12 Best Songs of the Week: Destroyer, Jenny Lewis, Wild Nothing, Field Music, and More | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Tuesday, February 25th, 2020  

12 Best Songs of the Week: Destroyer, Jenny Lewis, Wild Nothing, Field Music, and More

Plus Summer Camp, The Orielles, Caroline Rose, Wolf Parade, and a Wrap-up of the Week's Other Notable New Tracks

Jan 10, 2020
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Welcome to the first Songs of the Week of 2020. We haven't done a Songs of the Week in a month, since December 6, but this list still mainly covers songs released in the last week or so. There weren't too many new songs of note released in late November.

Over the holiday we posted our Top 100 Albums of 2019 and Top 50 Films of the Decade lists.

In the last week we also reviewed a bunch of albums, including the latest by Georgia, Mikal Cronin, Cigarettes After Sex, Sufjan Stevens and Timo Andres, Spielbergs, and The Kinks. Plus every week we post reviews of various other things (some weeks including DVDs, Blu-rays, films, concerts, and TV shows).

Since our last Songs of the Week we have posted interviews with The Hold Steady, The Orielles, Tegan and Sara, Bryce Dessner of The National, Wilco, Vagabon, Jimmy Eat World, and Jay Som.

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. Destroyer: "Cue Synthesizer"

Destroyer (the project of Dan Bejar) is releasing a new album, Have We Met, on January 31 via Merge. This week he shared another song from it, "Cue Synthesizer" via a David Ehrenreich-directed video for the track. In a press release Bejar describes the song as "maybe the most audacious piece of music Destroyer's laid to tape." And we have to agree that it is pretty great.

Previously Destroyer shared Have We Met's first single, "Crimson Tide," via a video for the track. It was #2 on our Songs of the Week list. Then Bejar shared another song from the album, "It Just Doesn't Happen," via a sparse visual for the track featuring dimly lit images of a snowmobile at night. "It Just Doesn't Happen" also made our Songs of the Week list.

Have We Met is the follow-up to 2017's ken, which was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2017.

Read our interview with Destroyer on ken.

2. Jenny Lewis: "Under the Supermoon" (Feat. Habib Koité)

This week Jenny Lewis shared a new song, "Under the Supermoon," via a video for the track. The song features Malian musician Habib Koité and is taken from the forthcoming charity album, Let The Rhythm Lead: Haiti Song Summit Vol. 1, which is due out January 31 and will benefit Artists for Peace and Justice, an organization helping the poor in Haiti. The video was filmed in Haiti.

Lewis says that "Under the Supermoon" is "a love song written in Jacmel floating in the Caribbean Sea under the supermoon of November 2016" and is "a travelogue of sorts processed in real time." 

The song was written in the aftermath of President Donald Trump's 2016 election, which explains lyrics like: "I never had such a fright/I gasped on election night/The whole world thinks we're insane."

Koité interpolates the Malian traditional "Mama Donguilo" into "Under the Supermoon."

Let The Rhythm Lead is a collaborative album featuring Lewis and Koité alongside Paul Beaubrun, Jackson Browne, Raúl Rodríguez, Jonathan Russell, Jonathan Wilson, and members of the Haitian roots band Lakou Mizik. It features the previously shared single "Lapé, Lanmou."

Artists for Peace and Justice is described on the video's YouTube page as "a non-profit organization that encourages peace and social justice and addresses issues of poverty around the world. Our immediate goal is to serve the poorest communities in Haiti with programs in education, healthcare and dignity. We are committed to long-term, sustainable development in direct partnership with the Haitian people. Our model is simple: we believe in empowering local communities, fostering economic growth, and the power of education to change a nation."

Lewis released a new album, On the Line, back in March 2018 via Warner Records (stream it here). On the Line was Lewis' first solo album in five years, since 2014's The Voyager, and recorded On the Line at Capitol Records' Studio B with an impressive backing band featuring Beck, Benmont Tench, Don Was, Jim Keltner, Ringo Starr, and others.

3. Wild Nothing: "Foyer"

This week Wild Nothing (aka Jack Tatum) announced a new EP album, Laughing Gas, and shared its first single, "Foyer." He also announced some new tour dates in honor of the 10th anniversary of his debut album, Gemini. Laughing Gas is due out January 31 via Captured Tracks. Check out the EP's tracklist and cover art, as well as Wild Nothing's upcoming tour dates (which will be co-headlining dates with Beach Fossils), here.

