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Songs of the Week

12 Best Songs of the Week: Bright Eyes, GIFT, MJ Lenderman, The WAEVE, and More

Jun 28, 2024

Welcome to the 21st Songs of the Week of 2024. This week Andy Von Pip, Caleb Campbell, Mark Moody, Matt the Raven, and Scott Dransfield helped me decide what should make the list. We seriously considered over 25 songs this week and narrowed it down to a Top 12.

Recently we announced our new print issue, The ’90s Issue, featuring The Cardigans and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth on the covers. Buy it from us directly here.

In the past few weeks we posted interviews with Tomer Capone of The Boys, Arab Strap, Sarah McLachlan, John Carpenter, and others.

In the last week we reviewed some albums.

To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last week, we have picked the 12 best the last seven days had to offer, followed by some honorable mentions. Check out the full list below.

1. Bright Eyes: “Bells and Whistles”

This week, Bright Eyes announced a new album, Five Dice, All Threes, and shared its first single, “Bells and Whistles.” They also announced some tour dates. Five Dice, All Threes features Cat Power and The National’s Matt Berninger and is due out September 20 via Dead Oceans. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork, as well as the tour dates, here.

Bright Eyes is Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis, and Nathaniel Wolcott. Five Dice, All Threes is the band’s 10th studio album and follows Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was, which came out in 2020 via Dead Oceans. Read our interview with Bright Eyes on the album.

The band self-produced the new album, which was recorded at ARC, in Omaha, Nebraska, the studio run by Mogis and Oberst.

Oberst had this to say about “Bells and Whistles” in a press release: “This is a song about the many little details in life that can seem insignificant or frivolous or temporary at the time but eventually end up forming your destiny. And it’s also kind of a whistle while you work scenario.” By Mark Redfern

2. GIFT: “Later”

Brooklyn-based psych-rock quintet GIFT are releasing a new album, Illuminator, on August 23 via Captured Tracks. This week they shared its third single, “Later,” via a music video.

GIFT features vocalist/guitarist TJ Freda, multi-instrumentalists Jessica Gurewitz and Justin Hrabovsky, drummer Gabe Camarano, and bassist Kallan Campbell.

Gurewitz and Freda co-wrote “Later.” Freda had this to say about it in a press release: “While writing Illuminator I found myself clinging to intense emotions, reluctant to release them. ‘Later’ stands out as one of the darkest songs I’ve made. Making it was cathartic, diving into darker themes. The song explores surrendering to the overwhelming sensation of life slipping away before my eyes.”

Illuminator is the band’s sophomore album and first for Captured Tracks. It follows their 2022 debut, Momentary Presence, released via Dedstrange. The album includes “Wish Me Away,” a new song GIFT shared in April via a music video. “Wish Me Away” was one of our Songs of the Week. When the album was announced they shared its second single, “Going In Circles,” via a music video. It was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Of the new album as a whole, Freda says: “We had a lot more confidence going in. The main goal was to take a big swing, embrace the pop sounds we love and clear the mist and clouds surrounding the last record to make it a lot punchier.” By Mark Redfern

3. MJ Lenderman: “She’s Leaving You”

This week, North Carolina singer/songwriter and musician, MJ Lenderman announced a new album, Manning Fireworks, which is due for release on September 6 via ANTI-. He also released the album’s first single, “She’s Leaving You,” with a video. Find the Whitmer Thomas and Clay Tatum-directed music video below. Find Manning Fireworks’ tracklist and cover art, with MJ Lenderman tour dates, here.

Manning Fireworks follows his 2023 live album, And the Wind (Live and Loose!), 2022’s Boat Songs, 2021’s Ghost of Your Guitar Solo, and 2019’s MJ Lenderman. The album was recorded at Asheville’s Drop of Sun Studios during any offtime Lenderman had from touring (he’s also a member of the band Wednesday). Co-produced with Alex Farrar, the instrumentation is almost entirely performed by Lenderman. The album will be his fourth full-length album, but his studio debut for ANTI-. By Marina Malin

4. The WAEVE: “You Saw”

This week, The WAEVE—aka Rose Elinor Dougall and Blur guitarist Graham Coxon—announced a new album, City Lights, and shared its second single, “You Saw,” via a music video. City Lights is due out September 20 via Transgressive. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork here.

The band shared the album’s title track, “City Lights,” in May. It was one of our Songs of the Week.

