10 Best Songs of the Week: Tune-Yards, Jack White, Ride, David Byrne, Karen O, and More

Plus Field Music, Gaz Coombes, Belle and Sebastian, The Radio Dept., Hookworms, and a Wrap-up of the Week's Other Notable New Tracks

Jan 12, 2018 Bookmark and Share


We haven't posted a Songs of the Week post in quite awhile, as there weren't that many new songs of note over the holidays or at the start of the year, but this week there was an tidal wave of new tracks worth considering for this list. It was definitely a challenge to narrow it down to only 10 (Franz Ferdinand and Marlon Williams almost made the Top 10).

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. Tune-Yards: "Heart Attack" 

Tune-Yards (previously styled as tUnE-yArDs) are releasing a new album, I can feel you creep into my private life, on January 19 via 4AD. Previously they shared a video for its first two singles, "Look at Your Hands" and "ABC 123." This week they shared another new song, "Heart Attack," via its video. Mimi Cave directed the clip, which starts with people with paper bags on their heads. They then remove the bags and start dancing. Megan Lawson (Madonna, Katy Perry) choreographed the video. The song is one of Tune-Yards' most accessible and pop-ready and was the one most stuck in our head this week, hence it's our #1.

Tune-Yards was previously mainly the project of Merrill Garbus, but with I can feel you creep into my private life the band becomes a duo, with longtime collaborator Nate Brenner officially becoming a member. Brenner produced and wrote the album together with lyrics by Garbus. Mikaelin "Blue" BlueSpruce (Solange, Kendrick Lamar) mixed the album, which was mainly recorded at Tiny Telephone Oakland, in Oakland, CA and mastered in Harlem, NY by Dave Kutch (Solange, Jay-Z, Chance the Rapper). The album is the follow-up to 2014's Nikki Nack.

2. Ride: "Catch You Dreaming"

British shoegazing icons Ride reformed in 2014 to do some touring and finally released their first new album in 21 years, the somewhat under-appreciated Weather Diaries, last June via Wichita. This week they announced a new EP, Tomorrow's Shore, and shared one of its songs, the hypnotic six-minute long "Catch You Dreaming." Tomorrow's Shore features songs recorded with Erol Alkan during the Weather Diaries sessions and is due out February 16 via Wichita. Back in November Ride shared a brand new song, "Pulsar," which is also featured on the EP.

Ride lead guitarist/co-vocalist Andy Bell had this to say about the song in a press release: "'Catch You Dreaming' is written from the perspective of being one of the last two people alive, watching as the Universe is ending. The protagonist looks back over the time when humanity existed, realizing that we as humans brought about our own inevitable demise. Then the couple look back over their own lives of shared memories and as they are sharing this moment, everything vaporizes. It's a love song about fate, nostalgia, and having no regrets."

Read our 2017 interview with Ride about Weather Diaries.

3. Belle and Sebastian: "The Same Star"

Belle and Sebastian are releasing three interconnected EPs, all titled How to Solve Your Human Problems. How to Solve Your Human Problems Part 1 came out back on December 8, Part 2 is due out January 19, and Part 3 is due out February 16. Then all three EPs will be collected in a vinyl box set and CD compilation, both due out February 17. Previously the band shared Part 1's "We Are Beautiful" (as well as a video for the song) and Part 2's "I'll Be Your Pilot" (as well as a video for "I'll Be Your Pilot"). This week they shared another track from Part 2, "The Same Star." It features the vocals of Sarah Martin, who also wrote the song, and is another irresistible slice of indie-pop from these ever-reliable Scots.

4. Field Music: "Time in Joy"

Britain's Field Music (anchored by brothers Peter and David Brewis) are releasing a new album, Open Here, on February 2, 2018 via Memphis Industries. Previously they shared a teaser trailer video for the album and its first full single "Count It Up." This week they shared another song from the album, the six-minute flute-inflected "Time in Joy."