Wild Nothing's last album, Indigo, his fourth, came out in August 2018 via Captured Tracks. Indigo was our Album of the Week and one of our Top 100 Albums of 2018. Laughing Gas was recorded in Los Angeles and Richmond with the help of Jorge Elbrecht and features songs originally intended for Indigo.

Tatum had this to say about the EP in a press release: "I think of the EP's title as being representative of a kind of manufactured bliss and loss of control. So much of people's lives are caught up in the quest for wholeness and sometimes it feels so much easier to loosen our grip through these fabricated shortcuts, whether it's escapism, self-medication, seeking external validation or any number of other things. I often find myself guilty of almost all of these, but ultimately I think this EP finds me in a place of trying to go easier on myself. I've been extremely fortunate to continue releasing the music I love after 10 years of Wild Nothing and this release feels no different."

Read our 2018 interview with Wild Nothing on Indigo.

Read our 2018 Anatomy of a Song article on Wild Nothing where he detailed Indigo single "Partners in Motion."

Also read our review of Indigo.

Wild Nothing's 2012 album, Nocturne, was Under the Radar's #1 album of that year.

Read our 2016 interview with Wild Nothing.

4. Field Music: "Do You Read Me?"

Britain's Field Music (anchored by brothers Peter and David Brewis) are releasing a new album, Making a New World, inspired by the aftermath and repercussions of World War I, today via Memphis Industries. This week they shared one last pre-release song from the album, "Do You Read Me?," a song about the first time a person on a plane communicated to those on the ground, paving the way for air traffic control. It happened in 1917 over the battle fields of the First World War and was the first transmission of a human voice from a plane in flight.

David Brewis had this to say about the song in a press release: "I imagined these moments of freedom a pilot flying above the fighting must have felt but at the same time, in order to make it safe, to make it work, he had to be tied down by these radio transmissions from the ground. It's a bit of wishful thinking."

Previously Field Music shared Making a New World's first single, "Only In a Man's World," which was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared another song from the album, "Money Is a Memory," a song about Germany's war reparations that was also one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared another song from the album, "Beyond That of Courtesy," a song about the French suffrage movement. Making a New World features Field Music's full live band in the recording sessions for the first time in a while.

Making a New World began when the band performed two World War I-themed shows for England's Imperial War Museum at their sites in Salford and London in January 2019. The basic tracks for the album were recorded the day after the London Imperial War Museum show. While the majority of Field Music's studio work has been put together by Peter and David Brewis, the one-day session featured Field Music's full live band (Liz Corney on keyboards, Kevin Dosdale on guitar, and Andrew Lowther on bass), with Peter and David on guitar and drums respectively. This is the first album since 2007's Tones of Town that could be considered more of a full band album.

A previous press release described the themes and inspirations of the album in more detail: "Making a New World [is] a 19-track song cycle about the after-effects of the First World War. But this is not an album about war and it is not, in any traditional sense, an album about remembrance. There are songs here about air traffic control and gender reassignment surgery. There are songs about Tiananmen Square and about ultrasound. There are even songs about Becontree Housing Estate and about sanitary towels."

The jumping off point for the Imperial War Museum performances was, as the press release explained, "an image, from a 1919 publication on munitions by the U.S. War Department, made using 'sound ranging,' a technique that utilized an array of transducers to capture the vibrations of gunfire at the front. These vibrations were displayed on a graph, similar to a seismograph, where the distances between peaks on different lines could be used to pinpoint the location of enemy armaments. This particular image showed the minute leading up to 11am on 11th November 1918, and the minute immediately after. One minute of oppressive, juddering noise and one minute of near-silence."

David Brewis explained further in the previous press release: "We imagined the lines from that image continuing across the next hundred years, and we looked for stories which tied back to specific events from the war or the immediate aftermath. In writing these songs, we felt we were pulling the war towards us - out of remembrance and into the everyday - into the now."

We interviewed Field Music earlier this year about their Imperial War Museum performances and you can read that here.

Field Music's last album was 2018's Open Here. In May David Brewis released 45, a concept album about President Donald Trump released under his School of Language solo side-project moniker. Meanwhile, in January Peter Brewis released You Tell Me, the self-titled debut album for his side-project You Tell Me (a duo with Sarah Hayes of Admiral Fallow).

