Welcome to our weekly roundup of the SPIN staff’s favorite new songs. Below, sample the best from picketing pop satirists, Detroit hip-hop stalwarts, and more.
DeJ Loaf, “Chase Mine” (Columbia)
Nearly two years after her debut mixtape, Sell Sole, Detroit rapper DeJ Loaf returns with All Jokes Aside. The release and its 11 tracks, which promise to be a taste of her upcoming full-length, see DeJ going hard on her own. She states: “Not what anyone else wants me to do / It’s what I want to do / I’m in charge, I run my show / And it feels damn good.” This unapologetically brash ethos has been an undercurrent of many past DeJ releases, and the new focus looks good on her. — MEGAN BRADLEY
Julianna Barwick feat. Mas Ysa, “Same” (Dead Oceans)
Writing about just one Julianna Barwick track feels like reviewing only one star in the constellation, but here we are listening to “Same,” a luminous, milli-layered orchestration featuring Thomas Arsenault, a.k.a. one-man synth alchemist Mas Ysa. Arsenault’s husky voice folds naturally into the rich texture of Barwick’s aural universe. “Now I know,” the pair intones, privy to some ancient knowledge we mortals aren’t. “If it’s always the same, then what are we trying for?” For the same reason people keep stargazing, probably. — ANNA GACA
Nellie McKay, “Success (Bernie Sanders Song)” (Self-Released)
This long-lost polymath has been making smart, snappy post-cabaret tunes long after the industry decided she wasn’t the next Eminem-and-Nora-Jones-both, and knowing her astute political pedigree, a Feel the Bern move isn’t surprising in the slightest. Nor is the fact that the tune is great: “We have been wronged, and we’ve all had enough” and “Getting by on overtime” are inconvenient truths that here sound like gospel. We always knew she could put the “songs” in “protest songs,” but McKay actually sounds like someone who’s been on a picket line: “You will have a grand old time / Sister, can you spare a sign?” — DAN WEISS
Peach Kelli Pop, “Halloween Mask” (Lauren Records)
Between the “woman tax” and gender-specific ads hocking an array of look-good/feel-good products, keeping afloat in a sea of expectations is exhausting. Los Angeles garage-pop five-piece Peach Kelli Pop address this very issue in the sweetly wry single “Halloween Mask,” which is due to appear on the band’s upcoming 7-inch (arriving on April 29). “Halloween mask / Beneath my skin is grey,” they admit above sugary chords, giving the impression that even if one were to somehow miraculously master every fashion trend and facial contouring exercise, none of it would guarantee emotional fulfillment. — RACHEL BRODSKY
Small Circle, “We Belong Here” (Self-Released)
The three-song Melatonin EP is the first release from Small Circle, the new indie-pop project of Sorority Noise frontman Cam Boucher. The song jangles and sighs like Los Campesinos!, building momentum slowly with beautifully bent riffing and Krautrock-motored drums, only to leak it out like an open balloon with an unexpected early fade. “It’s so easy to write about you / There’s just never enough words,” bemoans lead vocalist Marissa D’Elia, a tension between the sublimely simple and the frustratingly insufficient that “We Belong Here” spends three minutes toeing exquisitely. — ANDREW UNTERBERGER
Taylor Bennett, “Straight From the Bottom” (Tay Bennett Entertainment)
“Straight From the Bottom” is less boastful than its name suggests. The younger Bennett (Chancelor, a.k.a. Chance the Rapper, is Taylor’s older brother), lets his raspier, more world-weary voice tell his story over a delicate, deliberate piano riff, while the “brag” about how far he’s come has a certain contentedness to it, even suggesting a healthy work-life balance (“I need to take a vacation / Shut down corporations for two nights”). Bennett may be pleased with his success, but his potential suggests a high ceiling hangs overhead. — JAMES GREBEY
Wussy, “Ceremony (New Order cover)” (Shake It Records)
There are plenty of ways for a cover song to be successful, but it can be especially meaningful when artists weave in their perspective without compromising the magic of the original — which Cincinnati’s Wussy do with aplomb with this take on New Order’s 1981 classic. Staying faithful to the new-wave pioneers’ looping guitar line, Wussy throw in layers of hazy, frayed distortion while singing Ian Curtis’ last lyrics together in unruly unison. — R.B.