10 Best Songs of the Week: Jessie Ware, The Homesick, Best Coast, and More | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019  

10 Best Songs of the Week: Jessie Ware, The Homesick, Best Coast, and More

Plus Yorkston/Thorne/Khan, Graham Coxon, Jehnny Beth, and a Wrap-up of the Week's Other Notable New Tracks

Nov 08, 2019
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Welcome to another Songs of the Week. The last three weeks we could only come up with a Top 8, instead of our customary Top 10, but this week's choices were surprisingly much stronger once we did some deeper digging.

Don't forget to pick up our new print issue, the My Favorite Album Issue. It features Angel Olsen and Sleater-Kinney on the two covers and is a special issue where we speak to musicians and actors about their all-time favorite albums.

In the last week we also reviewed a bunch of albums, including the latest by Michael Kiwanuka, FKA twigs, Dry Cleaning (an EP), The Avett Brothers, and Empath. Plus every week we post reviews of various other things (some weeks including DVDs, Blu-rays, films, concerts, and TV shows).

This week we also posted a new interview with Temples.

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. Jessie Ware: "Mirage (Don't Stop)" 

On Wednesday Jessie Ware shared a brand new song, "Mirage (Don't Stop)." It finds Ware returning to her club music roots. Benji B and Matthew Tavares produced and co-wrote the song, which features additional production by James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco and was co-written by Clarence 'Coffee' Jr.  The single is out now via PMR/Friends Keep Secrets/Interscope. Lyrically, there's not much new on offer, but musically it more than does the job of motivating wallflowers onto the dancefloor. And sometimes that's all you need from a great pop single.

"Mirage (Don't Stop)" follows a new song Ware shared in February, "Adore You," which was produced by Metronomy's Joseph Mount and mixed by James Ford (Simian Mobile Disco). In October 2018 she also shared "Overtime," another club-ready single that was one of our Songs of the Week. Ware released her third album, Glasshouse, in October 2017. Perhaps she is prepping her fourth album for a 2020 release?

Read our 2017 Self-Portrait interview with Jessie Ware.

Read our 2014 interview with Jessie Ware.

2. The Homesick: "I Celebrate My Fantasy"

This week Dutch trio The Homesick announced a new album, The Big Exercise, and shared a new song from it, "I Celebrate My Fantasy." The Big Exercise is due out February 7, 2020 via Sub Pop, the band's first for the Seattle label. Check out the album's tracklist and cover art, as well as the band's upcoming tour dates, here.

The band's lineup is Jaap van der Velde, Erik Woudwijk, and Elias Elgersma. The Big Exercise is the band's second album, the follow-up to 2017's debut, Youth Hunt. The album's title is inspired by a passage in the Scott Walker-biography Deep Shade of Blue.

In a press release Van der Velde had this to say about some of the musical influences on the album: "When we were on tour in 2018, I bought Meredith Monk's Dolmen Music in Switzerland. Elias and I have been completely immersed in her music ever since. But also the work of Joan La Barbara for example, who also did things with extended vocal techniques, that was also quite vital to us. We discovered that the human voice offers so many beautiful elements that can still feel very physical and intrusive."

Summing up the album, Van der Velde says: "That's also a phenomenal aspect of the position we're now in as a band. I consider The Homesick a pop band first and foremost. If you'd introduce a late-era Scott Walker-record to a layman, it would likely fall on flat ears. But put it in the right scene of a good movie, and that person may finally understand its potential. The Homesick is allowed to play around in that pop framework, and the goal is to explore what's possible within it. You can do super radical and weird things, and at the same time convey it all as straightforward pop music. With this album, I hope people will hear things anew after multiple listens."

3. Best Coast: "For the First Time"

On Tuesday Best Coast announced a new album, Always Tomorrow, and shared its first single, "For the First Time." They also announced some new tour dates (which are here). Details on the new album are scant. Beyond its title and first single, all that's been shared is that it's due out sometime in 2020 (we're guessing early 2020). No exact release date, cover art, or tracklist has been shared as yet. Best Coast consists of Bethany Cosentino (vocals, guitar) and Bobb Bruno (guitar). Cosentino sounds a lot like Neko Case on "For the First Time," and that's a compliment. The song is a positivity anthem of sorts.

Best Coast released their last album, California Nights, in 2015 via Harvest. Kevin Hayes directed the "For the First Time" video.

4. Yorkston/Thorne/Khan: "Westlin' Winds" 

Yorkston/Thorne/Khan is a trio consisting of James Yorkston (guitar/nyckelharpa/vocals), Jon Thorne (double-bass/vocals), and Suhail Yusuf Khan (sarangi/vocals) and this week they announced a new album, Navarasa : Nine Emotions, and shared its first single, the 10-minute long "Westlin' Winds." They also announced some tour dates. Navarasa : Nine Emotions is due out January 24, 2020 via Domino. Check out the album's tracklist and cover art, as well as the tour dates, here.