5. Summer Camp: "Women In Love"

This week Summer Camp (aka British married couple Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley) confirmed the details of their new album, Romantic Comedy, and shared a new song from it, "Women In Love." Romantic Comedy's release date has been fittingly confirmed as February 14 via Apricot Recordings. Check out the album's tracklist and cover art here.

The album includes two new songs, "Love of My Life" and "Danny and John," the band shared last May as a double A-side single. Both songs made our Songs of the Week list. "Danny and John" seems to now be titled "When Danny Met John."

Romantic Comedy ties into a documentary of the same name directed by Sankey. Romantic Comedy the album features new original songs featured in the film (including "Love of My Life") or inspired by the documentary ("When Danny Met John"). The band's last album was 2015's Bad Love.

Romantic Comedy the documentary has screened at film festivals, including SXSW. It examines romantic comedies via clips of over 160 films and interviews with actors, filmmakers, and writers. The band performed the album live at the Sheffield International Documentary Festival last June at the Crucible Theatre (which was their first live performance since 2015).

The band collectively had this to say about the new single in a press statement: "'Women In Love' is about falling for a woman who is packed full of idiosyncrasies and complexity. Obviously the manic pixie dream girl trope of rom coms has been discussed in great detail, but for us this song is less about those more modern heroines, and more about the classic rom com queens who completely befuddle and complicate the lives of the men who are attracted to them. It's Katharine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby, Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot, and Goldie Hawn in The Housesitter. It's about how their love interests feel so lucky to be adored by such strange, complicated, and surprising women."

6. The Orielles: "Space Samba (Disco Volador Theme)"

British four-piece The Orielles are releasing their new album, Disco Volador, on February 28 via Heavenly. This week they shared another song from it, "Space Samba (Disco Volador Theme)." Its title mentions space, samba, and disco, which should all give you a good idea of the sound of the song. Disco Volador is the band's second album, the follow-up to 2018's debut Silver Dollar Moment. Previously they shared the album's first single, "Come Down On Jupiter."

The band had this to say about the song in a press release: "Space Samba is a song about corporeal experience, something which we feel we are collectively losing sight of in an age of mental existentialism! It is the Disco Volador theme because it relates to the phenomenological thread of the whole album, which tackles the many interpretations of the title throughout. In this instance, it refers to Disco Volador's literal translation of 'flying disc' or 'frisbee', using this symbol to reflect both feelings of flight and motion and the notion of human connectivity."

Read our new interview with The Orielles, posted only this week.

7. Caroline Rose: "Feel the Way I Want"

This week Caroline Rose announced a new album, Superstar, and shared its first single, "Feel the Way I Want," via a self-directed video for the track. She's also announced some new tour dates. Superstar is due out March 6 via New West. Check out the album's tracklist and cover art, as well as the tour dates, here.

Superstar is the follow-up to 2018's LONER, which was Rose's breakthrough album that brought her music to a wider audience. The video for "Feel the Way I Want" starts with Rose in Hollywood, California about to attend her first acting audition, until she realizes the audition is in Hollywood, Florida, instead. This leads to a road trip. It was filmed on an iPhone during a real life 11-day cross-country road trip.

In a press release, Rose says the goal of the song was to "have people, including myself, not know whether to love or hate this person. They're kind of like a walking eye roll who's easy to dismiss, but at the same time you admire their determination. It's the Kanye effect."

The press release says that Superstar is "a bigger, badder, glitter-filled cinematic pop record."

The press release further describes the album: "Inspired by cult classics such as The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant, Mulholland Drive, and the mockumentary Drop Dead Gorgeous, Superstar plays out like a film. After the protagonist receives a mistaken phone call from the glamorous Chateau Marmont hotel in album opener 'Nothing's Impossible,' they (gender neutral pronoun) take it as a sign toward a star-studded future and leave behind everything in pursuit of a newly established destiny. What ensues is a cinematic paradox that in one moment finds them strutting down a neon strip in full Saturday Night Fever hip-swing, and the next, sipping a dirty martini at the rundown apartment complex pool dwelling on life's unfortunate turns. It's a narrative Rose pulled directly from the somewhat shameless desires of her own growing ambition, as well as the public breakdowns of several notable celebrities."

