10 Best Songs of the Week: Parcels, Run the Jewels, Jaakko Eino Kalevi, John Grant, and More

Plus Little Dragon, Sampha, Thom Yorke, and a Wrap-up of the Week's Other Notable New Tracks

Oct 12, 2018
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While it was a very healthy week for new album releases, so much so that we had eight runner-ups for this week's Album of the Week, it was more of a challenge to find 10 new songs we felt worthy of this week's Songs of the Week list. We considered just doing a Top 8 this week, but found enough tracks to stretch it out to 10. Two, including our #1, are songs from albums released today, tracks that weren't previously released as pre-release singles.

Elsewhere on the website in the last week we posted Self-Portrait interviews with Lala Lala and Mothers.

John Grant was our Album of the Week.

In the last week we also reviewed a bunch of albums, including the latest by Kurt Vile, Molly Burch, Madeline Kenney, Lonnie Holley, Cursive, Hippo Campus, Adrianne Lenker, Brandon Coleman, and Amber Arcades. 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.

Don't forget that our new print issue, which features Kamasi Washington on the cover, is 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. Parcels: "Everyroad"

Parcels are an Australian five-piece, although they are based in Berlin and have French connections. Today they released their self-titled debut album, via Kitsuné/Because Music. And now that it's out we can share our favorite song from the album, "Everyroad," which was not released as a pre-release single. The eight-and-a-half minute track features spoken word samples of various men talking about their ideal homes (or perhaps their ideas of tranquility) over lush backing music akin to Air meets Daft Punk, before the song makes room for some delicate vocals and takes a dramatic turn at the end.

When Parcels was announced the band shared a video for a new song from it, the flute-inflected "Lightenup" (which was one of our Songs of the Week). Their 2017 single "Overnight" was co-written and co-produced by Daft Punk, although the song isn't on the album.

The band features Louie Swain (synth), Patrick Hetherington (synth), Noah Hill (bass), Anatole Serret (drums), and Jules Crommelin (guitar), who are all schoolmates from Byron Bay. A press release compares Parcels to The Beach Boys, Chic, and Steely Dan, filtered through modern pop music. The band might appeal to fans of Phoenix, for example.

2. Run the Jewels: "Let's Go (The Royal We)"

Those who watched the new hit superhero movie Venom in the theater last weekend and stuck through the end credits for the two bonus scenes were treated to "Let's Go (The Royal We)," a new song by Run the Jewels (the duo of Killer Mike and El-P). This week the song was given its own digital release.

According to an interview on Thursday with Zane Lowe's Beats 1 radio show, the song came out of a piece of music originally written for the Blade Runner 2049 trailer. It didn't end up getting used in the trailer and was eventually transformed into this song.  

In the interview Killer Mike spoke of his enthusiasm for writing a song for Venom: "We got a call that they wanted us to write a record for it, and we were like abso-damn-lutely we will write a record for Venom. My man Nate in high school introduced me to the Venom character, and I've loved it ever since. Just the duality of trying to do righteous, and this rogue is just fighting with you from the inside. I thought it was a perfect match up with the Run The Jewels spirit, so the record turned out dope. It gave us a primer for what I think is going to be a dope next album."

Venom stars Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock, a San Francisco-based investigative reporter who gets bonded with an alien parasite named Venom that gives him superpowers (and a new voice inside his head, also played by Hardy). The film also stars Michelle Williams as love interest Anne Weying and Riz Ahmed as villain Carlton Drake. The film wasn't particularly liked by critics, but made more money at the box office last weekend than expected, grossing $80 million, and is projected to be #1 at the box office again this weekend.

Run the Jewels released their third album, the appropriately titled RTJ3 (aka Run the Jewels 3), in January 2017 (well technically it dropped a little early, in late December 2016).

3. Jaakko Eino Kalevi: "This World"

Finnish multi-instrumentalist Jaakko Eino Kalevi released a new album, Out of Touch, today via Domino imprint Weird World. This week he shared one last pre-release single from the album, "This World." It was shared via a video for the song that mainly features a close-up of Kalevi as he sings the song while the lyrics flash on the screen. Blank Blank directed the clip.

Kalevi had this to say about the video in a press release: "We were at my friend's studio and playing around with his new camera. This video footage was just a test but in the end it turned out to be the best take of all. I'm a big fan of karaoke and now with this video my fans can sing along."

