It’s the first week of October—you know what that means: We’re only weeks away from actually discussing the best songs of the year, not just the week. And that’s pretty overwhelming to think about on a Friday. So for the time being, we’re just going to focus on the songs we haven’t been able to stop spinning this week: The welcome return of an enigmatic and always exciting favorite, a bonus track from a punk band on the rise, one of the best rappers and the best producers dropping a super fun new single, and more.
Check out this week’s Essential Tracks, and listen to our ongoing 2022 Essential Tracks playlist.
Fever Ray – “What They Call Us”
We don’t get new Fever Ray music very often—two albums in 13 years if I have my math right. So for a new song to show up slightly ahead of schedule, five years after the release of Plunge, is the best kind of welcome surprise. But it’s better than that: “What They Call Us” is essentially a reunion of The Knife, with Karin Dreijer once again teaming up with longtime collaborator Olof Dreijer. It’s also just really fucking good. A characteristic hybrid of eerie synth textures, clattering beats and Karin’s pitch-shifted vocals, “What They Call Us” is both playful and menacing, the sort of strange contradiction that only The Knife can pull off so brilliantly and bewilderingly, and I—for one—hope it’s just the first of more new Fever Ray music to come soon.
Out now via Rabid/Mute
Militarie Gun – “Let Me Be Normal”
Los Angeles post-hardcore outfit Militarie Gun released two of last years best EPs, All Roads Lead to the Gun I and II, and earlier this year landed in this Essential Tracks column with their dazy collaboration, “Pressure Cooker.” But with the announcement of a deluxe reissue of those EPs with bonus material comes their new single “Let Me Be Normal,” a raw, punchy punk song with a lot of burly riffage to go around. “I’m sick of being a freakshow,” singer Ian Shelton sings against a raucous wall of guitars, “I’m tired of fighting on the front lawn.” It’s contemporary hardcore intensity with the hooks of ’90s-era grunge, and I’m here for every part of it.
From All Roads Lead to the Gun Deluxe, out October 20 via Loma Vista
Open Mike Eagle – “circuit city” [feat. Video Dave and still rift]
“I’m a brand new man doing the same dance,” declares Open Mike Eagle on “circuit city,” the last single he dropped from Component System with the Auto Reverse, which is out today. It’s a great punchline of a paradox, though for Mike, himself, far from the reality: He’s only continued to evolve and reveal new aspects of his artistry with each album, most recently opening about about more deeply personal material on 2020’s Anime, Trauma and Divorce. But then again, “circuit city” is the L.A. emcee doing what he’s done best all along, trading bars with two guest rappers on a cinematically lo-fi production from guaranteed ringer Madlib. Open Mike Eagle had made some of the most deeply affecting records in hip-hop in the past five years, but he’s also a seasoned veteran at making rap music that’s just an absolute blast to listen to.
From Component System with the Auto Reverse, out now via Auto Reverse
Ganser – “What Me Worry?”
Ganser released their new EP, Nothing You Do Matters, earlier this week, which features another recent Essential Track, “People Watching.” But “What Me Worry?” is a comparably badass companion to that song. This time featuring vocals from bassist Alicia Gaines, “What Me Worry?” immediately feels like one of the band’s heaviest songs to date, despite not being as viscerally aggressive. There’s a slow-burning and sinister groove to this one, darkly danceable and punctuated by some sharp shards of guitar. But as the song gradually unfolds, it reveals itself as one of the group’s most lush arrangements as well, draped in strings and haunted mystique.
From Nothing You Do Matters, out now via felte
Abraxas – “Göbekli Tepe”
Earlier this week we premiered the new single by Abraxas, a collaboration between current and former members of Night Beats and Los Bitchos, and we were hooked on first spin. “Göbekli Tepe,” named for an archeological site that’s become a favorite topic of conspiracy theory podcasts, is psychedelic rock with a keen focus on hooks. Jangly guitar swirls against jazzy keys, samba rhythms and mind-bending fuzz for a slow cruise down an LSD river. Psychedelic rock in recent years can skew from vaguely Byrds-y to completely unhinged instrumental freakouts, but Abraxas find a sweet spot somewhere in the middle—buy the ticket and so on…
From Monte Carlo, out October 28 via Suicide Squeeze
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.