With so much good music steadily coming through, it's easy to miss some of the best. To help prevent this, we've rounded up the best new songs of the month. Here are the songs you can't afford to skip, in no particular order.
Frank Ocean - "Provider"
Frank Ocean's Blonded RADIO run has been wild. He's debuted some of 2017's best singles on the show ("Chanel"! "Biking"! "Lens"!) and, alongside hosts Vegyn and Roof Access, played a wonderful variety of music new and old. The show's seventh episode was another winner, with Frank rapping over 2 Chainz' "Rolls Royce Bitch" and dropping "Provider."
It's another pop culture reference packed song (Stanley Kubrick, Aphex Twin, Evander Holyfield, and Goku all get shout outs) and yet another reminder that Frank Ocean is one of the most exciting active artists alive.—Alex Gardner
Post Malone ft. 21 Savage - "Rockstar"
In the two years since "White Iverson," Post Malone has gone from an unknown to a bonafide superstar. His debut album Stoney spawned hits like "Congratulations," "Go Flex," and "Deja Vu," and proved he's far from a one hit wonder.
Now, Post is back, and he's linked with 21 Savage for the addicting "Rockstar." I've listened to it five times so far today and have no desire to stop. That middle part when Post's voice is quivering and screaming "don't give a daaammmn!" is incredible. And I did not think I could enjoy a "Gratata" reference in 2017 but somehow Post makes it work. Okay, time for listen number six. —John Walaszek
Rex Orange County - "Edition"
Rex Orange County came through with another spotless love song this week—"Edition" doesn't quite crack the two-minute mark, but in that time the English songwriter turns in another heartbreaker with little more than electric keys, a muffled drum loop, and a dash of guitar. His fan base may have exploded after the Flower Boy feature, but Rex Orange County has had adoring crowds at his beck and call for a minute. His stardom, at this point, is only a matter of time.—Graham Corrigan
Maggie Rogers - "Split Stones"
"'Split Stones' is a parting gift," Maggie Rogers writes in a letter shared on Instagram. "This is me saying goodbye for a little while. Here's to the end of the beginning and the start of everything else." It's a sleek, soaring song and the perfect way to cap off a crazy year for the rising artist, whose career was set into motion with the massively successful "Alaska." Maggie appeared suddenly and ascended quickly, but she's held on to a very genuine, organic approach to music, and we're looking forward to what's next.—Jacob Moore
Carnage & Young Thug - "Liger"
Young Thug is capable of many things, ranging from erratic street raps to gorgeous melodies, but Carnage brought out the beast in him for the Young Martha EP. Carnage provides some enormous, cinematic production, and Thug rises to the occasion. The whole thing is great, but "Liger"—a song where Young Thug declares that everyone has tigers, so he went and got a liger—is the one.—Jacob Moore
Injury Reserve - "Boom X3"
Arizona rap trio Injury Reserve are getting better with each release and their new EP Drive It Like It's Stolen sees them exploring a variety of sounds and styles, from the mournful "North Pole" to in your face rap workouts like "Boom X3." On the latter, MCs Ritchie and Stepa take aim at any and everyone in range, from people biting their sound to critics of the way rap is today. Listen close, because this one is a lot of fun. Watch our video profile of Injury Reserve above.—Alex Gardner
Catch Injury Reserve live on the Pigeons & Planes stage at ComplexCon, which goes down November 4 and 5 in Long Beach, California. Day time expo tickets allow entry into the event from 11am-7pm, and include access to the P&P stage, marketplace, and panels. They are on sale now at ComplexCon.com/tickets.
