Six Best Songs of the Week: Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Big Thief, The War on Drugs, and More

Plus Broken Social Scene, Liam Gallagher, and a Wrap-up of the Week's Other Notable New Tracks

Jun 02, 2017
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This week was marred by President Trump pulling out of the Paris Accords climate change agreement, but it was a strong one for music. To help you sort through the multitude of new songs released in the last seven days, we have picked the five best. But wait, this week there were so many strong new tracks from important artists that we couldn't just narrow it down to five, so here are the six best tracks of the week. Below that we have also highlighted other notable new tracks shared this week.

1. Arcade Fire: "Everything Now"

This week Arcade Fire announced their new album, Everything Now, which is due out July 28 via their new label Columbia. They also shared the album's title track and a video for the song. An anthemic song about our over-materialist culture seems appropriate listening on the week President Donald Trump has pulled America out of the Paris climate change accords and the video fittingly seems to be about the end of the world, with Terminator 2 type images of missiles being launched as children watch on and shots of burning billboards. Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter and Pulp's Steve Mackey produced the album with the band, with co-production by Markus Dravus. Some fans didn't care for the song and unfavorably compared it to ABBA, but we loved it and appreciated its timely message.

2. Big Thief: "Mary"

Big Thief just released their debut album, Masterpiece, in May 2016 on Saddle Creek, but they have already have their sophomore album, Capacity, coming out on June 9, also on Saddle Creek. Previously they shared the snowy video for the album's first single "Mythological Beauty" and the audio for "Shark Smile." This week they shared another song from the album, the poetic and haunting "Mary." The chill-inducing "Mary" is probably the album's highlight, and certainly the best of the album's three singles thus far.

3. Broken Social Scene: "Skyline"

Broken Social Scene are releasing a new album, Hug of Thunder, on July 7 via Arts & Crafts. Broken Social Scene premiered a new song, "Halfway Home," in March and the next day the band stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to perform the new single. Then they shared the album's title track, "Hug of Thunder," which features vocals from Feist. This week they have shared another song from it, "Skyline," which is lush vintage Broken Social Scene in all the best ways possible, with Kevin Drew's vocals front and center at the start, declaring "I shouldn't have come at all," before blending in with other vocals. It might be the best of the three Hug of Thunder tracks the band has shared thus far.

4. The War on Drugs: "Holding On"

The War on Drugs recently released a brand new 11-minute long song, "Thinking of a Place," for Record Store Day and announced a fall tour. This week they announced their new album, A Deeper Understanding, and shared another song from it, "Holding On." A Deeper Understanding is due out August 25 via Atlantic, their first for the label (previously they were on Secretly Canadian). "Holding On" may not be as epic as "Thinking of a Place," but it still scratched a similar bossgaze itch as "Red Eyes" or "Baby Missiles."

5. Radiohead: "I Promise"

Radiohead are releasing a deluxe reissue of their landmark 1997 album OK Computer in honor of its 20th anniversary. It is being dubbed as OKNOTOK and includes a remastered version of the original album, eight B-sides, and three previously unreleased tracks from the era: "I Promise," "Lift," and "Man of War." Thursday night the string-backed ballad "I Promise" debuted on BBC Radio 6's "6 Music Recommends" show hosted by Steve Lamacq. Then today the band shared a video for "I Promise." Michal Marczak directed the clip, which doesn't feature the band and instead centers on a sad late night bus ride. Of course, this being Radiohead there's a bit of a sci-fi twist midway through (think Michael Fassbender at the end of Prometheus). Lamacq said that a source close to Radiohead told him the band thought the song had been lost over the years and were thus happy to find it. You can see why "I Promise" didn't make the OK Computer cut, it doesn't have the gravity of the rest of the album, but it's still a welcome track.

6. Liam Gallagher: "Wall of Glass"

Well, this was a surprise. No one thought that the first solo single from former Oasis singer Liam Gallagher would actually be quite good. Yes, the first two Oasis albums are classics, but that was 20 years ago and all the following albums were hit or miss, and his work with Beady Eye (Liam's post-Oasis band with the remaining members of Oasis, minus brother Noel) was even worse. But "Wall of Glass" reminded us what a great rock 'n' roll voice Liam Gallagher has. He's releasing his debut solo album, As You Were, later this year (exact release date TBA). François Rousselet directed the video, which features lots of footage of Liam looking in mirrors, some broken.

Other notable new songs this week include:

Bedouine: "One of These Days"

The Drums: "Head of the Horse"

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard: "The Lord of Lightning vs Balrog"

Foo Fighters: "Run"

Carly Rae Jepsen: "Cut to the Feeling" 

Lorde: "Perfect Places"

Luna: "One Together" (Fleetwood Mac Cover)

Kevin Morby: "1234"

Phoenix: "Goodbye Soleil"

Prophets of Rage: "Unfuck the World" 

Rainer Maria: "Lower Worlds"

Jack White and Elton John: "Two Fingers of Whiskey"

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