Peter Brewis had this to say about "Time in Joy" to Stereogum: "People have a sort of romanticized idea of feelings that are painful or dark, that they are more meaningful, but when I've been through dark times, I find that there isn't a lot of romance in that, that I function better and get more meaning out of positive experiences. With some things that have been happening personally to us recently, and obviously the things happening in the wider world, there's a kind of defiance in playfulness, and that's what we were trying to capture with this song. It isn't escapism, but it's an attempt to confront those things with a deliberate sense of fun. Fun in the face of hardship. We set out to have a good time making this record, in spite of everything."

5. David Byrne: "Everybody's Coming to My House"

This week David Byrne announced a new album, American Utopia, and shared a new song, "Everybody's Coming to My House." American Utopia is due out March 9 via Todomundo/Nonesuch. "Everybody's Coming to My House" was co-written by Brian Eno and features contributions from Sampha, along with TTY, Happa Isaiah Barr (Onyx Collective), and others.

American Utopia is Byrne's first solo album since, 2004's Grown Backwards. It features collaborations with producer Rodaidh McDonald (The xx, King Krule, Sampha, Savages), Daniel Lopatin (aka Oneohtrix Point Never), Jam City, Thomas Bartlett (St. Vincent producer, aka Doveman), Jack Peñate, and others. American Utopia was recorded in New York City at David's home studio, as well as at Reservoir Studios, Oscilloscope, XL Studios, and Crowdspacer Studio, with additional recording at Livingston Studio 1 in London.

Byrne issued this statement about the album in a press release: "Is this meant ironically? Is it a joke? Do I mean this seriously? In what way? Am I referring to the past or the future? Is it personal or political?

"These songs don't describe an imaginary or possibly impossible place but rather attempt to depict the world we live in now. Many of us, I suspect, are not satisfied with that world-the world we have made for ourselves. We look around and we ask ourselves-well, does it have to be like this? Is there another way? These songs are about that looking and that asking.

"This album is indirectly about those aspirational impulses. Sometimes to describe is to reveal, to see other possibilities. To ask a question is to begin the process of looking for an answer. To be descriptive is also to be prescriptive, in a way. The act of asking is a big step. The songs are sincere-the title is not ironic. The title refers not to a specific utopia, but rather to our longing, frustration, aspirations, fears, and hopes regarding what could be possible, what else is possible. The description, the discontent and the desire-I have a feeling that is what these songs touch on.

"I have no prescriptions or surefire answers, but I sense that I am not the only one looking and asking, wondering and still holding onto some tiny bit of hope, unwilling to succumb entirely to despair or cynicism.

"It's not easy, but music helps. Music is a kind of model-it often tells us or points us toward how we can be."

 

6. Gaz Coombes: "Deep Pockets"

This week former Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes announced a new solo album, World's Strongest Man, and shared its first single, "Deep Pockets." World's Strongest Man is due out May 4 via Hot Fruit/Caroline International.

The album is the follow-up to 2015's Matador. A press release says World's Strongest Man is inspired by "Grayson Perry's autobiography The Descent of Man, Frank Ocean's Blonde, Californian weed, British woodlands, unchecked masculinity, Neu!, and hip hop (and a whole lot more besides)."

Read our 2017 Artist Survey interview with Gaz Coombes that we just posted today.

7. The Radio Dept.: "Your True Name"

This week Sweden's The Radio Dept. shared a new song, "Your True Name." It's currently a standalone single, which is available now on all digital platforms via their own label Just So!. The band's upcoming U.S. tour dates start January 29, so perhaps the song's release was timed to that.

The band issued this statement about the song: "'Your True Name' is a song about faith in a way, not divine but utopian, believing in something that will probably never be. And it's about falling short, sometimes with your goal just barely out of reach. This is our first single on our own label Just So! (yes, we're finally indie for real)."

The Radio Dept. released their last album, Running Out of Love, their fourth, in 2016 via Labrador. A vinyl reissue of their 2003 debut album, Lesser Matters, is for sale on their tour dates.

