Six Best Songs of the Week: Wolf Alice, Ted Leo, Cut Copy, Cults, and More

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

Jul 07, 2017
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Most of the American music industry took Monday and Tuesday off for the long July 4th weekend, leaving only three days to produce worthy new songs this week. But that was good enough for some strong new offerings, including one song actually called "Offering." To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last seven days, we have picked the six best this week had to offer, along with highlighting other notable new tracks shared this week. There were new songs by Coldplay (co-written by Brian Eno), DJ Shadow (feat. Danny Brown), Kesha, Speedy Oritz, Kele Okereke of Bloc Party, Will Butler of Arcade Fire, and Ringo Starr of some obscure '60s band called The Beatles, although none of those made the top six. Find out which ones did below.

1. Wolf Alice: "Don't Delete the Kisses"

Britain's Wolf Alice are releasing their sophomore album, Visions of a Life, on September 29 via Dirty Hit/RCA. Previously the band shared a lyric video for the album's punky and profanity-laden first single, the two-minute long "Yuk Foo," in which frontwoman Ellie Rowsell declares in the chorus "you bore me, you bore me to death, well you bore me, no I don't give a shit." This week the band have shown the more melodic and produced side of their sound with their atmospheric and hypnotic new single, "Don't Delete the Kisses." "Yuk Foo" was also our #1 song of the week, so they are two for two with this album.

Wolf Alice released their amazing debut album, My Love Is Cool, back in 2015. It made it to #3 on Under the Radar's Top 100 Albums of 2015 list and landed Rowsell on the cover of our Best of 2015 print issue, in a joint cover with Father John Misty. Rowsell recently sang guest vocals on the new alt-J album, Relaxer, singing on the opening track, "3WW."

2. Ted Leo: "You're Like Me"

Ted Leo announced a new album, The Hanged Man, this week and shared its first single, "You're Like Me." Leo hasn't released a solo full-length album or one with The Pharmacists in seven years, since 2010's The Brutalist Bricks, but earlier this year he announced a Kickstarter campaign for a new one and shared a five-minute sampler of songs. Now the album is due out this fall, The Hanged Man will be self-released on September 8. "You're Like Me" is an urgent punky blast of a song, with dynamic production changes.

The Hanged Man is Leo's 13th album, but the first credited solely to his name (rather than Ted Leo and the Pharmacists). Leo describes in a press release the recording of the album as a time of "personal desolation that felt fallow but was actually very fertile." Acclaimed graphic novelist Emil Ferris (My Favorite Thing Is Monsters) did the cover art. Despite not releasing a solo album in seven years, Leo did team up with Aimee Mann for 2014's collaborative album The Both.

3. Japanese Breakfast: "Road Head"

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," and the audio for the lush ballad "Boyish." This week she shared another song from the album, "Road Head," via its video. Zauner self-directed the video, with some help from Adam Kolodny. In the weird and wonderful atmospheric clip she hangs out with a strange creature.

Zauner had this to say about the video in a press release: "'Road Head' is the fifth music video Adam Kolodny and I have collaborated on. For this one we wanted to focus on staging and an exaggerated color palette. We were inspired by Fallen Angels and Twin Peaks."

The album is the follow-up to 2016's well-received debut, Psychopomp. A previous press release said Soft Sounds From Another Planet "is a work of self-reflection that looks out at the cosmos in search of healing, finding inspiration in science fiction, outer space, and the Mars One Project."

4. Cut Copy: "Airborne"

This week Cut Copy shared a new song, "Airborne," which is out now digitally via Astralwerks. It's the band's first official single in four years and their first release for Astralwerks. Ben Allen (Deerhunter, Animal Collective) produced the song, which could be the first single from the Australian band's next album, the follow-up to 2013's Free Your Mind, or it could just be a standalone single.

5. Loney dear: "Sum"

Today Sweden's Loney dear (the project of Emil Svanängen) announced a new, self-titled, album and shared its ornate first single, "Sum." It's Loney dear's first album in six years and his first for Peter Gabriel's label, Real World, who will be putting it out on September 29. Gabriel has called Svanängen "Europe's answer to Brian Wilson." And since Svanängen's vocals on "Sum" could favorably be compared to Gabriel's in moments, it's a fitting first single for the label.

A press release says Loney dear "draws inspiration from the jazz rhythms of Nina Simone, the stripped back intimacy and compositional brilliance of Bon Iver, and the more electronic side of John Grant's work as well as hurdles Svanängen's overcame in his personal life."

In the press release Svanängen says he's undergone a musical rebirth: "It's been a little bit like being out on the ocean swimming without anything to hold on to and now I've reached the beach. There is a certain new blackness in the music, I have learned to make my inner darkness more visible to people because I don't want to seem lighter than I am."

The album includes "Hulls," which was released as a single last year and which we premiered the video for.

6. Cults: "Offering"

Today Cults (the duo of Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion) announced a new album, Offering, and shared its lush title track (also its opening track). Offering is due out October 6 via Sinderlyn. It is the band's third album and it comes four years after 2013's sophomore release, Static.

Of the album's first single and title track, "Offering," the band issued this joint statement: "We had been working on a lot of songs for a long time and when this one came together it felt like a release. We were trying to make a jam about finding hope in what can seem like a hopeless situation. It's hard these days to feel like you're being heard, or like the people who might hear you care enough to look outside themselves and help you. The song kind of comes full circle in the bridge, with the lines 'Give back to, the one who first gave you, the one that you know, the one who forgave you, who showed you love.' In stress full moments we think it's important to focus on the people who have helped you out and are there for you. Every cool thing that ever happened started with just a few close people in a room together."

Other notable new songs this week include:

AlunaGeorge: "Turn Up the Love" and "Last Kiss"

 

Billy Bragg: "The Sleep of Reason" 

Will Butler: "Anything You Want"

Childhood: "Cameo"

Coldplay: "A L I E N S" 

 

Dizzee Rascal: "Wot U Gonna Do?"

 

DJ Shadow: "Horror Show" (feat. Danny Brown)

JAY-Z: "The Story of O.J."

Kesha: "Praying"

Lambchop: "The Hustle Unlimited"

Lost Horizons: "The Places We've Been" (feat. Karen Peris)

Kele Okereke: "Streets Been Talkin'"

Rhye: "Please" 

Speedy Ortiz: "Screen Gem" 

Ringo Starr: "Give More Love"

 

Twin Peaks: "Under the Pines"

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Ana Ginter
July 8th 2017
8:39am

It was a great week for new music! Love all your picks, especially Wolf Alice’s “Don’t Delete the Kisses and Kesha’s “Praying.” Can’t wait to hear Kesha’s full album in August!