10 Best Songs of the Week: CHVRCHES, Wye Oak, Julia Holter, Hookworms, and More

Plus Middle Kids, GUM, Ed Schrader's Music Beat, Soccer Mommy, Laura Veirs, Jay Som, and a Wrap-up of the Week's Other Notable New Tracks

Feb 02, 2018
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Wow, what a week for fantastic new tracks. Last week when we were putting together the Songs of the Week the pickings were slimmer and the best we could come up with was nine songs, rather than a full 10. This week it could have easily been a Top 15 (Anna Burch, Girlpool feat. Blood Orange's Dev Hynes, and A Place to Bury Strangers are the ones we most also considered for the Top 10). And there's not really any filler at the bottom of the list either. There was also a definite debate on whether our #1 should be CHVRCHES' "Get Out" or Wye Oak's The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs," both are strong first singles from each band's new album. So you could almost consider #1 a tie.

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

1. CHVRCHES: "Get Out"

On Wednesday Scottish electro-pop trio CHVRCHES shared a new song, "Get Out." It follows a mysterious social media video they posted on Tuesday that teased the song and is the first taste of their yet-to-be-announced third album. "Get Out" was shared via a YouTube video featuring a collage of nine different images, one of which is the same setting as yesterday's teaser. Greg Kurstin (Adele, Tegan and Sara) produced the song, which is out now via Glassnote. "Get Out" is a sublime and catchy slice of superior pop and a strong way to introduce CHVRCHES' new album.

The band issued this statement about the song in a press release: "Working with Greg was so different to what we'd done before, but it also felt so comfortable and like he'd been in our band forever. He doesn't try to make you write a certain kind of song. He just listens and then Jedi puppet masters the best work out of you. The opening synth riff of 'Get Out' was the first thing to emerge on our first day in the studio with him."

In February 2017 we reported that the band had started work on their third album and were working with Dave Stewart of iconic 1980s duo Eurythmics. Then there was word they were working with Kurstin and that it might be their most pop album yet.

CHVRCHES released their well-received second album, Every Open Eye, in 2015 via Glassnote (it was #9 on Under the Radar's Top 100 Albums of 2015 list). In 2017 they guest starred in the comic book series The Archies and covered Tegan and Sara's "Call It Off" for their The Con X: The Covers album.

CHVRCHES were on the cover of one of our print issues in 2015 and you can read the in-depth 8-page 5,600-word cover story feature on the band here. You can also read our bonus digital magazine Q&A with them here.

2. Wye Oak: "The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs"

This week Wye Oak (Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack) announced a new album, The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs, and shared its title track. The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs is due out April 6 via Merge. "The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs" is at once experimental and accessible and was almost our #1 Song of the Week.

To record the album Wasner and Stack took turns visiting each other's cities (Durham, North Carolina for Wasner and Marfa, Texas for Stack) for a week at a time.

A press release describes the album as such: "The result is the biggest, broadest, boldest music Wye Oak has ever made. Louder pursues a litany of modern malaises, each of its dozen tracks diligently addressing a new conflict and pinning it against walls of sound, with the song's subject and shape inextricably and ingeniously linked. It arrives at a time of immense doubt, when our personal problems are infinitely compounded by a world that seems in existential peril. But these songs answer the challenge by radiating self-reflection and resolve, wielding hooks and musical intricacy as a shield against the madness of the moment." 

In 2016 Wye Oak surprise-released the excellent Tween, a mini-album on Merge. Wasner released her debut full-length album under her Flock of Dimes solo project, If You See Me, Say Yes, the same year via Partisan.

3. Julia Holter: "So Humble the Afternoon"

Los Angeles based artist Julia Holter released her fantastic fourth full-length album, Have You in My Wilderness, in 2015 via Domino (it made it to #4 on our Top 100 Albums of 2015 list). Since then she released the 2016 score for boxing drama Bleed For This and 2017's In the Same Room, featuring her previous songs re-recorded live in the studio. This week she shared a new song, "So Humble the Afternoon." It's the latest installment in the Adult Swim Singles Program, so right now it's just a standalone track. Although sometimes Adult Swim tracks end up as artist album tracks later down the line. "So Humble the Afternoon" is a typically beautiful and haunting track from Holter, so it's welcome either way.