Previously Kalevi shared a video for its first single, "Emotions in Motion" (which was one of our Songs of the Week). Then he shared a video for another new song from the album, "People in the Centre of the City" (which was our #2 Song of the Week).

Out of Touch is Kalevi's fifth solo album and the follow-up to 2015's self-titled album. Kalevi wrote and produced the album, which was recorded in studios in Helsinki and Berlin, where he currently lives. He plays every instrument on the album, including the saxophone. A previous press release said the album draws inspiration from some time Kalevi spent in Athens and "broadens his horizons while focusing on his inner self." 

Kalevi had this to say about the album in the previous press release: "Everyone knows the meaning of out of touch and it usually has negative connotations, such as lacking the latest information. But to be out of touch can be the most ideal state."

Read our 2015 interview with Jaakko Eino Kalevi.

4. John Grant: "Smug Cunt"

John Grant released a new album, Love Is Magic, today via Partisan in the U.S. (and Bella Union elsewhere). It was our Album of the Week. Most of the best songs from the album were the pre-release singles, but now that the album is out we can include one our favorite tracks that wasn't a single, "Smug Cunt."

Previously Grant shared Love Is Magic's six-and-a-half-minute long title track, "Love Is Magic," via a lyric video (it was one of our Songs of the Week), which was followed by a full-on video for "Love Is Magic" featuring lots of dogs. Then he shared two more songs from the album: the shiny and upbeat "He's Got His Mother's Hips" and the ballad "Touch & Go," a tribute to Chelsea Manning. Both songs made our Songs of the Week list. We also recently premiered a song by Ethan Gold, "Sway Lake (Lost Record Version)," that featured the guest vocals of Grant and was an honorable mention on our Songs of the Week list. Then he shared a wild video for "He's Got His Mother's Hips" that featured the work of 13 different animators. Then he shared another song from the album, "Is He Strange" (which was also one of our Songs of the Week). He also performed "He's Got His Mother's Hips" on the BBC music show Later... with Jools Holland.

Love Is Magic is the follow-up to 2015's Grey Tickles, Black Pressure. Grant produced the album with analogue synth expert/collector Benge and Paul Alexander of Texas band Midlake. It was mainly recorded at Benge's MemeTune Studios in Cornwall, England.

A previous press release said the album "is a turbulent, riveting, often brutal collection that overlaps pitch black humor, fear, anxiety, and anger" and that "the instrumentation consists almost entirely of synthesizers and programming."

Grant had this to say about the album in the previous press release: "The lyrics aren't just the doom and gloom of the past. They're a snapshot of everyday life - the ridiculousness, the pain, the deep longing.... Each record I make is more of an amalgamation of who I am. The more I do this, the more I trust myself, and the closer I get to making what I imagine in my head."

Grant also had this to say about the album's title: "Love's a shitshow that requires work. It's not all lollipops and rainbows and '67 Dodge Dart Hemis and STD's and macaroni and cheese and John Carpenter. But nothing can distract from the fact that, in spite of it all, love is still magic."

Be sure to read our in-depth 2013 article on Grant, one of the most honest and personal interviews we've ever done.

Also read our 2015 interview with John Grant on Grey Tickles, Black Pressure. 

5. Little Dragon: "Lover Chanting"

Swedish electro-pop band Little Dragon have signed to Ninja Tune and this week they announced a new EP for them, Lover Chanting. They also shared the EP's title track. Lover Chanting is due out November 9 via Ninja Tune. It's their first release for the label and their first EP ever.

Last month Little Dragon teamed up with Canadian instrumental hip-hop/jazz band BADBADNOTGOOD for a new song, "Tried," which was one of our Songs of the Week. The song is not included on the EP.

The band issued this press release statement about the Lover Chanting EP: "For all the lovers out there, chant along! Dance for peace and unity in this world of madness!" 

In the press release lead singer Yukimi Nagano says that the EP is about "the force of love. Not only between two people but the force of love in this universe as the ultimate ecstasy. Whether that is while you're dancing at a disco forgetting where you are or just staring at the moon on a clear night, it can be anything. A swim in the ocean, a glance at a stranger--it's a personal individual thing. Call it what you want but we have all felt it. So, embrace the great mystery of everything that your brain can't grasp and lose track in the most beautiful sense."