City Lights is the band’s sophomore album and follows the duo’s self-titled debut album, which came out last year via Transgressive and was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2023.

As with their debut album, James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, Florence & The Machine, Foals, HAIM) produced City Lights. As with their last album, the album features Coxon on saxophone, among other instruments.

Coxon and Dougall first met backstage at a charity concert in London in 2020 and soon the idea was hatched for them to collaborate.

“I didn’t know when I was going to work again or try writing again until Rose came out and said, ‘How about we try writing together?’” says Coxon in a press release.

“When I listen to the first album, I can hear me and Graham getting to know each other through making the record,” says Dougall.

They not only hit off musically, but romantically, falling in love and having a baby daughter together, Eliza, who was born in August 2022.

“The band had an identity this time around so we had a little bit more of a framework to know how we might operate,” says Dougall of the differences between recording to the two albums. “But obviously, the circumstances were quite different.”

Dougall says she was initially reluctant to write songs about her daughter. “I was really resistant for a while to even consider referencing it,” she says. “But actually, when I realized that I could use that experience to explore bigger themes—watching what’s happening in the news, all these terrible atrocities and the world falling apart. And in tandem with that, thinking about how life evolves and how my own sense of self has developed. It became a really good vehicle for the songwriting process.”

The album’s “Song For Eliza May” is an ode to their daughter.

“The first record was a way of escaping the constrictions of what was going on in the world,” continues Dougall. “I think this one was a way of railing against the more domestic constraints that we had. That’s partly where some of the urgency of some of the songs come from.”

“This album is definitely more neurotic and more grumpy—and that comes from me!” says Coxon. “I’ve always liked to be pretty straightforward about feelings, whether they’re ugly or beautiful, and I’ve always approached sound in the same way. I don’t always think that sound needs to be comfortable to listen to. That dynamic of putting discomfort next to something that is really lovely is something that I’ve always been interested in.”

Dougall and Coxon collectively had this to say about the new single: “‘You Saw’ is a song about acknowledging how seemingly tiny decisions can have a seismic impact on the course of one’s life, how sometimes it feels like the way things turn out are predestined. It’s about reconciling a past version with the new version of one’s self and being grateful for how things work out. It’s built around a rhythmic string line to reflect the sense of propulsive forward motion.”

The WAEVE were interviewed in Issue 71 of our print magazine (get it here).

Dougall was also one of the artists on the cover of our special 20th Anniversary print issue, where you can read an exclusive interview with her.

Dougall released her last solo album, A New Illusion, her third, in April 2019 via Vermillion (it was our Album of the Week and one of our Top 100 Albums of 2019). She was also previously in The Pipettes.

Read our interview with Dougall on A New Illusion.

Also read our interview with Dougall on her all-time favorite album.

Plus read our review of A New Illusion.

Coxon’s last solo album was 2012’s A+E, but he’s kept busy with soundtrack work, including releasing two albums of songs and score from the acclaimed TV show The End of the F***ing World and his 2021 score to the comic book Superstate. His memoir, Verse, Chorus, Monster!, got a U.S. release last year via Faber Books. Blur also released a new album last year, The Ballad of Darren. By Mark Redfern

5. Peel Dream Magazine: “Lie in the Gutter”

This week, Peel Dream Magazine announced their fourth full length album, Rose Main Reading Room. The album is due to be released on September 4 on Topshelf. They also shared the lead single, “Lie in the Gutter.” Find their tour dates and Rose Main Reading Room’s tracklist and cover artwork here.

Rose Main Reading Room follows their 2022 release of Pad (one of its singles, “Hiding Out,” was chosen for one of our Songs of the Week.

In a press release, Peel Dream Magazine’s Joe Stevens had this to say of the new single and video: “This video is cut from footage we filmed on a few different tours between the fall of 2023 and Spring of 2024, and I love it because it captures the amazing feeling and energy that those trips had. There’s cameos from bands we were touring with like Chastity Belt and Gift, and friends like Simi Sohota from Healing Potpourri. A lot of it was shot in the Pacific Northwest and features some hikes we got to take among the dense green forests up there. I wanted to capture that stuff because this theme of ‘the natural world’ has been jostling around my my brain for awhile and is a big part of the album. The song is meant to be a very simple statement about finding joy and wonder in life despite whatever may be on your mind. The phrase it’s taken from is the trite but sweet Oscar Wilde quote ‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.’” By Marina Malin

6. Party Dozen: “The Big Man Upstairs”

This week, Sydney-based musical duo Party Dozen, consisting of saxophonist Kirsty Tickle and percussionist Jonathan Boulet, announced their forthcoming album, Crime in Australia. The album, set for release on September 6th via Temporary Residence Ltd., follows their critically acclaimed 2022 album, The Real Work.