4. Hookworms: "Each Time We Pass" (Feat. Alice Merida Richards)

Britain's Hookworms released a new album, Microshift, today via Domino. Previously they shared videos for its first two singles, "Negative Space" and "Static Resistance." This week they shared a video for the album's third and final advance single, "Each Time We Pass." The song features guest vocals from Alice Merida Richards of Virginia Wing. Sam Wiehl directed the video, which features sculptured heads as they move around.

The band issued the following statement about the song: "This track was the first time we have ever truly collaborated with an artist external to the band, in the most modern sense of the word. It was an extremely rewarding experience and it is one of the only Hookworms songs where I can happily stand back and admire it as it had been written by another band."

Microshift is the band's third album and the follow-up to 2014's The Hum. Whereas their previous two albums were built off the band's live sound, the new one is more of a studio affair. But the band's studio was devastated during the River Aire floods in Leeds in the winter of 2015. Thanks to a GoFundMe campaign and help from volunteers the studio was rebuilt and the album was recorded.

Hookworms' MJ (all the members just go by their initials) had this to say about the album in a previous press release: "All of our records are to an extent about mental health. Largely this is an album about loss but also about maturing, accepting your flaws and the transience of intimacy."

5. Middle Kids: "Mistake"

Middle Kids are a promising new Australian band that are signed to Domino and released their self-titled debut EP via the label in February of last year. This week the Sydney trio announced their debut album, Lost Friends, and shared a video for its first single, "Mistake." Lost Friends is due out May 4 via Domino. It includes "Edge of Town," a highlight from their EP.

Frontwoman Hannah Joy had this to say about the album in a press release: "In a time where a lot of division is growing, we want to be part of the conversation that unites people around certain ideals that are universal, like hope and love. That's so much a thread throughout this album: Even though things are tough, it's worth believing in something good and in the idea that we can heal. And in some ways, I wanted the music to be beautiful and a respite from what's going on."

Read our 2017 Pleased to Meet You interview with Middle Kids.

6. GUM: "The Underdog" and "S.I.A."

GUM is the solo project of Jay Watson, who's a member of both Tame Impala and POND. Today the Australian psych-pop musician announced a new GUM album, The Underdog, and shared two songs from it, title track "The Underdog" and "S.I.A." We're cheating here by including both songs together, but they are both equally strong. The album is the follow-up to 2016's Flash in the Pan, 2015's Glamorous Damage, and 2014's Delorean Highway.

 

7. Ed Schrader's Music Beat: "Riddles"

Baltimore-based post-punk duo Ed Schrader's Music Beat (vocalist Ed Schrader and bassist Devlin Rice) are releasing their third album, Riddles, on March 2 via Carpark (their first for the label). It's produced by fellow Baltimore resident Dan Deacon. This week they shared the album's excellent title track, which bodes well for the album as a whole.

Schrader had this to say about the song in a press release: "To me this song is about shaking the ghost of an ever-present teenage self, only to realize you are only 'that ghost' and nothing more. You've been asleep in your head and you wake to a shattered present which makes that over-romanticized 'ideal' past all that more alluring. Even with its monsters, you run back into it and pull the covers over your head. This was where my head was at the time I got a voicemail that my stepdad died. He was a larger than life character who I had very mixed and unresolved feelings about. Learning of his death was like waking up and suddenly the mountains were all gone. Gravity shifted, and it kicked up all the dust bunnies of a damaged past along with its rich, dark beauty."

8. Soccer Mommy: "Cool"

Soccer Mommy is the project of 20-year-old Nashville native Sophie Allison. She got some buzz last year with some singles and bedroom recordings (which were compiled on Collection) and on March 2 she is releasing her debut full-length album, Clean, via Fat Possum. Clean was recorded in a studio with a full band and was produced by Gabe Wax (The War on Drugs, Deerhunter, Beirut) and mixed by Ali Chant (Perfume Genius, PJ Harvey). This week she shared another song from it, "Cool." We especially liked the way the song collapses at the end.