Smokepurpp ft. Travis Scott - "Fingers Blue"
Smokepurpp was one of the first artists of this new wave of young, rebellious rappers on the scene to sign a record deal when he joined Alamo Records earlier this year and many have been anticipating his debut album DEADSTAR. Now the album is finally here and the 20-year-old rapper also announced that he joined Travis Scott's Cactus Jack Records. To accompany the announcement, Purpp also released "Fingers Blue," a Ronny J and Frank Dukes-produced collab between the two energetic artists. This is arguably one of the heaviest cosigns given out to the new wave of rappers so it will be very interesting to see what's next for the Miami rapper now that he will be working with one of the biggest acts in the game.—Eric Isom
SZA - "Quicksand"
This season's Insecure soundtrack is star-studded, and alongside already released tracks there's been brand new music from the likes of Kelela, SZA, and Jorja Smith. The SZA and Jorja songs were released in full last week, and these aren't just throwaways. "Quicksand" continues exploring many of the themes that are central to SZA's album Ctrl. while "Fine Line" puts Jorja's lush vocals center stage again, pairing them with a woozy beat. Issa Rae is killing it on all fronts right now, and this exceptional soundtrack is yet another win.—Alex Gardner
St. Vincent - "Los Ageless"
The unfolding of St. Vincent's campaign for her upcoming album, Masseduction, has been a pleasure to witness. Despite her tongue-in-cheek "interview" videos and colorful, striking imagery, it's still her music that shines the brightest. Annie Clark's latest single "Los Ageless" is filthy, with its pulsating beat, writhing vocals, and, of course, guitar wizardry. The song is the perfect soundtrack to those scandalous things that happen behind closed doors, and it's a great addition to what's shaping up to be yet another great album from St. Vincent.—Joyce
A Boogie wit da Hoodie - “Say A’”
There will always be a place in rap for bouncy, piano-driven bangers, and no one's doing it better than A Boogie wit da Hoodie right now. Following the success of “My Shit” and “Drowning,” the NYC rapper has done it again with “Say A,” the final single from his debut album, The Bigger Artist. Over twinkling keys from producer Ness, A Boogie does what he does best and delivers swaggering, melodic verses that have a way of climbing inside your head and never leaving. Perfect way to end summer.—Eric Skelton
Deem Spencer - "Dirt"
Deem Spencer's new project we think we alone was written and recorded during a hard time in the Queens rapper's life, but sometimes difficult circumstances lead to the best songs. Deem's music is smart and honest, and it's the perfect balance to the high energy, careless music so prevalent in young, new hip-hop. The first single "eve's titties" is still my favorite from the we think we alone project, but "dirt" has become the one that I go back to most. At less than two minutes long, it's kind of a tease and never fully takes off, but it showcases Deem's potential to make songs that are as challenging and non-traditional as they are enjoyable.—Jacob Moore
Everything Is Recorded ft. Sampha, Ibeyi, Wiki & Kamasi Washington - "Mountains Of Gold"
XL Recordings head Richard Russell is back with more music from his Everything Is Recorded project, following the Close But Not Quite EP with a new single, "Mountains of Gold." Sampha appears here again, alongside Ibeyi, whose new album Russell produced, NY rapper Wiki, and jazz icon Kamasi Washington.
Wiki might steal the show with his vivid verse, but although each artist's style and approach is very different, Russell brings them together in a way that makes sense. The song is released with a video, directed by Nick Walker, which includes all the featured artists as well as Kaner Flex, Mela Murder, Infinite, and the legendary Quincy Jones.—Alex Gardner
Kelela - "Frontline"
It's been a while since we've received a new project from Kelela, but thankfully she's finally bringing that hiatus to an end. Last month she returned with "LMK," the catchy first single from her forthcoming debut album, Take Me Apart. Now she's followed it up with a brilliant new single titled "Frontline."
Kelela has a voice that can only be described as mesmerizing. No matter how intricate the production may be, Kelela's vocals always take control and work to captivate you from start to finish. There's no doubt that she's found her lane, and her upcoming album seems like it will have been worth the long wait.—Adrienne Black
Rostam ft. Kelly Zutrau - "Half-Light"
Have you ever listened to something that sounds so pretty it hurts? That's how this song makes me feel. There's something haunting and melancholic about a piano ballad even though it's easy on the ears. The fuzzy guitars and faint drumming are also a nice, cozy touch.
While the status of Wet's next release remains unknown at this time, at least Kelly Zutrau is actively putting out new material. Her auto-tuned vocals don't appear until the end of the track, but she still has the power to break your heart into smithereens. In a way, this tune sort of reminds me of Sufjan Stevens, who will be blessing (and depressing) us with The Greatest Gift mixtape next month.
