12 Best Songs of the Week: Blood Orange, POND, David Bowie, Mothers, Jungle, and More

Plus Metric, Joey Dosik, Underworld & Iggy Pop, Still Corners, and a Wrap-up of the Week's Other Notable New Tracks

Jul 27, 2018
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There was a trend this week for artists to share two songs at once, rather than just one. We saw it with Blood Orange, Trevor Powers, Elvis Costello, Jungle, Cornershop, and Fucked Up (and Pussy Riot released three songs this week). In cases where the artist made our main best songs list we tried to pick just one song, although that proved challenging with our #1. In fact, this week's crop of new songs was strong enough that we had to stretch Songs of the Week to a Top 12 instead of our usual Top 10, and we still had four honorable mentions.

To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last week, we have picked the 12 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. Blood Orange: "Charcoal Baby" and "Jewelry"

Blood Orange (aka Dev Hynes) is releasing a new album, Negro Swan, on August 24 via Domino. When the album was announced last week no music from it was shared, but this week Hynes unveiled videos for two new songs from it, "Charcoal Baby" and "Jewelry." We couldn't decide which song we liked best, although we slightly may lean towards "Charcoal Baby," so we cheated and made them our joint #1, even if there are some always welcome mild hints of Prince in "Jewelry."

Crack Stevens directed the "Charcoal Baby" video, which contrasts via split screen two different family parties that Hynes plays at. Hynes self-directed the "Jewelry" video, which mainly features him and some male friends all shirtless jumping up and down in slow motion in a park, while the lyrics appear on the screen.

The album is follow-up to 2016's acclaimed Freetown Sound. Back in February he shared two new songs, "Christopher & 6th" and "June 12th," that he said would not be on the next album.

Hynes had this to say about the album in a previous press release: "My newest album is an exploration into my own and many types of black depression, an honest look at the corners of black existence, and the ongoing anxieties of queer/people of color. A reach back into childhood and modern traumas, and the things we do to get through it all. The underlying thread through each piece on the album is the idea of HOPE, and the lights we can try to turn on within ourselves with a hopefully positive outcome of helping others out of their darkness."

 

 

2. POND: "Burnt Out Star"

Australian psych-rockers POND released a new album, The Weather, back in May 2017 via Marathon Artists. This week they shared a brand new song, "Burnt Out Star." It's a slowly building and somewhat funky eight-minute long track and it's out now via Interscope. They have also announced some fall U.S. tour dates for October and November (as well as two Canadian shows), which you can check out here.

The Weather was produced by Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker. POND frontman Nick Allbrook used to play bass in Tame Impala and the two bands have often shared members, including Parker.

Read our 2017 interview with POND on The Weather.

3. David Bowie: "Zeroes (2018)"

This week a new version of David Bowie's 1987 song "Zeroes" was shared. It's taken from a re-recorded version of 1987's Never Let Me Down, which is part of a new box set, and can be heard below (followed by the original version of the song for comparison). The new version is clear improvement on the original, with cleaner vocals and more robust production.

Also this week a long lost early demo of Bowie singing with his previous band The Konrads was unearthed. The demo for "I Never Dreamed" is believed to be Bowie's first recording and has been put up for auction. You can listen to a 12-second clip of the demo below too.

On October 12 Parlophone will release a new Bowie box set, David Bowie Loving the Alien (1983-1988). It's the fourth in a career spanning series of fantastic box sets of the late singer's work, following up David Bowie Five Years (1969-1973), David Bowie Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976), and David Bowie A New Career In a New Town (1977-1982). The box set includes the studio albums Let's Dance (1983), Tonight (1984), and Never Let Me Down (1987), as well as the live album Glass Spider (Live Montreal '87), the previously unreleased Serious Moonlight live album, and the compilation Re:Call 4 (containing B-sides, remixes, soundtrack cuts, and other rarities). But perhaps most interestingly, it also has a new 2018 version of Never Let Me Down. Producer/engineer Mario McNulty oversaw the new version of the album, which features new instrumentation by Bowie collaborators Reeves Gabrels (guitar), David Torn (guitar), Sterling Campbell (drums), and Tim Lefebvre (bass), as well as a string quartet with arrangements by Nico Muhly and a guest cameo by Laurie Anderson on "Shining Star (Makin' My Love)." Bowie, who passed away in 2016, spearheaded the idea of redoing the album way back in 2008, when he asked McNulty to remix the album's "Time Will Crawl" and Bowie then suggested doing the rest of the album. The new instrumentation wasn't recorded until earlier this year.

