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SPIN’s 7 Favorite Songs of the Week: Danny Brown, IAN SWEET, and More

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the SPIN staff’s favorite new songs. Below, sample the best from bombastic Detroit rappers, Pharrell-backed folk-pop singers, and more.

Chris Staples, “Relatively Permanent” (Barsuk)

In 2014, veteran backing musician Chris Staples (Telekenis, Father John Misty) released American Soft, a staggering yet understated collection of delicate Americana. On “Relatively Permanent,” the lead single from sophomore Barsuk LP Golden Age (out August 19), the Seattle native manages to create a tender, restorative atmosphere in just over two minutes. Relying only on crisp guitars and light backing vocals, Staples is point-blank as he sings in signature low-key delivery: “This could be an accident / or relatively permanent / but either way / I’m gonna stay / and love you for another day.” — JEFFREY SILVERSTEIN

Danny Brown, “When It Rain” (Warp Records)

XXX and Old are split in two parts: drug-caked hedonism and the bleak biographical details behind it. That’s fine, but the songs that co-mingle the two suggest Brown is selling himself short with this format — remember how compelling Brown was as he anxiously deconstructed himself on XXX’s closer “30”? “When It Rain” is even better: a look at cruel poverty (“Doomed from the time we emerged from the womb”) and the chest-beating pride it births (“When it rain, when it pour, get your ass on the floor”) over a decrepit thumper of a Paul White beat. — BRIAN JOSEPHS

IAN SWEET, “Slime Time Live” (Hardly Art)

Swapping pop culture’s omnipresent ’90s obsession for rose-colored memories of the following decade (this track’s inspiration ran from 2000 to 2003 on Nickelodeon), Brooklyn’s IAN SWEET weave lyrics about getting soaked in neon gunk with off-balance melodies and Jilian Medford’s pitchy squeal. Time to find a pair of goggles. — RACHEL BRODSKY

Kornél Kovács, “BB” (Studio Barnhus)

A Choco-Taco-tasty disco guitar lick yelps alongside a “D.A.N.C.E.”-like vocal squeal to make Kornel Kovacs’ latest the year’s most riotous dancefloor jam that’s still majority-owned by melancholy — as moaning synths blanket the song in introspection, like that fog that turns people inside out. Looks like the “BB” stands for Barely Breakin’. — ANDREW UNTERBERGER

NAWAS, “Wrong” (Self-Released)

“Baby, tell me what I’m doing wrong,” Jake Nawas sings in his unmistakable falsetto. To which we would answer, “Absolutely nothing.” The Nashville R&B group has been pushing all the right genre boundaries, with rich, thoughtful lyricism and tightly produced instrumental tracks. Their new song, “Wrong,” is a dense, sparkly track featuring heavy bass and fluid guitar riffs that find the medium between Prince’s androgynous melodies and Calvin Harris’ euphoric bangers. — MAYA LEWIS

Maggie Rogers, “Alaska” (Self-Released)

Being a musician means knowing how to self-edit. Maggie Rogers (a former SPIN intern) does just that with her spectacular new single, “Alaska.” Produced, written, and sung by the NYU student, “Alaska” comes with Pharrell’s seal of approval and blends folk, electronic, and pop music sensibilities to form an entirely new hybridized sound. It’s a bit in Sylvan Esso’s hybrid-skirting vein, but more atmospheric.  — BRENNAN CARLEY

Tirzah, “Obviously” (Greco-Roman)

You might recognize producer/singer/songwriter Tirzah from her work with producers besties like Mica “Micachu” Levi, Tricky, and Baauer. And while the three eerie songs that she’s just uploaded to SoundCloud certainly won’t inspire collaborations with superstar producers like Dr. Luke or Max Martin, they are noteworthy in their prickly beauty alone. Dusky highlight “Obviously” functions on lush synth textures, looped vocals, and a simple drumbeat. While each element alone boasts an uncomfortable — even extraterrestrial — quality, when Tirzah puts them in staggered unison, the result is a track that is as club-ready as it is unsettling. — MATTHEW MALONE

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