8 Best Songs of the Week: Coldplay, Destroyer, Anna Meredith, Wire, and More | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, May 27th, 2020  

8 Best Songs of the Week: Coldplay, Destroyer, Anna Meredith, Wire, and More

Plus Leonard Cohen, Sorry, Little Dragon, and a Wrap-up of the Week's Other Notable New Tracks

Oct 25, 2019
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Welcome to another Songs of the Week. It was another light week, in terms of compelling new songs this week. Hence, just like last week's list, we only have a Top 8 again. The top two were pretty much a tie. We're as surprised as you about our #1.

Don't forget to pick up our new print issue, the My Favorite Album Issue. It features Angel Olsen and Sleater-Kinney on the two covers and is a special issue where we speak to musicians and actors about their all-time favorite albums.

In the last week we also reviewed a bunch of albums, including the latest by JOHN, Twin Peaks, Anna Meredith, Kim Gordon, and Great Grandpa. Plus every week we post reviews of various other things (some weeks including DVDs, Blu-rays, films, concerts, and TV shows).

This week we also posted new interviews with Editors, Anna Meredith, and The Soft Cavalry (aka Steve Clarke and Slowdive's Rachel Goswell).

To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last week, we have picked the eight 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. Coldplay: "Arabesque"

Coldplay are releasing a new album, Everyday Life, on November 22 via Parlophone/Atlantic and this week they shared its first two singles: "Orphans" and "Arabesque." The album was announced via postcards sent to fans and has been touted as an experimental double album, with one side titled "Sunrise" and the other "Sunset." "Orphans" is a bit Coldplay-by-numbers, but "Arabesque" is much more interesting. It's nearly six minutes long and has an Afrobeat vibe, which makes sense considering Fela Kuti and is band contribute horns to it (it also features Stromae). If the rest of the album sounds more like "Arabesque" than "Orphans" then it could turn out to be experimental by Coldplay standards. We'll have to wait and see. But for now "Arabesque" is one of the coolest, most interesting songs the band has released in years.

Check out the album's tracklist and cover art here. This morning they also shared a video for "Orphans."

The Dream Team produced both songs. Everyday Life is 53 minutes long and will be released on CD, vinyl, cassette, and digital formats by Parlophone/Atlantic. There will also be two U.S.-only vinyl versions released by Third Man, one on standard black and a limited edition gold version. "Orphans" and "Arabesque" are also available now on a seven-inch single via Third Man. Coldplay will be performing on Saturday Night Live for the sixth time on November 2. The album's cover art is "based around a 1919 photo of guitarist Jonny Buckland's great-grandfather's band." 

Coldplay released their last album, their seventh, A Head Full of Dreams, back in December 2015 via Parlophone/Atlantic and released a follow-up EP, Kaleidoscope EP, in July 2017, also via Parlophone/Atlantic.

2. Destroyer: "Crimson Tide"

This week Destroyer (the project of Dan Bejar) announced a new album, Have We Met, and shared its first single, "Crimson Tide," via a video for the track. He also announced some tour dates. Have We Met is due out January 31, 2020 via Merge. Check out the album's cover art and the tour dates here.

Have We Met is the follow-up to 2017's ken, which was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2017). David Galloway directed the "Crimson Tide" video, which intercuts images of Bejar performing the song in a dark room with that of some sort of story involving characters.

Galloway had this to say about the video in a press release: "Do you like the 1985 politico-dance-thriller White Nights? What about John Hughes' controversial 1986 proleteeniat love letter to the hoi polloi, Pretty In Pink? What do these seminal films of the 1980s have to do with Destroyer's overture to 2020, Have We Met? They are canonized not only by their groundbreaking and visionary contributions to Hollywood, they are escorted by the rarefied but much-maligned 'movie tie-in music video.' So this is like that, only a little bit different. I don't know if this particular movie is a 'movie' in the traditional sense of the trope, and I don't know if there will be a soundtrack. There might be a bootleg mix-tape, though. 

"That movie is Ashcroft: an ambiguous short, an art-house film that explores time, memory, fruit, the landscape of the British Columbia interior, and recovery from - and into - deception. 'Ashcroft is not a place of passive rest, but rather an intoxicating playground for excavation and manipulation' is a quote from the filmmakers' press release. Movies need songs (kind of) and songs need movies (videos?). This is a music video about a movie, or for a movie, or really just with a movie. The point is: they love each other. With "Crimson Tide," Destroyer introduces listeners to yet another version of the Bejar Enigma, and ushers viewers to seats in an alternate cinematic universe. The dramatic music video that ties in to film is a lost art. Or maybe it's just a vulgar one. Either way, there's no rotten tomatoes here. Only rotten apples."

Read our interview with Destroyer on ken.

