10 Best Songs of the Week: Weyes Blood, Tamaryn, Wye Oak, Broken Social Scene, and More

Plus Jessie Ware, Drugdealer, Jenny Lewis, SASAMI, and a Wrap-up of the Week's Other Notable New Tracks

Feb 15, 2019
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It was pretty rough week to be a Ryan Adams fan. We won't regurgitate the details, but if you haven't already done so then you should read The New York Times article detailing the sexual misconduct allegations made against him by Mandy Moore, Phoebe Bridgers, and several other women. Adams is now being investigated by the FBI and the release of his next album has been put on hold. We didn't over-cover the situation on our website, as it's a complicated issue that was well covered by the Times and other websites, but we wanted to bring attention to it in our weekly wrap up.

Now, onto this week's Songs of the Week. It was a strong week for new tracks, we could've gone as high as a Top 13 instead of the regular Top 10. In what may have been a first for Songs of the Week, one artist had two separate songs in the Top 10 for two different projects, with Jenn Wasner appearing for both Wye Oak and Flock of Dimes.

Elsewhere on the website this week we posted Artist Survey interviews with Ra Ra Riot and Ionna Gika.

In the last week we also reviewed a bunch of albums, including the latest by Piroshka, Homeshake, Ladytron, Yak, Cass McCombs, Tiny Ruins, Le Butcherettes, Angelo De Augustine, and Chain Wallet. Plus we posted reviews of various DVDs, Blu-rays, films, concerts, and TV shows.

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. Weyes Blood: "Everyday"

This week Weyes Blood (aka Natalie Mering) announced a new album, Titanic Rising, and shared a video for a new song, "Everyday." Titanic Rising is due out April 5 via Sub Pop, her first album for the label. She has also announced some new tour dates, dubbed the "True Love is Making a Comeback" tour (borrowing a line from "Everyday"). Mering directed the horror film-inspired "Everyday" video herself, which has the feel of a '70s slasher movie, which matches the retro vibe of the song.

Weyes Blood's last album, Front Row Seat to Earth, made it all the way to #9 on our Top 100 Albums of 2016 list. Titanic Rising includes "Andromeda," a new song she shared in January that was one of our Songs of the Week (listen to it below again). The album cover was photographed in a bedroom fully submerged in water, with no CGI. Check out the album's tracklist and cover art, as well as her tour dates, here.

A press release says "Everyday" "chronicles the chaos of modern love and dating - short attention spans, restlessness, and the continuous crusade (and carnage) to find some kind of all-encompassing soul mate." 

In the press release Mering describes Titanic Rising as "The Kinks meet WWII or Bob Seger meets Enya."

"You can tell there's not a guy pulling the strings in Enya's studio," Mering says of the New Age pop singer who had huge success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Of the other influence, Mering says: "The clarity of Bob Seger is unmistakable. I'm a big fan of conversational songwriting. I just try to do that in a way that uses abstract imagery as well."
 
"An album is like a Rubik's Cube," she adds. "Sometimes you get all the dimensions-the lyrics, the melody, the production-to line up. I try to be futuristic and ancient at once, which is a difficult alchemy. It's taken a lot of different tries to get it right."

The 1997 romantic blockbuster film Titanic inspired the album's title. "It was engineered for little girls and had its own mythology," Mering explains. "It's so symbolic that The Titanic would crash into an iceberg, and now that iceberg is melting, sinking civilization." 

The song "Movies" also comments on the power of the silver screen; as Mering puts it, "that movies had been brainwashing people and their ideas about romantic love." 

At the end of the press release, Mering sums up Titanic Rising as such: "There are complicated influences mixed in with more relatable nostalgic melodies. In my mind, my music feels so big, a true production. I'm not a huge, popular artist, but I feel like one when I'm in the studio. But it's never taking away from the music. I'm just making a bigger space for myself."

Read our interview with Weyes Blood on Front Row Seat to Earth (from our Best of 2016 Issue).

Also read our The End interview with Weyes Blood about endings and death.

2. Tamaryn: "Angels of Sweat"

Tamaryn is releasing a new album, Dreaming the Dark, on March 22 via Dero Arcade. Previously she shared its first single, "Fits of Rage" (which was one of our Songs of the Week), as well as a self-directed video for the song. This week she shared a self-directed video for another new song from the album, album opener "Angels of Sweat," which channels Cocteau Twins and Kate Bush as much as any of Tamaryn's other songs.

The video stars Tamaryn and a press release explains its concept: "Her character The Moon, surrounded by Death and the Minor Arcana, tries to confuse everyone while being the biggest diva in the sky."

The album is the follow-up to 2015's Crane Kiss. Dreaming the Dark was produced and co-written by Jorge Elbrecht (Violens, Ariel Pink).

