Songs You Need In Your Life: April 2024
Our rolling list of this month’s essential new tracks.
Songs You Need In Your Life: April 2024

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 and Apple Music playlists or hear them all below.


Mabe Fratti: “Kravitz”

The lead single from Mabe Fratti’s next album Sentir Que No Sabes — and the project’s first track — is one of this year’s most emphatic opening statements. “Kravitz” begins with bass notes plucked so hard into the CDMX-based Guatemalan artist’s cello you can hear the strings snap back and rattle, accompanied by a militant kick-snare march. Fratti’s voice enters next, singing at the high end of her register about a call that’s either coming from the other side of the wall or from inside the house. A sinister brass section creeps in, first providing low-range blue notes that build the track’s suspense, soon returning with high-pitched stabs that add a campy horror element to the psychodrama. Named for one of Fratti’s unlikely musical idols, the song is a master class in tension with little release, full of pregnant pauses, clever twists, and a sense of hanging doom that sets the stage for one of 2024’s most anticipated LPs. — Raphael Helfand

NewJeans: "Bubble Gum"

The latest NewJeans song arrives in the middle of a row between their label ADOR and parent company HYBE, with accusations of corporate chicanery on both sides. "Bubble Gum" is not quite the knockout hit needed to distract from the soap opera going on behind the scenes but the group's strong melodies and invitation to escape remain enticing.

There is a notable softness to "Bubble Gum," from the poolside disco guitars to lyrics about floating away and childhood games. This frictionless production marks a notable softening of the group's Jersey club-adjacent 2023 hit "Super Shy," with the fluttering heartbeats in the lyrics left as the main energy source. File it alongside Sabrina Carpenter's "Espresso" in the ranks of addictive and carefree summer playlist staples. — David Renshaw

Seafood Sam feat. Goya Gumbani: “Lagonda”

I’ve never heard a Seafood Sam acapella, but I imagine that the style that radiates from the Long Beach rapper’s complete recordings, like his just-released album Standing on Giant Shoulders, is fully present in his soloed voice. Songs like “Lagonda” are built around glowing ‘70s soul, where every instrument from the electric organ to the spritely flute feels like it’s engaged in a sensual mingling, the sound of holding someone’s gaze from across the room. And yet Sam doesn’t let the production do the heavy lifting, adding metric tons of swag with his husky, deadpan flow. “Lagonda” tracks his glow-up “from G-Shocks to Hublots” with the help of Goya Gumbani, and, throughout the song, he takes a tailor’s precision to his rhymes, measuring twice and cutting once in real time. — Jordan Darville

Soduh: "Orbitz"

"My favorite of the bunch is “Orbitz,” where Soduh’s flows trudge over woody drums and a ripple of bass. 'They keep sending naked pictures, I reply like, how was your day?' he shrugs. Later on: 'I’m with me, myself, and I cuz half these n****s fold like cartons.' If it ever gets lonely at the top of the food chain, it doesn’t bother Soduh." — Vivian Medithi, from the April 26 edition of Rap Blog.

AyooLii, Polo Perks, and FearDorian: “Ricky Eats Acid”

Milwaukee scene leader AyooLii is back with another hard-hitting, irreverent posse cut. This time, he recruits ascendant Atlanta producer FearDorian for a beat that flips a track from the song’s titular artist (the solo project of Teen Suicide’s Sam Ray), and brings in sample-drill icon Polo Perks to start the track off with a characteristically faded verse and hook. AyooLii joins later, injecting 30 seconds of his off-center energy into the mix. It’s a quick appearance, but, along with the relentless handclaps and blown-out 808 kick that undergird the breezy sample, it’s more than enough to give the song a signature Wisconsin feel. — Raphael Helfand

Christine and the Queens: “rentrer chez moi”

In his press release for the new song “rentrer chez moi,” Christine and the Queens professes admiration for the shamans: Bob Fosse, Antonin Artaud, the masters of Japanese Butoh. These are not mere artists in Christine’s eyes, but conduits to a different world. That sort of aspiration is written all over the catalog of Christine and the Queens, both sonically and visually, and “rentrer chez moi” is another slice of heartbreaking and effortlessly cool pop divinity from the French singer-songwriter. A neon thread is pulled from the Eurythmics catalog of stripped-down, gently anthemic electro-pop and spun into a garment all its own, the kind of creation that can only come when you’re in tune with some great beyond. — Jordan Darville

Nusar3000 feat. Six Sex: "Melaza"

Enigmatic artist Nusar3000 is the latest name to emerge from Rusia-IDK, the Madrid-based collective of Spanish partiers that is also home to Ralphie Choo and rusowsky. On "Melaza" the producer creates a berserk energy through a relentless kick drum and smashed glass sound effects. Buried in the background is a lonely-sounding flute, a melancholy addition to the frantic momentum found elsewhere. Throw in Six Sex, the Argentinian vocalist who brings the spirit of the rave to reggaeton, and you've got an eclectic celebration that could rage all weekend. — David Renshaw

d'Eon: "Figurine"