The lead single, “The Big Man Upstairs,” diverges from their characteristically frenetic sound, offering a softer, melodic exploration. The accompanying video delves into the tumultuous political landscape of Queensland during the reign of Joh Bjelke-Petersen, highlighting the power of music and activism in the face of corruption.

Party Dozen wrote, recorded, produced, and mixed the album entirely in their Marrickville studio, drawing inspiration from the area’s history as a notorious crime hub. The album is said to be split into two distinct halves, one showcasing a more accessible sound, the other venturing into their signature chaotic experimentation.

Boulet explains: “Marrickville in the 1960s-70s was a notorious crime hot spot. If a car was stolen, or someone was missing, they’d look for them in Marrickville. Since then, the area has been highly gentrified and slowly the once grimy industrial warehouse lined streets are being swapped for monstrous apartment blocks with palm trees.

We began without any theme in mind, just the beginnings of some song ideas. As we were discovering the songs for this album, each song felt more and more at home in an old cop tv series soundtrack. The Crime theme quickly became apparent. The record feels split into two contrasting sides: The first half is ‘order’, being as listenable as Party Dozen has ever been. Each song is law-abiding and dignified in its own place. The second half is ‘disorder,’ becoming more unlawful, unhinged, louder and noisier.” By Andy Von Pip

7. Pom Pom Squad: “Downhill”

This week, Brooklyn’s post-grunge project Pom Pom Squad shared their new single “Downhill” on City Slang which is their first release since their 2021 album, Death of a Cheerleader.

Frontwoman Mia Berrin had this to say on writing their new single: “In my everyday life, I’m pretty reserved and shy so it’s odd, even to me, that I feel this pull to be on stage—to put my music out and open myself up to everything that comes with that. When I was writing ‘Downhill’ I was thinking a lot about the push-pull between those opposing sides of my personality. Sometimes being ambitious feels like being self-destructive and I wanted to explore the line between the two. Also, it’s been nearly three years since I’ve released anything new so this song feels like my reintroduction to the world. Pom Pom Squad is soooo back, baby!” By Marina Malin

8. Naima Bock: “Kaley”

This week, London-based artist Naima Bock announced a new album, Below a Massive Dark Land, and shared two new songs from it, “Kaley” and “Further Away.” “Kaley” was our favorite of the two tracks.

She also announced some tour dates. Below a Massive Dark Land is due out September 27 via Sub Pop/Memorials of Distinction. Check out the the album’s tracklist and cover artwork, as well as the tour dates, here.

Below a Massive Dark Land is Bock’s second album, the follow-up to 2022’s debut album, Giant Palm. Jack Osborne and Joe Jones produced the album, with additional production and arrangement by Oliver Hamilton and Bock. It was recorded at The Crypt in north London.

Bock had this to say about “Kaley” in a press release: “‘Kaley’ was written whilst staying at a friend’s house in Tucson, or at least it was finished there. It’s about betrayal and the subsequent lack of direction that follows. At the time there was no ‘plan’ or ‘way’ that I had for myself, let alone anyone else.”

Of the other single, she had this to add: “‘Further Away’ was written in Greece whilst trying to learn mini Bouzouki and missing someone.” By Mark Redfern

9. Chinese American Bear: “Heartbreaker”

This week, Seattle-based C-pop duo Chinese American Bear announced a new album, Wah!!!, and shared a new song from it, “Heartbreaker,” via a music video. Wah!!! Is due out October 18 via Moshi Moshi. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork here.

Chinese American Bear are married couple Bryce Barsten and Anne Tong and they sing in both English and Mandarin. While they started the band mainly for fun, the positive reaction to initial singles “Hao Ma” and “Dumpling” led them to be signed to China’s largest indie label, Modern Sky, and also to the British label Moshi Moshi (Girl Ray, Hot Chip, Anna Meredith). This is their first album for Moshi Moshi.

Previously the duo shared the album’s first single, “Feelin’ Fuzzy (毛绒绒的感觉),” via a music video. It was one of our Songs of the Week.

