Charli XCX, “Nuclear Seasons.” Juxtaposing ’80s-inspired synth melodies and pitch-shifted vocals with a growling bassline, the U.K.’s Charli XCX’s new single, “Nuclear Seasons,” bears a similarly crunchy, lo-fi pop sound as her previous “Stay Away,” though this one has a decidedly lighter touch—at least musically. The song could be subtitled “Love in the Time of Radiation,” though whether the fallout is from within (“You drop the bomb/I’m blown away”) or without (“We in the nuclear seasons/In the shelter I survived this road”) is left ambiguous in all the right ways. Sal Cinquemani
Icona Pop, “Nights Like This.” When I was younger, the Swedish were known for being reasonably good at soccer and not much else. My mother, though, recalls a time where Sweden was synonymous with producing irresistible pop music. And with Robyn having blown the doors open for the oodles of concurrent Scandinavian synth-pop acts, a resurgence is very much in full swing. Icona Pop has a knack for implausibly catchy hooks, and their new single, “Nights Like This,” is no exception. You’d think the song’s fidgety 8-bit beginning and cacophonous middle-eight sections would derail its pop sensibilities, but a glut of charming electronic flourishes and an endlessly enticing refrain ensure that the track is one of the most refreshing pop jaunts in recent memory. Huw Jones
Small Black, “Moon Killer.” The title cut from the eclectic Brooklyn outfit Small Black’s upcoming mixtape, “Moon Killer” packs a much more resounding, arena-caliber punch than the smaller-scale forays into wavy electronic and vocal arrangements of last year’s bedroom chillwave set New Chain. Juggling a noticeably darker mood, a bumpy drumbeat, a fuzzy synth hook, and various echoing chimes, “Moon Killer” is infinitely groove-worthy even without the addition of Josh Kolenik and Ryan Heyner’s rhythmic vocal interplay. Small Black’s lyrics have always been both simple and enigmatic, commonly repeating two or three phrases for the listener to ruminate on while being sucked into the shimmering currents of noise, and “Moon Killer,” apparently a song about quelling cold feet before a murder, is no exception: “The tools, I laid them out for you/I hear there’s a better way to do it/But I’ll never make you try.” Mike LeChevallier
Hands and Teeth, “Hunting Season.” The high-energy title track from Canadian pop quartet Hands and Teeth’s upcoming album, Hunting Season, features a well-executed onslaught of vocalists assuring us that they’re “glad to meetcha.” Indeed, the song is a memorable introduction to an album (out next year) that’s full of catchy, shimmering pop songs. Sharp guitar lines and easily excitable drums dance in and out of the bubbling rhythm, and with it the band turns an already catchy rock song into a note-perfect exploration on how best to talk to strangers. Michael Kilpatrick
House Playlist is a series dedicated to highlighting our favorite new singles, leaked songs, and album tracks.