Soundcheck: The 27 Best Music Releases Of The Week

Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Calvin Harris, Princess Nokia, Kendrick Lamar, + many more

Every weekend, we’re bringing you #SOUNDCHECK—your new destination for the best of the best new music that hit the web over the course of the week. Because you should always be prepared when someone passes you that aux cord. This week’s round features 27 of our favorite emerging and established artists including Calvin Harris, Princess Nokia, Kendrick Lamar, and so many more. Turn up, tune in, and tune out.

Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 - Calvin Harris

Fully equipped with heavy bass lines, bright synths, and star-studded features, Harris' funky new feel-good record is an unforgettable breath of fresh air in the electro-house realm. We'll definitely be sliding and rollin' to your function with this joint all summer long.


It's here. LANY's self-titled debut album is finally out, in all its romantic, woeful glory. It's a sincere portrait of we relate to one another in our 20s: messy, thrilling, maddening, saddening, but always hopeful. (You can thank the synth elements for that.)

"G.O.A.T." - Princess Nokia

As if we didn't already know, Princess Nokia proves she really is the G.O.A.T. in this trippy new visual. 

"You and I" - Toro y Moi

Get groovy atop a piano with Chaz in his latest release off his forthcoming record, Boo Boo

"ELEMENT." - Kendrick Lamar

Lamar's gorgeous new visual is a colorful, haunting, and honest depiction of violence. 

"Guilty Party" - The National

The sadness is certainly palpable in this new track from The National. But even misery needs a good beat. 

"911 / Mr. Lonely (feat. Frank Ocean)" - Tyler, The Creator

This groovy, toe-tapping new track from Tyler and Frank serves as a reminder that they need to collab more often. 

"watch" - Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish will to give you the strength to move on from a toxic relationship (and light their car on fire) in this bubbling new single. 

"Has To Be Better" - Goldmyth

A classically trained harpist who makes dreamy synth-pop music? Yes please!

"Second 2 None (feat. Christine and the Queens)" - Mura Masa

Christine and the Queens' ethereal vocals on this airy Mura Masa track is perfect for your weekend shindig playlist. 

"Paid" - Sudan Archives

Sudan Archives' fresh vocals over this tribal beat will have us dancing all weekend long. 

Like A Woman - Kacy Hill

Kacy Hill's debut record is a polished, synth-pop masterpiece. Let the waves of her voice wash over you—and try not to drown in all her glory. 

"New York" - St. Vincent

St. Vincent's love/hate relationship with NYC is so relatable it hurts. 

Unplug The Delusional - KISSEY

You might have heard KISSEY's single, "Forget," on the soundtrack to Netflix's hit series, "Dear White People." Now, the Fool's Gold electro-pop artist continues to kick ass and take names in her eclectic new EP. 

"RX" - Grieves

Grieves is gearing up to release his fifth studio album— but not before dropping off this vulnerable new track first. 

"Versace On The Floor" - Bruno Mars vs David Guetta

This funky rework of Mars' dreamy synth pop echoes serious Daft Punk vibes, guaranteed to get you lucky. 

"Back To What I Know" - Neil Frances 

Neil Frances' new single is just what you've been missing. Stream "Back To What I Know," above.

"Masquerade" - Umii

This colorful visual paired with Umii's soft vocals will have you swooning to the snappy beat. 

"Shallow Digger" - Siv Jakobsen

This brooding track from Norwegian songwriter Siv Jakobsen is just like the ocean—constantly rising, swelling, and falling.


"Hunter" - Galantis

Galantis' takes us to where the wild things are for their soft-drop ode to wild nighttime love of a video. 

"Corners Of The Earth (feat. RY X)" - ODESZA

This is some spiritual ish, y'all. A Moment Apart (out September 8) is going to rock your world, physically and metaphysically. 

"Ordinary Madness (RAC Mix)"- Joe Goddard

RAC transforms Joe Goddard's Electric Lines track into a slick warm, whiskey-tinged evening bop. This is what summer should sound like, always. 

Kaleidoscopes EP- Transviolet

Is this one of the lushest electro-pop EPs to come out of the year? It is. "The Hamptons" is brilliant; "Astronaut" is your new anthem for reckless abandon.

"I Dare You" - The xx

We dare you not to get lost in this dreamy visual by The xx. 

"AAA" - The AAA Girls feat. Alaska Thunderfuck, Willam and Courtney Act

Three international drag superstars joining forces for a new musical act? Honestly, say no more. Hang on to your wigs, ladies; these queens are comin' for the charts with Access All Areas (out July 7). 

"Blinds" - Aminé

Take it nice and slow with the Banana Boy in his synth-heavy new track.


