Seven Best Songs of the Week: TORRES, Emily Haines, Alvvays, The Dears, and More

Plus Japanese Breakfast, LIV, Ride, and a Wrap-up of the Week's Other Notable New Tracks

Jun 09, 2017 Bookmark and Share


What a packed week for new songs and album announcements, enough to help you ignore all the James Comey/Donald Trump (but at least the Conservatives stumbled at the U.K. general election). To help you sort through the multitude of new songs released in the last seven days, we have picked the seven best this week (we couldn't narrow it down to five). Below that we have also highlighted other notable new tracks shared this week.

1. TORRES: "Skim"

TORRES (aka MacKenzie Scott) last released an album, Sprinter, in 2015, via Partisan. It was her sophomore release and was excellent. This week she announced that she had signed to the legendary British indie label 4AD and shared a brand new single, "Skim," via its video. The song was a bit more fully produced than her previous work, with electronic flourishes. We haven't heard her next album yet, but based on this song it's akin to the leap St. Vincent made between her debut, Marry Me, and sophomore album, Actor, and we're excited to hear more. Ashley Connor directed the video, which is somewhat NSFW, as mainly faceless women in various states of undress caress Scott as she performs the song.

2. Emily Haines: "Fatal Gift"

Metric frontwoman (and Broken Social Scene collaborator) Emily Haines released a fantastic solo album, Knives Don't Have Your Back, 11 years ago, in 2006, under the name Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton. That was followed in 2007 by the EP What Is Free to a Good Home? But since then it's been all quiet on the solo front, with Haines focusing mainly on Metric. Now she has finally announced her second Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton album, Choir of the Mind. It's due out September 15 via Last Gang/eOne. She has shared a video for the album's first single, "Fatal Gift." Knives Don't Have Your Back mainly consisted of haunting and sparse piano ballads, but "Fatal Gift" finds the middle ground between those compositions and her more produced work with Metric. Justin Broadbent directed the video, which features Haines being driven around at night and hanging out in a convenience store, among other things.

Haines had this to say about "Fatal Gift" in a press release: "Most of the songs on the album came to me out of some recent major changes in my life, and others were composed when my life felt more stable. Of them all, 'Fatal Gift' is the song that has lived with me the longest, through many incarnations. This is the right time for the definitive version to be heard. The song embodies for me the undeniable fact that no matter how high I climb, that voice, pulling me back to my essential self remains. We all pursue symbols of achievement, but utopian material promises are hollow."

3. Alvvays: "In Undertow"

This week Toronto-based four-piece Alvvays announced a new album, Antisocialites, and shared its first single, album opener "In Undertow." Antisocialites is due out September 8 via Polyvinyl is the follow-up to their well-received 2014-released self-titled debut album. "This record is a fantasy breakup arc and my life nearly imitated art," says frontwoman Molly Rankin in a press release. "In Undertow" was another fun blast of indie-pop from the awkwardly spelled band.

4. The Dears: "All the Hail Marys"

When Montréal's The Dears released their last album, 2015's Times Infinity Volume One, the band promised that there would be a volume two (its title implied as much). Times Infinity Volume Two is due out July 14 via Dangerbird in the U.S. (and Paperbag in Canada). Previously they shared "Of Fisticuffs" and "1988." This week they shared another song from the album, the typically dramatic and emotive "All the Hail Marys."

Dears co-founder and frontman Murray Lightburn had this to say about "All the Hail Marys": "I always wanted this to be the first thing anyone heard from The Dears in a long time.... This is easily one my fave Dears tracks of all time, maybe in the top ten. Lyrically, I think we all feel a little hopeless at times and somewhat swallowed by the daily pressures of life. Something I started doing recently is asking myself, 'What would 30-year-old Murray do?' Then I'll usually do the opposite (laughs). The past helps me to reconcile the present and subsequently shape the future."  

 

5. LIV: "Heaven"

LIV is a Swedish supergroup that features Lykke Li, her romantic partner Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Wyatt from Miike Snow, Pontus Winnberg from Miike Snow and Amason, and Peter Bjorn and John's Björn Yttling. Last September the band was announced via the debut of their first song, "Wings of Love." Then last October we were treated to a NSFW video for the song directed by Li in her directorial debut. Then last November there was another song from the band, the slow-burning "Dream Awake." Today LIV shared a third song, the upbeat "Heaven," via its lyric video, which you can watch below.

6. Japanese Breakfast: "Boyish"

Japanese Breakfast (aka Michelle Zauner) is releasing her sophomore album, Soft Sounds From Another Planet, on July 14 via Dead Oceans. Previously she shared a video for its first single, "Machinist." This week she shared another song from the album, the lush ballad "Boyish."

Zauner had this to say about the song in a press release:  "Craig Hendrix [band member and the album's co-producer] and I wanted to produce this sort of grandiose Roy Orbison-esque ballad. We wanted the chorus to have big arrangements, lots of harmonies and synth strings, to create a really sweeping, melancholic effect that mirrored the nature of the lyrics. The song is about jealousy and sexual incompetence. It's about feeling ugly." 

7. Ride: "Lannoy Point"

British shoegazing icons Ride reformed in 2014 and have been touring, and are releasing a new album, Weather Diaries, next Friday (June 16) via Wichita. Previously they shared its first two singles (and their first new songs in 21 years), the straight up rocker "Charm Assault" and the dreamier "Home Is a Feeling." They also shared a video for "Charm Assault" that was co-directed by Brian Jonestown Massacre frontman Anton Newcombe, along with Jean de Oliveira, and another song from the album, "All I Want," as well as a 10-minute remix of "All I Want" by GLOK, which is actually Ride's own Andy Bell. This week the band shared Weather Diaries' near-six-minute long opening track, "Lannoy Point," which offers a slow and satisfying build into the album.

Erol Alkan (Klaxons, Mystery Jets, Beyond the Wizards Sleeve) produced the new album, which was mixed by Alan Moulder (who also mixed Ride's classic debut album, Nowhere, and produced their Going Blank Again). Ride haven't released a new studio album since 1996's Tarantula, which was put out after the band split up and was poorly received.

Other notable new songs this week include:

Ariel Pink: "Another Weekend"

BEAK>: "Sex Music (Win Butler's Knight Rider Remix)"

Cornelius: "Sometime / Someplace"

Fleet Foxes: "If You Need To, Keep Time on Me"

Gorillaz: "Sleeping Powder"

PJ Harvey and Ramy Essam: "The Camp"

Iron & Wine: "Call It Dreaming"

Lorde: "Sober"

M.I.A.: "Goals"

Oh Sees: "Static God"

Shabazz Palaces: "Julian's Dream (ode to a bad) [Feat. The Shogun Shot]"

Susanne Sundfør: "Undercover" 

Toro Y Moi: "Girl Like You"

Waxahatchee: "Never Been Wrong"

Zola Jesus: "Exhumed"

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