If Bach and Brandy had a lovechild, it would be d’Eon’s “Figurine.” Between the nylon strings and ‘90s R&B feel, the Montreal-based producer’s latest release is a modern twist on baroque composition, incorporating ornate trills with synthetic instrumentation and TLC-style harmonies. The end result is an eclectic blend of past and present, bold and bizarre in the style of a Hieronymus Bosch painting. And with its billowy cascade of distinctly digital sounds, “Figurine” has the feel of a Renaissance Faire bard with a Spotify playlist of classic chamber music and familiar Darkchild productions. — Sandra Song

Kidä: "His Altar of Silence"

Through her collaborations with artists like Yves Tumor and GAIKA, Kidä has firmly aligned herself with rock’s futurist new wave. “His Altar of Silence,” Kidä’s second solo single of the year, is an exultant cut of progressive nu-metal that proves she’s anything but a supporting player. An orchestra swells around crunchy drop-D guitars fit for a wrestler’s entrance, while Kidä cuts a ghostly, immortal figure, her classically beautiful voice echoing from beyond a distant veil. It’s A Perfect Circle with wonkier, more interesting edges. — Jordan Darville

mui zyu: “the rules of what an earthling can be”

mui zyu creates electronic bedroom pop for those lingering in the liminal space. Dissociated and insulated from the real world and its ugly truths, “the rules of what an earthling can be” is a track that combines soft textures and blurry synths with a distinctly emo singer-songwriter sensibility. With slinky ‘80s-style production, faraway twinkling, and the gentle lull of mui zyu’s celestial voice, “the rules of what an earthling can be” projects a comforting, cocoon-like safety, squarely focused on the internal. But introspection can only get you so far, as mui zyu warns, and using apathy as a shield will leave you feeling more alone than ever. – Sandra Song

Gel: "Mirage"

Last year New Jersey band Gel put out one of the best hardcore albums of the year in Only Constant. They aren't going to rest on their laurels, though, and return with news of an upcoming EP, Persona, due on August 16. "Mirage" is the first preview of the new project and, at just under three minutes, the longest Gel song to date. Sami Kaiser uses the extra legroom to lean into vengeance, cutting a cruel figure from their past off at the knees and making off with the carcass. The band sprint to catch up, throwing out muscular riffs at pace, but Kaiser is on a tear. "Your face is blurred but I’m on the right track," they sing, denying their enemy an identity as they revel in their survival. — David Renshaw

Bladee feat. Sickboyrari: “OTHERSIDE”

The most coveted collab on Bladee’s new 30-song album Cold Visions, dropped without warning exactly two weeks after the enigmatic Swedish rapper’s 30th birthday, is the unholy trinity of Bladee, Goth Money Records founder Sickboyrari (aka Black Kray), and co-founding Working On Dying producer F1LTHY. The trio deliver beyond expectations, putting on the project’s standout performance on track 24, “OTHERSIDE”: F1LTHY’s fried instrumental sets the stage for a Bladee flow that starts as a steady stream of consciousness but slows to a trickle by its finish. Rari enters late, adopting a codeine-coated delivery that allows us to imagine what Chief Keef might sound like if he was born in the south. It’s a dream reunion for drainers the world across, who’ve waited five years since Bladee and Rari last shared a track. — Raphael Helfand

Zsela: “Lily of the Nile”

Out on June 14 via Mexican Summer, Zsela’s debut album Big For You is one of my most eagerly anticipated releases in the sphere of avant-garde pop. Its second single, “Lily of the Nile,” follows last month’s “Fire Excape.” Where the previous song had an angular electro-funk edge, the new track takes its cues from Zsela’s inimitable, molasses-rich vocal register; the drum machine patterns shimmer like a meteor shower across sunsetting guitar tones and glossy electronic textures. — Jordan Darville

Black Fondu: "SB 1 3”

Over a self-produced instrumental that sounds like a Drain Gang beats chewed up by a lawnmower, Black Fondu raps like a man possessed. Born in Accra but based in London — arriving from the Windmill Brixton scene that dropped black midi and Black Country, New Road fully formed into the unwitting ears of the international listening public — the 20-year-old artist brings a hungry energy to the glitchy pulse of “SB 1 3,” but his rapacious flow doesn’t detract from the track’s overall slickness. With a Dean Blunt-indebted delivery ratcheted up to Bladee’s manic emotional wavelength, Black Fondu’s comet is ready for a crash landing that will shake the globe. — Raphael Helfand

Nilüfer Yanya, “Like I Say (I runaway)”

Nilüfer Yanya is back with a song equal parts woozy and crunchy about seizing the moment and not letting time pass you by. "You could hold my hand just to feel alive," she sings as if she's willing life away from the day-to-day and into something more bracing. That same rush can be felt in the guitars, blown out and gritty during the song's roaring chorus, which suggest Yanya has been listening to Paranoid Android-era Radiohead as she works on her next album. A jolting return. — David Renshaw