Read our 2015 interview with Tamaryn about Crane Kiss and also read our review of the album.

3. Wye Oak: "Evergreen"

Wye Oak (Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack) released a new album, The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs, back in April 2018 via Merge. (It was our Album of the Week and one of our Top 100 Albums of 2018.) This week they shared a brand new song, "Evergreen," via the Adult Swim Singles series.

In a press release Wasner says that "the song was made in an attempt to work a little differently, to 'try softer,' as my brilliant friend Lexie Mountain advised me."

A press release also says the song "represents overcoming a physically and emotionally exhausting period of self-doubt."

Wasner adds: "I understand intellectually that I have worth and value just by existing- that everyone does, but I'm beginning to realize that having an intellectual understanding doesn't mean you've integrated that shit into your heart and mind and unconscious beliefs. Maybe I'll never get there, but just trying (not too hard!) feels better than nothing at all. So it's a start. Hope you enjoy."

Just earlier this week Wasner teamed up with Madeline Kenney (whose 2018 album Perfect Shapes she produced) to release a split 7-inch via her Flock of Dimes solo alias. Wasner contributed "The Sisters," whereas Kenney's song was entitled "Helpless." See below for those two songs.

Wye Oak are performing at Merge's 30th anniversary festival in July.

Read our 2018 interview with Wye Oak on The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs.

4. Broken Social Scene: "Boyfriends"

Broken Social Scene released a new EP, Let's Try the After - Vol. 1, today via Arts & Crafts. Previously they shared its first single, "All I Want," which was one of our Songs of the Week. Then, on the eve of the EP's release, the Canadian band shared another track from it, "Boyfriends," via a fun video made up entirely of GIFs, and that's the song that makes this list. You can also stream the whole EP here.

The EP includes "1972," a song they recently performed in a session for the Canadian music show The Strombo Show. The other new song they performed on the show, "Can't Find My Heart," is not featured on the EP (perhaps that's being saved for Vol. 2). "All I Want" features lead vocals by Andrew Whiteman, a core member of the band and also from Apostle of Hustle. Nyles Spencer produced and mixed the EP, apart from "1972," which was produced by the band's own Charles Spearin and Joe Chiccarelli. 

Frontman Kevin Drew had this to say about the EP in a previous press release: "The point is to keep going. We have more to give. These songs have lived beside us and become our commencement party while continuing together. We hope you enjoy this EP for you and me."

The band also released this more cryptic joint statement about the EP: "The ceremony of dying generations without any guidelines for how to move forward makes these times easy for the mirror wars to continue. We can hide in the beauty of what has been stolen from us because somewhere there is mystery in not knowing. How can the ruined survive without a back up plan? Let's try the after."

Broken Social Scene's last album, Hug of Thunder, was released in July 2017 via Arts & Crafts. It was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2017.

Read our 2017 interview with Broken Social Scene on Hug of Thunder.

5. Jessie Ware: "Adore You"

This week Jessie Ware shared a brand new song, "Adore You." Metronomy's Joseph Mount produced the song, which was mixed by James Ford (Simian Mobile Disco). The single is out now via PMR/Friends Keep Secrets/Interscope. It follows "Overtime," another club-ready single she shared last October that was one of our Songs of the Week.

Ware had this to say about the song in a press release: "I've wanted to work with Joe for such a long time and this is the first thing we did in the studio together. This is 'Adore You.' It's just a little something to tie you over with until my next release. It feels fitting to put this out when I'm about to become a new mum again and feel the most confident I've ever felt about my music. Happy Valentines, I adore you all."

Ware released her third album, Glasshouse, in October 2017. Perhaps she is prepping her fourth album for a 2019 release?

Read our 2017 Self-Portrait interview with Jessie Ware.

Read our 2014 interview with Jessie Ware.

6. Drugdealer: "Fools"

This week Drugdealer (the project of Michael Collins) announced a new album, Raw Honey, and shared a video for its first single, the '70s rock sounding "Fools." Raw Honey is due out April 19 via Mexican Summer. The album was engineered by Mac DeMarco and features Natalie Mering (aka Weyes Blood), among others. Check out the album's tracklist and cover art, as well as Drugdealer's upcoming tour dates, here.

Drugdealer's core lineup is Collins, Sasha Winn (vocals), and Shags Chamberlain (bass, production). Raw Honey also features contributions from Josh Da Costa (drums), Jackson MacIntosh (guitar), Danny Garcia (guitar), Michael Long (lead guitar), and Benjamin Schwab (backing vocals, guitar, organ, piano, wurlitzer), as well as guest vocalists Dougie Poole ("Wild Motion"), Harley Hill-Richmond ("Lonely"), and Weyes Blood's Natalie Mering ("Honey"). The album is Drugdealer's second, the follow-up to 2016's The End of Comedy.

