Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, BROCKHAMPTON make their epic return with the help of Danny Brown.
“BUZZCUT” marks the first official release from BROCKHAMPTON, the sprawling 13-member hip-hop group, since 2019. After dropping a series of limited-time songs throughout 2020, the band have now made an official return with the assertive single, along with some help from Danny Brown.
The undercurrent of the track is one of frustration, focusing on false dreams, haters and detractors, and dysfunctional family dynamics. Member Kevin Abstract leads the first verse and chorus, and additional background vocals are provided by producer Jabari Manwa. On the second verse, the feature from Danny Brown specifically takes aim at incels and doxxers hiding behind computer screens before directly quoting lines from a Nas feature on a 1995 Raekwon song: “Through the lights, camera, action, glamour, glitters and gold/ Unfold the scroll, plant seeds to stampede the globe.”
The accompanying music video, a semi-psychedelic trip through a kaleidoscope of early 2000s visuals, succinctly captures the feelings of panic and claustrophobia expressed in the song, especially in the pulsing chorus. In addition to their refusal to fit a mold resembling a traditional act in music, BROCKHAMPTON are interesting as a self-described “boy band” and have always been clear in their intent to undercut the stigma associated with the label. With this track, they continue to make the listener ask why a boy band shouldn’t be able to cover topics like the broken justice system, loneliness, frustration, racism, or existential fear. Ultimately, as a boy band, BROCKHAMPTON are just that: a group of young men, asking the questions that matter to them, in the form of ever-evolving music.
“Thank God you let me crash on your couch/ Who’s my God that I’m prayin’ to now?”
Amigo the Devil – “Murder at the Bingo Hall”
Dark Americana artist Amigo the Devil has returned with another chilling tale, “Murder at the Bingo Hall”. The track is from the Austin singer-songwriter’s forthcoming sophomore album, Born Against, arriving April 16th. Once again, Amigo the Devil assumes the role of a grim storyteller, weaving a tongue-in-cheek tale of bloodshed in the most unlikely of places. As the temper of the paranoid bingo-playing protagonist grows fiercer with each passing number, the song careens to a climactic, violent conclusion. Amigo the Devil, aka Danny Kiranos, has become one of Americana’s rising acts thanks to his brand of entertaining narrative songwriting. Think Marty Robbins’ Gunfighter Ballads channeled through the grim post-modernism and black humor of Breaking Bad. –Jon Hadusek
black midi – “John L”
black midi are back. The London experimental rock band have announced that their sophomore album, Cavalcade, will arrive in May via Rough Trade Records, and today they’re sharing its lead single, “John L”. The five-minute song has black midi’s signature swirling chaos, tempo wonkiness, and Geordie Greep’s bizarre speak-singing vocal delivery. It also features dramatic violin strokes courtesy of Jerskin Fendrix, a-melodic spurts of piano, and a bunch of unpredictable pauses that sound like the song is either over or your computer broke — and then the noise comes crashing back in. It’s an especially symphonic affair, and its equally ambitious music video was choregraphed by Nina McNeely, who’s worked with the likes of Rihanna and Tove Lo. It’s an operatic visualization of the song’s tale about a misguided cult that’s led by — well, you have to watch it above to find out. –Eli Enis
Braids – “Slayer Moon”
“Slayer Moon” is a melodramatic pop-rock sound with menacing (but sparing) guitar, airy keys, and one hell of a vocal performance that brings to mind St. Vincent. According to Braids, the song was inspired by a Sailer Moon phone case they bought in Tokyo while on tour in Japan. “Growing up I was obsessed with Sailor Moon, particularly with the ability to magically transform from a normal girl into a full-on mystical and powerful Sailor Scout, battle-ready to combat the evil forces of the world,” they said in a statement. –Nina Corcoran
Gojira – “Amazonia”
Gojira have unveiled the single “Amazonia” and its accompanying music video ahead of their new album, Fortitude, out April 30th. The French metal band have a long history of standing up for environmental activism and human rights issues in their songs. “Amazonia” again sees the group writing about delicate topics, this time shedding light on “the crisis impacting the Amazon and its indigenous communities,” according to their press release. The video splices in a lively performance clip of the band with footage of the aforementioned Brazilian communities. Frontman Joe Duplantier’s impressive guitar layering and groove riffs define the new track, and Gojira’s signature atmospherics are also in full effect. It’s another strong preview of the new album following the LP’s lead cut, “Born for One Thing”, and the 2020 surprise single “Another World” (also on the tracklist). –Jon Hadusek
UV-TV – “Distant Lullaby”
Now that spring is underway, there’s no better time to listen to UV-TV, a jangly indie rock band living in the heart of Queens, New York. Their music sounds like you’re driving to a party with your best friends, the windows are down, and that perfectly warm-yet-cool summer breeze is blowing all around. It’s hard to capture such a nostalgic feeling in music, but UV-TV manage to pull it off with their latest track, “Distant Lullaby”. From its opening drum crash onwards, “Distant Lullaby” is a radiant burst of power-pop joy. There’s some loose riffs, shoegaze guitar tones, comforting vocal harmonies, and a cowbell nestled into the background. It’s the “ba ba ba” vocal coos that steal the show, though, but maybe that’s just because it sounds like Yo La Tengo covering one of The Cure’s pop hits at double time. “Distant Lullaby” is the lead single from Always Something, UV-TV’s upcoming studio album. –Nina Corcoran
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