RealYungPhil, Niontay, and Surf Gang: “Halftones/Amnesia”

The new double single release “Halftones/Amnesia” is a fantastic cross-section of the New York rap underground and some of its most compelling dimensions. Surf Gang produce both tracks: “Halftones” catches a melancholic vibe with electro-funk over bounce-inspired percussion, while “Amnesia” is far noisier, backmasking a haunted tread melody to create something built for a possessed mosh pit. Through both songs, RealYungPhil and 10k’s Niontay trade bars that stack together to build an impenetrable fortress of unfuckwitability. — Jordan Darville

Body Meat: "High Beams"

In less than five minutes, Body Meat’s “High Beams” manages to cycle through the past decade of music in its genre-straddling glory. With nods to cloud rap, nü-metal, and experimental club, there’s Playboi Carti-style murmuring with rhythm-focused production that redlines into XXXTentacion territory while making subtle reference to late footwork legend DJ Rashad. It’s frazzled but familiar, with intense blasts of post-hardcore growling juxtaposed with silky smooth dancehall crooning and a layer of deconstructed club beats, delivered with the pounding ferocity of straight-up Yeezus track. — Sandra Song

Fat Dog: "Running"

British band Fat Dog have described their sound as being "the polar opposite of thinking music" and "Running" certainly lives up to their own smooth-brained billing. The James Ford-produced song, which will feature on the band's appropriately titled debut album WOOF, is a sprint through a house of mirrors with saxophones and keys dueling for supremacy. Vocalist Joe Love finds himself caught between God and the Devil as he wildly flails his way toward the holy grail, all while navigating EDM-like drops. Fat Dog may be doing themselves a disservice in writing off their intellectual side but the immediately gratifying "Running" makes a very strong argument for lobotomy rock. — David Renshaw

evilgiane and Slimesito: “Designer Drugz”

EVILSLIME, the long-teased full-length collab between Atlanta underground favorite Slimesito and evilgiane — the New York sample drill scene leader who’s quickly becoming one of hip-hop’s most-coveted producers — finally has a release date. In announcing the May 3 project on National Weed Day™, the pair released “Designer Drugz,” an energizing taste of what’s ahead. Over a blissed-out, bubblegum beat, Sito’s relentless flow enters a slightly more tonal register than usual — just enough to give his crowded bars the toasted flavor required for any 4/20 drop worth its weight. — Raphael Helfand

Cavalier: “Doodoo Damien”

Cavalier lives in New Orleans now, but his style is still New York as hell. His new album, Different Type Time, out now on billy woods’s Backwoodz label, is front-loaded with a string of six dense, hard-hitting cuts. But the project really opens up in its less ambitious early-middle section — a run of four short tracks that stretches from “Doodoo Damien” to “All Things Considered” — when Cav loosens up a little and allows himself to mess around. “Doodoo Damien” opens on a skit straight out of late-’80s, outer-borough lore about an unfortunate neighborhood kid named Damien who, in the middle of a routine dirt-ball fight, accidentally picks up a piece of dried poo and throws it, thus earning himself a nickname no child should have to endure. Over an era-appropriate beat with some modern flavors that keep the song away from the dustbin, Cav proceeds to get lyrical, rhyming “nebulous storm” with “nebula forms” and “assemble a swarm,” flowing like a young Nas with shades of B-Real’s nasal intonation. — Raphael Helfand

Tommy Richman: “Selfish”

The world may never know exactly what a Prince song produced by Pharrell would have sounded like (even if we did come close with “Frontin”), but Tommy Richman’s new single gives us a flavor of that dream collab. The new single from the Virginia-based artist signed to Brent Faiyaz’s label ISO Supremacy is all glossy ‘80s funk and dreamy vocal harmonies, cleaner than a freshly dry-cleaned velvet suit. It’s a song about keeping something dear all to yourself, but it’s too good not to share. — Jordan Darville

Glixen: "lust"

Phoenix band Glixen understand a major appeal of shoegaze is listening to something overwhelmingly heavy. "lust" isn't heavy in the sense of being abrasively distorted or large sounding, but rather in the sheer heft of the production. Listening to the guitars is akin to the feeling of being squeezed from above, a slow dreamlike compression. "You can hold me down, softly just for me" Aislinn Ritchie sings as the band applies the pressure. Gradually, you start to feel the seams start to tear apart. — David Renshaw

Lisha G: "Whatcha Got"

"Lisha G’s plainspoken cadences saunter effortlessly over chintzy synths: “Do I love him, do I not? This ain’t B-roll, this ain’t props.” She smokes (a lot), she needs some more money (also a lot), and if that man doesn’t give her what she wants, he will be getting dropped." — Vivian Medithi, from the April 19 edition of Rap Blog.