"I'll Make My Money Dreaming" - Moons of Mars

Los Angeles indie pop group Moons of Mars brings you the perfect summer single. Treat your ears with "I'll Make My Money Dreaming."

Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images

Sounds fake, but okay

In a new interview for Australian Vogue, Kendall Jenner makes the claim that being associated with the Kardashian name was a setback in her modeling career. Hmmm, that's funny, because power and influence usually works in their holder's favor.

In the interview, Jenner addresses skeptics who doubted that she would make it as a professional model. "A lot of people assumed that because I came from a 'name' that it was a lot easier for me to get to where I got, but actually it's the completely opposite," she says.

"I've always been the person to prove [critics] wrong, even when I was younger," she says. "I've always been a hard worker: that's in my blood. My parents raised me and my little sister to be that way and the rest of my sisters, too." In the profile, it's revealed that Jenner used to attend castings "simply as 'K' or 'Kendall' to distinguish herself from her famous family."

But keeping her name off her portfolio wasn't going to fool anyone, really. Her face has been on television for years, and it seems unlikely that a casting agent wouldn't know who she was even if Kendall didn't come out and say it. Perhaps Jenner was more closely examined and more readily criticized by people who doubted her, but I'm not sure I believe that she had a harder time gaining a modeling platform or booking big jobs, even if she didn't use her last name.

After all, Jenner was likely able to get into those big casting rooms right away because of her family's connections, and she was able to devote her time to pursuing that career because of the wealth they have. She would've had a much harder time making a name for herself if she didn't come from an influential family. She probably wouldn't get to be so selective about which shows she walks, and she definitely wouldn't be the highest paid model in the world.

Screenshot via Hulu

Introspection is not a bad thing

In Look Back at It, we revisit pop culture gems of the past and see if they're still relevant and worthy of their designated icon status in our now wildly different world.

"It just seems like you agree to have a certain personality or something, for no reason. Just to make things easier for everyone. But when you think about it, I mean, how do you know it's even you?"

Iconic '90s show My So-Called Life is filled with existential questions and observations like this, with many, if not all of them, voiced by high school sophomore Angela Chase (Claire Danes). They're delivered with a familiarly annoyed tone, as if Angela can't believe things are the way they are, and that they're unlikely to change.

Angela lives with her parents and sister in a comfortable home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and spends her time navigating the social scene of Liberty High School. She's undergoing a big change, having switched friend groups and fallen in with a cooler crew, namely Rayanne Graff (A.J. Langer) and Rickie Vasquez (Wilson Cruz). Thanks to them, Angela dyed her hair from blonde to a "Crimson Glow," and is encouraged to indulge in her obsession with Jordan Catalano (a pre-Gucci Jared Leto), the kind of guy who's constantly applying Visine and has a limited chance of actively graduating.

From the first moment of the first episode, Angela's voice is pure, unadulterated teen angst. The melodrama can, when watching as an adult, feel like it's too much. And then there's other times, like when Angela talks about the agony of Sunday evenings, that it feels unnerving to relate so much to a 15-year-old:

"There's something about Sunday night that really makes you want to kill yourself, especially if you've just been totally made a fool of by the only person you'll ever love, and you have a geometry midterm on Monday, which you still haven't studied for because you can't, because Brian Krakow has your textbook, and you're too embarrassed to even deal with it. And your little sister's completely finished with her homework, which is just, like, so simple and mindless a child could do it. And that creepy 60 Minutes watch that sounds like your whole life ticking away."

Angela is nothing if not an over-thinker, preoccupied with very teenage problems like zits and gossip and who to talk to at parties; her thoughts on the most simple of relationships are extreme, like when she thinks about how she felt before she became friends with Rayanne and Rickie: "it seemed like if I didn't, I would die or something."

Sometimes, her melodrama feels suffocating—particularly when related to Jordan Catalano (it's imperative to say both his names). Angela wonders: "Huge events take place on this earth every day. Earthquakes, hurricanes... even glaciers move. So why couldn't he just look at me?"

As an adult, it's easy to think that, of course, Jordan should look at her: She's smart, witty, open-hearted, pretty, has good taste in music. But then, there's no way to make sense of how crushes work. As a sophomore in high school, I also pined after guys who I felt were out of my league, and after the only girls who were out... but who were dating each other. My thoughts probably (definitely) sounded a lot like Angela's, and I was similarly dissatisfied with my life.

At the time, that dissatisfaction felt oppressive—and I wouldn't want to relive it entirely. But that introspection was also what saved me. By questioning what was around me and interrogating how I really felt, I was able to reject the trappings of my conservative town, figure out my own politics, and accept my own queerness. My teenage dissatisfaction with the way things actually are made me grow as a person, and it shaped me into who I am. Thinking about Angela now, and how her angst fueled her, reminds me that I should also let myself indulge in some teen angst—even as an adult.