The demo for "I Never Dreamed" was thought to be lost, but was found by former Konrads drummer David Hadfield (it was in his loft). It was the only Konrads recording to feature Bowie (then David Jones) on vocals (he mainly played saxophone in the band) and was recorded in 1963. Bowie left the band later that year. The recording is expected to sell for £10,000 and you can check out the auction here.

Hadfield had this to say about the recording in a statement: "Our agent, Eric Easton, who also managed The Rolling Stones, asked us to do a demo so he could try and get us an auction at Decca. So in early 1963 I booked into R.G. Jones small studio in Morden. In preparation for the demo David and our guitarist Neville Wills wrote 2/3 songs. We had decided that we would do a couple of guitar instrumentals and one original song. I chose 'I Never Dreamed' as it was the strongest, the other two were a bit weak! I also decided that David was the best person to sing it and give the right interpretation. So this became the very first recording of David Jones (Bowie) singing 55 years ago! There is no other recording featuring David as lead in existence. Decca initially turned us down, but when they eventually gave us an audition later that year, vocalist Roger Ferris was the lead voice and David sang backing harmonies." 

4. Mothers: "Pink"

Mothers is the project of singer/songwriter Kristine Leschper. Her sophomore album, Render Another Ugly Method, is coming out September 7 on ANTI-. This week she shared a video for its second single, a somewhat epic seven-minute long jolt of post-punk entitled "Pink." Jake Lazovick and Richard Phillip Smith directed the video for "Pink," which features Leschper stuck in a doctor's waiting room as the sun sets and it turns to night.

Leschper had this to say about the song in a press release: "'Pink' deals with the passage of time. It describes a series of memories within cars - cars of my childhood, recent past, and present - and subsequent feelings of childlike removal and helplessness. The video aims to reciprocate these three vignettes of idling, through limited actions and minimalist set design divided into three parts."

Mothers started in Athens, Georgia where Leschper was attending printmaking school, but she's now based in Philadelphia. Render Another Ugly Method is the follow-up to 2016's debut album, When You Walk a Long Distance You Are Tired, and was produced by John Congleton (St. Vincent, Angel Olsen, The War on Drugs). Previously they shared the album's first single, "Blame Kit."

5. Jungle: "Heavy, California" (Plus "Cherry")

This week, London's Jungle (led by Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland) announced a new album, For Ever, and shared two new songs from it, "Cherry" and "Heavy, California." We enjoyed both, but leaned towards "Heavy, California" (consider "Cherry" an honorable mention for sure).

For Ever is due out September 14 via XL. It includes "Happy Man" and "House in LA," two songs the band shared back in May and released as a double A-side 12-inch single in June (they made our Songs of the Week list). They have also announced some tour dates, which are here.

"Heavy, California" also has a video, but it's currently a Spotify exclusive and can be watched there. The same goes for "Cherry," except that video is an Apple Music exclusive and can be watched there. Below is a trailer for the album.

It's been four years since Jungle's 2014-released Mercury Prize-nominated self-titled debut album. The band performed "House in LA" on Last Call with Carson Daly, filmed during the band's performance at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles in December but broadcast in February.

The band describe For Ever as "a post-apocalyptic radio station playing break up songs." 

The band moved to Hollywood to work on the album, but ended up finishing it back in London. As the press release explains: "If Jungle's first album was their imaginary soundtrack to the places they had never been, For Ever is inspired by real life experiences of the places they'd dreamed of for so long. Swapping Shepherds Bush for the Hollywood Hills, J and T set up camp in Los Angeles to write and record the album. Over time however, their romanticization of The Californian Dream clashed with the reality of actually living it, the feeling of being adrift on the West Coast compounded by the collapse of long-term relationships."

