10 Best Songs of the Week: Andrew Bird, Deerhunter, Carly Rae Jepsen, Cass McCombs, and More

Plus Tim Heidecker, Bill Ryder-Jones, Thundercat, and a Wrap-up of the Week's Other Notable New Tracks

Nov 02, 2018
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It was shaping up to be a weak week for Songs of the Week, but then our #1 track emerged today and we dug a little deeper through the week's songs and put together a compelling Top 10. It's an eclectic mix of political songs, catchy mainstream pop, a strange sci-fi spoken word track, and some unapologetic guitar indie rock.

Elsewhere on the website in the last week we posted interviews with Trevor Powers (fka Youth Lagoon), Bernice, Interpol, and a The End interview with Frontperson.

We also had a series of articles tied to next Tuesday's midterm election. We spoke to Jim James of My Morning Jacket about his recent Future Is Voting Tour. Then Moby, Erika Spring of Au Revoir Simone, and Brian Chase of Yeah Yeah Yeahs all wrote about the importance of voting next week.

In the last week we also reviewed a bunch of albums, including the latest by Moonface, Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam, and Cloud Nothings, as well as a Cranberries reissue and a David Bowie box set. Plus we posted reviews of various DVDs, Blu-rays, films, and TV shows, including a recap/review of the latest episode of The Good Place and a review of Homecoming, the new Amazon Prime series starring Julia Roberts.

Don't forget that our current print issue, which features Kamasi Washington on the cover, is still out now.

To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last week, we have picked the 10 best the last seven days had to offer, along with highlighting other notable new tracks shared in the last week. Check out the full list below.

1. Andrew Bird: "Bloodless"

Today Andrew Bird shared a new political song, "Bloodless," via a video for the track. The six-and-a-half-minute song references the Spanish Civil War and posits that America is currently in "an uncivil war" and that it's "bloodless for now." No doubt this is timed to next Tuesday's important midterm elections. The song is subtly funky. Matthew Daniel Siskin directed the black & white clip, which features images of city streets and Bird in the studio. Below are the lyrics to the song.

Bird had this to say about the song in a press release: "We find ourselves in a cold civil war. Everyone is playing their part too well. Certain actors are reaping power and wealth from divisiveness. Echoes of the Spanish Civil War when fascists and clergy win because they put up a united front against the individualistic and principled (yet scattered) left. We can turn this ship around but need to step back and be honest with ourselves about what's happening while it's still relatively bloodless." 

"Bloodless" will be available on 7-inch on December 14, with "Capital Crimes" as the B-side. Bird's last album, Are You Serious, was released in 2016 via Loma Vista.

"Bloodless" Lyrics: 

They're Profiting From Your Worry
Selling Blanks Down at the DMZ
Banking on the Sound and Fury
Wonder What It's to do With Me

Bloodless for Now

I'm Keeping Mine With the Altruists
Putting my Weight Behind the Dancer
I Know It's Hard to be an Optimist
When You Trust Least the Ones Who Claim to Have the Answers

And It's an Uncivil War

Bloodless for Now

And the Poets They Explode Like Bombs
While the Gentry is Drinking Moët Chandon
Turn Around and Quote a Well Known Psalm:
Don't You Worry 'Bout the Wicked
Don't You Envy Those Who do Wrong
And Your Innocence Will be Like the Dawn
While the Justice of Your Cause Will Shine Like the Noonday Sun

The Best Have Lost Their Convictions
While the Worst Keep
Sharpening Their Claws
Peddling in Their Dark Fictions
While What's Left of Us We Just Hem and We Haw

And it Feels Like 1936
In Catalonia
Catalonia

2. Deerhunter: "Death in Midsummer"

The week Deerhunter announced a new album, Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?, and shared its first single, "Death in Midsummer," via a video for the song. Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared? is due out January 18, 2019 via 4AD. The tracklist includes commentary on each song from the band and you can check that out here, as well as the band's newly announced tour dates.

Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared? is the follow-up to 2015's Fading Frontier, although in May they released the tour-only limited edition cassette The Double Dream of Spring. Deerhunter are, as always, led by Bradford Cox. The current line-up also features longtime member Lockett Pundt, founding member Moses Archuleta, Josh McKay, and Javier Morales. The album also features Cate Le Bon playing harpsichord on "Death in Midsummer" and singing on "Tarnung," Tim Presley of White Fence playing "abstract lead guitar" on "Futurism," Ben H. Allen III playing a "synthetic bass system" on "Plains," and Ian Horrocks playing contrabass on "Nocturne." Deerhunter produced the album alongside Le Bon, Allen III, and Ben Etter. Cox engineered the album with Etter and Samur Khouja, Cox, Etter, and Allen III all mixed the album. Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared? was recorded in various cities at several studios: Marfa Recording in Marfa, Texas, Sonic Ranch in Texas, Seahorse Sound in Los Angeles, Maze Studios in the band's native Atlanta, and in Cox's attic in Grant Park, Atlanta. The album is 37 minutes long.

Also read our rave 9/10 review of Fading Frontier.

3. Carly Rae Jepsen: "Party For One"

This week Canadian pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen shared a brand new song, "Party For One," via a video for the track. Bardia Zeinali directed the video, which features Jepsen singing and dancing in her underwear in a hotel room. We then see other guests at the hotel and most of them are in their underwear too. They all meet when the power goes out (although, wouldn't you put pants/a skirt on before going to a hotel lobby?).

"Party For One" is the first taste of her new album, the follow-up to 2015's E•MO•TION, which a press release says will be out in 2019. The single is out now via School Boy/Interscope.

Jepsen had this to say about the song in a press release: "To me 'Party For One' is an anthem of what it is to celebrate time with yourself, which is a hard thing for people to really enjoy sometimes, and it's something I'm learning to do more and more. This song represents a lot of what this album is about for me which is romantic love but self-love too."

It's a fun and catchy pop song about self-love and in these trying times, sometimes that's what you need.

4. Cass McCombs: "Sleeping Volcanoes"

This week Cass McCombs announced a new album, Tip of the Sphere, and shared its first single, "Sleeping Volcanoes." Tip of the Sphere is due out February 8, 2019 via ANTI-. He has also announced some tour dates, which are here.  

The album is the follow-up to 2016's Mangy Love, which made Under the Radar's Top 100 Albums of 2016 list. McCombs traditionally records his albums in bits and pieces in different studios over time, but took a different approach with Tip of the Sphere, recording the whole thing quickly in one location: Shahzad Ismaily's Figure 8 Studios in Brooklyn. A press release says this new approach "brought his songs a raw immediacy and a special balance of compassion and experimentation with the intent of making a more consistent statement." Sam Owens (aka Sam Evian) engineered the album, which features McCombs on guitar and vocals, as well as Dan Horne (bass), Otto Hauser (drums), and Frank LoCrasto (piano, organ, and more), as well as some guests.

Also read our 2016 interview with Cass McCombs.

5. Tim Heidecker: "Ballad of The Incel Man"

Comedian/musician Tim Heidecker (of the comedy duo Tim & Eric and the yacht-rock parody band Heidecker & Wood) has been a longtime critic of President Donald Trump and this week he released another biting protest song, "Ballad of The Incel Man." The satirical song has a '70s country vibe and is sung from the perspective of a Trump supporter attending a Trump rally in hopes of finding a like-minded girlfriend. Incels are part of an online community who have trouble minding romantic or sexual partners, despite desiring to find one.

"I'm gonna take a shower/and shave so I look good/Wear my Hillary for prison shirt/like a good boy should," Heidecker sings, later adding: "Got my picture of Obama/Which we'll burn in effigy/And I hope I find a like minded girl tonight at the trump rally."  

Later in the song Heidecker more directly addresses Trump: "Sometimes he scares me/When he goes on one of those rants/Sometimes I don't know what he's talking about/But it makes them liberals shit their pants/Oh, it makes them shit their pants." 

All proceeds from the song go to HIAS, the Jewish organization that works to protect refugees. The song was shared the day after the deadly mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

6. Bill Ryder-Jones: "Don't Be Scared, I Love You"

Bill Ryder-Jones released a new album, Yawn, today via Domino. This week he shared one last pre-release single from the album, "Don't Be Scared, I Love You," via a video for the track. James Slater directed the clip, which uses split screen.

