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SPIN Singles Mix: Deerhunter, Young Thug, Pure Bathing Culture, and More

Welcome to SPIN’s Singles Mix! SPIN staffers have rounded up their favorite, must-hear tracks for your personal playlists. Collecting the finest from Los Angeles shadow-pop duos, Atlanta hip-hop stars, German house trendsetters, and more, these are the songs you need to know right now.

Deerhunter, “Breaker” (4AD)

Quite simply, “Breaker” is the most accessible song Deerhunter have ever released, with little competition in an uncompromising, chameleonic career. Linear, harmonized, saturated with space-strings and tinny effects, Bradford Cox and Lockett Pundt’s first-ever duet (!) sounds like nothing so much as one of Soul Asylum’s more countryish tunes. Frustrated, incorporated. — DAN WEISS

GEMS, “Soak” (Carpark)

Lindsay Pitts and Clifford John Usher — a.k.a. Los Angeles’ GEMS — have a flair for the dramatic in this urgent cut from their upcoming record, Kill the One You Love (out on October 30). Though Pitts’ airy, dreamy vocals at first indicate something sweet and lighthearted, “Soak” darkens like a late-summer storm with pulsing electronic brooowwwwrs. Fall will be here sooner than you think. — RACHEL BRODSKY

Jam City, “Dream ’15” (Night Slugs)

It’s nearly impossible to discern what differentiates the good from the bad within this brand of futuristic bass music. It’s either absurdly boring or mystically intriguing, and you never know exactly why. For some reason, Jam City’s “Dream ’15,” falls under the latter category. Night Slug’s flagship artist presents us with a late-summer/early autumn number with an almost sentimental synth line and visceral percussion that is as primordial as it is chic and glossy. — OLIVER KINKEL

The Japanese House, “Clean” (Dirty Hit)

Amber Bain’s lead single from her EP of the same name (out on November 6) sparkles with chiming synthesizers that dance behind a vocoder, recalling a mid-’00s Imogen Heap. Produced by the London-based 19-year-old who performs as the Japanese House, alongside the 1975’s George Daniel and Matthew Healy, “Clean” swells but never feels heavy, carefully guided by crisp, scuttling drums. — NATHAN DILLER

Laura Stevenson, “Jellyfish” (Don Giovanni)

It’s hard not to identify with a song whose hook is “I’m a piece of s–t.” Laura Stevenson’s breezy pop-punk number is rife with self-deprecation (“I’m f—king hideous and spiteful / When I’m left to my own devices”) but the confidence beneath her riffs and smoothly imperfect vocals shows an awareness of how her self-loathing is exaggerated. “Jellyfish” is all about finding a positive, boisterous positivity from leaning into angst, while still keeping the door open for reflection and change without too much wallowing. — JAMES GREBEY

Pure Bathing Culture, “Palest Pearl” (Partisan)

Portland’s Sarah Versprille and Daniel Hindman have never shied away from lush synth-work, but on this gleaming track — from their forthcoming sophomore effort, Pray For Rain, out on October 23 — the duo take full advantage of their favored instrument’s dancier capabilities, creating an equally bumping and jangling piece of pop euphoria. — R.B.

The Radio Dept., “This Repeated Sodomy” (Labrador) 

The Radio Dept.’s Johan Duncanson always seemed like a romantic, but he’s used his wilted indie-pop work over the past few years as protest music. These one-off singles in the wake of Clinging to a Scheme have largely taken the form of whispered proclamations of dissent against governmental hegemony and the rising fascist party in his native Sweden. “This Repeated Sodomy” curiously finds him working in both modes, using the titular act as metaphor for political oppression and empty heartache-inducing sex. Such relationships can use a clean break. — COLIN JOYCE

Roman Flugel, “Teenage Engineering” (Hypercolour)

Originally one-half of über-dance-pop outfit Alter Ego, active from the mid-’90s to the mid-’00s, in the succeeding ten years German producer Roman Flugel has emerged as a slightly more streamlined version of his former self. His strains of eclectic tech-house still bop and roll with disco-ball synthesizer melodies, as on his most recent solo LP, last year’s Happiness Is Happening. “Teenage Engineering,” off his forthcoming six-track effort Monday Brain (out on October 23), sees Flugel’s icy keyboards and piano flourishes sneak through like flowers through the cracks in the hard, grey cement of a solid clap-track and symmetrical background shakers. — HARLEY BROWN

Young Thug, “Best Friend” (300 Entertainment)

Though a snippet of this paranormal Young Chop production’s been floating around for months — Thug’s camp is notoriously bad at capping leaks, which is maybe on purpose? — the full thing finally popped up with the world’s strangest, most introspective video. Set to appear on his upcoming mixtape Slime Season, “Best Friend” contains the lyrics: “And my reefer louder than the speaker / Yeah my niece is hanging with the Beatles,” the latter of which feels slightly unlikely, but is nonetheless one of the coolest brags of the year. — BRENNAN CARLEY

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