s tidiness will probably preclude it from the BFI’s 2032 top 100 list, but there’s a strong case to be made for short songs — and films, for that matter — that succinctly execute exactly what they intend (no shade to Jeanne Dielman, of course), leaving their audience with the satisfying sense of an ending. — Raphael Helfand
ALLBLACK: "It's It"
“We can go bar for bar or we can race for pink slips.” ALLBLACK confidentiality tosses out his verses with a clipped rhythm, but he’s not afraid to get a little goofy either, busting out a little karaoke rendition of the chorus from Rose Royce’s “Ooh Boy,” which West Coast rap heads might recognize from its interpolation on Candyman’s playfully flirtatious “Knockin’ Boots.” — Nadine Smith, from the February 16 edition of Rap Blog
Maria Chiara Argirò: “Closer”
Argirò began her musical life as a classically trained pianist and has journeyed to become an electronic songwriter, moving from her native Rome to London and establishing herself as an in-demand collaborator and solo artist. The crisp, deep-house-inspired synths that undergirded the jazzy motifs on her 2022 album Forest City return on “Closer,” the title track of her upcoming album. “I built myself a little boat / I like to take it out alone” she sings in the opening, her voice pitched and shifted into a frazzled, uncanny cousin of AutoTune. The spacious production of the track’s first two-third reflect Argirò’s search for solitude, but the orchestration rises towards the climax, energized by her plea for connection: “There’s not a soul for miles around / But still I feel you close to me / Come closer.” — Jordan Darville
Speaking about his upcoming new album under his longstanding, boundary-pushing electronic alias Squarepusher, Tom Jenkinson said that life under the pandemic had given him new perspective. “[It was] a remarkable time partly for the viscerality of its terrors, but also because of its novel, eerie, sublime silence,” he said. “Wendorlan,” his first single from the project, feels like a nuclear launch in the battle against that silence. For just over six minutes, Squarepusher unleashes a pulverizing flood reminiscent of Rephlex’s triumphant heyday, when it felt like music could turn a brain into a circuit board through sheer force of BPM alone. In spirit, the song resembles an animal caught in a trap, attempting to saw its own leg off with vinyl copies of rare breakcore white labels. — Jordan Darville
Fatboi Sharif & Roper Williams: “Something About Shirley”
Fatboi Sharif and Roper Williams sounded formidable on 2020’s Gandhi Loves Children and outright extraterrestrial on last year’s Planet Unfaithful. But their latest collaboration, “Something About Shirley,” is a different beast entirely. A 10-minute track that’s not quite a song but not exactly an album either, its liminal format allows the rapper-producer duo to roam far beyond the bounds of modern hip-hop, sailing into ominous, uncharted waters. Sharif introduces us to Shirley via a slanting thicket of references: In just the first two short verses, we hear nods to Dylan/Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower,” Takashi Miike’s Ichi the Killer, the Heaven’s Gate mass suicide, and Sun Ra, who’s pictured “opening for Satan at the Bowery Ballroom.” Sharif’s voice, a powerful baritone somewhere between Method Man and billy woods with a cold, is a completely captivating instrument. But the real dark magic goes down in its absence, where Williams conjures dark environs far too jarring to function as ambient interludes. These rough textures underscore a hysterical 911 call from a young girl struggling to describe what sounds like domestic violence; slurred insults shouted as if at a bouncer who’s just kicked the drunkest girl out of the club; a white-knuckled, claustrophobically looped funk groove; a preacher exorcizing R. Kelly’s demons; and a chorus of glossolalia clipping into nightmarish static. — Raphael Helfand
Lime Garden: "Pop Star"
British band Lime Garden released their debut album One More Thing today and the song I have had on repeat is "Pop Star." It's a perky earworm of a track written about feeling destined for bigger things, even when reality serves up constant reminders to get back to work. Chloe Howard sings about the little frustrations in her life, running low on funds, her skin breaking out in a rash, and tries her best to daydream her way out of her humdrum situation. "I don’t wanna work my job," she cries. "Cause life is fleeting and I’m a pop star." It's a simple if fanciful idea sure to appeal to anyone striving for swap the everyday for something a little more glamorous. — David Renshaw
