What Are You Listening To? is a weekly run-down of what A.V. Club staffers are streaming. Listen to these songs and more on our Spotify playlist, updated weekly with new stuff.
Liz Phair, “Polyester Bride”
Matador’s deluxe re-release of Liz Phair’s Exile In Guyville has inspired me to revisit her catalog (pre-pop makeover, of course), and that process has led me back to one of my favorite songs of the ’90s: “Polyester Bride,” from Phair’s 1998 album, Whitechocolatespaceegg. The title of the album is as clumsy as they come, but “Polyester Bride” is a tight, catchy near perfect four-minute pop composition that’s slicker than Phair’s early work, but just as impactful—especially for a thirtysomething like myself who needs to be reminded every once in a while how good she actually has it. [Katie Rife]
Denzel Curry, “Percs”
Denzel Curry’s first record, Nostalgic 64, came out in 2013, which makes him ancient in terms of SoundCloud rappers. He’s gradually moved from murky, lo-fi horrorcore to something much clearer and more modern, with cavernous, postindustrial beats that he doesn’t so much rap over as violently assert his existence within. Despite a handful of typically hype 2018 singles, “Percs” still marks an explosive high point for the Florida emcee, an excoriation of every unpronounceably named nobody who uploaded a song in the past half-decade and attempted to steal some of Curry’s shine. “Maybe I should go to jail to get my name up,” he scoffs, later adding, “Eight years in the game and I never rode a wave / I may be overlooked, but I’m never underpaid.” The beat’s an itchy little snake-charmer matched with a bleating bass line; the whole thing sounds like someone getting their ass kicked in an empty building, which, at least metaphorically, it is. Curry’s upcoming Taboo doesn’t have a release date yet, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. [Clayton Purdom]
Under the name Huerco S., ambient producer Brian Leeds delivered one of 2016’s most immersive records in For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have), an album whose watercolor swirls conjure a mysterious, pleasantly transfixing mood even as they only hint at discernible melody. That aesthetic seems to govern Leeds’ new imprint West Mineral Ltd., which has so far only put out Leeds’ full-length debut as Pendant and this sophomore release from Uon, the like-minded project of Berlin’s Ryan Fall. As in Leeds’ music, you can hear a lot of familiar touchstones in Fall’s shimmering, aqueous work, which evokes the richly textured ebb and flow of Vainqueer, the rolling fog of Wolfgang Voigt’s GAS, and even traces of the exotic elusiveness of Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement in its misty, dubby swells. But again, there’s something uniquely, individually accomplished about the way Fall puts it all together that invites repeated visits and makes Uon a name worth remembering, even if I don’t have a clue how to pronounce it. Ooh-on? You-on? Juan? Whatever. It’s good. [Sean O’Neal]