Each week, The FADER staff rounds up the songs we can't get enough of. Here they are, in no particular order.
KeiyaA, “Camille’s Daughter”
The two long years of deafening silence from keiyaA following the release of her masterful, heartbreaking 2020 debut LP, Forever, Ya Girl, have finally come to a close. With the release of “Camille’s Daughter” last week, the Chicago-born, New York-based R&B multi-hyphenate has shown that while the world has changed vastly since her first album’s early-pandemic release — and even more since the time of its recording — the fundamentals of her sound have remained intact. If anything, she sounds slightly more confident, her vocal line both floating above and cutting through a hypnotizing instrumental that centers a neo-funk bass-keyboard duo. “Never will you replicate me / Least you can do is repay me,” she sings as the song accelerates toward its final moments. “Call out the names of my loves deceased / Watch me bless up exponentially.” — RH
gglum, "Things You Said"
Singer-songwriter gglum's real name is Ella Smoker, which would have acted as a similarly effective moniker for her forlorn and highly dramatic brand of bedroom pop. "Things You Said" is the first taste of new EP Weak Teeth, due May 16. The song starts strongly with Smoker singing "You piss me off" but what follows is not a furious evisceration, rather a bittersweet goodbye to a relationship and its small details. From pictures stored on an old phone to memories of the mess her partner would make, "Things You Said" observes the insignificant moments in a relationship that end up forming the bulk of a bond between two people. There's an air of morbidity running through the song, too, but ultimately "Things You Said" is tied together by its electric chorus and a move toward the future. - DR
death's dynamic shroud, "Neon Memories"
Along with acts like NMESH and Fire-Toolz, death’s dynamic shroud have kept vapourware alive by building on its slurred digital wasteland instead of sticking with evocations of the past. Despite its title, “Neon Memories” keeps up the group’s tradition of flying in the face of retreads, offering up mutated free association synth-pop. Occasionally you’ll snatch a glimpse at the words behind the vocals, layered and glitched into oblivion, that suggest a reckoning with the nostalgic impulse. It’s a bear that death’s dynamic shroud have wrestled with for years and consistently come out on top with adventurous triumphs like “Neon Memories.” – JD
Alex G, "Stitch"
Despite the two extremely Alex G singles Alex G released ahead of his new soundtrack for Jane Schoenbrun’s forthcoming horror feature, We’re All Going to the World’s Fair, the rest of the score doesn’t sound at all like any of Alex G’s previous albums. Yes, there’s plenty of his signature moody acoustic strumming and whisper-soft vocals, but — like every good film score score — the music is in service to a larger mood, not the other way around. “Stitch,” a tight, purely electronic instrumental cut that appears second on the tracklist, is perhaps the closest thing to traditional horror movie music that appears on the project. But like most every musical style Alex G tries, he’s annoyingly good at it. “Stitch” starts off slow and ominous and gives the impression of a slow burn (despite its 2:39 runtime), building up to an absolutely demented harsh noise nightmare in its final minute. Yes, a few moments on the song — and a fair amount more on the album as a whole — are somewhat derivative of Alex G’s recent collaborator Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never), but in the world of art house film scoring in the year of our lord 2022, most things are. — RH
Conan Gray, "Memories"
In the lead-up to his long-awaited sophomore record Superache, Conan Gray has shared the Dan Nigro-produced single “Memories.” The record showcases the singer and songwriter’s knack for painting vivid scenes colored with emotional details across its four-minute runtime. While his previous releases are often defined by a sense of yearning, “Memories” finds Gray delivering a boundless statement of pleading as he reaches a breaking point. “But please don’t ruin this for me / Please don’t make it harder than it already is / I’m trying to get over this,” he begs early in the song, later adding: “I can’t be your friend, can’t be your lover / Can’t be the reason we hold back each other from falling in love / With somebody other than me.” – LP
Phoebe Bridgers, "Sidelines"
A songwriter whose wry, self-deprecating approach to personal calamity and despair helped establish her as an essential artist, Phoebe Bridgers executes a glorious fake-out on “Sidelines,” her first new song since 2020’s excellent Punisher. “I’m not afraid of anything at all,” she sings at the beginning, her voice downy and tremulous as she lists drowning, burning to death, and dying in an earthquake as the kinds of things that no longer phase her. The punchline never comes: This is an unabashed love song, a prayer-textured ode to a person whose presence is as nurturing as warm sunlight after a long winter. The quality of her past releases strongly suggested that Bridgers was the kind of artist not to get tied to other peoples’ perceptions of her artistry, and “Sidelines” is both glorious confirmation of that resilience and an exciting harbinger of her growth – JD
Vince Staples, “AYE! (Free The Homies)"
Vince Staples’ Ramona Park Broke My Heart is the Long Beach rapper’s way of linking the West Coast’s past, present, and future. Ramona Park isn’t a tribute to Los Angeles reality rap golden age like YG’s Still Brazy or jam-packed with L.A. beat scene and jazz mainstays like To Pimp A Butterfly, though. It’s a sticky, slow-burning record about violence and the systems that perpetuate it with appearances from West Coast legends and references to their legacies sprinkled throughout. Early highlight “AYE! (Free The Homies)” sets the album’s mood with a summery, slow G-Funk bounce that sounds like a muggy summer day with tempers heating up. —BC
Chlöe, “Treat Me”
As Chlöe continues to build a discography of her own invention separate from her long-time creative partnership with her sister Halle, the essence of her pure starpower sparkles and glimmers under the light of her solo spotlight. The singer has followed up her anthemic solo debut “Have Mercy” with the dominating, “Ms. New Booty”-sampling single “Treat Me.” A true entertainer at heart, Chlöe knows how to stir up conversation around her releases, sharing eye-popping visuals to accompany her high-energy sound. But as much as her performance takes center stage, the singer excels as a vocal gymnast, carving out a space for her harmonic vocal range to dominate without distraction. – LP
Jamie xx, "Let's Do It Again"
Jamie xx isn't playing around on "Let's Do It Again." Built around a sample of Bobby Barnes' 1977 lost soul jam "Super High On Your Love," the track is a juggernaut of good vibes and propulsive energy. With Barnes' falsetto vocal trilling throughout, the producer's latest single can be filed alongside his "Gosh" and "Loud Places" as Songs Guaranteed To Save Your Sadly Failing DJ set. It would be easy to overthink "Let's Do It Again," to consider the role of such joyous music in a summer when festivals are back and party invites are flying around but that would be doing it a disservice. What Jamie xx has offered up here is simple; a request to switch off the brain and enjoy yourself. - DR
Quelle Chris, "Alive Ain't Always Living"
Quelle Chris sounds more exhausted than ever on his newest single. Two weeks ago, the 37-year-old Detroit rapper announced his next album Deathfame with the release of “Alive Ain’t Always Living,” a somber reminder to take things one day at a time. “Open these palms of mine, let the stars align,” he raps. “Had to work hard to see the God in me, but I know it’s time.” Quelle Chris is so good at these kinds of songs—even when he’s at his most despondent, the music doesn’t become overwhelmingly sad. He’s always reaching toward a light that’s within reach. —BC