Rose adds: "To me, there's both humor and horror in hubris and what it takes in order to be successful. I wanted to make a story out of those parts of myself that I find largely undesirable and embarrassing, then inject them with steroids."

Summing up Superstar in the press release, Rose says: "I realized at some point that I'm not going to fit into any one box, and maybe that's a good thing. This record is me embracing being an outsider making my own path."

Read our website interview with Rose on LONER.

Read our print magazine interview with Rose on LONER.

8. Tennis: "Need Your Love" 

Denver duo (and real life husband and wife) Tennis are releasing a new album, Swimmer, on February 14 via their own Mutually Detrimental label. This week they shared another song from it, "Need Your Love," via a video for it. Regular collaborator Luca Venter directed the video.

The band's Alaina Moore had this to say about the song in a press release: "'Need Your Love' is rooted in anger. I usually deny myself the emotion, but the music demanded intensity from me and I had a lot to be angry about at the time. I was letting go of unhealthy relationships - trying to find healing without closure. The song turned into an emotional purge. We used sparse instrumentation and tempo changes to reflect the isolation and relentlessness of my mental state. Despite all the heaviness, writing this song was a joyful experience. The music was resilient enough to handle our wildest ideas and we indulged every whim. It's my favorite song Patrick and I have written."

9. Wolf Parade: "Julia Take Your Man Home"

Wolf Parade are releasing a new album, Thin Mind, on January 24 via Sub Pop. This week they shared another song from it, "Julia Take Your Man Home."

The song features lead vocals from Spencer Krug, who had this to say about it in a press release: "I'm singing about some other, worse version of myself. It's not actually me. I've never carved shapes that look like dicks into anything."

Thin Mind includes "Against the Day," a new song the band shared in October via a video (it was one of our Songs of the Week). Then when the album was announced in November they shared another new song from it, "Forest Green," via a lyric video (it was also one of our Songs of the Week).

Thin Mind is the follow-up to Wolf Parade's 2017 reunion album Cry Cry Cry. The band's current lineup is Dan Boeckner, Spencer Krug, and Arlen Thompson, after multi-instrumentalist Dante DeCaro amicably left the band in 2018 when their touring for Cry Cry Cry was complete. John Goodmanson produced Thin Mind at Risque Disque on Vancouver Island, BC. Goodmanson mixed the album at Bogroll Studios in Seattle and Noah Mintz mastered it at Lacquer Channel Mastering in Toronto. The album is out on Sub Pop worldwide, apart from Canada, where it's out on Royal Mountain Records.

Krug had this to say about the album in a previous press release: "Thin Mind refers to the way that being around too much tech has made our focus thin."

Boeckner added: "It's opening one more page, scrolling one more thing, and the weird, sort-of hollow automaton feeling that you get from it."

Thompson further explained: "This record is very personal, but at the same time, we're all coming from the same place of a general sense of anxiety. How do you deal with the constant barrage of having your opinions swayed by all these different actors when you don't know who they are or what their purpose is? There is no normal anymore."

Read our 2017 interview with Wolf Parade.

Read our review of Cry Cry Cry.

 

10. of Montreal: "You've Had Me Everywhere"

Of Montreal, the project of Kevin Barnes, are releasing a new album, UR FUN, on January 17 via Polyvinyl. This week Barnes shared another song from the album, "You've Had Me Everywhere."

Barnes had this to say about the song in a press release: "It's one of the purest and most unguarded love songs in my oeuvre... it was influenced by the production style of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and it features an Oberheim Matrix-1000 and a Korg Prologue 8."

Previously of Montreal shared UR FUN's first single, "Peace to All Freaks," which was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared another song from the album, "Polyaneurism," via a video for the track.

UR FUN is the follow-up to 2018's White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood. A previous press release said that the album is inspired by Barnes' relationship with songwriter Christina Schnieder of Locate S,1. Musical inspirations include Cyndi Lauper's She's So Unusual and Janet Jackson's Control, in that Barnes set out to have every song on the album a catchy single. Barnes recorded the album in his home studio in Athens, Georgia.

Read our review of White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood.

Read our 2016 The End interview about endings and death with of Montreal's Kevin Barnes.