Announcing her long-awaited sophomore album on Valentine’s Day, bbymutha illuminates us on the finer points of her romantic attachment style. Stretching out over a spiky instrumental, she’s alternately menacing (“You can leave but you can’t go / Better not ever catch you out here fuckin’ with these hoes”), unhinged (“N***as love to play, if I’m crazy I’m supposed to be / Daddy was a jealous guy, what the fuck you want from me?”), vulnerable (“I be needin’ kisses in the morning, cuddles in the evening”), and wryly horny (“I’m tryna fill up the hole in my heart and the hole in my pussy too”). Never one to shy away from sharing the gritty intimacies of her personal life, she ups the ante here with the toxic VDay card the world probably doesn’t deserve but absolutely needs. — Raphael Helfand
Goat Girl: "Ride Around"
Goat Girl have always had an appealing awkwardness in comparison to their more straight-laced London indie rock peers. Their 2018 self-titled debut album was studded with fantastical allusions and songs about death and alienation; 2021's On All Fours added synths to their gothic cowboy sound, but there was still venom dancing alongside their shimmering garage rock. "Ride Around," the first taste of the forthcoming Below The Waste, charts the quest to dig deeper into people's psyche. Singer Lottie Pendlebury, searching for something beyond small talk, pleads for someone to "Tell me stuff I didn't know, Take back all the undergrowth." It's in that same mulch that Goat Girl's music feels most at home. "Ride Around" is another fine addition to their sonic shrubbery. — David Renshaw
MIKE & Tony Seltzer: “R&B”
The first drop from the newly reunited New York rapper-producer duo MIKE and Tony Seltzer is the type of syrupy slow jam best played through car speakers with a sizable sub in the trunk. After a chopped-and-screwed passage introducing the instrumental’s key elements — a blown-out, rattling 808 kick-snare and a pleading siren synth — the beat speeds up, and MIKE enters with a relaxed flow that sits comfortably in the pocket and never steps out. “I could make a dollar stretch, make a dollar slim,” he raps, posted up in a park during peak leaf-peeping season next to a vintage Oldsmobile in the song’s music video, looking totally at ease in a backward beret and tinted shades. As on his latest masterpiece, Burning Desire, MIKE’s bars sparkle with levity, a welcome counterpoint to the grief that’s undergirded so much of his catalog. — Raphael Helfand
Chanel Beads: “Idea June”
Chanel Beads is the project of Shane Lavers, but “Idea June” features his bandmate Maya McGrory on lead vocals, her lyrics lapping at the edges of the surreal as she sings, “I think I’m glued onto your back now.” At the core of the song is the idea of romance and illicit danger, specifically where the two crossover. “Troublemaker I’m knocking on your door,” she sings as metallic guitars clatter around her and strings underscore the adrenaline rush of breaking a taboo. It’s a woozy daydream of forbidden options and ill-fated decision making. — David Renshaw
Jessica Pratt: “Life Is”
Jessica Pratt’s first song in five years is an upbeat forward march into the unknown, a musical representation of undirected ambition whose tone belies an undercurrent of skepticism in the lyrics. Pratt’s delivery is as cheerful as the triumphant drums, bass, and strings that undergird it — production that’s likened in a press release to the orchestral excess of ’60s pop hits like The Walker Brothers’ “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” — but her words are ever-so-slightly out of sync: “Time is time and time and time again / And what would you say if you can’t get out of here?” she sings. “Time is time and time and time again / To make your escape you’ve captured the captor’s fear.” — Raphael Helfand
RiTchie: “RiTchie Valens”
RiTchie’s debut solo single outside Injury Reserve (now By Storm) is tongue in cheek but stylistically inventive. After an introduction to the song’s baroque beat and its two central vocal samples — the Auto-Tuned melismas “RiiTchieee” and “Why would you n***as do this to me” — RiTchie launches into a screed against haters and frauds, framed in rhetorical questions followed by the satirically sung refrain, “Let me know.”
“This shit like pullin’ teeth / You thinkin’ all that heehee haha’s really gettin’ through to me?” he begins, his voice twisted in a mocking grimace. “N***a that’s news to me / I’m a grown-ass man out here, man, you really think I’m losin’ sleep?”