In the press release, the band further explained the creation of the EP: "It started with Fred searching for a wedding march inspired by a Swedish prog funk folk keyboardist called Merit Hemmingson. Erik got inspired by the track and started singing! After Erik wrote his vocal verses Yukimi got a bit worried about his lyrical abilities and stepped in to add her part on the song. Håkan flew to Germany to record a beautifully tuned clavinet. Once the clavinet was recorded Fred and Erik added their flavor with some drums and deep synth bass."

Little Dragon released their last album, Season High, back in April 2017 via Loma Vista. Back in February they shared a brand new song not found on that album, "Sway Daisy," and in March they shared another new song, "Best Friends." Both songs were released as a 12-inch single in April. In September 2017 they also shared another new song not found on Season High, "Peace of Mind," which featured the guest vocals of '90s R&B icon Faith Evans (as well as those of Nagano).

Also read our 2017 Self-Portrait interview with Little Dragon.

6. Sampha: "Treasure"

This week British singer Sampha Sisay (or just Sampha) shared a new song, "Treasure." It is taken from the soundtrack to Beautiful Boy, a new film that's out today in New York and Los Angeles via Amazon Studios and expanding into other cities in the coming weeks. The soundtrack is also out today, via Warner Bros. Records.

Beautiful Boy is based on a true story and stars Steve Carrell as David Sheff, as he helps his son, Nic Sheff (played by Timothée Chalamet), deal with a meth addiction. Belgian filmmaker Felix Van Groeningen makes his English language directorial debut with the film.

Sampha had this to say about the song in a press release: "I wrote 'Treasure' after seeing the film for the first time. Nic and David's story, and the dynamic between them, really resonated with me on an emotional level and 'Treasure' is my response, filtered through the lens of my own experiences. I feel honored to be asked to contribute something to a film as authentic and important as this." 

Sampha's debut album, 2017's Process, won the Mercury Prize last year.

7. Thom Yorke: "Volk"

Thom Yorke of Radiohead has scored his first feature film, Suspiria, and the soundtrack, Suspiria (Music for the Luca Guadagnino Film), is due out October 26 via XL. Previously Yorke shared one song from it, "Suspirium," which features his vocals and was our #2 Song of the Week. Then Yorke shared another song from the soundtrack, "Has Ended," which also features his vocals (it was also one of our Songs of the Week). This week he shared another track from the album, "Volk." The disquieting instrumental track certainly fits the mood of a horror film.

Suspiria (Music for the Luca Guadagnino Film) includes 25 original compositions by Yorke, including instrumental tracks and ones that are more traditionally song-like and feature vocals. Yorke wrote and arranged the score, which was recorded and produced by Yorke and Sam Petts-Davies. The score also features the London Contemporary Orchestra and Choir, as well as Yorke's son Noah Yorke on drums on "Has Ended" and "Volk," and Pasha Mansurov on solo flute on "Suspirium."  

Suspiria is a remake of Dario Argento's 1977 Italian horror film of the same name. Suspiria's first teaser trailer debuted in June and last month a new, longer trailer for the film was shared (watch the creepiness below again). Luca Guadgnino (Call Me By Your Name) has directed the new version, which stars Dakota Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, and Jessica Harper (the star of the 1977 original). It's due out nationwide November 2 via Amazon Studios, with New York and Los Angeles showings starting October 26.

Guadgnino had this to say about Yorke in a previous press release last year: "Thom's art transcends the contemporary. To have the privilege of his music and sound for Suspiria is a dream come true. The depth of his creation and artistic vision is so unique that our Suspiria will sound groundbreaking and will deeply resonate with viewers. Our goal is to make a movie that will be a disturbing and transforming experience: for this ambition, we could not find a better partner than Thom."

8. Yak: "Bellyache"

British trio Yak got some buzz in 2016 due to their early singles, riotous live performances, and the release of their debut album, Alas Salvation (which was produced by Pulp's Steve Mackey). This week they returned with a video for a new song, the retro-sounding rocker "Bellyache." It's out now as a single on Jack White's Third Man Records. The band are working on their sophomore album for a 2019 release. In the meantime, watch the "Bellyache" video below and if you're in the UK you can catch them on tour later this month (dates are here).

Frontman Oli Burslem commented on the song in a press release: "I was living out the back of my £205 car, completely broke as I had put all the money we had from the label into the band. It really felt like the last piece of music we would ever make and that we had to put everything we had into it. That's where the last lyric 'if you're going for broke just make sure you don't choke' comes from."