In one of the show's final episodes, Angela pauses to reflect on the value of her overthinking. She's ringing in the New Year with her friends and decides her resolution could be "to stop getting so caught up in my own thoughts, because I'm like way too introspective… I think." But she decides against that idea, because "what if not thinking turns me into this really shallow person?" Same, Angela. Same.

Courtesy of HBO

Thanks, I hate it

In an interview today with The Cut, Vanderpump Rules star Stassi Schroeder blessed readers with some of her thoughts on HBO's Game of Thrones, and since we can't get enough GoT talk, we were excited to see what Schroeder had to say.

And, in case you're wondering if Schroeder is a fan of GoT, don't: She's actually such a massive fan that she refers to her fans Khaleesis, and they call her Khaleesi right back. So!

Anyway, after the wide range of responses to Daenerys' fiery mayhem in the show's penultimate episode, The Cut wanted to check in to see how Schroeder was faring, and ask what she thought of it all. While Schroeder's opinion on Dany is mixed (she found the Dragon Queen's "crazy" actions to be relatable, but she didn't think it followed Dany's character arc), it wasn't, like, a bad opinion, just a bit muddled, if not so different than those of the majority of viewers.

Schroeder's real hot take, though—what we feel comfortable calling the worst GoT opinion we've heard—is about another character altogether: Arya Stark. Here's what Schroeder had to say about our favorite blacksmith-banging, Night King-killing, proposal-denying assassin in all the Seven Kingdoms: "Arya, I feel like she probably should have just married whats-his-name [Ed. note: Gendry! His name is Gendry!!]. What's wrong with being a lady and a badass at the same time? You don't have to choose just one."

And, like, sure, you don't have to choose just one, but Arya would never choose to be a lady. That's not her! So, if we're still talking about characters behaving inconsistently, Arya saying yes to a proposal (a rushed one at that) would have been absolutely bonkers. Arya's not about to change her entire personality just because some dude drops down on one knee and proposes, and to want her to do so would be like wanting Dany to act like a sheep, instead of a dragon.

All to say, you know nothing, Stassi Schroeder.

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hoto by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Civic Entertainment Group

Our favorite grouchy girl died today

Today is a sad day, because it is the day Grumpy Cat died. Also known as my personal favorite feline celebrity, Grumpy Cat died from complications following a urinary tract infection. The super relatable cat—real name, Tardar Sauce—was only seven years old.

Grumpy Cat was first introduced to the world in 2011, back when LOLcats were everywhere. Grumpy Cat's downturned face (the result of feline dwarfism, according to her owners) was the subject of a huge amount of memes—she was even the 2013 Meme of the Year at the Webby Awards—and was the subject of her own Lifetime movie, in which she was voiced by the Grumpy Cat of actresses, Aubrey Plaza. But, though we loved her for the memes, we loved her even more because we related to her mood.

Grumpy Cat was so relatable because, like us, she was completely over everyone's bullshit. Unlike us, Grumpy Cat didn't hide her feelings with a smile. And while that was because Grumpy Cat literally couldn't do that, we like to think that she also just didn't want to do the emotional labor. Which is why, in honor of Grumpy Cat, have the courage to roll your eyes at someone today, instead of forcing a fake grin. And just think about how Grumpy Cat's probably frowning at us from some sort of kitty afterlife, utterly annoyed that everyone is mourning her death.

Screenshot via YouTube

And I need to see the rest ASAP

As excited as we already are for Olivia Wilde's directorial debut, Booksmart, to hit theaters next week, we just got even more desperate to see it. Why? Well, the first six minutes of the film were just released, and every minute is incredible.

The film opens on Molly (Beanie Feldstein) meditating and listening to a motivational tape telling her she's better than everyone else, and to "fuck those losers." Her room is decorated with pictures of Michelle Obama and RBG, so we know her head is in the right place. We learn she's the class president when she arrives at school with her best friend, Amy (Kaitlyn Dever).

It's there that we get a glimpse of the social hierarchy in which Molly and Amy exist—but somewhere down near the bottom, way below the popular kids, the theater nerds, the stoners, and even the annoying class clown.

The film officially hits theaters on May 23, but Annapurna Pictures is holding advanced screenings across the country today, May 17—we're actually holding two of them! So, if you're in L.A. or New York, check them out.

But also, you can watch the first six minutes of the film, below, and prepare yourself to watch the whole movie in a week.

BOOKSMART | Uncut First 6 Minutes