Tong had this to say about “Heartbreaker” in a press release: “We had this loose idea about someone who dreamed of becoming a big music star and then getting their heart broken by it. The verse lyrics are ‘Come and listen. I want to be a big star. Just you wait and see. Shining brightly and happily.’”

Barsten adds: “We’ve always wanted to write a song like ‘Heartbreaker’—this kind of playful, ’60s style, mid tempo heartbreak song. We like the juxtaposition of singing about heartbreak paired with a more playful/upbeat sounding song. Most heartbreak songs are really sad and slow!

“Production-wise, this song was recorded with the cheapest and dingiest sounding instruments we have. Which we love! A semi-broken $100 acoustic guitar tuned to Nashville tuning for that 12-string sound, and an old 1980s Casio CT-310 I got when I was 10 years old. It’s all truly heartbreaking.” By Mark Redfern

10. Loma: “Affinity”

Loma released a new album, How Will I Live Without a Body, today via Sub Pop. Earlier this week shared its third single, “Affinity,” via a music video.

Loma consists of Shearwater singer Jonathan Meiburg, alongside Emily Cross (of Cross Record) and Dan Duszynski.

Allison Beondé directed the “Affinity” video and had this to say about it in a press release: “In creating the video for ‘Affinity,’ I wanted to collect quiet moments that explore the experience of inhabiting a body, existing both collectively and simultaneously alone. Capturing people in public spaces embodying their own experience, their own world, while surrounded by others, the song is carried on a rolling rhythm reminiscent of waves—a soft and mysterious ebbing and flowing of time marked by something so elemental to our existence and uniquely capable of eliciting reflection on what it means to be alive.”

How Will I Live Without a Body follows 2020’s Don’t Shy Away. Previously Loma shared the album’s first single, “How It Starts,” via a music video. It was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared its second single, “Pink Sky,” via an animated video. “Pink Sky” was also one of our Songs of the Week.

The pandemic found the band living on different continents, with Duszynski in central Texas, Cross in Dorset, England (she’s a UK citizen), and Meiburg in Germany to research a book. Remote sessions didn’t work and an attempt to reconvene in Texas after the pandemic didn’t garner much fruit when it was cut short due to illness.

“We got lost,” says Meiburg in a press release, “and stayed that way.”

“It’s like a demon enters the room whenever we get together,” laments Cross.

Then, at Cross’ suggestion, they gathered in a tiny stone house in England, a house that used to a coffin-maker’s workshop and where Cross works as an end-of-life doula. They turned it into a makeshift studio, with a vocal booth made from a coffin woven from willow branches.

“There was a sense of, well, this is it,” Meiburg says of the stone house sessions. “And when the ice storm swept in I thought: here we go again, even the elements are against us. But sitting in our heavy coats around a little electric radiator, we realized how much we’d missed each other—and that just being together was precious.”

Legendary artist Laurie Anderson offered Loma an opportunity to work with an AI trained on her full body of work. The AI sent the band two poems in the style of Anderson, in response to a photo Meiburg sent from his book-in-progress about Antarctica. “We used parts of them in a few songs,” he says. “And then Dan noticed that one of its lines, ‘How will I live without a body?’ would be a perfect name for the album, since we nearly lost sight of each other in the recording process.”

Anderson gave her blessing for the band to use the title for their new album. “I think she was tickled that her AI doppelganger is running around naming other people’s records,” says Meiburg.

At the end of the day, the band’s resilience paid off.

“Making this record tested us all,” says Duszynski. “I think that feeling was alchemized through the music.”

“Somehow, out of the chaos, we made something that sounds very relaxed,” Cross says.

“I’ve never run a marathon,” she adds. “But I can imagine it’s kind of what that feels like.”

Read our 2018 interview with Loma. By Mark Redfern

11. Vundabar: “I Got Cracked”

This week, Boston’s Vundabar released a new single, “I Got Cracked,” which is their debut release on Loma Vista. Accompanied by the new track, Vundabar also announced an upcoming North American tour this fall. Find Vundabar’s tour dates here.

Vundabar consists of Brandon Hagen (guitar, vocals), Drew McDonald (drums), and Zack Abramo (bass). Their new track follows Vundabar’s 2022 Devil for the Fire, released on Gawk, and the resurgence of their 2015 song “Alien Blues” which went viral seven years after its release.

