The 5 Best New Songs We Heard This Week: Kendrick Lamar on Race in America, Speedy Ortiz’s Feminist Anthem


This week was a tough one. A few established names dropped songs — Drake surprised us today with a whole album, Florence dropped a kind of confusing thing, and Hot Chip announced an album — but not all of them were quite up to snuff with what we’ve got here, which, to be honest, is also a bunch of stuff from established names. So, what we’re saying is: there was a lot of good music this week!

Kendrick Lamar — “The Blacker The Berry”

As discussed earlier this week. I don’t really have anything to add, except “Bring on the album, already!” — Tom Hawking

Chromatics — “Just Like You”

In other “bring on the album” news, this new Chromatics track is the first taste of a new album from Johnny Jewel, Ruth Radelet and co. It’s as woozily beautiful as one might expect, and happily, there’s more to come: as per his Soundcloud, Jewel is sharing a new song every week until the album is released. Huzzah. — TH

Speedy Ortiz — “Raising the Skate”

Sometimes being a woman is enough to make you wanna throw your arms up and ask, not-so-nicely, “Dear men, will you please get the fuck out of my way?” Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupris knows that feeling, as you can imagine she would as the leader of a rock’n’roll band. “I’m not bossy,” she specifies, “I’m the boss.” You can either rage blackout over the mansplainers, or you can take a walk around the block, go back in there, and prove ’em wrong. Supported by a band of awesome dude sympathizers, Dupris takes the latter option, offering up the feedback of “Raising the Skate” as the band’s version of, “You’re gonna hear me roar.” — Jillian Mapes

Jessie Ware — “Meet Me in the Middle”

I say this with all due respect: when it comes to soundtracking adult fun, British singer Jessie Ware’s two albums — particularly her first, 2012’s Devotion — make modern alterations to classic slow-jams. But sometimes, particularly around Valentine’s Day, you wanna go a touch more sultry with the bedroom sounds. Enter Ware’s Fifty Shades of Grey song, which connects D’Angelo’s timeless, bluesy soul to the Eighties’ most unsettling-sounding ballads in a way I didn’t know was possible. — JM

Spirit Club — “Duster”

In 2009, Nathan Williams released Wavvves under the Wavves moniker, causing an explosion in bedroom-records and surf rock. Granted, it wasn’t really Beach Boys surf rock (that would come later, on 2010’s follow-up, King of the Beach). No, it was stoned-out-of-its-mind surf rock, made by a guy who owns a surfboard but probably uses it as a bed at the beach, never even touching the water.

The Wavves project has seen a few releases since then, but Williams’ attention seems to have fully shifted to Spirit Club, a (seemingly) more collaborative group whose just-released “Duster” takes the nugget of surf-pop embraced by Wavves and buries it beneath an ounce of sticky-icky sludge, only this time with more harmonies and fewer “nyah nyah nyah”s. The video’s incessant sense of humor doesn’t hurt, either. — Shane Barnes