Welcome back to The Verge's weekly musical roundup. I’m Jamieson, I’m still your host, and I hope you find your next jam this week!
From a selection perspective, this was one of the toughest weeks I can remember: September 25th was one of the busiest release days of the year, and a bunch of interesting and worthy singles have come out. It’s a nice problem to have, I guess — drowning in quality music isn’t so bad — but I found myself wishing I could expand this week’s edition to 12 or 15 songs. But self-imposed rules are self-imposed rules.
Our running playlist is embedded at the bottom for your listening convenience, and you're also welcome to share your own favorite cuts in the comments. Let's go:
André Bratten, "Quiet Earth":
Norwegian producer André Bratten is releasing his new album Gode on November 13th, and "Quiet Earth" is its first single. Bratten’s older work is a little more club-friendly — songs like "Trommer & Bass" sound like his better-known countryman, Todd Terje — but "Quiet Earth" is quite literally more cerebral. It’s built on meditative, shifting synth waves that never condense into anything danceable; in the song’s video, a scan of Bratten’s brain is made to move to the song’s beat. It’s worth a watch, and Gode should constitute an interesting shift for Bratten.
Alejandro Ghersi’s second LP Mutant is still supposed to arrive sometime this fall, and "Soichiro" is the latest bit of it he’s made available. (The title is the middle name of Ghersi’s collaborator Jesse Kanda, who helps shape the alien, unsettling visuals that define Arca.) Like much of Ghersi’s other work, the song is slippery, viscous, and surprising — like being dropped into a dunk tank full of sticky, indeterminate fluid. I don’t know if I’d call it pleasurable, exactly, but it’s always exciting.
Benoît Pioulard, "Noyaux":
If the Arca track above is a plunge into a mystery tank, then this new single from ambient producer Benoît Pioulard (aka Thomas Meluch) is the warm, cleansing bath that follows. "Noyaux" is the title track of an upcoming EP dedicated to Meluch’s family, and you don’t have to stretch to hear that in the song: it’s gentle and enveloping, like falling asleep buzzed in your childhood bedroom. I always have room for soothing, patient music like this in my life.
Chvrches, "Clearest Blue":
If you read my review last week, you know I’m a huge fan of Chvrches’ new album Every Open Eye. "Clearest Blue" has been my favorite track on the album for a few weeks. It’s the centerpiece and emotional core, an explosive piece of stadium-sized pop that doubles as a piercing look at anxiety and dependency. The music sends the message even if you’re not paying attention to the lyrics.
Disclosure ft. The Weeknd, "Nocturnal":
I made sure to mention this song in my review of Disclosure’s new album because I think it’s a best-case scenario for this post-dance phase of their career. They won’t get to work with Abel Tesfaye on all of their new songs, of course, but they can pursue this sound with other people. The pace is impeccable; the Frankie Knuckles reference is neat; the extra bit of length feels earned. This song could’ve ended after four minutes, but I’m glad it went on for seven: it gives it some extra weight, making it feel like an all-night odyssey that only ends with sunrise.
Fetty Wap ft. Monty, "Jugg":
Fetty Wap’s eponymous debut full-length came out last week, confirming that he’s both a) an irrepressible beam of sunlight and b) a ruthless, unparalleled hooksmith. (I feel guilty for thinking he’d become a one-hit wonder post-"Trap Queen." "Jugg" recaptures that song’s spirit — dancing and doing illegal stuff almost never sounds this joyous — and couples it to a melody like the one from "My Way," albeit with a few extra frills. Every Fetty Wap song has the same recipe, sure — but when the product’s this good, why would you tweak it?
Kurt Vile, "Life Like This":
If you believe "Life Like This," there are a lot of admirers looking to emulate Kurt Vile’s radiant chill. Many of them are fated to fall short. There’s a deceptive difficulty to being Kurt Vile — to "rolling with the punches," and "jumping from the sweetest to the toughest of tough love" — and his music’s just the same. I love songs that feel like they’re always rising; this one has a longing piano melody that tugs each new line upward before it’s yanked down by some sprayed guitar, a little amplified yowl. It’s simple, but there’s something special in the detail — and that’s why there’s only one Kurt Vile.
Enigmatic future-pop producer Sophie is releasing a singles compilation called PRODUCT on November 27th, a mix of four old songs and four new ones that comes with an actual, uh, "silicon product." "MSMSMSM" is the first new single that’s been released, and as far as Sophie goes it’s standard — it’s obsessed with texture, conscious of physicality, and sounds like it could slot into an ASMR YouTube channel without much effort. It’s particularly interesting as a nod to trap, though: this really isn’t that far from Hudson Mohawke. It’s just being filtered through a haunted house.
White Hinterland, "Chill and Natural":
This song blew my face off when it was premiered on Stereogum yesterday for a few different reasons. It’s a radical reinvention for Casey Dienel, last heard making amorphous and beguiling R&B on last year’s full-length Baby; it’s also an evisceration of the male fascination with "the cool girl," that mythical figure who’ll crush a six-pack and watch hours of Sunday football while also retaining some kind of resplendent femininity. Listen to Dienel, summoning Björk and Trent Reznor in equal measure: "All around the pretty hotels of America / Good girls are shaving themselves for marriage." This sounds like a victory.
Youth Lagoon, "Highway Stun Patrol Gun":
This highlight from Youth Lagoon’s new album Savage Hills Ballroom splits the difference between the raw tremulousness of Perfume Genius with a sense of propulsion that Trevor Powers hasn’t really shown before. This result is a song that feels dramatic and nourishing — it’s hearty enough to sustain you as the night starts getting longer and the air starts getting colder.
Here’s the running playlist — have an awesome weekend!