 

11. Moses Sumney: "Me in 20 Years"

Moses Sumney is releasing a new double album, græ, in two parts, with the first part coming digitally in February (exact date TBA) and then the second part coming on May 15, which is also when the full album is released physically via Jagjaguwar. This week Sumney has shared a new song from the second part, "Me in 20 Years," via a lyric video. Sumney co-produced the song with Daniel Lopation (Oneohtrix Point Never), and Matt Otto.

Previously Sumney shared græ's first single, "Virile," via a self-directed video for the track. "Virile" was one of our Songs of the Week. Sumney then shared another song from the first part, "Polly," which is the final track of part one.

Græ is Sumney's sophomore album, the follow-up to 2017's full-length debut, Aromanticism, and 2018's Black in Deep Red, 2014 EP. Aromanticism was our #1 Debut Album of 2017 and one of our overall Top 100 Albums of 2017. The album is his first since relocating to Asheville, North Carolina.

Read our 2017 interview with Moses Sumney on Aromanticism.

12. Tame Impala: "Lost In Yesterday"

Tame Impala (aka Kevin Parker and band) are releasing a new album, The Slow Rush, on February 14 via Interscope. This week they shared another song from the album, "Lost In Yesterday."

A press release describes the song like so: "An examination of time's distorting effect on memories, on 'Lost In Yesterday,' Parker realizes that even the most disdainful times can take on a rosy tinge the further they recede in the rearview. Looking back can be a tough habit to break, but the track's compulsive bassline, sprinkles of electronic stardust and chorus catharsis ensure the focus is firmly on the future."

Parker recorded, produced, and mixed The Slow Rush himself and the album features 12 songs.

A previous press release described the album like this: "The Slow Rush is Parker's deep dive into the oceans of time, conjuring the feeling of a lifetime in a lightning bolt, of major milestones whizzing by while you're looking at your phone, it's a paean to creation and destruction and the unending cycle of life."

The Slow Rush will be available in four different heavyweight double disc vinyl formats: standard black, forest green (limited edition at all retailers), red/blue (indie retail exclusive), and splatter (Tame Impala webstore exclusive).

Tame Impala released two new songs this past spring: "Patience" (which was one of our Songs of the Week) and the house music-infused "Borderline" (which was also one of our Songs of the Week). Tame Impala also performed both songs on Saturday Night Live. It's presumed they will be on the album, although not confirmed. Then when the album was announced, Tame Impala shared another song from it, "It Might Be Time," which was also one of our Songs of the Week (at #8). Then Tame Impala shared another new song from the album, a six-minute slow-burner named "Posthumous Forgiveness" that was also one of our Songs of the Week.

It's been four years since his last album, his excellent third album, Currents (which was #2 on Under the Radar's Top 100 Albums of 2015 list).

Read our 2015 cover story article on Tame Impala's Currents and our bonus digital interview with Parker.

Honorable Mentions:

These five songs almost made the Top 10

Algiers: "We Can't Be Found"

Citizen Bravo and Raymond MacDonald: "Women of the World" (Feat. Tracyanne Campbell) (Ivor Cutler Cover)

Disq: "Daily Routine"

Peter Bjorn and John: "On the Brink"

Ratboys: "I Go Out At Night"

Other notable new tracks in the last week include: 

Beck: "Uneventful Days (St. Vincent Remix)"

Black Lips: "Rumbler"

David Bowie: "The Man Who Sold The World (ChangesNowBowie Version)"

Caspian: "Circles On Circles"

Jarvis Cocker: "Running the World (Kaiser Quartett Version)"

Deap Lips (The Flaming Lips and Deap Vally): "Home Thru Hell"

Bill Fay: "Salt of the Earth"

Benjamin Gibbard: "Brighter Than The Moon" (James Mendenhall Cover)

Guided By Voices: "Volcano"

Megan Thee Stallion & Normani: "Diamonds"

The Men: "Children All Over the World"

Morrissey: "Bobby, Don't You Think They Know?" (Feat. Thelma Houston)

Mush: "Revising My Fee"

Angel Olsen: "wildfire" (Hand Habits Cover) 

Frances Quinlan: "Your Reply"

Michael Stipe: "Drive to the Ocean"

Susanne Sundfør: "When the Lord"

Squarepusher: "Nervelevers"

Telekinesis: "Jean Alexander Waltz" (James Mendenhall Cover)

Wasted Shirt (Ty Segall and Lightning Bolt's Brian Chippendale): "Double the Dream"

Wire: "Primed and Ready"

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