Yung Lean - "Red Bottom Sky"
Against all odds, Yung Lean has persisted as a cult figure. Not only persisted—he's evolved, continuing to experiment. Lean's latest is one of his most pleasant yet. He's opting for a softer sound that stands in stark contrast to the gothic darkness of 2016's Warlord. "Red Bottom Sky" is straight-up gorgeous, sounding something like a cross between Swae Lee and Enya, which is perhaps the biggest compliment a song could ever receive.—Joe Price
Twelve’Len & Skott - “Test Our Luck”
We recently teamed up with Gap to bring together two artists from different worlds, and while we expected some interesting results, we couldn't have anticipated what we got. Florida's Twelve'Len and Swedish singer Skott agreed to work with producer duo Take a Daytrip for an original song, and in about six hours, we had "Test Our Luck." It's a gorgeous track that features intertwined melodies and dreamy production, and it's one of our favorite collaborations in recent memory.—Jacob Moore
Hear the song below, and watch Twelve'Len and Skott make the song together here.
Syd - "Moving Mountains"
Earlier this year, Syd, lead vocalist of R&B outfit The Internet, released her acclaimed debut solo album. She continued her momentum last night by sharing a three-song EP called Always Never Home, and will soon embark on a tour of the same name.
The project opens with "Moving Mountains," a simmering lament about a lover who doesn't appreciate all of the effort Syd puts into their relationship. She sings airily atop a sultry, slow-moving bassline and skittering percussion. Her soulful, distinctive vocals sound sharp as ever. Fin and Always Never Home gave Syd the opportunity to explore moodier sonic terrain than she does when she performs with The Internet, and she sounds equally at home within the murky production of her solo projects as she does within the punchy, colorful musical landscapes of The Internet's output.—Charlotte Freitag
Villain Park - "We Out Here"
Things are moving faster than ever, and music that sounded completely fresh just months ago can get stale and outdated quickly. Los Angeles rap duo Villain Park has an advantage: their music doesn't depend on of-the-moment trends or a wild social media presence. Instead, their style is rooted in raw energy, tradition, and technical skill. The songs they put out two years ago still sound great today, and they just made their return after a brief hiatus with the excellent "We Out Here." These guys aren't going to blow up off a viral hit, but if they keep this kind of quality up, they could have a long career in hip-hop.—Jacob Moore
Terror Jr - "Useless"
Terror Jr's latest offering is a Kid Froopy-produced slow jam that's perfect for soundtracking the dark, emo moments in your life. (It's not a phase, mom!!!!) I'm now convinced that "Lisa off the grapes/ Like Condoleezza with the cape/ Blowin' Hillary out the vape" is one of the best lines of all time. At long last, we can also confirm that "Lisa Terror" is officially not Kylie Jenner because Lisa Vitale has revealed herself as the lead singer. (Back to wondering about those pregnancy rumors...) Terror Jr's trilogy is nearly complete--Bop 3: The Girl Who Cried Purple is out on September 29 via Atlantic Records.—Sydney Gore
Ibeyi ft. Kamasi Washington - "Deathless"
French-Cuban twins Ibeyi have had a unique sound from the start, incorporating musical traditions from their Yorùbá culture with contemporary sounds and approaches on their self-titled debut album. That continues on their new album, recorded with XL Recordings founder Richard Russell at his London studio.
"Deathless," the second track to be shared from the new album, features modern jazz icon Kamasi Washington, an ominous beat, and powerful storytelling—the song was inspired by an experience that one half of Ibeyi, Lisa-Kaindé, had when she was sixteen that involved her being wrongly arrested by French police.