Navarasa : Nine Emotions is the trio's third album. The band combines Yorkston's Scottish folk with Thorne's jazzier sensibilities and the Indian sounds of the New Delhi-based Khan.

A press release describes the themes of the album as such: "At the heart of YTK's transporting new album is the Indian subcontinent's navarasa; the nine (nava) emotions or sentiments (rasa) of the arts. This central unifying underpinning is a centuries-old organizing principle and directly connects an emotion to each song on the album: Sukhe Phool - Karuna (sorrow), The Shearing's Not for You - Bibhatsya (disgust), Thumri Bhairavi - Raudra (anger), Westlin' Winds - Adbutha (surprise/wonder), Song for Oda - Shringara (love/beauty), Theo's - Hasya (laughter), Twa Brothers - Bhayanaka (terror/fear), Waliyan da Raja - Veera (heroism/courage), Darbari - Shantha (peace/tranquility)."

Yorkston released a new solo album, The Route to the Harmonium, back in February, also via Domino.

Read our My Firsts interview with James Yorkston.

5. Graham Coxon: "She Knows"

Graham Coxon (guitarist for Blur and an accomplished solo artist) does the music for the Netflix/Channel 4 show The End of the F***ing World. Season 2 has just premiered and today Coxon's soundtrack for the season was released. It includes original songs and score. Earlier this week Coxon shared one of its songs, "She Knows." It sounds like a great Blur B-side from the era of 1997's self-titled album or 1999's 13.

6. Jehnny Beth: "I'm the Man"

Today Jehnny Beth, frontperson for British four-piece Savages, shared a new unrelenting solo song, "I'm the Man." It's been done for the soundtrack of the Netflix/BBC show Peaky Blinders. The soundtrack is due out November 15 via Universal and also includes music from David Bowie, Radiohead, The White Stripes, Arctic Monkeys, and more. Previously we posted from the soundtrack PJ Harvey's cover of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds' classic "Red Right Hand." The show stars Cillian Murphy and is set in the post-WWI era England.

Beth had this to say about the song in a press release: "'I'm The Man' is an attempted study on humankind, what we define as evil and the inner conflict of morality. Because it is much easier to label the people who are clearly tormented by obsessions as monsters than to discern the universal human background which is visible behind them. However, this song has not even a remote connection with a sociological study, collective psychology, or present politics; it is a poetic work first and foremost. Its aim is to make you feel, not think."  

Savages released their last album, Adore Life, back in 2016 via Matador.

7. Lucy Dacus: "Fool's Gold"

This year Lucy Dacus has been working on a singles series entitled 2019 where she has been releasing seven songs in 2019, each timed to a different holiday. Yesterday shared its final song, "Fool's Gold," which takes its inspiration from New Year's. All the songs have been collected on the 2019 EP, which came out today via Matador. She also performed the song live in a session for KXEP and you can watch video of that here.

Dacus had this to say about the song in a press release: "I started writing 'Fool's Gold' the moment after the last person left a New Year's Eve party I hosted in 2018 I did what I said - drank the last of the champagne alone, felt anxious, and locked the door behind everyone. New Year's has grown to be my favorite holiday, and this may be my favorite song on the EP."

Pick up our new print issue (the My Favorite Album Issue) to read our exclusive interview with Lucy Dacus about her all-time favorite album.

The first offering of 2019 was a cover of Edith Piaf's "La Vie En Rose," timed to Valentine's Day. Dacus' take was a mix of French and English lyrics. Then she shared its second installment, "My Mother & I," which was fittingly timed to Mother's Day and Taurus season and was one of our Songs of the Week. Then she shared its third installment, "Forever Half Mast," timed to July 4th (it also made our Songs of the Week list). Then she shared a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" in honor of his birthday (he turned 70 on September 23). Then she shared a cover of Phil Collins' 1981 classic "In the Air Tonight" timed to Halloween. Then she shared a cover of Wham!'s 1984 holiday classic "Last Christmas" (her version is faster and punkier, because she doesn't like Christmas apparently).

Dacus had this to say about the project in a previous press release: "These songs are self-contained, not indicative of a new direction, just a willingness to do something different and sometimes even out of character."

Dacus released a new album, Historian, back in March 2018 via Matador. It was our Album of the Week and one of our Top 100 Albums of 2018.

Dacus also teamed up with fellow singer/songwriters Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers to form supergroup Boygenius, whose self-titled debut EP was released in late October via Matador.

