SPIN Singles Mix: Skylar Spence, Chelsea Wolfe, Craig Finn, 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 Scandinavian club royalty, indie-goth grave dwellers, sludge-metal heathens, and more, these are the songs you need to know right now.
Chelsea Wolfe, “Grey Days” (Sargent House)
Gothic folk singer Chelsea Wolfe has made a name for herself with haunting, doom-and-gloom dirges, and she shows no sign of lightening up on this beautifully devastating new single. With crunchy guitars, galloping drums, and a single droning violin, Wolfe has crafted a pitch-black mini-epic, complete with mythological imagery: “Lost inside the River Styx,” she sings, her wispy voice swimming in distortion. — TREE PALMEDO
Craig Finn, “Maggie I’ve Been Searching for Our Son” (Partisan)
The opening drum swing and jaunty acoustic strum makes it sound like the Hold Steady’s frontman is about to launch into a treatise about the lack of cure for summertime blues, but the woes of Craig Finn’s characters aren’t seasonal or weather-dependent: “It was warm in Arizona / It was cold in Colorado / Maggie, I’ve been searching for our son.” By song’s end, he’s reading about movie-theater shootings in the paper and joining up with cults that get raided by the ATF. “There’s a darkness in my body, and I think I might be ready.” No dice, son, you gotta work late. — ANDREW UNTERBERGER
DA$H, Domo Genesis, and Remy Banks, “4:50AM” (OFWGKTA Official)
Need a pick-me-up? “4:50AM” is an injection of hedonism potent enough to carry you through the end of your graveyard shift. The track feels like a competitive cypher, the goal of which is to craft the hardest one-liner possible. Black Noi$e, meanwhile, laces creepy Odd Future-style synths with a sparse RZA-esque sample to produce the sinister underbelly of the track. A wicked excursion for all the Raekwon enthusiasts out there. — ANDREW STONE
Gun Outfit, “Gotta Wanna” (Paradise of Bachelors)
The latest outing from Gun Outfit crystallizes from nothingness like a Yo La Tengo song slowly surfacing out of primordial ooze. Lazily lilting guitar lines slowly meander into recognizable shapes, drums putter and clatter until they lock into a kraut-lite groove, and intersecting vocals dance around the slowly forming structures as if they’re seeking out the sticky melody they’ll eventually settle on. This is music of becoming, an indie rock cut that sounds more like the process of making a pop song than a pop song itself. — COLIN JOYCE
Heathered Pearls, “Abandoned Mall Utopia” (Ghostly)
As Heathered Pearls, Brooklynite Jakub Alexander layers patterns of synthesizer melodies and rhythms into undulating ambient sounds like scientifically calibrated Muzak. His latest track, “Abandoned Mall Utopia,” comes off of his sophomore LP, Body Complex, a collection of more vibrantly pulsing tracks than his 2012 debut, which makes sense: This album comes at summer’s sticky final days, while Loyal arrived in the winter. And the quietly ticking, pinging “Utopia” is perfect for listening to while sprawled on the couch, trying to stay cool under a ceiling fan while feeling the body’s heartbeat under hot, sweaty skin. — HARLEY BROWN
Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique, “Set Me Free” (Konichiwa Records/Cherrytree/Interscope)
Our lady of superb Swedish pop comes ’round the Kebnekaise, with La Bagatelle Magique (her touring keyboardist Markus Jägerstedt and the late producer Christian Falk). Their end result only marks the beginning of your ensuing dance floor pleasures: Urging the listener to break a sweat, with reverberating “set me free” requests and her cohorts’ thudding beats and wall-pushing synths, the trio’s second cut from their forthcoming EP, Love Is Free will no doubt have exactly the desired effect. — RACHEL BRODSKY
Skylar Spence, “Affairs” (Carpark)
Ryan DeRobertis used to make vaporwave under the name Saint Pepsi, slowing down and pulling apart samples until they felt like they were going to totally dissociate. His Skylar Spence material does the opposite, if new single “Affairs” is indication. Its economical mix of burbling synths, disco guitar, and foundational bass work is downright architectural, but the chintziness suggests the resulting structure is more Holiday Inn than hotel or motel. But that’s fine, that’s where affairs should happen anyway. — C.J.
Superhumanoids, “Norwegian Black Metal” (Innovative Leisure)
No song could sound less like its title than this flute-driven bouncer. With Sarah Chernoff’s high-reaching disco vocals leading the charge, “Norwegian Black Metal” longs for an immediate escape (“Can I take you away? / Out of L.A.?”), but, being rooted in creaking baritone synth (and likely some common sense), understands how tough it is to realistically abscond you’re an adult and have — sigh — responsibilities. — R.B.
Thou, “Eyehatethou” (Adult Swim)
After nodding toward the mainstream earlier this year with their fairly straightforward Nirvana cover, Thou are back to their usual despondent selves. The title of this track nods to their sludgy forerunners in Eyehategod, with the implicit claim (through the transitive property) they themselves are divine. With guitars that can move mountains, and drum hits that could open the Earth up, “Eyehatethou” thunders and rolls with the gravitas of Old Testament judgement. Thou is God? Sure, why not. — C.J.