Song of the Week delves into the fresh songs we just can’t get out of our heads. Find these tracks and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist, and for our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, Sigur Rós make a sublime return with “Blóðberg.”
Even at its best, post-rock can be a pretty damn alienating genre. As we explored in our list of the 10 best post-rock albums of all time, the long, meandering, sonically unconventional songs aren’t exactly bangers you’d sprinkle into a party playlist. But for isolated, near-spiritual experiences, the genre can’t be beaten. Icelandic post-rockers Sigur Rós have been proving as much for decades, and for their comeback single “Blóðberg,” they offer one of the most seductively sublime compositions of their career.
Jumping into “Blóðberg,” and the rest of Átta, comes with quite a bit of baggage. Beyond the inevitable comparisons to their most canonized works — albums like Ágætis byrjun, which tower as genre-defining classics — it’s also the first new music from the band in a decade. For fans, it’s potentially a perfect storm of unrealistic expectations.
So, does Sigur Rós combat such expectations with a grand reinvention? Perhaps an overly-ambitious, progressively-structured odyssey of a song? No. Instead, “Blóðberg” strips the band to its bare essentials (which, yes, a 41-piece orchestra does in fact count as an essential). With no explosive crescendos, mounting guitars, or even any sort of percussion to hide behind, the track dares to hinge on the beauty of its melody and orchestrated backdrop alone.
On paper, it might sound the tiniest bit dull. But in practice, Sigur Rós transports the listener into a state of extra-reality, astonishingly making its over-seven-minute runtime feel far shorter than it really is. It’s ethereal, transitive, and a fitting return for the avant-rock giants.
— Jonah Krueger
Slaughter Beach, Dog – “Strange Weather”
While the 2017 cut “Acolyte” might be TikTok’s favorite Slaughter Beach, Dog song (and it is a great tune), Jake Ewald’s songwriting has only strengthened with each subsequent release. The latest from the Philadelphia indie outfit, the easy-going and lovely “Strange Weather,” continues the upward trend. With its electric piano and bluesy guitar, “Strange Weather” takes almost a country rock angle to Slaughter Beach, Dog’s usual indie formula. What the track does have in common with Ewald’s previous work, however, is how he strikes the perfect balance between singable and poetic lyricism. Here’s to hoping Slaughter Beach, Dog has more songs like this one coming sooner than later. — J. Krueger
Sedona – “Domino”
Sedona is back to ring in a sad summer with “Domino,” her second single of 2023. The song takes after the ’90s-inspired “Sharkbite,” a 2021 single that saw the New York songwriter embracing a fuzzier, sharper style. Throughout, Sedona laments her disillusionment in a relationship, using her crystal clear vocals as a contrast to the paralyzing disappointment she sings about. Compared to her debut single five years ago (the still-irresistible “Call Me Up,”) “Domino” feels like the top of a totally different mountain for Sedona, and all eyes are on what she’ll do next. — Paolo Ragusa
Coach Party – “Born Leader”
Coach Party’s new single “Born Leader” is great for many reasons. It’s a terrific introduction to the Isle of Wight group’s anthemic shoegaze, each band member is firing on all cylinders, and it splits the difference between reverb-drenched, slacker-esque malaise and rousing rock. But perhaps the greatest part of “Born Leader” is its instantly memorable chorus, with vocalist Jess Eastwood’s soaring, desperate melodies giving the song a surge of energy. “I always question myself,” she sings in the second verse. There may be some doubt and insecurity in the song’s lyrics, but “Born Leader” still oozes with confidence. — P.R.
Girl Scout – “Boy in Blue”
It’s their seventh single — seventh song ever — but you wouldn’t know it. Girl Scout’s “Boy in Blue” is catchy, electric, and refreshing, infusing a song about frustration and ghosting with the lightness and cleverness the band has become known for in such a short amount of time. With a harmonious chorus reminiscent of Best Coast and a lilting xylophone breakdown to keep you on your toes, “Boy in Blue” is indie rock personified and made new again. — Maura Fallon
Vagabon – “Can I Talk My Shit?”
Back in January, Laetitia Tamko announced the release of her third album Sorry I Haven’t Called, the follow up to her self-titled folk album. Her latest single, “Can I Talk My Shit?” is an upbeat pop number that effortlessly demonstrates her versatility as an artist. Vagabon also showcases her rap chops, continuing to explore new grounds on this record and building off the kaleidoscopic sound of the project’s lead single, “Carpenter.” — Sun Noor
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