An incisive hook follows the verse, including the killer line, “They screamin’ (“RiiTchieee”) like I’m / Ritchie Valens, yeah that n***a still valid, bro.” Then the verse returns from a bit further back in the mix before fading out eight bars in, letting the beat ride for roughly the same length as it does in the intro. Despite its many moving parts, “RiTchie Valens” wraps up neatly with five seconds to spare before the two-and-a-half-minute mark, achieving a satisfying sense of symmetry. — Raphael Helfand
Jess Ribeiro: "Everything Is Now"
"Everything Is Now" is a quietly radical song written about escaping the city and embracing a quieter way of life. "The River is calling me away, like some sort of game," Ribeiro sings as a proverbial laptop is closed, notifications are turned off forever, and an alternative begins to feel tangible. The peacefulness found away from the concrete hustle is reflected in the rolling percussion, warm acoustic guitar, and delicate saxophone trills that sit under Ribeiro's calming voice. It might just be the delicate nudge required to make a big change in life. — David Renshaw
mui zyu: “everything to die for”
Returning with her first new music in a year, Eva Liu follows her excellent debut album as mui zyu, Rotten Bun For an Eggless Century, with an unhurried, atmospheric jam. “everything to die for” simmers slowly — its central, simple but slightly bent four-chord progression strummed out on an acoustic guitar that’s flanked by an ambient drone and a wonderfully warped keyboard melody. Liu’s lyrics and delivery, however, are succinct and devastating. “We’ve got everything to die for / Everything to die for / So try to hang on / And thank God if you want to,” she sings in the hook, apparently speaking to a lover who she still sees as worth saving despite past dishonesties. “Everything to die for / Everything to die for / Thank God if I want to / Thank God for you.” — Raphael Helfand
Beyoncé: "16 CARRIAGES"
The announcement of Act 2 of Beyoncé’s Renaissance during the Super Bowl helped shed light on a possible direction for the series’ second album. Act 1 was a celebration of ballroom culture, rave and disco; Act 2 looks to be inspired by country music. Taken together, the revival at the heart of Renaissance isn’t confined to one genre. Rather, it reflects a broad stroke of music created by Black Americans. “16 CARRIAGES,” released along with “TEXAS HOLD EM,” is the bridge into Beyoncé’s next era. The song is embossed with elements of country music traditional to modern, including a twangy acoustic guitar loop, a crate-shaking stomp in place of a kick, and Beyoncé’s world-weariness and focus on the divine. But unlike on the banjo-led “TEXAS HOLD EM,” these are allusions more than full-on immersions. “16 CARRIAGES” is the sound of Beyoncé testing the waters, and she displays a mastery without losing her core. If that’s the lasting lesson of the Renaissance series, it’ll do more to cement Beyoncé’s legacy than any Grammy ever would. — Jordan Darville
"...two minutes of imperturbable shit talk, delivered in a lithe purr over thudding 808s." — VIvian Medithi, from the February 9 edition of Rap Blog
Erika de Casier feat. They Hate Change: "ice"
Erika de Casier is one of pop music’s preeminent, joyful architects: it’s impossible to listen to a song of hers without feeling like every element was placed with intention. The latest single from her upcoming third studio album captures how skillfully de Casier approaches homage. Imagine, the song asks, if I collided the slinky beats of The Velvet Rope with Big Boi and Ma$e in their respective primes? The result is a showcase of why de Casier’s turn-of-the-millenium aesthetic is anything but stock, and feels far more vibrant and lived-in than anything you’re likely to hear on the radio. — Jordan Darville
Homeshake: "CD Wallet"
Explaining the concept of a CD wallet to a 19-year-old in 2024 probably makes you sound like someone recalling their first TV being wheeled into the house in time for the moon landing. And yet, for some (OK, elder millennials) carrying a case of shiny discs wherever you went was a definitive part of being connected to your favorite music — streaming services will never be able to replicate the feeling of listening to an album repeatedly mainly because you paid $20 for it and it's one of the only things you brought with you on holiday. All of this reminiscing is, in short, to say that Toronto's Homeshake has an excellent new song looking back at his teenage years. "CD Wallet" is crunchy and a little ugly with references to self-doubt and dreams of a different life plucked straight from Pete Sagar's adolescence. Gone are the days of CD singles, but Homeshake's latest deserves more than tossing onto the pile of digital detritus. — David Renshaw
