Foxygen love you
While some may believe that the CMJ editorial staff is a secret cabal that meets 217 feet underground somewhere in Staten Island on Friday morning to concoct a devious plan for our staff picks, really we just knock ’em out individually after two-plus cups o’ joe. So twas a surprise to see two tracks that sound like classic songs and a cover tune within this list. Which once again might speak to the paucity of mid-summer releases. Hope everyone’s enjoying their vacations above ground!

Ab-SoulTo The Max

Is there a better way to release a track then just saying “Ah, screw it” in the middle of a radio interview and having the DJ premiere something you had no intention of releasing? “Do you have it? You have it right now? Oh my God, this should be amazing.” Gotta love the spontaneity from Ab-Soul on this one. – Max Lefkowitz

Vin DieselStay With Me

At the request of the UK’s Capital FM, American actor, screenwriter and all around macho guy Vin Diesel opened up to show the world that even the most testosterone-y of action stars has feelings too. He takes his task seriously here, voice cracking as he struggles to contain his emotions in this heartfelt cover of Sam Smith’s Stay With Me. Sunglasses, I’m sure, help to hide the tears. After all, he still needs love ‘cos he’s just a man. Someone buy him a pint of ice cream to sooth his heart and do as the man asks: hold his hand and stay with him. – Carrie Brothers

Dope BodyHired Gun

Distortion, deft feedback and Street Fighting Man déjà vu? Glad to see Baltimore’s Dope Body returning to the fuzzy fold. – Lisa Hresko

FoxygenHow Can You Really

I mainly chose this slinky track because it reminds me of this Todd Rungren song, which ain’t exactly my favorite Todd song, but what can you do. Actually, this new Growlers song is pretty good too, it just didn’t remind me of a Todd Rundgren song. – Eric Davidson

Lil SilvaDon’t You Love Feat. BANKS

The delicacy of this track, augmented by a cameo from the ever-pleasant BANKS, is laid on top of a synth bass line that bangs, somehow, without muddying it all up. Bravo, Lil Silva. – David Velásquez


There wasn’t a day this week where the phrase luh-luh-lemonade didn’t pop up in my head. Pair that with elevated bubble bursts and a squeaking racetrack of a chorus and SOPHIE’s newest single is stickier than anything I’ve heard in a while. Life sounds pretty sweet post-“Bipp.”Lizzie Plaugic