SPIN Singles Mix: Mitski’s ‘Townie,’ Jenny Hval’s ‘That Battle is Over,’ and More
SPIN staffers handpick their can't-miss tracks to get you through the week
Welcome to SPIN’s Singles Mix! The SPIN staff has rounded up their favorite, must-hear tracks for your personal playlists. From Philly punk kids to sexed-up R&B futurists to Norwegian slow-pop singers, these are the songs you need to know right now.
Hop Along, “Waitress” (Saddle Creek)
If this Philadelphia punk quartet’s tough yet oddly buoyant melodies don’t immediately grab you, lead singer Frances Quinlan’s raggedy, rasping voice almost certainly will. On this romping single from their forthcoming sophomore album, Painted Shut (out April 21 via Saddle Creek), Hop Along unify crashing, pit-ready percussion with off-kilter guitar-work and some truly discombobulated vocals. You may not know what hit you, but you’ll be glad that it did. — RACHEL BRODSKY
Jason Derulo, “Want to Want Me” (Warner Bros.)
Slicked-back synths (Robyn, is that you?), Derulo’s evocative falsetto, and a muted little pre-chorus guitar lick wrap themselves around each other on the Top-40 staple’s “lighter than air without a care” new one. It’s no “Talk Dirty,” in that it doesn’t just trend-hop, which is a criticism Derulo’s faced before. No, “Want To Want Me” does for the able-voiced singer what “Teenage Dream” did for Katy Perry: It offers a compelling, possibly career-altering step forward into the future. — BRENNAN CARLEY
Jenny Hval, “That Battle is Over” (Sacred Bones)
How does Norwegian singer-songwriter Jenny Hval tease the June 9 arrival of Apocalypse, girl, her first album for Sacred Bones? With “That Battle Is Over,” an avant drifter of a lead single that critiques our over-informed reality — “Statistics and newspapers tell me that I am unhappy and dying” leads to “That battle is over / And feminism’s over / And socialism’s over.” There’s something resembling a silver lining, though: “We don’t know it yet / We cling onto heaven.” Now we know. — KYLE MCGOVERN
Kero Kero Bonito, “Picture This” (Self-Released)
It’s hard to tell if Kero Kero Bonito’s latest track — an ode to selfies — is unironically celebrating our love of front-facing cameras or throwing shade about how vapid it all is or neither: It doesn’t really matter, as the over-enunciated lyrics and wonky beats make for three minutes or irrevrent fun. It’s neutral — Kero Kero Bonito just sings about the world as it is. — JAMES GREBEY
Marina & the Diamonds, “Forget” (Atlantic Records)
On her upcoming album, Froot, Marina lays bare the blueprint of a relationship as she leaves it behind her. “Forget” epitomizes the the Welsh singer’s open-floorplan persona as she warps her vocals (the way she pronounces “tortoise” is especially tickling) over an expansive live orchestra, by way of the downtown disco. “I was born to walk alone,” the British pop sensation sings, and you can feel how much she means it. Breakups are hard. Forgetting is easier. — B.C.
Mark Johns, “5 South” (Moving Castle)
Despite the name, Mark Johns’ Twitter makes it clear: “i’m not a dude and i’m decent at wii tennis.” Impossible to verify the latter point by listening to new single “5 South,” though the deep club song is so bouncy that it’s pretty easy to picture a little Mark Johns Mii bobbing along to it. Produced by Alexander Lewis, the ode to driving down the titular California interstate cruises on rubbery bass, sprightly horns (courtesy of Brooklyn duo Brasstracks) and synths that sound like driving over divider-line bumps. Top-down weather may be upon us at last. — ANDREW UNTERBERGER
Mikal Cronin, “ii) Gold” (Merge Records)
This Laguna Beach native cut his new record straight down the middle. He’s already shared “Made My Mind Up” from side A, and this new track is your first listen to side B: a six-song suite about his formative experiences in the Pacific Northwest. Battling solitude and crushing spinal discomfort, “ii) Gold” has Cronin telling himself to take a mind-over-matter approach: “Walk the city alone, take the pain on your back, fuck the pain, let it go.” The screaming guitars hit a climax halfway through the song, only to make way for Cronin’s new friend, the tzouras, a traditional Greek instrument that gives the whole song a kind of Cat Stevens / “Rubylove” feel. — CONNOR O’BRIEN
Mitski, “Townie” (Don Giovanni)
“I’m not what my daddy wants me to be,” Mitski sings in the inspired lead single to the soon-to-be-reissued Bury Me at Makeout Creek. If this freewheeling garage-doo-wop track is any indication of what the Brooklyn artist is capable of, then we wouldn’t want her to aspire to anything else. — R.B.
San Cisco, “Magic” (Island City Records)
You might remember San Cisco’s YouTube-hit-wonder from a few years back: Their text-heavy video for “Awkward” amassed more than seven million views. Well, it’s been three years, but the Australian indie-pop quartet is back with their sophomore release, Gracetown (out in North America on March 17). Noteworthy single “Magic” offers the same endearing vibes as “Awkward” (minus the creepy undertones of a dude harassing a crush, of course), and Scarlett Stevens’ misty vocals flatter the somewhat cliché lyrics: “Is this some kind of magic / I’m a sucker for your tricks.” Chances are the feeling is mutual. — MARGARET FARRELL
Slum Village feat. Phife Dawg, “Push it Along” (Ne’Astra Music)
The legendary group that spawned J Dilla honor their fallen innovator with the crispest drum loop of 2015, adorned with anti-materialist rhymes (“stupid dumb necklace”) and plaintive piano. If D’Angelo can come back, why can’t these OkayPlayer stalwarts? — DAN WEISS