The 5 Best New Songs We Heard This Week: Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Punch ft. Kendrick Lamar

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Lady Lamb the Beekeeper (photo by Shervin Lainez)

This week, we’re a little bit country, and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, and a little bit hip-hop, and a little bit soul. That’s always the intent with this column, but this week we’ve got the added bonus that most of the folks here are fresh talent. Have a listen.

“Billions of Eyes” — Lady Lamb the Beekeeper

The most charmingly awkward verse of the year arrived this week, towards the end of Aly Spaltro’s new song: “The kind of high I like is when I barely make the train/ And the people with the seats smile big at me/ Because they know the feeling/ And for a millisecond/ We share a look like a family does/ Like we have inside jokes/ Like we could call each other by little nicknames.” Not that there wasn’t a lot to like about “Billions of Eyes” up until this verse. On the first single from Spaltro’s second album as Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, the folk-rock singer keeps things heavy on ’60s pop with a bratty “nah-nah-nah. “Lady Lamb the Beekeeper’s After is out March 3 via Mom+Pop, Spaltro’s new label home. — Jillian Mapes

“25” — Punch feat. Kendrick Lamar

Rapper Punch is known to most as Terrence Henderson, the president of TDE, the collective that’s home to Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q. It’s rare that he puts out new music himself, but his reasons for releasing this song is clear. After the legal system failed black America, again, in recent weeks, Punch’s easy flow about the risks of being young and black feel particularly necessary. — JM

“New Jacket” — Literature

It’s not fair (or original) to describe a band called Literature as “bookish,” and it’s not even necessarily accurate. But the Philadelphia band’s latest jangle-and-synth-heavy single, “New Jacket,” sounds just like something that would be right at home blasting through the earbuds of a wannabe Max Fischer as he crosses his snow-covered Ivy League campus, headed to the library, or maybe fencing class. — Shane Barnes

“The Informant” — Steelism

Nashville instrumental duo Steelism make tunes that riff on everything from samba to disco to surf to good ol’ country, but it’s mostly vibes of the stuff that made their debut 615 to Fame special. They’ve got a new single, “The Informant,” and its title alone signals its intended vibe. It delivers on that promise with easy bass lines and sneaking steel guitars that could easily be ripped from a Bond movie — one directed by the Coen Brothers and set in 1963. — SB

“Alone at the Show” — Girlpool

Los Angeles’ Girlpool is one of 2014’s best new punk bands, and “Alone at the Show” is one last simple reminder before the year ends. Recorded for zine The Le Sigh‘s second issue, the song sums up feelings you may know intimately if you spend any amount of time in DIY circles, going to small shows populated by the same crowd. The bassline slays me — it’s dark, like the flipside of having a crush. — JM