SPIN Singles Mix: Travi$ Scott, Ducktails, Bilal, 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 New Jersey guitar-pop professionals, tech-house ravers, pint-sized Swedish nymphettes, and more, these are the songs you need to know right now.
Bilal, “Satellites” (Purpose Music Group/eOne Music)
A Philadelphia native from the Roots’ Okayplayer collective whose falsetto has graced works by Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar, Bilal Sayeed Oliver has been a best-kept-secret of the mainstream for years, and his own work leans toward the psychedelic. Just listen to the watery guitar and foamy organ that pools below his curling whine on “Satellites,” which is more like an acid-rock song than the neo-soul he’s typically associated with. He calls himself a “twisted vigilante” in the bizarre second half, over jagged salsa-metal that may finally make him a belated headliner in his own right. — DAN WEISS
Cyril Hahn feat. Joel Ford, “Last” (PMR Records)
Vancouver-via-Switzerland producer Cyril Hahn cut his teeth writing folk songs — not something you might expect from a signee to Disclosure’s label — but his originals and remixes are some of the smoothest melodic electronica you’ll find this side of the Atlantic. “Last” bobs along like a slightly storm-addled surf as Joel Ford, one-half of Brooklyn’s most eclectic danceniks Ford & Lopatin and affiliate of Young Ejecta, provides soothing, good-for-swaying vibes. — HARLEY BROWN
Deradoorian, “A Beautiful Woman” (Anticon)
As a former member of Dirty Projectors and one of the auteurs behind Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, Angel Deradoorian has had her hands in some of the indie-rock’s mostly hyperactive and hyper-arranged records in recent memory. Her solo work’s stoned synth exercises have traditionally moved a little slower, but the dexterous kraut-pop clatter of “A Beautiful Woman” is far more clearheaded — a little sunlight peeking through the clouds of smoke. — COLIN JOYCE
Ducktails, “Surreal Exposure” (Domino)
Arranging acoustic strums, tinkling keys, lighthearted synths, and even an echo of what sounds like harpsichord, Matt Mondanile’s latest St. Catherine cut gently warms the ears like the sun on an early summer afternoon. But at just under three minutes, there’s no chance “Surreal Exposure” will shine long enough to singe the skin. — RACHEL BRODSKY
Dusky, “Jilted” (17 Steps)
God bless the U.K. garage reunion that birthed hard-hitting duos Disclosure and Gorgon City, but let us not forget Dusky, a similarly minded Brit-based pair that also know their way around a warehouse rave with eyes closed. Indeed, their latest sublime slice of tech-house, “Jilted,” is “one for the ravers,” as they write on their Soundcloud. A bass line with the frequency of a submarine alarm blurts throughout the track, which picks up steam with piston-pumping beats and ghostly, intermittent vocal samples. — H.B.
Georgia, “Be Ache” (Domino)
It’s tricky to imbue a sense of pop urgency in a chilly electronic arrangement, but Georgia Barnes does it with aplomb on this self-produced genre hybrid. Taken from her forthcoming self-titled album (out on August 7), Barnes’ voice adopts the high-register whine of a radio-friendly singer like Sia or Rihanna, while still experimenting with computer glitch, icy percussion, and warped vocal manipulation. All you Game of Thrones fans will call it a song of ice and fire. — R.B.
MYRKUR, “Hævnen” (Relapse Records)
Danish songwriter Amalie Bruun makes mannered indie pop as one half of the Billy Corgan-approved duo Ex-Cops, but the curdled screams that she unleashes as MYRKUR might be enough give to the Smashing Pumpkin a little shock. “Hævnen,” her latest single under her formerly mysterious black-metal moniker, picks up the blood-stained shards of the genre’s fractious history and rearranges them into a sort of stained glass that’s equal parts harrowing and beautiful. — C.J.
Travi$ Scott, “3500” feat. Future and 2 Chainz (Epic Records)
With the names involved in this monster — not just the three (well, two-and-a-half, at least) big names up top, but mega-producers Metro Boomin, Zaytoven, and Mike Dean on the beat, among others — anything less than the year’s most epic hip-hop cut would be underwhelming. If “3500” doesn’t quite get there, it’s close enough: A nearly eight-minute head-nodder juxtaposing sparse “Hail Mary” key plinks and ticking 808s on the verse with apocalyptic synth zooms and rapid-fire drum spits on the shout-along chorus: “$3,500 for the code / Only real niggas keep afloat / Only trill niggas I know.” Scott should be on his way to joining his co-stars on hip-hop’s A-list soon enough. — ANDREW UNTERBERGER
Zara Larsson, “Lush Life” (Epic Records)
Listen, we’re not getting another Rihanna album anytime soon, so brush away your tears and press play on the RiRi-reminiscent Zara Larsson’s gorgeously rendered “Lush Life,” a Swedish pop song that bursts with summertime energy. The teenaged Larsson has this caramelized rasp to her voice (“It was a crush,” she sings, stomping down on that last syllable for eviscerating emphasis), which pairs nicely with the very Max Martin-esque, Scandinavian production. “Lush Life” is cute but not cloying, a “Teenage Dream” descendant with double the handclaps and personality. — BRENNAN CARLEY