7. Flock of Dimes: "The Sisters"

Madeline Kenney released her sophomore album, Perfect Shapes, last October via Carpark. Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak and Flock of Dimes produced the album and now the two have teamed up again for a split 7-inch and a joint tour. Wasner contributes "The Sisters" under her Flock of Dimes alias, whereas Kenney's song is entitled "Helpless." The Flock of Dimes cut makes the main list, even though there's already a Wye Oak song on here, where as Kenney's song is an honorable mention below. Check out the tour dates, which encompass five West Coast shows in April, as well as the 7-inch's cover art and a tour poster, here. The 7-inch is available exclusively on tour and via the Carpark Records' store.

A press release describes the 7-inch release as such: "The split single, released on Carpark Records, is the result of a year spent both touring and living together as roommates, and an intertwined set of experiences and perspective. Together as a whole, the songs explore the attempt to make sense of life as an artist in an industry that values style over substance, particularly for women who refuse to have their artistry seen only through the filter of their own physicality."

8. Jenny Lewis: "Heads Gonna Roll"

Jenny Lewis is releasing a new album, On the Line, on March 22 via Warner Bros. Previously she shared its first single, "Red Bull & Hennessy," which was one of our Songs of the Week. This week she shared another song from the album, "Heads Gonna Roll," which was posted to YouTube via a largely static image of her on a horse in a sparkly Elvis-in-Vegas type outfit. Lyrically, you have to wonder if the song is about anyone in particular or is totally made up, as she sings about riding in a private jet with someone she's seemingly not on great terms with these days, although she ends the song with: "Maybe a little bit of hooking up is good for the soul?" The song features Ringo Starr on drums and Don Was on bass.

On the Line is Lewis' first solo album in five years, since 2014's The Voyager. Lewis 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 Ryan Adams.

Lewis previously stopped by the Chris Thile-hosted public radio show Live From Here to perform "Red Bull & Hennessy."

9. SASAMI: "Free" (Featuring Devendra Banhart)

SASAMI (aka Los Angeles based musician Sasami Ashworth) is releasing her self-titled debut album, SASAMI, on March 8 via Domino. This week she shared a video for another new song from the album, "Free." The song features backing vocals from Devendra Banhart, although he's not in the video. Riley Blakeway directed the clip, which was shot in Australia and includes images of Ashworth at an overturned car accident and on the beach embracing a faceless person. The song is all tension and no release.

Ashworth had this to say about "Free" in a press release: "'Free' is a lopsided duet about how destiny plays into matters of the heart -- how sometimes when you lose in love, freedom is the consolation prize, and in that way, you've actually transcended."

When the album was announced she shared a self-directed video for the new song "Jealousy," which was one of our Songs of the Week. The album includes the previous singles "Not the Time" and "Callous."

10. Maps: "Just Reflecting"

This week Mercury Prize-nominated British composer/producer Maps (aka James Kenneth Chapman) announced a new album, Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss., his fourth, and shared a video for its first single, "Just Reflecting," which would sit comfortably on a mix next one of M83's more dramatic songs. Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss. is due out May 10 via Mute. Check out album's tracklist and cover art here.

Chapman had this to say about the album in a press release: "I wanted to push everything to the limit with this record and explore new territory for Maps. The orchestral instrumentation and addition of other musicians and singers played a huge part in finding the purer and more human emotion I was searching for. I learnt the violin as I was growing up, so I'm glad it finally came in useful!"

Honorable Mentions:

These seven songs almost made the Top 10. Julia Jacklin came closest (what a voice!), followed by HÆLOS, Holy Ghost!, and Telekinesis.

HÆLOS: "Boy / Girl"

Holy Ghost!: "Epton On Broadway (Part I & Part II)"

Julia Jacklin: "Comfort"

Madeline Kenney: "Helpless"

Rain Phoenix: "Time is the Killer" (Feat. Michael Stipe)

Tacocat: "Grains of Salt"

Telekinesis: "A Place in the Sun"

Other notable new tracks in the last week include:

Lydia Ainsworth: "Can You Find Her Place"

Cardi B & Bruno Mars: "Please Me"

Cold Cave: "Promised Land"

Criminal Hygiene: "Dangers of Convenience"

Filthy Friends: "Last Chance County"

Hand Habits: "what lovers do" 

Tim Hecker: "That World"

Inter Arma: "Citadel"

Damien Jurado: "South"

Lizzo: "Cuz I Love You"

Bill MacKay: "Try It On"

Matmos: "Plastic Anniversary"

Katy Perry and Zedd: "365"

Tom Petty: "For Real"

 

pronoun: "stay"

 

James Yorkston: "Shallow (Vince Clarke Remix)"

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