Welcome to our weekly roundup of the SPIN staff’s favorite new songs. Below, sample the best from Long Island post-emo legends, dance-punk pioneers, and more.
Brand New, “I Am a Nightmare” (Procrastinate! Music Traitors)
Hand it to Brand New for having the foresight to name themselves after what each successive record they make feels like. The copper-wire power-pop of “I Am a Nightmare” is yet another dice-roll from the Long Island quartet, a sideways about-face hearkening back to the hooky calisthenics of “Jude Law and a Semester Abroad.” Is the titular nightmare actually parallel to “you are a miracle?” Of course not. What’s emo if not willfully imperfect? — DAN WEISS
Car Seat Headrest, “Not What I Needed” (Matador)
Bandcamp darling Will Toledo, a.k.a. Car Seat Headrest, cranks out tunes at a pace that would make Robert Pollard blush, and that prolificacy might have caused a little detail like licensing to fall by the wayside. Last week, Matador and Toledo issued a statement regarding the total recall of physical copies of the new Headrest LP, Teens of Denial, due to a song containing elements of the Cars’ “Just What I Needed” needing to be removed and replaced. Toledo and his label say they negotiated for the proper license months ago, but were denied at the last minute. So the 23-year-old songwriter (and consummate professional) reworked the tune, now titled “Not What I Needed” (still “Just What I Needed/Not What I Needed” on digital platforms) within a 48-hour deadline. The result is a howling, fuzzy missive, as Toledo continues to explore themes of alienation, fruitless questions, and the search for a home. — DREW FORTUNE
Courtship Ritual, “Down Low” (Godmode)
Needless to say, it would be a travesty if a song called “Down Low” didn’t have a really good low end. The two members of Brooklyn-based Courtship Ritual were (at least at one time) part of Shamir’s backing band, and you’ll hear a hint of the disco wunderkind’s swag in the slinky bass and Monica Salazar’s tongue-in-cheek declaration, “I lo-o-ove authority.” We recommend using this song as part of your, uh, courtship ritual. — ANNA GACA
The Faint, “Young & Realistic” (Self-Released)
The old saying goes, young, dumb, and full of — well, you know. But Omaha electro-punk greats the Faint sing a slightly different tune on the rave-ready “Young & Realistic.” Stuffed with soaring, straining synths, diced vocal manipulation, and a thumbing back beat, this follow-up to 2014’s Doom Abuse LP recites the same pragmatic sentiment over and over: “If this is love, it’s enough.” It’ll be enough for you too. — RACHEL BRODSKY
Holy F**k, “Caught Up” (Innovative Leisure)
It’s been more than a decade since Toronto maelstrom-makers Holy F**k dropped their debut in 2005, and it’s been another six years since their most recent effort, 2010’s Latin. But the chaos continues on their long-awaited follow-up — Congrats, out May 27 — and its convulsing single, “Caught Up.” Ultrasonic percussion skitters and atonal horns blare over a buzz of barely audible lyrics, while the track itself sounds ready to combust in a staticky blast of frayed wire. Do yourself a favor: Don’t flake on catching up with Holy F**k. — R.B.
Maren Morris, “Rich” (Columbia Nashville)
Strutting with borrowed Steve Miller-via-Shaggy swagger, emerging country star Maren Morris celebrates her theoretical Scrooge McDuck-like fortune, born from countless “If I had a dime for every…” proverbs related to one particular no-goodnik’s false promises. It’s clever and cocky as pre-post-dollar-sign Kesha, and as infectious and empowering as a song about being stuck in a toxic relationship has ever been. Should be at least as big as “Royals,” really. — ANDREW UNTERBERGER
Sampha, “Timmy’s Prayer” (Young Turks)
You’d think the market is already full when it comes to mournful voices with British lilts — there’s 17 fairly new James Blake tracks out there. But perhaps not: Sampha, who was introduced to many Americans through Drake’s 2013 family tell-all “Too Much,” has returned with his first new song in three years. While the bleak cloud of acceptance hangs over Blake’s work, Sampha’s songs deal in misguided hope. “If heaven’s a prison / Then I am your prisoner,” he sings over woozy keys. It’s a plea even though both Sampha and the listener know the pearly gates are closed. — BRIAN JOSEPHS