10 songs you need in your life this week

Tracks we love, in no particular order.

10 songs you need in your life this week

Each week, The FADER staff rounds up the songs we can't get enough of. Here they are, in no particular order.

“Stained Materials” — Blackhaine

Blackhaine is an avant-garde U.K. rapper whose work is hard-boiled and built for the underground. He's also a choreographer and has worked with Kanye West on events around both Donda albums. Right now it feels like he could go either way, double down on the outsider art or watch it catch fire and hit the mainstream. New song "Stained Materials" is the first to be taken from new EP Amour II, due June 10, and a great place to enter his unique world. The first half of the track is uptight and tense with the phrase "I could have been somebody" repeated over an ominous, slow-creeping beat. The atmosphere changes half-way through, however, with Blackhaine flexing his lyrical chops and impressive flow on top of chest-rattling drums. It feels confident, defiant almost. In the video Blackhaine is dressed like the club doorman you just know is going to turn you away and delivers his performance from the side of a motorway. None of it makes sense but there's a beauty to be found in life's bleakest moments and Blackhaine seems to have found it. —DR

“H Spot” — Lil Poppa feat. Yo Gotti

The closest comparison to Lil Poppa I’ve been able to make over the last few years is Polo G. The Jacksonville rapper’s expressive storytelling blurs the lines between reality and fiction, discussing family, loss, love, and the streets He’s a careful, meticulous writer that makes sure every line falls exactly where it should and every word his given its own craterous impact zone. “H Spot,” his first single since signing with Yo Gotti’s CMG label, doubles as an announcement for his upcoming mixtape Under Investigation III. It’s tense and emotionally grey, but regardless, it makes you want to spring into action right beside him. “Better be cautious, I heard the feds ‘round,” he raps over the jangling MIDI guitar. “And you know they watchin’.” —BC

"VICES" – Josh Levi

On his latest single “Vices,” R&B singer and songwriter Josh Levi is overcoming his impulses and convincing himself it’s worth it along the way. “I been putting down my vices and I'm having a good time alone,” he sings over plucky guitar before the bass kicks in. “Losing you lowered all of the prices, it's so affordable to be alone.” Tucked into layers of harmonies, like a ‘Break in Case of Emergency’ message for his future self facing the temptation to backslide on his progress, the singer shares reminders of all of the moments that got him to this point in the first place. With the fog of his mind finally clearing up, Levi is ready to move forward – one step at a time. – LP

"graves" – Purity Ring

When Purity Ring debuted, their mixture of dream pop textures with trap percussion sounded like the future. And in a way it was – would hyperpop exist without “Fineshrine?” – but time has revealed an antiseptic edge to some of the duo’s breakout tracks as well as their subsequent, less critically successful work. “graves,” Purity Ring’s first new single of the year, is a song that sounds like it spent its formative years absorbing the 2010s EDM boom instead of mixtape-era Gucci Mane. The 808s are restrained, taking their lead from the chill out piano melody and softly ascending bridge, culminating in a track perfect for the meditation tent at the Ultra Music Festival. In a song about the futility of avoiding the end, Purity Ring sound positively reborn. – JD

“The Mood” — Arin Ray feat. D Smoke

Aside from an EP in 2019, a few scarce features and some writing/production credits, Arin Ray has been lying low since his last album, Platinum Fire was released 4 years ago. “The Mood,” his first single in three years, is a sticky bedroom anthem with a smoldering bassline. “Baby, we been wildin’ all over the bedroom/Guess we chose violence over something,” the Cincinnati singer says with a wink. Smooth and sexy jams like this have no shelf life. —BC

“Unholy Affliction” — Soccer Mommy

Sophie Alison is taking risks in the lead-up to Sometimes, Forever, her third album as Soccer Mommy. So far, they’ve paid off. Working with producer Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) — not the most likely accomplice to her generally comfy sound— has proved to be an excellent choice, bringing out the best in both artists. While simply wrought, lead single “Shotgun” is subtly complex, a cavernous anthem hiding inside a bedroom pop structure. Its video, too, is sneakily profound, cleverly blurring the lines between art and artifice. But the record’s second offering, “Unholy Affliction,” is another beast entirely. Heavier than anything else in Alison’s catalog, it matches a prurient industrial synth with a relentless drum line, allowing her vocal to command a fearsome energy without much variation in dynamics or tone. “I don’t want the money / That fake kind of happy,” she sings defiantly in the song’s first moments. “I’d sink in the river / Before I let it have me.” — RH

“Audio” — easyFun

Finn Keane, a.k.a. easyFun, has been releasing material via PC Music for nearly a decade now but perhaps doesn't have the big name status of, say, A.G. Cook or Danny L Harle. "Audio" might not change that situation but it certainly sounds like it should, with the British producer and songwriter channeling pure euphoria into three and a half minutes of electronic pop ecstasy. Keane has contributed to many Charli XCX albums and it's no stretch to imagine "Audio" providing the backdrop for one of her future-shaping anthems. Built around a pitched vocal loop and washes of distorted synths, "Audio" ramps up and up in energy as if willing itself to take off and fly. The feeling is contagious, play it often enough and you'll soon touch the sky. —DR

“Fool’s Paradise” – Isaac Dunbar

On his Shakesperian new single “Fool’s Paradise,” Isaac Dunbar dons the costume of a lover and delivers a monologue under the spotlight of heartbreak. Performing as a character from his forthcoming conceptual EP Banish The Banshees, the ever-theatrical pop musician plays tug of war with his own emotions after waking from a coma to find that the main source of his emotional torment is gone. “I said I’m tired of insanity and melodramatic excuses,” he sings over a piano melody. “I said I love you but I don’t lovе when you take what I say for amusemеnt.” He refuses to become the fool himself, but he won’t revive the one of his past, either. In the song’s grand finale, Dunbar makes a decision to save himself, convincing both himself and his audience: “Cause loving you back to life would be the death of me.” – LP

“The Mainline Song” — Spiritualized

Jason Pierce (better known as J. Spaceman) has spent the better part of his life building maximalist, anthemic sagas from seedlings of ideas — three-chord progressions that stretch out to span whole universes of sound. “The Mainline Song,” first conceived as an extension of “Electric Mainline” from Spiritualized’s sophomore album Pure Phase, has grown into a slightly more concise but no less epic companion track, its kitchen-sink arrangement building into a cathartic choral refrain: “Sweetheart, sweet light / Oh babe, it’s a beautiful night / and I wanted to know if you wanted to go to the city tonight.” Though more polished than the stoned, sprawling songs he made in the ‘80s with Peter Kember (Sonic Boom) as Spacemen 3, his new music manages to maintain the same intergalactic, blissed-out aesthetic. — RH

"Free In The Knowledge" – The Smile

The musical trajectory of Thome Yorke and Johnny Greenwood – both separately and together as half of Radiohead – has never been one defined by easy paths or lazy creative decisions. As our future looks increasingly bleak, it’s an act of courage to release a song as hopeful as “Free In The Knowledge.” Yorke sings from the bottom of a dark pit, his eyes fixed squarely on the pinhole of light at the surface: “Free in the knowledge / That one day this will end / Free in the knowledge / That everything is change.” Around him, synths sweep like warm breeze and a lone acoustic guitar conducts the song’s emotional radiance, somewhere between a eulogy and prayer. – JD

10 songs you need in your life this week