Yak's full line-up is Oli Burslem (vocals, guitar), Vinny Davies (bass), and Elliot Rawson (drummer).

Read our 2016 interview with Yak.

9. The Dodos: "Center Of"

The Dodos released a new album, Certainty Waves, today via Polyvinyl. Previously they shared its first single, "Forum," as well as a video for another song from the album, "SW3" (which was one of our Songs of the Week). This week they shared one last pre-release single from the album, "Center Of."

The Dodos are singer/guitarist Meric Long and percussionist Logan Kroeber. Long had this to say about "Center Of" in a press release: "'Center Of' was sort of a last minute addition to the album, since it wasn't part of the initial recording sessions. It was a Frankenstein of old parts that were sitting around that came together at the 11th hour. The album needed a ballad/break from the louder stuff but I still wanted it to sound like it was in the same family, so in noodling around I discovered that guitar tone that comes in on the second half of the song that sounds like a very distorted synth. It ended up being a bit of gold that subsequently got put on every other song."

This year The Dodos celebrated the 10-year anniversary of their breakout sophomore record Visiter, which was Under the Radar's #3 best album of 2008. Certainty Waves is the band's seventh studio and Long calls the band's "midlife crisis record." Back in May, Long released Barton's Den, a new solo album as FAN, his first full-length under that name. The Dodos' last album was 2015's Individ.

A previous press release described the album as such: "Certainty Waves finds The Dodos going back to their Visiter roots, embracing the unlimited possibilities of a time when there were no preconceptions of what the band should sound like. The duo had to forget everything they knew about what it meant to be The Dodos -- and quit worrying about the 'right' acoustic guitar to drum ratio -- and what began to emerge from the band's rehearsals felt new and different, yet somehow still fundamentally 'Dodos.'" 

10. J Fernandez: "Common Sense"

Arkansas-born/Chicago-based musician J Fernandez (aka Justin Fernandez) is releasing a new album, Occasional Din, on November 9 via Joyful Noise. It's the follow-up to his 2015 debut album, Many Levels of Laughter. Today he shared another single from the album, "Common Sense."

Fernandez had this to say about the album in a press release: "Overall the mood is pretty bleak, but I think the musical content balances it out. I was aiming to write a feel-good soundtrack but with somewhat grim lyrics." 

Honorable Mentions: 

These 6 songs almost made the Top 10.

Meg Baird & Mary Lattimore: "Damaged Sunset"

Mk.gee: "Come On (You Know That I'm a Fool)"

Willie Nelson: "Vote 'Em Out"

 

New Kids on the Block: "80s Baby" (Feat. Debbie Gibson, Naughty By Nature, Salt-N-Pepa, and Tiffany)

Peter Bjorn and John: "Wrapped Around the Axle"

SASAMI: "Not the Time"

Other notable new tracks in the last week include:

400 Pounds Of Punk: "One Way Or Another" (Feat. Jack White) (Blondie Cover from 1997)

Against Me!: "People Who Died" (Jim Carroll Band Cover)

Richard Ashcroft: "That's When I Feel It"

Buke & Gase: "Derby" 

Cloud Nothings: "So Right So Clean"  

The Darcys: "Chasing the Fall" 

didi: "Haru"

Du Blonde: "Buddy"

FIDLAR: "Can't You See"

Miya Folick: "Thingamajig"

The Free Nationals: "Beauty & Essex" (Feat. Daniel Caesar & Unknown Mortal Orchestra)

The Glands: "Electricity" and "So High"

HEALTH: "BODY/PRISON" (Feat. Perturbator)

Interpol: "The Rover (DJDS remix)"

Joe Jackson: "Fabulously Absolute"

Longwave: "Stay With Me"

Middle Kids: "Salt Eyes"

Van Morrison: "The Prophet Speaks" 

Yoko Ono: "Imagine"

Maggie Rogers: "Light On"

Sir Babygirl: "Flirting with Her"

Soccer Mommy: "Wide Open Spaces" (Dixie Chicks Cover)

Speedy Ortiz: "DTMFA"

Sunflower Bean: "Twenty-Two (Alternate Version)"

Stove: "Duckling Fantasy" 

Strange Ranger: "The Wires"

THEY.: "What I Know Now" (Feat. Wiz Khalifa)

Weakened Friends: "Good Friend"

Weezer: "Can't Knock the Hustle"

XXL: "Queen of Koalas" 

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