Arooj Aftab: “Raat Ki Rani”

On her 2021 album Vulture Prince, Arooj Aftab arrived seemingly fully formed. Her interpretations of the Urdu narrative poems known as ghazels grew like fragrant vines from her soil: a passion for jazz and experimental composers from around the world. After 2023’s monumental Love In Exhile, created in collaboration with Vijay Iyer and Shahzad Ismaily, it was clear that the only signature of Aftab’s sound was its mutability. That continues on “Raat Ki Rani,” her lead single from the upcoming Night Reign. The music floats with a solo-Sakamoto elegance, its soft piano notes urged along by gentle yet insistent, percussive thumps. Aftab sings of captivating beauty, the kind that makes the earth stand still and take heed, much like “Raat Ki Rani” does from its opening notes. — Jordan Darville

Tongue in Mind: "Free Sex"

Tongue in the Mind — the new, Juliana Huxtable-fronted trio also featuring multi-instrumentalist/composer Jealous Orgasm and producer DJ Via App — are dropping their debut EP next month. Unlike “Pretty Canary,” the group’s buzzingly ominous spoken-word introduction to the listening public, “Free Sex” introduces itself as a straightforward synth-punk track with a ripping guitar line and propulsive, synthesized beat. Staring down the track’s runtime early on, one wonders if the band will manage to keep up this pace, and keep things interesting, for a full seven minutes. Luckily, they don’t attempt such a daunting task, opting instead to slow things way down just before the track’s midpoint. “Autosexual / Wrote it on the lexical,” Huxtable sings as Jealous Orgasm’s power chords crescendo and Via App layers drum track upon drum track. Eventually, the song’s traditional rock elements drop out entirely, leaving Huxtable to wax psychosexual over a skeletal club track for the song’s final third. — Raphael Helfand

Fine: "Days Incomplete"

Fine Glindvad Jensen is part of a close group of Copenhagen-based artists (which also includes Astrid Sonne, Erika de Casier, and Clarissa Connelly) whose spectral music glides with frictionless ease between decades, feeling neither tethered to the past nor aggressively pursuing the future. "Days Incomplete" is more focused on seeking answers. "I wanna know," she sings as she quests for some sense of direction in a relationship that has reached a crossroads, pondering what she means to the other person and what they are giving her. The whole thing slows down to an almost chopped-and-screwed pace as it progresses, giving the impression of a conversation stalling in real-time. The push and pull between the music, sparse, haunting, yet seemingly controlled, and the rapidly spiraling union she sings about, combine to create something uniquely gripping. — David Renshaw

UNIIQU3: “Ramen Noodles”

Jersey club queen UNIIQU3 is back with a surprising new sound on her Ramen Noodles EP, with a title track that’s easy to imagine at both a huge, carnival-esque festival and the after-hours rave happening in the basement of a New York City storefront. Created with the help of EDM duo Black Caviar, “Ramen Noodles” is a bombastic blow-out of a track featuring a piledriver bass and UNIIQU3’s fun and flirty lyricism. But “Ramen Noodles" also contains that distinctly Newark sound, incorporating a vogue-indebted rhythm into the raucous bounce we all know and love. So even though the classic Jersey club bed squeaks have been replaced with wonky horn samples, UNIIQU3’s roots remain on full display throughout the track — just delivered with an extra dose of big-tent superstar swagger. — Sandra Song

Halima: "Ways"

On "Ways," Brooklyn-based Halima finds herself unable to sleep as she feels unmoored by a new relationship. "I’m telling you straight, you’re cutting me two ways" she sings as the clock ticks over and her mind flicks between excitement and nerves. There's a smoothness to Halima's voice that adds some sugar to the turmoil while the intriguing drums, pitched up and patterned experimentally, seem to reflect the racing thud of a lovestruck heart. — David Renshaw

M.B.T: “M.B.T’s Sound”

In 1974, James Brown changed the face of Congolese music by performing at a three-day music festival hosted by Democratic Republic of Congo (DCR) dictator, Mobutu Sese Soko. In the concert's wake, an avalanche of young musicians and bands like M.B.T. began incorporating tons of funky reverb and psyched-out electric guitars into Congolese rumba. While little is known about the DCR-based artist, M.B.T.'s euphoric track, “M.B.T’s Sound,” is a standout track on Analog Africa’s new Congo Funk! compilation. Likely recorded during the ‘70s, it’s an irresistibly sunny tune, with an exuberance provided by a rambunctious lead that oozes ‘70s swagger alongside a flamenco-style rhythm guitar. And combined with the constant blast of bright horns, thrilling exaltations, and folk percussion, “M.B.T’s Sound” is a rapturous, joy-filled, and celebratory song that’s made even more powerful by its historical context. — Sandra Song

Sex Week: "Angel Blessings"

Sex Week are Pearl Amanda Dickson and Richard Orofino, roommates turned bandmates who drape their indie rock with a black metal cape. The result is a song like "Angel Blessings," a little sweet and a little sinister, it's wholly addictive. Dickson's melody is reminiscent of Nirvana's "Come As You Are," but with more religious imagery and voyeuristic desire weaved into the lyrics. It chugs along nicely but the creeping sense of dread in the delivery is driven home with the arrival of ghostly murmurings, seemingly conjured up from six feet under. It's a tonal shift that catches you off guard, like a coming-of-age movie that turned out to be a horror flick all along. — David Renshaw