Ibeyi's second album, Ash is out now via XL Recordings.—Alex Gardner
Lorde ft. Khalid, SZA & Post Malone - "Homemade Dynamite (Remix)"
"Homemade Dynamite," a cinematic celebration of youthful reckless abandon, is a clear standout track from Lorde's most recent album, Melodrama. This week, she elevated the track by enlisting some of the freshest voices in music to contribute guest verses. The new version of the song features appearances from Khalid, SZA, and Post Malone, who cycle through the song the same way guests come and go at a house party, feeding the track's imagery of a swinging soiree. After trading verses about their thrilling party experiences, the artists team up to deliver a final chorus with stunning four-part harmonies.—Charlotte Freitag
King Krule - "Dum Surfer"
The first time that I heard this song, I thought Archy was singing "Don't suffer" which would have made it sound even edgier. Alas, I like it anyway! This track throws you straight into the mosh pit within the darkest, most self-loathing channels of your mind to face your demons head on. All the noise is a beautiful mess. At the end of the day, we're all just wasting away aren't we? The Ooz is out on October 13 via XL Recordings/True Panther Sounds.—Sydney Gore
6 Dogs - "Faygo Dreams"
This one isn't exactly new—it's been out on SoundCloud for months and has over 6 million streams—but internet phenomenon 6 Dogs is on the brink of a breakthrough. He just dropped the music video for his biggest hit yet, "Faygo Dreams," and he sounds more focused than ever. Making that transition from internet success to a serious music career can be difficult, but instead of trying to cash out quickly, 6 Dogs is opening up and aiming to make honest music and a positive impact. We're here for it.—Jacob Moore
SAINt JHN - "Some Nights"
The consistency from SAINt JHN since he returned in late 2016 with "Roses" has been undeniable. He's making moody, anthemic songs that sit somewhere between rap and R&B and always have a couple of standout lines that have me hitting replay straight away. "Some Nights," at only two-and-a-half minutes long, is the kind of track you could have on loop for 20 minutes and not get tired of, and that line about his steak being overcooked gets me every time.
Momentum is still building for SAINt JHN, and whenever that album comes it's going to be a moment.—Alex Gardner
Cousin Stizz - "Dash"
Cousin Stizz + Tee-Watt = victory. It's been that way since before Suffolk County and "Dirty Bands," all the way through Monda and One Night Only's iconic "Paper Calling." Watt's silky, sour beats have embodied Stizz's sound for years, and they're only getting better with time.
"Dash" is one of two Labor Day weekend loosies, and Stizz delivers one of his earwormiest flows to date. I first heard this track in a P&P meeting—by the two-minute mark, we had called a quorum, voted, and confirmed its status as an instant Stizz classic. Simplicity is an art form, and that hook is case in point.—Graham Corrigan
Yellow Days - "I Believe in Love"
Yellow Days is an 18-year-old with a brilliant voice and a timeless sound, and after a series of singles and an EP he's building towards his debut album. Before that, though, he'll release a thirteen track project called Is Everything Okay In Your World?, out October 27 featuring Rejjie Snow and Nick Walters.
The project was announced alongside the release of "I Believe In Love," and whether Yellow Days it's bluesy heartbreak or a lilting love song, Yellow Days keeps making compelling music.—Alex Gardner
NAO - "Nostalgia"
It can be hard to stand out in today's crowded musical marketplace, but NAO has her own sound, and it's recognizable within around 20 seconds of hitting play on any of her songs. "Nostalgia" is her first new song since last year's debut album For All We Know, and it's another quirky, bouncy pop song, all colorful production and soulful singing. This is how pop music in 2017 should sound, and it feels as if NAO still has so much potential that she hasn't yet revealed to us.—Alex Gardner
IDK - "Baby Scale"
Even though this song originally dropped at the beginning of the month, the new video for IDK's "Baby Scale" only features the maniacal second half. On this "Baby Scale," Yung Gleesh starts things off with a snarl, paving the way for the artist formerly known as Jay IDK to deliver some of his most savage—and thoughtful—verses yet. No hook, no bridge, just knowledge.—Graham Corrigan
Knox Fortune - "No Dancing"
After years of working behind the scenes on projects with artists like Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa, and Joey Purp, Knox Fortune is finally stepping out on his own, and his debut album opens with a bang. “No Dancing” layers unusual (but intoxicating) high-pitched vocals over crisp production that’ll have you moving your feet, in spite of its title. Right off the bat, Knox makes it clear he’s not a hip-hop artist and Paradise isn’t a hip-hop album, regardless of past associations. Instead, he opts for an inventive blend of pop and psychedelic rock with subtle hip-hop influences that keeps the project feeling fresh and exciting from top to bottom. We're here for it.—Eric Skelton
Angel Olsen - "Special"
For years I accidentally slept on Angel Olsen, but when I found myself in the front row for her headlining performance at Treefort Festival in Boise, Idaho this past March, I was instantly charmed by her feminist folk tunes. This particular song was birthed out of the recording sessions for Olsen's 2016 album My Woman, a fantastic body of work that captured "the complicated mess of being a woman.” The whole delivery of this slow-rolling, guitar-driven ballad sounds more like a drunken confession—you can practically feel Angel's hot breath hovering above your ear—but there's something sexy in the way that she gently croaks "I see you."