Allison had this to say about the song in a press release: "The song focuses on this other person who's desirable and cool, and it shows how sometimes you can romanticize the idea of being different than you are. It comes from a place of insecurity and idealization, which is a feeling that hangs over a lot of the album."

9. Laura Veirs: "Everybody Needs You"

This week Longtime Pacific Northwest singer/songwriter Laura Veirs announced a new album, The Lookout. The Lookout is her tenth solo album and is due out April 13 via Raven Marching Band Records. Tucker Martine produced the album, which features guest vocals from Sufjan Stevens and My Morning Jacket's Jim James. Accompanying the album's announcement was its first single "Everybody Needs You," shared via a video directed by Lance Bangs that featured Veirs taking a cab ride.

Veirs had this to say about the album in a press release: "The Lookout is about the need to pay attention to the fleeting beauty of life and to not be complacent; it's about the importance of looking out for each other. I'm addressing what's happening around me with the chaos of post-election America, the racial divides in our country, and a personal reckoning with the realities of midlife: I have friends who've died; I struggle with how to balance life as an artist with parenting young children."

10. Jay Som: "Hot Bread"

This week Bay Area singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Jay Som (aka Melina Duterte) shared a new song, "Hot Bread." The song is part of Amazon Music's Valentine's Day-timed "Love Me, Love Me Not" playlist, which this week also gave us "Up On a Mountain of Love," a new song by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys and The Arcs (listen to that one further below in the list of other songs released this week). "Hot Bread" is a fun and lush little song.

Duterte told NPR that the song is about a one night stand with a former lover. She also had this to add: "My new microphone arrived just in time to track the song. The warm and dry '70s tone inspired me to make a chill but optimistic arrangement with simple lyrics.... I also named the song after one of my favorite things in the world."

Jay Som released a fantastic album, Everybody Works, last March via Polyvinyl. (It was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2017.) Last week she released, via Polyvinyl, the new Pirouette 7-inch featuring two songs recorded during the Everybody Works sessions that didn't make the album. Previously she shared both its A-side, "Pirouette," and B-side, "O.K., Meet Me Underwater."

Read our 2017 Pleased to Meet You interview with Jay Som.

Other notable new tracks this week include:

A Place to Bury Strangers: "Never Coming Back"

Arcade Fire: "Put Your Money On Me (Windows 98 v.1.0)" (Demo Version)

Dan Auerbach: "Up On a Mountain of Love"

Anna Burch: "Quit the Curse"

Chromeo: "Bedroom Calling" (Feat. The-Dream)

Dungen and Woods: "Turn Around"

 

Girlpool: "Picturesong" (Feat. Dev Hynes)

 

Albert Hammond Jr.: "Muted Beatings"

Mark Kozelek: "This Is My Town" and "My Love For You Is Undying"

Stream "This Is My Town" here and "My Love For You Is Undying" here.

Lykke Li: "Time in a Bottle" (Jim Croce Cover)

Local Natives: "Colombia (8-minute demo)"

Many Rooms: "Which Is to Say, Everything"

The Men: "Rose On Top of the World"

Moby: "Mere Anarchy"

 

Thurston Moore: "Mx Liberty" (Feat. Radieux Radio)

Olden Yolk: "Vital Sign"

Dominik Scherrer and Natasha Khan: "Aigra"

Stone Temple Pilots: "Roll Me Under"

The Streets: "If You Ever Need to Talk I'm Here" 

Ultimate Painting: "Not Gonna Burn Myself Anymore"

Andrew W.K.: "Ever Again"

 

The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar: "Pray For Me"

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Mark
February 3rd 2018
5:14am

Very good list. Thanks.

Archie
February 3rd 2018
5:39am

Thanks, I liked very much of your work, appreciated you.