Words by Brian LaBenne
Every month Off Shelf contributor and Best Song Ever Podcast host Brian LaBenne brings you the best singles of the month and puts together a playlist for your enjoyment. Below you’ll find five highlighted songs that stood above the rest, which is followed by the entire playlist. Please follow our Spotify account so you don’t miss any future playlists!
Bonnie Prince Billy – At the Back of the Pit (Drag City)
Drag City has already released new material from the late David Berman as Purple Mountains and Bill Callahan, so you’d think they’d just pack it up and take the rest of the year off. Wrong! Still to come this year is a new album from Bonnie Prince Billy, his first proper album since 2011. The first taste from this is At the Back of the Pit and it is a truly incredible song full of heart, humor and a good dose of hee-haw thrown in as well.
Danny Brown – Dirty Laundry (Warp)
Danny Brown continues to evolve in front of everyone’s eyes and his next album has all the signs pointing to being his strongest output yet. The question of where he would go after the discordant Atrocity Exhibition was top of mind and Dirty Laundry proves to be an interesting direction. Produced by Q-Tip (who is the executive producer on the entire album) Dirty Laundry sounds like classic Danny Brown, but a version that has matured musically and changed over time.
Kero Kero Bonito – When the Fire Comes (Polyvinyl)
Kero Kero Bonito is not only one of the most interesting and surprising bands currently making music, they are also one of the most generous! It seems every few months they are putting out a new song, EP or album and they, like Danny Brown, continue to grow and evolve and fine tune their sound. When the Fire Comes is an excellent introduction to the group, as well as a compelling step forward.
Princess Nokia – Sugar Honey Iced Tea (S.H.I.T.)
Every now and then you need a great song to throw on to help you say “fuck the haters” and Sugar Honey Iced Tea is just that. This is such an enjoyable banger that is short and sweet and goes down easy. So catchy and fun and full of memorable lines. Princess Nokia really comes into her own on this track and finds her making a jump to a really commanding vocalist.
DIIV – Blankenship (Captured Tracks)
It’s been a tough journey for DIIV since their last album, 2016’s Is the Is Are. Time spent in rehab and focusing on sobriety will take focus away from making great music and it’s truly great to hear that things have settled down for DIIV and they are back and better than ever with Blankenship. This is, without a doubt, the best DIIV song ever, and one of the best rock songs of the year.