Broadcast: “The Games You Play”

Across 15 years, three studio albums, half-a-dozen-odd EPs and compilations, and a film soundtrack, Broadcast built a strange, exciting universe. The brainchild of singer-guitarist-keyboardist Trish Keenan and bassist-producer James Cargill — with several other members (mostly drummers) joining along the way — the band’s legendary run came crashing to a halt after Keenan’s sudden passing in 2011. But their legacy lives on in those artists who continue to fuse immaculate pop songwriting with adventures in electronica. “The Games You Play” — the second single from a forthcoming collection of four-track demos Keenan and Cargill recorded following the release of Broadcast’s third and final LP, 2005’s Tender Buttons — provides a rare look into their creative process. More pressingly, though, it’s a gorgeous song, even absent the extra layers of euphoric sound that would no doubt have appeared in the final product. “Oh, the night looks fake / Oh, the games you play / Oh, are so innate,” Keenan sings in her uniquely placid tone over the buzzing skeleton of a classic Broadcast instrumental. Given the group’s tendency toward lyrical impressionism, it’s enlightening to hear that signature sound stripped to its bare bones as well. — Raphael Helfand

great area: “hazards”

“hazards” is the eerie and existentialist lead track from great area’s new album “light decline.” Arriving courtesy of the enigmatic Inga Copeland’s Relaxin’ Records, it’s unsurprising that “hazards” is shrouded in a similarly dense fog. With a hypnotic, minimalist sound that contains elements of goth, post-punk, and IDM, the glassy-eyed production is cobbled together from a moody bassline, “manipulated samples,” and deadpan lyrics “inspired by and addressed to those who have pissed [great area] off,” per the London-based artist’s Bandcamp. And while great area explains it’s not necessarily a “sad” song on a “sad” record, “hazards” does have a distinct air of emptiness to it, albeit one more reminiscent of internet-age detachment than emotional alienation. — Sandra Song

Still House Plants: "More More Faster"

In the best way possible, Still House Plants make music that sounds like what your parents think art students listen to 24/7. The London-based band don’t have any contemporaries for what their style: shreds of post-punk, jazz, and R&B are pieced together into a new, raw diary of their fraught inner lives. “More More Faster” concludes their wonderful new album If I don’t make it, I love u with an overall increase in freneticism. David Kennedy’s drumming is louder and more desperate, Finley Clark’s guitar is more wonky (whether gently strummed or desperately shredded), and Jessica Hickie-Kallenbach reaches new and swooning emotional peaks with her voice, that of a diva who’s intentionally forgotten everything she’s ever learned. — Jordan Darville

Agriculture: “In the House of Angel Flesh”

Agriculture operate on an epic scale, maintaining a monomaniacal focus throughout their extended black metal sagas. “In the House of Angel Flesh” is a towering, tripartite track that begins with an effigy of cheesy pop ballads like “Hey There Delilah.” (“Hey Camellia, / What are you doing? / Get your feet back on the ground / And find out / For yourself,” Dan Meyer screams over his and Richard Chowenhil’s triumphal electric guitars and Kern Haug’s blast beats.) The song’s second section is all business — a one-minute version of the type of doomed march that less versatile groups linger on for full albums. And part three, while still centering Meyer’s death-rattle vocals over Leah B. Levinson’s pummeling bass attacks, also introduces Levinson’s prose poetry in the background, barely audible until the track’s final moments, when the instrumental drops out abruptly before her final sentence: “ It comes to you sometimes, but only when you stop looking.” — Raphael Helfand

Sim0ne: "Work It"

Scottish DJ Sim0ne first emerged a year ago when her techno remix of Lana Del Rey's "Say Yes To Heaven" blew up online. "Work It" is her first solo release and carries the same hardcore energy that made her work stand out in the first place. It's an uber-confident melding of lust and technology with Sim0ne describing herself as being "downloaded straight from your dreams." Kick drums and breakbeats battle for supremacy and she struts camply and confidently into the spotlight, acknowledging she's more than "enough to keep you glued to your screen." — David Renshaw

NLE Choppa: "Slut Me Out 2"

"Combining chipper chords and insistently throbbing 808s, 'Slut Me Out 2' is more immediately danceable than its predecessor, obviously indebted to the wave of club rap that has swept the nation in recent years." — Vivian Medithi, from the April 15 edition of Rap Blog

Lanark Artefax: "Metallur"

After four years of silence, Lanark Artefax is back with “Mellatur,” a striking track that’s the closest you can get to floating in space. Otherworldly and alienesque, it’s a production so vast and complex that it can be easy to get disoriented, swept away by the fluid textures and constantly fluctuating tempo. Even more impressively, the Glaswegian producer made it all out of thousands of tiny pinpricks, arranging a combination of start-top lasers, pointed glitches, and finely chopped vocal samples into the smoothest of songs. — Sandra Song