Ayanna: "Girlfriend (London Girls Mix)"
R&B has long been an under-appreciated and neglected genre in the U.K. At last year's Brit Awards, bizarrely, zero R&B artists were nominated in the Best Pop/R&B Act category. Despite these setbacks, songwriters and vocalists in the scene continue to carve their own lane. This London Girl's remix of Ayanna's "Girlfriend" gathers together three of the most promising new vocalists in the city right now. The spirit of the original, written from the point just before a relationship becomes official, remains with Ayanna's mellow verses aided by a similarly loved-up Mnelia. It is Tamera who pushes through the pillowy vibe, though, adding a little grit with her smoked-out voice as she asks, "How you got a baddie all blushing?" It's a celebratory moment for three artists who don't need outside validation to show their worth. — David Renshaw
Beth Gibbons: "Floating On A Moment"
There’s an uncanny logic moving through “Floating On A Moment,” the first song from Beth Gibbons’s upcoming solo album Lives Outgrown. The Portishead singer-songwriter’s first-ever solo single both feels like a natural extension of the direction her band was taking on 2008’s Third — away from trip-hop and towards a more ornate, eerily acoustic route — and something that couldn’t have been predicted. Here, Gibbons introduces a more fantastical domain, populated by harpsichords, xylophones, and choirs of children singing in her inimitable and ghostly key; her voice is still a marvel of tension, with its notes still sounding perpetually on the verge of catching in her throat. But its translucence does not equal gloom: “Floating On A Moment” is a song about resilience, presence, and gratitude in the face of mounting uncertainty: “It just reminds us,” Gibbons sings, “That all we have / All we have is here and now.” — Jordan Darville
ScHoolboy Q: "Blueslides"
Hard times make strong people, but sometimes strong people don’t make it through hard times. ScHoolboy Q’s five-year hiatus from rapping didn’t come as much as a surprise — his interview with Charlamagne ahead of the release of 2019’s CrasH Talk showed someone who was beaten down by the rap industry for different reasons, all equally legitimate. There was his confusion over why getting the best reviews of his career in 2016 for the Blank Face LP didn’t translate to sales, as well as his lingering trauma over the sudden, tragic passing of his close friend Mac Miller. CrasH Talk didn’t give Q the mainstream breakthrough he needed, and when we saw him in public over the next five years, it was mostly for golf. Who could say for sure if rapping was still in the cards for him?
Fortunately for us, it is. “Blueslides” is one of two songs Q has released as a reintroduction, and it’s the best of the pair for its raw appraisal of Q’s recent years. He lets the beat’s jazzy instrumental breathe before launching into a few bars of luxury raps all wrapped in Q’s signature sneer. Then, there’s a space of silence in his verses save for a few ad-libs, as if a layer is getting pulled back and we’re traveling into Q’s history. “Better climb outta that hole before you fuck up your blessings / Before you realize that it’s over with and start to get desperate” Q sighs, a different and deeper momentum in his voice. The things keeping him down — a friend’s death from drugs, people using him for money, and his own self-doubt — contribute to his depression: “Been a prisoner in my own house, I don’t know if they noticed / I done broke down so many times, next time it gon’ catch me.” It’s easier to have gratitude for the struggle when you’re far removed from it and relishing the fruits of your endurance. On “Blueslides,” ScHoolboy Q chooses a harder, messier, and more honest route. — Jordan Darville
Manchester-based Nemzzz has spent the last few years steadily climbing the U.K. rap ladder, showcasing his assured flow on breakout hits like "2MS" and "Nemzzz Type Beat." His debut mixtape, Do Not Disturb, is due on March 15 and "L's" is the first taste of the project. Like much of the music that got him to this point, Nemzzz sounds unhurried in a way that pulls you in close. He raps slowly and with confidence, backing his wordplay with a puffed-out chest and steely determination. He talks about memories of growing up without money ("I was broke thinking about Heathrow") and how his success has made luxury feel normal ("When I take a flight don’t post.") He amusingly compares an ex's mood to Sexyy Red's music when he wants her to be a little more peaceful, like a Jhené Aiko song. At its core, though, "L's" is about searching for something real. Money and millions of followers might fill the room with new people but it doesn't mean they know anything about you. Nemzzz is revealing more about himself as he grows. That's encouraging to see. — David Renshaw