They finished the album in London with the producer Inflo. 

Read our 2014 interview with Jungle.

6. Joey Dosik: "Don't Want It To Be Over" (Feat. Coco O.)

Los Angeles neo-soul singer Joey Dosik is releasing his debut album, Inside Voice, on August 24 via Secretly Canadian. Previously he shared a video for its title track, "Inside Voice" (which was one of our Songs of the Week). This week he shared another song from the album, "Don't Want It To Be Over," via a video. The song features Coco O. (of Quadron) and sounds like a classic Motown duet. Tim Hendrix directed the delightful video, which feels like a retro musical, as dancers JJ Rabone (a former So You Think You Can Dance contestant) and Hunter Krikac romance each other in a living room.

In a press release Dosik says the song "is too happy to be just be a break up song and too dark lyrically to be just a make up song. The music video showcases a couple that expresses their love/hate for each other with cunning immaturity and physical genius. The insanely nimble dancers, JJ Rabone and Hunter Krikac, run circles around each other just like we sometimes do with our partners - coming up with rhymes and reasons to assert our control and mask our insecurities. Jo Roy choreographed with the influence of '60s Go-Go and Bob Fosse, but I'm most amazed at how she is still able to use a modern flare on top of the classic styles." 

The album is the follow-up to his debut EP, Game Winner, which first came out in 2016, but was re-released with extra tracks this February by Secretly Canadian. Inside Voice also features Moses Sumney, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Mocky, Theo Katzman, and others

7. Underworld & Iggy Pop: "Trapped"

Iconic British dance duo Underworld (Karl Hyde and Rick Smith) have teamed up with Iggy Pop and today released a new collaborative four song EP, Teatime Dub Encounters, via Caroline International. Now you can stream the whole thing, although prior to its release they had already shared three of its four songs, so for those who have been paying attention, the bigger news is that you can now hear the fourth song from the EP, its second track "Trapped," which has also been shared separately with a visual on YouTube. On the song Pop sings about being trapped by adult responsibility: "Let's hear it for Johnny/He's got a mortgage/He's got a house/Oh no/He's got a house/There goes the little boy inside/Goodbye little boy." He also proclaims that "no drink, no drug gonna help me no more." Listen to "Trapped" or stream the full EP below.

In May the collaborative trio shared the seven-minute new song, "Bells & Circles" (which was one of our Songs of the Week). Then in June the EP was announced and they shared another song from it, "I'll See Big." Then they shared the EP's seven-and-a-half-minute long closing track, "Get Your Shirt," via a mind-bending video for the song (it was also one of our Songs of the Week).

Teatime Dub Encounters came together when Underworld were working on music for the sequel to Trainspotting (2017's T2 Trainspotting). Both Underworld and Iggy Pop were prominently featured on the iconic soundtrack to the original Trainspotting and so it was thought they could collaborate together. None of the songs made it on the soundtrack, but "I'll See Big" was inspired by a conversation Pop had with T2 director Danny Boyle about the friendships in the movie.

Underworld released their excellent seventh album, Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future, in 2016 via Astralwerks. Read our 2016 interview with Underworld about the album.

8. Still Corners: "The Photograph"

Still Corners are releasing a new album, Slow Air, on August 17 via their own label, Wrecking Light. Previously they shared a video for its first single, "Black Lagoon" (which was one of our Songs of the Week). This week the dream-pop band shared a video for another new song from the album, "The Photograph." The band self-directed the atmospheric black & white video, which was filmed in Arizona.

Still Corners are the male/female American/British duo of Greg Hughes and Tessa Murray and Slow Air is their fourth album, the follow-up to 2013's Strange Pleasures (a criminally under-appreciated dream-pop gem released via Sub Pop) and 2016's Dead Blue (also released on Wrecking Light). Slow Air was recorded in Austin, TX, in a studio designed by Hughes. Although, the band is now based in Woodstock, NY.