How To Dress Well: "Crypt Sustain"

During the Blog Era, Tom Krell’s project was one of the most visible acts in “PBR&B,” that pejoratively-titled yet exciting subgenre of experimental producers who wrapped Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope and Aaliyah in a gothy veil. How To Dress Well has undergone several sonic shifts since Love Remains and Total Loss; the songs from his upcoming album I Am Toward You are near complete reinventions that manage to retain his trademark sense of yearning, and are some of the most compelling things he’s released in years. “Crypt Sustain” opens with guitars straight out of Here Come The Warm Jets before developing into a delightful, unwieldy mix of sludge-metal, glitch pop, and Krell’s bedroom hymnal. — Jordan Darville

KRM & KMRU: “Differ”

A meeting of minds as rare as those of Kevin Richard Martin (The Bug) and Joseph Kamaru (KMRU) could only produce something extraordinary. “Differ,” their first joint single as KRM & KMRU, is a simply structured, two-chord dirge, but the careful corrosion of this stable core over the course of five minutes transforms the track into something far stranger. Droning static, measured chromatic moaning, and the sheer weight of slow repetition move the song from haunted house mood music territory into something more like the soundtrack to an actual nightmare. — Raphael Helfand

Phelimuncasi & Metal Preyers: “Gidigidi ka Makhelwane”

Gqom is typically considered a darker and grittier strain of South African house music, but Phelimuncasi are able to tease out its more playful side on “Gidigidi ka Makelwane.” The opening track from their recent collaboration with Metal Preyers, the vibrant song is an upbeat, buoyant take on gqom’s hypnotic loops and raw minimalism, accented by the wooden taps and bird-like whirrs sprinkled amidst its joyful call-and-response. And with its uplifting dose of upbeat bubble and fizz, “Gidigidi ka Makelwane” proves that you can harness the momentum and raw energy contained within gqom’s tight percussions to create a track so infectious and bouncy, that it feels like you have a little spring in your step. — Sandra Song

bog band: "Midnight Chancers"

Dublin-based Isaac Tomkin Clarke and Stephen Sorensen are bog band, whose somewhat dreary name disguises their rich soul-pop sound. "Midnight Chancers" is a playful slow-jam written about a lovestruck person who realizes the feeling isn't quite mutual. Between smooth bass and licks of saxophone, Sorensen sings of a burgeoning romance but is knocked off his heels when he learns he is so peripheral to the other person that they have forgotten his name. "It's just about time to lose a friend," he sings as he checks his watch and begins quietly piecing his broken heart back together. — David Renshaw

I. JORDAN: "Round n Round"

I. JORDAN's upcoming album I AM JORDAN is an instant and reliable source of adrenaline that will hopefully take the London-based DJ and producer onto the next level in terms of recognition. "Round n Round" is the latest preview from the album, which is due on May 10. It's a heavy-hitting warped banger that was written for a Boiler Room performance and nods back to the relentless pace of donk. Such is its blunt nature, the super-speed strain of club music is often thought of as punchline but, in the north of England where both Jordan and the sound originate, it is more like a religion. Think of "Round n Round" as its worship song. — David Renshaw

Varg²™ feat. Bladee and Ecco2k: “H2D”

Bladee and Ecco2k are two artists who feel tailor-made for the trance revival. Ecco2k’s melodies across his catalog always seem to grasp at the same kind of rapture, while Bladee’s voice, whether it’s rapping or cooing through a veil of silk, has the ethereal quality you’d expect to find on the dreamiest bootlegs. “H2D,” a track from producer Varg²™’s new album Nordic Flora Series, Pt.6: Outlaw Music, is a trance song that eschews nostalgia, flooding the zone with hellish, industrial distortion, pulse-quickening drums, and the chemistry of its two vocalists. — Jordan Darville

Tashi Wada: “Grand Trine”

Tashi Wada and Julia Holter’s daughter was born under a grand trine — or, at least, the astrological configuration of three planets into an equilateral triangle is prevalent on her chart. Her birth, and the death of Tashi’s father, fluxus legend Yoshi Wada, are the poles that bounded the recording of his first solo studio album, What Is Not Strange? “Grand Trine,” the record’s lead single, lurches forward and pulls back like an infant taking her first steps. Corey Fogel’s sporadic drumming and Devin Hoff’s sturdily bowed bass underscore Ezra Buchla’s detuned viola, Wada’s retuned harpsichord, and an unwieldy, flute-like synth, while Holter’s voice floats over the top, orbiting the track while simultaneously exerting its own intense gravitational pull. — Raphael Helfand

Brijean: "Workin' On It"

Brijean Murphy's new song pokes gentle fun at wellness and the idea of self-improvement as a lifestyle. A liquid bassline and rolling percussion give the song a weightless groove over which Murphy ruminates on her efforts to ditch apathy, discover new depths, and generally make positive changes in life. Like all grand plans, however, reality dictates some degree of scaling back and soon she settles for a simpler goal, admitting "I’m just trying to get some better sleep." The song will appear on Brijean's new album Macro, due on July 12. — David Renshaw