Ryder-Jones had this to say about the video in a press release: "Love this video although I decided to never wear sunglasses again after watching it."

Previously Ryder-Jones shared a video for its first single, "Mither," which was about the British multi-instrumentalist and producer's mother and was one of our Songs of the Week. Then he shared another song from the album, "And Then There's You," also via a video (and it was also one of our Songs of the Week).

Ryder-Jones recorded and produced Yawn himself. The album features guest vocals from The Orielles and Our Girl, cello by Rod Skip, and mixing by Craig Silvey (Portishead, The Horrors, Arcade Fire). 

A previous press release described the album as such: "Yawn is an album that looks for understanding - down the back of life's sofa. These are everyday stories about situations we all fall from and into, out of, and back up against the wall again - and they are sung to us, up close, by a voice still in hock to a few uncomfortable truths."

7. Thundercat (feat. BADBADNOTGOOD & Flying Lotus): "King of the Hill"

This week Thundercat (aka Stephen Bruner) shared "King of the Hill," a jazzy new song featuring BADBADNOTGOOD and Flying Lotus. The track is featured on Brainfeeder X, a new 36-track compilation celebrating the 10th anniversary of Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label that's due out November 16. The main complaint of "King of the Hill" is that the three-minute long song is too short, it stops just as it seems to be building to something. 

8. Spielbergs: "4AM"

This week Oslo, Norway's Spielbergs announced their debut album, This Is Not the End, and shared its propulsive first single "4AM." This Is Not the End is due out Debruary 1, 2019 via By the Time It Gets Dark. It's the follow-up to their well-received EP, Distant Star, released earlier this year. The trio features Mads Baklien (guitar, vocals, synth), Stian Brennskag (bass), and Christian Løvhaug (drums).

9. Chromatics: "House of Dolls" 

Chromatics shared a new song this week, if you can call it a song. It was more a terrifying mood piece with spoken word vocals sounding like a crazed AI, part 2001: A Space Odyssey's HAL and part Pris from Blade Runner. The strange track is found on the deluxe digital version of their Camera EP.

10. Sloucher: "Up & Down"

Seattle-based four-piece Sloucher are releasing their debut album, Be True, on November 16 via Swoon Records. This week they shared another single from it, "Up & Down." It's a blast of unpretentious, unapologetic emotive guitar indie rock. 

Drummer Jay Clancy (Makeup Monsters, Cayucas, Hibou) formed Sloucher. Initially he envisioned it as a solo project, before adding fellow drummer Jack Hamrick, former The Globes guitarist Kyle Musselwhite, and bassist Lance Umble (Telekinesis, Cumulus, Bod).

In a press release Clancy had this to say about the band's sound: "I feel like people are kind of brushing off guitar rock, it's not something that's super cool right now - at least not in the mainstream. So we're trying to tap into that base of people who are still really into that music and have an appreciation for it." 

Honorable Mentions:

These 6 songs almost made the Top 10.

Finn Andrews: "A Shot Through the Heart (Then Down In Flames)" 

Hen Ogledd: "Tiny Witch Hunter"

LUMP: "May I Be the Light (IYEARA Remix)"

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: "Free Fallin'" (Tom Petty Cover)           

Stars: "Are You With Me?"

Young Fathers: "Cocoa Sugar"

Other notable new tracks in the last week include:

Phoebe Bridgers: "Powerful Man" (Alex G Cover)

The C.I.A.: "Pleasure Seeker"

Dolly Dream: "The Way to Heaven" (Feat. U.S. Girls)

Flatbush Zombies: "New World Order"

Guided By Voices: "Cohesive Scoops"

LCD Soundsystem: "(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang" (Heaven 17 Cover)

The Lemonheads: "Can't Forget" (Yo La Tengo Cover)

Theophilus London: "Only You" (Feat. Tame Impala) (Steve Monite Cover)

Morrissey: "Back on the Chain Gang" (The Pretenders Cover)

Conor Oberst: "LAX" (Feat. Phoebe Bridgers)

Pedro The Lion: "Yellow Bike"

Poppy: "Play Destroy" (Feat. Grimes)

The Samps: "Let Me Down"

Sneaks: "The Way It Goes"

Stove: "Stiff Bones"

Washer: "Super Pop" 

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