Read our interview with Dacus and boygenius.

Read our 2018 interview with Dacus on Historian.

Read our 2016 Artist Survey interview with Lucy Dacus.

8. Lanterns on the Lake: "Every Atom"

This week British five-piece Lanterns on the Lake announced a new album, Spook the Herd, and shared its first single, "Every Atom," via a video for it. They have also announced some tour dates. Spook the Herd is due out February 21, 2020 via Bella Union. Check out the album's tracklist and cover art, as well as the tour dates, here.

Spook the Herd is the band's fourth album, and will be released around four and half years after their last album, 2015's Beings. Carola Müller directed and edited the "Every Atom" video, which is black & white and uses footage from NASA.

Lantern on the Lake's vocalist Hazel Wilde had this to say about "Every Atom" in a press release: "This is a song about grief and how your subconscious takes a long time to accept when someone is dead and gone forever, even when the rational side of you understands it. I put that idea into a story where the narrator is my subconscious searching for someone in this dream-like fictional world. I go to the extremes to search for even just a trace of them... through all of space and time, splitting every atom, 'until Andromeda and the Milky Way collide.' I won't give up. I can't let go."

The press release describes the album as such: "Beginning with the record's title - a pointed comment at the dangerously manipulative tactics of ideologues - its nine songs turn the microscope to issues including our hopelessly polarized politics, social media, addiction, grief and the climate crisis." 

Guitarist/producer Paul Gregory had this to say about recording the album: "There was a sense of release in terms of what kind of music we felt we could make. The idea of what kind of band you're supposed to be really disappeared. It was great; you felt you could do whatever you like."

9. Villagers: "The Sunday Walker"

On Monday Villagers (aka Irish musician Conor O'Brien) surprise released a brand new four-song EP, The Sunday Walker EP. It's now digitally and will be released on vinyl on November 22 via Domino. Its title track, "The Sunday Walker," is quite lovely sounding and is included here.

Villagers' last album, The Art of Pretending to Swim, came out in 2018 via Domino. The Sunday Walker EP features songs recorded around the time of the sessions for that album.

O'Brien had this to say about the EP in a press release: "The tracks that fell through the cracks; it turns out they had their own story to tell. The Sunday Walker EP is a collection of lost songs as much as it is an emotional arc. Songs of loss and songs of realization. Songs of empathy and isolation."

10. Black Lips: "Gentleman"

Yesterday Black Lips announced a new album, Sing in a World That's Falling Apart, and shared a new song from it, "Gentleman." Sing in a World That's Falling Apart is due out January 24, 2020 via both Fire Records and Vice Records. It includes the previously shared single "Odelia." Check out the album's tracklist and cover art, as well as their upcoming tour dates, here.

Sing in a World That's Falling Apart is the follow-up to 2017's Satan's graffiti or God's art?, which was produced by Sean Lennon and featured guest vocals by Lennon's mother, Yoko Ono.

Sing in a World That's Falling Apart was recorded and co-produced with Nic Jodoin at Laurel Canyon's Valentine Recording Studios, which featured many legendary performers before closing in 1979 and recently reopened.

A press release describes the album like so: "Like The Byrds, who flirted with pastoral aesthetics before going all-out with the radical departure that was Sweetheart of The Rodeo, the Black Lips have been skirting the edges of country since 'Sweet Kin' and 'Make It' from their eponymous debut. But eschewing Graham Parson's earnestness, Black Lips are careful not to hint at authenticity, wisely treading into their unfeigned rustic romance with the winking self-awareness of Bob Dylan's 'You Ain't Goin Nowhere,' Rolling Stones 'Dear Doctor,' or The Velvet Underground's 'Lonesome Cowboy Bill.'" 

Honorable Mentions: 

These four songs almost made the Top 10.

Beck: "Dark Places"

FKA twigs: "Sad Day"

Prince: "Don't Let Him Fool Ya"

Spinning Coin: "Feel You More Than World Right Now"

 

Other notable new tracks in the last week include:

Fiona Apple: "The Whole of the Moon" (The Waterboys Cover)

Beach Slang: "Tommy in the 80s" (Feat. Tommy Stinson)

 

Andrew Bird: "Alabaster" and "Night's Falling"

Clipping: "Aquacode Databreaks" (Feat. Shabazz Palaces)

 

Coldplay: "Everyday Life"

Annie Hart: "Wilderness Hill"

George Michael: "This Is How (We Want You to Get High)"

Frank Ocean: "In My Room"

Ozzy Osbourne: "Under the Graveyard" 

The Rentals: "Spaceships" 

Rosalía: "A Palé" 

The Shins: "Waimanalo" and "Trapped By the Sea"

 

Andy Stott: "Versi"

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