Clarissa Connelly: “Into This, Called Loneliness”

Out on April 12, World of Work is the Warp Records debut of Scottish-Danish folk-pop artist Clarissa Connelly. Its opening track “Into This, Called Loneliness” transports us into her singular world, where her enrapturing creations are a symptom of a wearying solitude. “I don’t know how I got here / But I know loneliness is here,” she sings over ML Buch-meets-Kate Bush instrumentation in an ur-yodel that simultaneously pierces and swathes. — Jordan Darville

Mei Semones: “Kabutomushi”

The title track and closer from Mei Semones’s new EP is a study in sad elegance. Over a deceptively simple guitar chord progression in sneaky 7/4 time — accented alternately by additional tremolo and pizzicato strings — Semones sings between the lines, wringing an evocative lament from a constricted melody. After several verses in Japanese, she switches to English for a final sendoff full of longing and regret: “No chance for goodbye / Cuz when it’s dark you’re in the sunlight / 64 hundred miles / A phone call would’ve reached you / Miss you I miss you / Sorry I’m sorry / Miss you I miss you.” — Raphael Helfand

Shabason, Krgovich, Sage: “Bruce”

In an album full of lush and densely layered instrumentals, “Bruce” is comparatively stark. But Matthew Sage’s cozy electric piano, Nicholas Krgovich’s soft-sung diary entries, and some faint field recordings in the background are enough to make a universe. Over an eloquent chord progression, Krgovich details an “overcast spring break afternoon” at a Vietnamese restaurant, then follows his stream of consciousness to musings on the dumbness of the world and the “psychic weight of everyday.” Ultimately, he resigns himself to accepting things as they are: “Did what I could where I could / And made the rest no big whoop / And now I’m feeling pretty good /
And there is now only.” — Raphael Helfand

Snow Strippers: “So What If I’m a Freak”

Being a brat is officially back with Snow Strippers’ “So What If I’m a Freak," a nostalgia-laden song that screams upper-middle-class suburban kids on an unhinged, Adderall-fueled spiral. The kind of track that'll hit heavy for those of us who've watched the rise, fall, and resurrection of both indie sleaze and 2012 Tumblr producers, "So What If I'm a Freak" is twitchy and aggressive. Think a mix of 3OH!3 pop-punk hooks and Spring Breakers-style glock samples, delivered with the “who gives a fuck,” redlining energy of Ultrademon going b2b with SALEM. Because only something this glittery pink and eye-wateringly crunchy could be the heir to the long (in internet years) legacy of the unhinged, terminally online Tumblr angel bb, with her existential angst, baking soda coke, and a collection of Elf Bars. Even though the best flavor is, obviously, peach mango watermelon. — Sandra Song

Wu-Lu: "Daylight Song"

"Daylight Song" is the sound of Wu-Lu seeking comfort. "Tell me something I already know," he sings as he looks for a hand to hold and others to pray for him. It's a bruised cry for help from a more exposed place than mosh-pit ready "South," the rowdy anti-gentrification cry that first put the south Londoner on the map in 2021. Expect more soul searching on his forthcoming EP, Learning To Swim On Empty, due out on May 17 via Warp Records. — David Renshaw

Sierra Ferrell: “Fox Hunt”

Sierra Ferrell’s “Fox Hunt” is a thrilling, upbeat twist on roots music that showcases the rising star’s vivacious and endlessly curious spirit. With a sound reflective of her train-hopping background and street musician showmanship, Ferrell brings a sense of raucous wanderlust to the lonesome yearn of that old-timey country sound, all through the subtle incorporation of “outsider” influences like funfair jingle-jangle and New Orleans jazz. But the blue-collar bluegrass is still the obvious star of “Fox Hunt,” whether we’re talking about the straightforward lyrical storytelling, the prominence of the fiddle as a nod to the genre’s Irish influence, or the hymnal harmonizations of a rural church congregation, ready to start stomping along to the drumbeat of Ferrell’s take on traditional Appalachian sounds. — Sandra Song

CANDY: "eXistenZ"

Richmond hardcore band CANDY's "eXistenZ" might just be the heaviest pep talk you receive this week. The jewel at the bottom of the 81-second bone cruncher is, essentially, "follow your dreams." Like the movie it takes its name from, corporeal anxiety is wrapped around the chunky guitars and frantic blast beats. But underneath the bluster is Zak Quiram's stirring reminder to always try and be "what you dreamt to be." Think of it as an unsociably loud version of the messaging on an inspirational meme, delivered with enough conviction to make you actually want to get up and make a change. — David Renshaw

somesurprises: “Bodymind”

