5 Songs to Hear This Week: Joy Oladokun + Chris Stapleton, Madison McFerrin, and Bibio

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Lean in for engaging new work from Joy Oladokun, Bibio, and Madison McFerrin. Photos by Sophia Matinazad, Stephen Wilkinson, and Justin French

Hey! Did you know that there’s an entire aspect of KCRW music discovery that you might be missing out on? Fear not, because our 5 Songs to Hear This Week newsletter is now a weekly feature on our website. Watch this space for rundowns of the five songs that you need in your life immediately, curated by KCRW Music staff. Don’t want to wait for your latest taste of fresh tunes? Sign up for the Friday newsletter here, and always be the first to know.

Follow us on Spotify to keep up with our current obsessions, including 5 Songs to Hear This Week, Bent By Nature: Deirdre O'Donoghue and The Lost SNAP Archives (The Music), and our weekly sampler of KCRW’s Top 30 most played records

Madison McFerrin – “Stay Away (From Me)”

What’d you do with your pandemic downtime? With very few exceptions, we can safely say Madison McFerrin has you beat. The Brooklyn-based artist spent the dark ‘demmy days honing her production skills, and elevating her musicianship to the level of playing every instrument (save for a bit of percussion) on this fabulously soulful single. Click quick for heartbeat rhythms, salsa shakers, and an exquisitely deployed ode to boundaries. 

Bibio – “Off Goes The Light” 

Devoted fans of English musician and producer Bibio have long been steeping in his heady blend of lo-fi indie, folk, funk, and alternative hip hop. Not to mention the notes of electronica and ambience he employs for extra flavor. This track makes proper use of his god-tier guitar skills as he secures those tasty licks in a dance-pop wrapper, then blesses the whole package with a layer of big-sound synths. Get pumped for his forthcoming album, “BIB10,” due October 21 via Warp Records.

Joy Oladokun & Chris Stapleton – “Sweet Symphony”

Feeling far away from the one you love? Need to reconnect? Serve up this sweet duet with two forks and prepare for the ultimate sugar rush. This 100% Nashville track is the fourth release this year from rising star Joy Oladokun. Find her emerging from country’s confines with vulnerable and evocative songs exploring themes of mental health and identity. Massive star amongst the Opry-set, Chris Staplenton joins for a singalong single you won’t be able to resist.

Teebs – “Did It Again (Feat. Panda Bear)”

Teebs hit us hard in the heart with his 2010 debut Ardour, an undulating masterwork of layered samples, quaking cymbals and homespun electronic beats. It’s only been up from there. The Bronx-born producer, real name Mtendere Mandowa, is now an absolute beacon of the LA Beat music scene in addition to being a highly sought-after visual artist and overall creative collaborator. (Re)introduce yourself with this positively ill collab featuring experimental noise maker (and 2022’s MVP) Panda Bear, who lends his voice to complement a shimmeringly mysterious melange of sound.

Emily Elbert – “For Free”

Talent: some people just got it. Texas-born, LA-based singer songwriter Emily Elbert has a slate of independent releases under her belt, and has toured as a band member with Esperanza Spalding, Jenny Lewis, and most recently, musical wunderkind Jacob Collier. This confident single represents a groovastic level-up. Featuring shoulder-shimmying guitar, advanced-placement song structure, and the kind of cool-girl vocal vibe that’ll have you double-taking for early St. Vincent — this track would be an easy sell even if it wasn’t for free.