SPIN Singles Mix: Courtney Love, La Luz, Active Child, and More
SPIN staffers handpick their can't-miss tracks to get you through the week
Welcome to SPIN‘s Singles Mix! SPIN staffers have rounded up their favorite, must-hear tracks for your personal playlists. Collecting the finest from ’90s grunge-punk queens, Northwest surf-noir singers, Swedish pop performers, and more, these are the songs you need to know right now.
Active Child, “Stranger” (Vagrant)
You may not have thought it possible, but Pat Grossi, a.k.a. Active Child, is in more agony than ever on his exquisite new single. Taken from his forthcoming album, Mercy (out on June 16 via Vagrant), the hauntingly lovely “Stranger” spotlights Grossi’s soaring falsetto, which comes complemented by surging waves of mood-appropriate synths and heart-shattering harp swells. Have your therapist’s phone number on hand after hitting “play.” — RACHEL BRODSKY
Anne Marie, “Karate” (Rocket Music Management)
This sultry Brit-soul jam takes a concept that could’ve been corny and instead makes Anne Marie the preeminent bedroom crooner in the U.K. The frequent Gorgon City collaborator pitches her vocals up a tick to this ghostly, slinky octave that lives somewhere between a purr and a belt. There’s a ton of restraint for a singer so able to howl in key. — BRENNAN CARLEY
Anoraak, “Odds Are Good” (Eskimo)
You may remember French producer Anoraak, a.k.a. Frédéric Rivière, from Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2011 vehicle Drive — he wasn’t on the soundtrack (a missed opportunity, especially with a track called “Nightdrive for You”), but Anoraak hopped on the “Drive Tour” with College and Electric Youth. Now, Anoraak has a piece on the new Eskimo Recordings compilation, The Orange Collection: “Odds Are Good” is another easy, breezy entry into his collection, chugging along on airy synthesizers like a weekend train to the beachside town of Nantes. — HARLEY BROWN
Courtney Love, “Miss Narcissist” (Ghost Ramp/Crush Music)
Love’s first new song since her bittersweet Empire lament “Walk Out on Me” seems to reflect her thoughts on ego and self-mythology, which she recently told Montage of Heck director Brett Morgen she had been exploring… or maybe that’s on us, and it’s just a fiercely rad sucker-punch of a song. “Miss Narcissist, magnificent and obvious / Bless us with your presence and your paranoia,” Love snarls sarcastically over bloody-knuckled fists of guitar riffs, taunting the shadow in the mirror with muttered incantations of “Come on, come on, come on!” — H.B.
La Luz, “You Disappear” (Hardly Art)
Seattle surf-rock project La Luz take us back to the beach in this rollicking yet nervous-sounding single from their forthcoming sophomore effort, Weirdo Shrine (out on August 7 via Hardly Art). It makes sense that they’d feel anxious — the quartet suffered a near-fatal car accident in 2013, and, as promised, they’ve channeled an ineffable out-of-control vibe via frontwoman Shana Cleveland’s winding guitar solos. Life might be no more predictable than an oncoming tidal wave, but these ladies know how to wrangle their boards. — R.B.
Tensnake, “The Walk” (Astralwerks)
German house paragon Tensnake returned earlier this year with the euphoric throwback “Keep on Talking,” and now it’s clear that the single’s B-side, “The Walk,” is just as infectious. Riding a skipping beat and a murmuring synth-bass line that seems like it could explode into Robin S.’s “Show Me Love” at any minute, Tensnake extends the tension of “The Walk” for a full song, adorning it with strings and vocal callouts until the groove becomes thoroughly satisfying in its own right. Just try not to get any Fitz and the Tantrums whistling stuck in your head while listening. — ANDREW UNTERBERGER
Tove Stryke, “Number One” (RCA)
After competing on Swedish Idol a few years ago, Tove Styrke has taken control over her own musical destiny, ripping off the shackles of television-imposed collaborators for an entirely self-written sophomore album. “Number One” was the last song she completed, and it’s obvious why she was waiting for it. Driven by a kick drum, ingeniously subversive songwriting, and spoken-word interludes you’ll want to memorize on the spot — “You’re only 18 / With stomps to the beat / But a killing machine / With stomps to the beat” — “Number One” has the potential to hit that top titular spot. — B.C.