Anyone who’s ever tuned in and dropped out to Spacemen 3, spent a long afternoon with Yo La Tengo, or had a good cry to Grouper would do well to check out somesurprises. On “Bodymind,” the third single from the Seattle band’s first new album in five years, Natasha El-Sergany’s voice is spectral in tone but crystal clear over a dense network of layered guitars that stick loosely to a set groove but seem to be in the process of a cosmically slow unraveling. “Once I figure out this body / There won’t be any mind left me / Once I figure out this mind, there / Won’t be anybody left behind me,” she sings without a hint of sadness. “Once I figure out this mind / I’ll rejoin the living.” — Raphael Helfand

Draag: "Orb weaver"

Los Angeles based Draag are about to head out on tour with Wednesday and are releasing a new EP on Julia's War, the label run by fellow shoegaze band They Are Gutting A Body Of Water. "Orb Weaver" focuses on major anxiety: fear of the dark, fear of spiders, and fear of death. The melodic verses mask the gloomy nature of the lyrics, with frontman Adrian Acosta and Jessica Huang harmonizing around words about chattering hyenas and midnight fatalities. Somewhere between the squalling guitar fuzz and the eeriness late night, a romantic pulse revives Acosta by the sunlight, who turns over to see his partner laying next to him. Nightmare over. — David Renshaw

Clara La San: "Don't Worry About It"

First debuting in 2016 to become one of the essential voices of underground R&B, Clara La San disappeared from public view the following year, scrubbing her mixtape Good Mourning from streaming and only giving the occasional signal that she was still interested in sharing music. That hasn’t stopped a dedicated cult following from forming around her small catalog, and after the 2014 song “In This Darkness” achieved immense popularity on TikTok, there were more and more hints that a return was in the works. “Don’t Worry About It,” her first new solo song since 2017, picks up right where she left off, veiling Aaliyah melodies in clubby cobwebs. — Jordan Darville

LA Priest: "City Warm Heart"

The misfit psychedelia of Sam Eastgate’s solo project always seems to orbit around the warm sun of solitude, its nurturing rays allowing the music to grow in strange and unexpected ways. Written as Eastgate prepared to leave a Costa Rican jungle to tour cities around the world, “City Warm Heart” transmits a tense yet fun-loving anxiety in its punchy guitar strokes and bubbling electronics — Jordan Darville

Tatyana: "It's Over"

Tatyana’s “It’s Over” is an awkward synth-pop earworm that’s clunky and dissonant, with jagged stutters and oppositional textures that compete for space. Using a sonic ouroboros effect created out of bright and buzzy sawtooth basslines, there’s a feeling of instability woven into the song’s DNA. And while the production itself may feel at complete odds with Tatyana’s radio-friendly voice, if you factor in her inoffensive vocal tone and cheeky use of lyrical clichés, “It’s Over” suddenly turns into a fun take on the sort of hyper-digestible pop that currently makes up most of the charts. — Sandra Song

Teilz: "Type Of Girl"

Teilz, a.k.a. DJ Allie Teilz, shows she's just as good at making songs to bop to as she is at playing them in clubs. "Type Of Girl," produced by Nick Sylvester, is a crystalline disco track in which Teilz conjured images of starlit rendezvous, gilded cages, and dreamy getaways in southern Italy. It gets racier as it goes along, descending into a fit of sighs and moans and leaving no trace that it ever existed apart from the wiggle in your hips and an added air of luxury to your daydreams. — David Renshaw

Cindy Lee: "Diamond Jubilee"

Patrick Flegel released the newest Cindy Lee project Diamond Jubilee late last month on the Realistik Studios’ Geocities site for purchase via PayPal. The full album from the Women singer and guitarist’s pop project appeared on YouTube a day later. At 32 tracks and more than two hours, it’s a monolith of music, and perhaps Flegel’s most ambitious work yet. The record opens with its title track, an idyllic jam centering a hypnotic guitar groove, slightly off-beat percussion, and a solo lead vocal that somehow sounds like a full children’s choir. Like most Cindy Lee songs, it exists in a daydream space, blurring the lines between imagination and reality. — Raphael Helfand

Kelly Moran: "Moves in the Field"

The genesis of Moran’s new album Moves in the Field began with the Brooklyn composer’s introduction to the Disklavier, a piano capable of recording performance and playing it back in real-time. That instrument became the album’s star and marked Moran’s transition from orchestral electronic experiments to minimal classical. The album’s title track thrums with the excited energy of discovery, Moran’s keys fluttering like fresh snowfall with melodies folding into each other endlessly. Unlike most music built on loops, “Moves in the Field” achieves that intense, singular feeling of an artist collaborating with themself. — Jordan Darville

Roc Marciano: "Gold Crossbow"

Few working rappers make music as simultaneously gritty and luxurious as Roc Marciano. The New York rapper/producer and underground cult favorite shines yet again on his new project Marciology, 14 tracks of mafioso rap for the MoMA. “Gold Crossbow” sees Marciano’s flow gliding like a freshly purchased Maybach as he deftly stacks rhymes on top of each other without ever overstuffing his bars. — Jordan Darville

Songs You Need In Your Life: April 2024