3. Anna Meredith: "Killjoy" 

British experimental musician Anna Meredith has released a new album, FIBS, today via Black Prince Fury (stream it here). Now that the album is out, we can highlight one of our favorite album tracks that wasn't already a pre-release single: "Killjoy."

Also this week we posted our new interview with Meredith on the album and you can read that here. Plus we also posted our rave review of the album and you can read that here.

Also pick up our new print issue, the My Favorite Album Issue, to read our interview with Anna Meredith about her all-time favorite album.

Previously Meredith shared FIBS' first single, "Paramour," via a hypnotic video for the track featuring a Lego train traveling around Meredith and her band as they perform the song. It's surely one of the best music videos of the year and "Paramour" also made it to #1 on our Songs of the Week list. Then she shared another song from the album, "moonsmoons," as well as an Augmented Reality app for the song that uses Spatial Audio so that you can place various instrumental parts of the song in various areas in whichever space you are in. Then she shared "Inhale Exhale," which was also one of our Songs of the Week. Then she shared a video for "Inhale Exhale" in which she sang the song in a carwash.

FIBS is the follow-up to her acclaimed 2016-released debut album, Varmints. Since then she has kept busy, doing the soundtrack to the Bo Burnham-directed film Eighth Grade and working as a classical composer. And, a press release points out, that she "was recently named a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the Queen's birthday honors list for services to music, making her Anna Meredith MBE."

Of the album title FIBS, in a previous press release Meredith said fibs are "lies - but nice friendly lies, little stories and constructions and daydreams and narratives that you make for yourself or you tell yourself."

4. Wire: "Cactused"

This week post-punk legends Wire announced a new album, Mind Hive, and shared its first single, "Cactused." They also announced some tour dates. Mind Hive is due out January 24, 2020 via the band's own pinkflag label. Check out the album's cover art and tracklist, as well as the tour dates, here.

Mind Hive is the band's seventeenth studio album and the follow-up to 2017's Silver/Lead. Wire's line-up consists of founding members Colin Newman (vocals/guitar), Robert Grey (drums), and Graham Lewis (bass guitar, vocals), as well as guitarist Matthew Simms, who has been with the band since 2010.

4. Leonard Cohen: "Happens to the Heart"

Legendary singer/songwriter/poet Leonard Cohen passed away in November 2016 and a new posthumous album from him, Thanks for the Dance, is due out November 22 via Sony Music. This week another song from the album, "Happens to the Heart," was shared via a video for it. Daniel Askill directed the clip, which doesn't feature Cohen and was produced by NOWNESS.

Previously the first single from Thanks for the Dance, "The Goal," was shared. Cohen's son, Adam Cohen, put together Thanks for the Dance, using previously unreleased vocals/lyrics by Leonard and new instrumentation recorded for the album by Adam and a team of notable contributors.

Just a few weeks before Leonard Cohen's death he released his last album, his 14th, You Want It Darker, which was produced by his son Adam. There remained material from that album, "bare musical sketches" as a previous press release put it, sometimes just vocals, that Adam used to make Thanks for the Dance. Before his death Leonard had asked his son to embark on the project.

The album was recorded in various locations and features a slew of special guests. Damien Rice, Leslie Feist, and Jennifer Warnes all contributed vocals. Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire played bass, Bryce Dessner of The National played guitar, and the composer Dustin O'Halloran played piano. Javier Mas, who had previously been in Leonard Cohen's touring band, played Leonard's own guitar on the album. The Berlin-based choir Cantus Domus and the s t a r g a z e orchestra contributed, as did The Shaar Hashomayim choir. Patrick Watson co-produced a song. Daniel Lanois "dropped in, beautifully enriching sparse arrangements." Michael Chaves, who recorded and mixed You Want It Darker, did the engineering and mixing. And finally, Beck played guitar and Jew's harp.

Adam Cohen had this to say about the album in the previous press release: "In composing and arranging the music for his words, we chose his most characteristic musical signatures, in this way keeping him with us. What moves me most about the album is the startled response of those who have heard it. 'Leonard lives'! they say, one after the other."

5. Sorry: "Right Round the Clock"

This week North London band Sorry shared a new song, "Right Round the Clock," via a video for the track. The new single is taken from the band's forthcoming debut album, 925, which is due out in spring 2020 via Domino. The exact release date and other album details are to be announced. The band's Asha Lorenz directed the video alongside frequent collaborator Jasper Cable-Alexander.

Lorenz had this to say about the video in a press release: "The video is supposedly a daydream hallucination we did with our friend Jasper. Bit sexy bit silly, make what you like of it hope you enjoy!"

Sorry is led by childhood friends Asha Lorenz and Louis O'Bryen and the lineup is rounded out by Lincoln Barrett on drums and bassist Campbell Baum. Previously we posted the band's "Jealous Guy" (not a John Lennon cover), which was one of our Songs of the Week.