Murray had this to say about the album in a previous press release: "We wanted to hear beautiful guitar and drums and an otherworldliness, something almost indefinable along with a classic song writing vibe. We're always trying to get the sound we hear inside of ourselves, so we moved fast to avoid our brains getting in the way too much. The name Slow Air evokes the feel of the album to me, steady, eerie and beautiful."

In 2016 Murray wrote a My Inner Geek guest blog post for us about Star Trek: The Next Generation and you can read that here.

9. Trevor Powers: "Clad In Skin" (Plus "Squelch")

Youth Lagoon was essentially a solo project for Trevor Powers (even though he did tour with a live backing band), but back in 2016 he retired the project, broke up the one-man band. Powers is releasing his first album under his given name, Mulberry Violence, on August 17 via his own label Baby Halo. This week he shared two more songs from the album, "Clad In Skin" and "Squelch." "Clad In Skin" was firmly our preferred favorite of the two ("Squelch" probably wouldn't have made the honorable mentions list if it had been released on its own).

Powers has previously shared five songs from Mulberry Violence: "Playwright" (via a video for the song), "Ache" (which was one of our Songs of the Week), "Plaster Saint," "XTQ Idol," and "Dicegame" (the latter two also were on our Songs of the Week list).

Powers had this to say about "Clad In Skin" and "Squelch" in a press release:

"'Death like a rattle in one hand, Life like candy in the other; shake one to scare you, offer one to make your mouth water.' I noticed Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes peeking out from the sci-fi endcap at a discount bookstore in rural Washington a few years back. After scanning the pages and reading that line, I bounced eight quarters on the counter like a six-year-old with mad money and got back on the highway. Driving until dark, I pulled into the first hotel that didn't resemble a villainous sex den, received the room key from a twitchy, impressively stoned desk clerk named Gregory, and opened the door to my room only to find the bed was half the size of my body and the thermostat was stuck at frigid. But as I curled up like a homeless poodle and started reading, every wine stained page of that book put me under a spell. I was in Green Town. I saw it all. I escaped by sunrise, appeared back in room 116, ate a stale Reese's, and crashed out on my dog bed by 7 am.

"'Clad In Skin' and 'Squelch' were birthed by the belly of that book. Bradbury's story is centered around a traveling carnival concealing nightmares within a semblance of fun - so I figured it needed a soundtrack. Over the span of a few months, I worked up an entire score for it, but these were the only two pieces that survived. One is the candy; the other, the rattle."

As Youth Lagoon, Powers released three albums: 2011's The Year of Hibernation, 2013's Wondrous Bughouse, and 2015's Savage Hills Ballroom.

10. Metric: "Dressed to Suppress"

Metric are releasing a yet-to-be-titled new album on September 21 via MMI/Crystal Math Music. Previously they shared its first single, "Dark Saturday," as well as a black & white video for the song featuring four split screens and shot on an iPhone. This week they shared another video for another new song from the album, "Dressed to Suppress." It's also in black & white and features the band performing the song on a dark stage to an audience of no one. Musically, the song is atmospheric and electronic at first, before building to a more rocking second half. It's also a bit of a return to form for Metric.

Frontwoman Emily Haines had this to say about the song in a press release: "Lyrically, the song explores the maze of conflicts we encounter in our attempts at finding and holding onto love; the absurd mating rituals we routinely perform; and the vast divide between the desires our appearances can imply and the way we actually feel inside. Sonically, it's one of the most intense songs on the album. We're already playing it live and it's getting stronger every night. The contrast between the delicate, dreamy opening and the heavy riffs of the verse and chorus match the dramatic emotional shifts we all go through when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, the push and pull of retaining our own identities in love."

Metric haven't released a new album in almost three years, since 2015's Pagans in Vegas. Guitarist Jimmy Shaw did not co-produce the new album, despite doing so with the band's last three albums. Instead, Justin Meldal-Johnsen (M83, Beck) produced the album, which was recorded at Metric's own Giant Studio in Toronto and mixed by Tony Hoffer (Phoenix, Depeche Mode).