Read our 2017 interview with The Radio Dept.

8. Jack White: "Connected By Love"

This week Jack White announced a new solo album, Boarding House Reach, and shared two songs from it: "Connected By Love" (via a video) and "Respect Commander." It's "Connected By Love" that makes our Top 10 of the week.

Boarding House Reach is due out March 23 on Third Man and Columbia. The album was written in a sparse Nashville apartment with few distractions on the same type of basic equipment White had when he was 15, including a four-track recorder. A press release promises that "the album explores a remarkable range of sonic terrain -- crunching rock 'n' roll, electro and hard funk, proto punk, hip hop, gospel blues, and even country -- all remapped and born anew to fit White's matchless vision and sense of restless experimentation." 

9. Hookworms: "Static Resistance"

Britain's Hookworms are releasing a new album, Microshift, on February 2 via Domino. Previously they shared a video for its first single, "Negative Space." This week they shared a video for another new song, "Static Resistance." Ciaran Lyons directed the video, which features lots of quick close-up cuts of a man's life against an orange background. It shows the cycle of modern life, as a man tries to lead a healthier lifestyle before falling back into old habits again.

The band issued the following statement about the song: "'Static Resistance' is the oldest track on the album, we wrote and recorded the first version of it in early 2015, not very long after The Hum had been released. It's one of only two pre-flood songs on the record. It's a song about the wax and wane of depression and an eternal want to escape the life you've built."

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."

 10. Karen O: "YO! MY SAINT" (Feat. Michael Kiwanuka)

This week Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O shared a new song, "YO! MY SAINT." It features the guest vocals of Michael Kiwanuka and the song is part of the new Spring/Summer fashion campaign for clothing company KENZO and is featured in a short film for the company. Listen to the song and watch the short film below.

Ana Lily Amirpour (who directed the acclaimed Iranian vampire movie A Girl Walks Home Alone) directs the short film, which stars Dirty Beaches' Alex Zhang Hungtai as a fashion photographer who falls in love with two models (Jessica Henwick and Kiko Mizuhara). The actors lip-sync to the song's vocals.

KENZO creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim decided the collection was inspired by Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto and the late Japanese model Sayoko Yamaguchi (who made her mark in the 1970s).

Karen O had this to say about the song in a press release: "When I thought of the muses for Humberto and Carol being this Japanese artist and model, it just sparked this other side of my imagination, which is the Asian melodrama that's within me. For the music, I immediately wanted to do melodramatic and romantic and with lots of yearning and high stakes - all that good stuff that's in any Korean soap opera. It just started owing through me. Also, I wanted there to be something authentically romantic about it in some kind of slightly unconventional way. That's where my head went with it."

Other notable new tracks this week include:

David Bowie: "Let's Dance (Demo)"

The Breeders: "All Nerve"

Car Seat Headrest: "Nervous Young Inhumans"

Cavern of Anti-Matter: "Make Out Fade Out"

Ed Schrader's Music Beat: "Dunce"

 EMA: "Dark Shadows"

First Aid Kit: "Ruins (Live From the Rebel Hearts Club)"

Frankie Cosmos: "Jesse"

Franz Ferdinand: "Feel the Love Go"

Jay Som: "Pirouette"

Matt and Kim: "Forever"

The Men: "Maybe I'm Crazy"

The Shins: "Heartworms (Flipped)"

 

Sigur Rós: "Match" and "End"

 

Soccer Mommy: "Your Dog"

Superchunk: "Erasure"

Sunflower Bean: "Crisis Fest"

Sylvan Esso: "PARAD(w/m)E"

U.S. Girls: "Pearly Gates" (Feat. James Baley)

Jack White: "Respect Commander"

Marlon Williams: "What's Chasing You"

 

Andrew W.K.: "Music Is Worth Living For"

Young Galaxy: "Under My Wing"

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