6. Little Dragon: "Tongue Kissing"

This week Swedish electro-pop band Little Dragon shared a brand new song, "Tongue Kissing." They have also announced some new 2020 tour dates for North America and Europe. "Tongue Kissing" is out now via Ninja Tune, check out the tour dates here.

The band had this to say about the song in a press release: "The song is very much about taking brave steps. Facing your own demons and tongue kissing with life in a way, not holding back but going all in with all that it entails, every moment in your face."

Little Dragon released their last album, Season High, back in April 2017 via Loma Vista. That was followed by 2018's Lover Chanting EP.

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

8. Mount Eerie (with Julie Doiron): "Belief pt. 2"

Mount Eerie (aka Phil Elverum) is releasing a new album, Lost Wisdom pt. 2, that's a collaboration with singer Julie Doiron, on November 8 via P.W. Elverum & Sun. This week he shared its second single, "Belief pt. 2."

Elverum had this to say about the song in a press release: "'Belief pt. 2' is the last song on the album. It comes at the end of a meandering path through uncertainty, devotion, sad reminiscence, hopeful idealism; songs coursing over uneven terrain. This album conclusion is a flag planted, a declaration of belief in love no matter what, the culminating answer to all of the asking that came before.  Eroded down by life's changes to an elemental necessity, I make an offering of a final simple gesture of love.
 
"Julie and I recorded this song at night with the doors and windows all the way open, hoping to get the nighthawks and night air onto the recording. The other songs were recorded during the day, but this song is a night song. We tried to make our version of sacred music, under stars in the high dark cool air."

Previously Mount Eerie shared Lost Wisdom pt. 2's first single, "Love Without Possession," which was one of our Songs of the Week. Mount Eerie also shared a trailer for the album.

In 2008 Elverum and Doiron previously collaborated on the Mount Eerie album Lost Wisdom.

In 2017 Elverum released an acclaimed album, A Crow Looked At Me, which was followed in March 2018 by another equally acclaimed album, Now Only (which was our Album of the Week). Both were written after his first wife, Geneviève Elverum (née Gosselin and also known as Geneviève Castrée), passed away in July 2016 after losing her fight with pancreatic cancer. Geneviève was a musician and comic book artist who had recorded as both Woelv and Ô Paon. Geneviève was diagnosed with inoperable, stage four pancreatic cancer just four months after giving birth to their daughter and died a year later, leaving Elverum to raise their infant daughter on his own. But then in July 2018 it was announced that Elverum had secretly married actress Michelle Williams. Alas, Elverum and Williams have since divorced and perhaps Lost Wisdom pt. 2 tackles that in some way. In September 2018 Mount Eerie also released the live album (after).

Read our 2017 interview with Mount Eerie about A Crow Looked At Me.

Read our 2018 interview with Mount Eerie about Now Only.

Honorable Mentions:

These four songs almost made the Top 8.

Courtney Barnett: "Keep On" (Loose Tooth Cover)

Andy Bell: "Plastic Bag"

Squirrel Flower: "Red Shoulder"

Ben Watt: "Irene" (Feat. Alan Sparhawk) 

Other notable new tracks in the last week include: 

The 1975: "Frail State of Mind" 

 

Coldplay: "Orphans"

Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash: "Wanted Man (Take 1)"

Empath: "Drunken Angel / The Other Side" (Lucinda Williams Cover)

Ex Vöid: "Only One" and "Ex-Vöid"

Galantis & Dolly Parton: "Faith" (Feat. Mr. Probz)

PJ Harvey: "Red Right Hand" (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Cover)

Taylor Hawkins & The Coattail Riders: "Get the Money" (Feat. Chrissie Hynde, Joe Walsh, and Duff McKagan)

Illuminati Hotties" "ppl plzr" 

Kesha: "Raising Hell" (Feat. Big Freedia)

Lizzo: "Good As Hell (Remix)" (Feat. Ariana Grande)

Megan Thee Stallion & VickeeLo: "Ride or Die"

Mister Goblin: "Calendar Dogs" (Feat. Sadie Dupuis)

MØ and Walshy Fire: "Bullet With Butterfly Wings (Mixed)" (The Smashing Pumpkins Cover)

Mura Masa: "No Hope Generation"

Museum Mouth: "End of Days Reprise"

Frank Ocean: "DHL"

Frances Quinlan: "Rare Thing"

R.E.M.: "Uptempo Mo Distortion (Demo)"

Andy Shauf: "Things I Do"

Sleigh Bells: "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" (Lead Belly Cover)

Bruce Springsteen: "Rhinestone Cowboy" (Glen Campbell Cover)

Tinashe: "Die a Little Bit" (Feat. Ms Banks)

TNGHT: "Dollaz"

TOPS: "Echo of Dawn" and "Seven Minutes"

Rufus Wainwright: "Trouble In Paradise"

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