"Thumping G-funk beats bring the West Coast flavor, but creepy-crawly piano lines keep everything a little on edge, as Banditdamack raps like his Spidey-Sense is tingling: subdued, but never too comfortable, always watching for the heat around the corner." — Nadine Smith, from the January 5 edition of Rap Blog
Cash Cobain: "Dunk Contest"
Cash Cobain raps like he’s taken every sex pill that’s kept behind the counter at your local gas station: he’s a horny gremlin hopped up on some illicit energy that destroys the body while freeing the soul. For his new song “Dunk Contest,” the New York rapper and producer recites the names of his ongoing situationships and what he likes best about their connection (spoiler: it’s having sex with them). There’s an endearing poetry to how every third bar starts with the name of a different girl, and how Cobain’s double-time flow boosts his feeling of enthusiasm. What really sells the song, though, is the beat, a cut of the R&B-inflected drill Cash works so well in that’s been run through a high-pass filter. The hi-hats are extra crispy and the bass is nearly non-existant, giving the song a raw quality that matches the freestyled vibe of the lyrics. — Jordan Darville
"Cut it all off" is the message at the center of "Bounce," a fuzzy and lush song from San Francisco indie rock band Torrey's upcoming self-titled album. The precise meaning behind that direction is open to interpretation, though siblings Ryann and Kelly Gonsalves say the song, a fine addition into the increasingly busy pop-gaze scene, is about discovering even the most outwardly happy-seeming people have issues burning underneath the surface. Sometimes a reminder that everyone is feeling bad all the time, delivered with plenty of reverb and echo ideally, is the only thing you need to hear. — David Renshaw
Burial: "Boy Sent From Above"
It’s been a long time since Burial shared music that bearhugged his memories and mournings of yesterdecade’s underground raves. His Antidawn EP from 2022 stripped the drums away to let his foggy, incandescent melodies shine; Streetlands, released the same year, went even further, veering into ambient territory (though the compositions seemed to want to evoke its own dreamlike sense of space than soundtrack existing ones). If last year’s “Unknown Summer” saw Burial testing the waters of club music again, “Dreamfear / Boy Sent From Above” is a swan dive into the deep end, each twist and shift made with peerless grace. “Boy Sent From Above” is nearly 13 and half minutes long, evoking in duration and spirit the pirate radio broadcasts from London that have long since been silenced. While the song feels like Burial is returning to something, there’s no shortage of the new in “Boy Sent From Above,” most notably in the strains of Eurodance that make their way in — you’ll hear it in those Spandex-colored synths around the fourth moment, and most clearly in the ending’s rap, delivered over a pummeling hardcore beat. — Jordan Darville
BADBADNOTGOOD: "Take What's Given"
BADBADNOTGOOD add a little classic soul to their sound, recruiting Houston-based vocalist Reggie Helms Jr. on their new song “Take What’s Given.” The Canadian group have always had a vintage quality to their music and that shines through stronger than ever here with a perky bassline complimenting wistful keys and a horn section that illuminates everything around it. It is Reggie’s pipes that shine the most, though. Offering simple life lessons aimed at bringing warmth into the world (“your medicine is better when it’s kept”), he delivers a much-needed fuzzy glow that radiates more and more with every listen. — David Renshaw
DJ Dayeh & MC Bibi Drak: “As Mais Top"
In São Paulo, Brazil, where the producer reigns supreme, DJ Dayeh is at the forefront of bruxaria, one of baile funk’s most twisted tendrils. “As Mais Top,” one of three singles released with the announcement of a new NTS compilation of the city’s sounds, opens on strings, a siren, and rolling static, with a vocal recreation of a kick-snare entering soon thereafter. After a DJ/MC tag that sounds like a haunted lullaby, the track kicks into gear, with Bibi Drak’s bars maneuvering through the debris of sub bass, whistles, and high-pitched laughter that follow. As in most of the bruxaria pantheon, the track’s powerful pulse is achieved in the absence of traditional drums; instead, Dayeh uses the long-stewing materials in her cauldron — negative space perhaps being the most important of all — to evoke the sense of punishing percussion. — Raphael Helfand