In recent times, those three words have become a declaration of validation, a formal acknowledgment that you are not invisible within the crowded space we call planet earth. Of course, the phrase also has a romantic connotation—like when a celebrity DMs an obsessed fan with those exact same words. "Special" is the dark, complementary spice to "Never Be Mine," Angel's fragile, light-hearted ode to unrequited love. This track is one of the many B-sides featured on Phases which drops on November 10 via Jagjaguwar.—Sydney Gore
LCD Soundsystem - "Oh Baby"
With American Dream, LCD Soundsystem fans can collectively exhale a sigh of relief. Six years since their supposed final show in New York City, the band's back with an album that shows James Murphy and company haven't missed a single step.
It's the opening track that caught my attention, with its sparkling production and Murphy's gentle, sensual crooning. As if "Call the Police," "American Dream," and "Tonite" weren't already good indicators of the caliber of LCD's fourth album, let "Oh Baby" be your official introduction to American Dream.—Joyce
Yeule - "How Could I Forget You"
Yeule really caught our attention late last month with "I Saw You In My Dreams Last Night," and her new EP Coma definitely lives up to its immense promise. Taking dream pop to a whole new level with gorgeous tracks like "How Could I Forget You," Yeule's distinct brand of ambient pop is easy to lose yourself in. "How Could I Forget You" is one of her finest moments so far.—Joe Price
SHOR - "Calm Of The Sea"
This 22-year-old former songwriter may have made one of the smartest decisions of his career when he decided to sing the songs he wrote himself. "Calm Of The Sea" is SHOR's debut record but you can tell that there is an understanding of what makes a song great in the London singer. The song is equally upbeat and melancholy and the production is beautiful. SHOR is here to stay.—Eric Isom
Rich the Kid ft. Kendrick Lamar - "New Freezer"
Way back in January, Rich the Kid tweeted about being in studio with Kendrick Lamar. Eight months later, "New Freezer" is one of the best songs of the month. It's the first time these two have worked together, and the Ben Jayne production leaves plenty of room for creativity. Kendrick continues to embrace his singing voice, stretching his upperlimits à la "GOD." Rich The Kid delivers one of his catchiest hooks to date, and more importantly, made the most of the opportunity to work with Kendrick.—Graham Corrigan
Xavier Omär - "Runnin' Round"
Singer/songwriting Xavier Omär takes his time with music, and each release always makes it clear why. All of his songs are completely transparent and include a vulnerability that can only come from honest experience. This week Xavier Omär returns with his latest single "Runnin' Round" which he explains is "about realizing that you have to draw a line between yourself and your inconsistent love interest."
Somehow, Xavier is able to take painful experiences and even emotions I personally tend to avoid, and transform them into a beautiful song that deserves to be played on repeat. The production by BEAM, Al Cres, and Swade embeds the rhythm with a bounce that lifts up the energy of what could've otherwise been a somber record. The result motivates you to move onto something better, rather than sulk over someone who doesn't fully appreciate your time.—Adrienne Black
D.R.A.M. ft. Trippie Redd - "ILL NANA"
Some collaborations force the artists involved to compromise some of their own style to fit the overall feel of the song, but D.R.A.M. and Trippie Redd both go all in on "ILL NANA," giving us the best of both larger-than-life presences. Wouldn't mind hearing a lot more from these two together.—Jacob Moore