In a previous press release Shaw had this to say about working with Meldal-Johnsen: "Justin was just what we needed in a producer for this album. He really saw every band member eye to eye and was able to capture what we each do best. It was something I realized I couldn't do at this stage, having been in the band for so long. We were finally able to focus on just playing again, as we did at the start. Making this album brought us together in a way we hadn't been for quite some time and I think you can hear it in the music."

Metric are currently on tour opening for The Smashing Pumpkins and those dates are here.

Last year frontwoman Emily Haines released a new solo album, Choir of the Mind, under the name Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton. She also appeared on Hug of Thunder, Broken Social Scene's excellent 2017 album.

Read our 2017 The End interview with Emily Haines about endings and death.

11. Amber Arcades: "Alpine Town"

Amber Arcades, the project of Dutch musician Annelotte de Graaf, his releasing her sophomore album, European Heartbreak, on September 28 via Heavenly. Previously she shared a video for its first single (and opening track), "Simple Song" (which was one of our Songs of the Week), as well as "Goodnight Europe." This week she shared another song from the album, "Alpine Town."

De Graaf had this to say about the song in a press release: "I wrote this song exactly a year ago while on holiday in Guillestre, a small town in the French Alps. I was kind of in a sad place and my boyfriend had dragged me along to get away from all that, but I guess it doesn't really work like that, ha. It just made me reflect on the sad part of the tourist condition as a metaphor for life, man."

Amber Arcades released her fantastic debut album, Fading Lines, in 2016 via Heavenly. It made our Top 100 Albums of 2016 list. In June 2017 she is released the 5-song Cannonball EP, also via Heavenly.

European Heartbreak was co-produced with Chris Cohen (solo artist and former Deerhoof member) in Los Angeles and with Trey Pollard (Natalie Prass, Bedouine) in Richmond, Virginia, where Pollard oversaw horn and string overdubs from Spacebomb.

Read our 2016 interview with Amber Arcades and our 2016 Artist Survey interview with her.

12. Mass Gothic: "How I Love You"

Mass Gothic (husband and wife duo Noel Heroux and Jessica Zambri) are releasing a new album, I've Tortured You Long Enough, on August 31 via Sub Pop. This week they shared another song from it, "How I Love You," that features Zambri on lead vocals.

The duo features former Hooray For Earth frontman Noel Heroux and his wife Jessica Zambri (of Zambri and Solvey). They released their self-titled debut album on Sub Pop in 2016, which was followed by the Sub Goth EP later that year. Back in May they shared the album's first single (and opening track), "Dark Window" (which was one of our Songs of the Week). Then when the album was announced in June they shared a video for another new song from it, "J.Z.O.K." (which was also one of our Songs of the Week).

Read our 2016 interview with Mass Gothic.

Honorable Mentions:

These four songs almost made the Top 12.

Helena Deland: "Claudion" 

Kristin Hersh: "No Shade In Shadow" 

Iron & Wine: "What Hurts Worse"

Swearin': "Grow Into a Ghost"

Other notable new tracks in the last week include:

BROCKHAMPTON: "1997 DIANA"

Charli XCX: "Girls Night Out"

Cornershop: "Double Denim" and "Sugar Sugar (The Archies Cover)"

Elvis Costello: "Under Lime" and "Unwanted Number"

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Dâm-Funk: "In the City"

 

Houndmouth: "Golden Age" 

IDLES: "Samaritans"

Fucked Up: "Raise Your Voice Joyce" and "Two I's Closed"

Mark Lanegan and Duke Garwood: "Scarlett"

Morrissey: "Blue Dreamers Eyes"

Mr. Twin Sister: "Echo Arms"

Yoko Ono: "Warzone"

Protomartyr and Spray Paint: "Corinthian Leather"

Pussy Riot: "Nightmares," "PONG!," and "Unicorn Freedom" 

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