“I Got Cracked” is a sonic surrender to grief and dark nights of the soul. Frontman Hagen had this to say on the new track in a press release: “In a six week window that I could only describe as a careening crash landing, a long term relationship of mine imploded, my dad died, and I broke my arm in a hotel while on tour in Europe. One week after that I was at his funeral and the one after that I was recording this song in Los Angeles. I reeled at the connectedness of it all; so much of these intangible fractures now grounded in the very physical break within my body, this physical break then dictating the floatier bits as I made music determined by the limitations of that injury.” By Marina Malin

12. Bloc Party: “Flirting Again”

This week, Bloc Party shared a new single, “Flirting Again,” before headlining their biggest show to date, sold-out at London’s Crystal Palace Park on July 7. They are also playing Glastonbury this weekend. Find their live dates here.

“‘Flirting Again’ is about being thrust back into the scene and trying to remember how it all works,” says frontman Kele Okereke in a press release. “It’s about trying to appear desirable, whilst at the same time hiding the hurt that defines you. We are all carrying around the various scars that we have accumulated over the years, the heartbreaks that have come to shape how we give love and receive love. This song is about picking yourself up and carrying on.”

The band (Kele Okereke, Louise Bartle, Russell Lissack, and Justin Harris) has stayed busy since their most recent album release, 2022’s Alpha Games. Bloc Party have wrapped up co-headline tour with interpol in Australia and supported Paramore. Earlier this year, they made 2005 single “Two More Years” and Little Thoughts EP available to stream for the first time. These were the initial steps to ensure their entire discography is available to fans.

You can listen to our 2022 podcast interview with Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke here. By Marina Malin

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 12.

Bad Moves: “Hallelujah”

Being Dead: “Firefighters”

Bizhiki: “Unbound”

Kim Gordon: “ECRP”

Alex Izenberg: “The Wraith Behind Our Eyes”

Allegra Krieger: “Never Arriving”

Longplayer: “My Dreams of You”

X: “Big Black X”

Xiu Xiu: “Common Loon”

Here’s a handy Spotify playlist featuring the Top 12 in order, followed by all the honorable mentions:

Subscribe to Under the Radar’s print magazine.

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Songs of the Week

12 Best Songs of the Week: Fontaines D.C., Suki Waterhouse, Dutch Interior, Why Bonnie, and More

Jun 21, 2024

Welcome to the 20th Songs of the Week of 2024. This week Andy Von Pip, Mark Moody, Matt the Raven, and Scott Dransfield helped me decide what should make the list. We seriously considered over 20 songs this week and narrowed it down to a Top 12.

Recently we announced our new print issue, The ’90s Issue, featuring The Cardigans and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth on the covers. Buy it from us directly here.

In the past few weeks we posted interviews with Tomer Capone of The Boys, Arab Strap, Sarah McLachlan, John Carpenter, and others.

In the last week we reviewed some albums.

To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last week, we have picked the 12 best the last seven days had to offer, followed by some honorable mentions. Check out the full list below.

1. Fontaines D.C.: “Favourite”

Irish five-piece Fontaines D.C. are releasing a new album, Romance, on August 23 via XL. This week they shared its second single, “Favourite,” via a self-directed video.

In a press release, the band’s Grian Chatten describes “Favourite” as having “this never-ending sound to it, a continuous cycle from euphoria to sadness, two worlds spinning forever.”

The video was filmed by the band in Madrid, the city where guitarist Carlos O’Connell was born and grew up in. The video also features childhood footage of each band member.

Previously the band shared the album’s first single, “Starburster,” via a music video. “Starburster” was #1 on our Songs of the Week list.

Then they announced a fall North American tour. The one-month trek runs from September 20 to October 20 and NYC band Been Stellar will be the opening act.

Then they performed “Starburster” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Romance is the band’s fourth album, the follow-up to 2022’s acclaimed Skinty Fia (which was #1 on both the UK and Irish album charts), 2020’s Grammy-nominated A Hero’s Death, and 2019’s Mercury Prize-nominated Dogrel. It finds them working with producer James Ford for the first time.

The band was formed in Dublin but is now based in London and features Grian Chatten (vocals), Carlos O’Connell (guitar), Conor Curley (guitar), Conor Deegan (bass), and Tom Coll (drums). Ideas for the new album started to form while they were touring the U.S. and Mexico with Arctic Monkeys. Then the band members went their separate ways for a while, before reconvening for a three weeks of pre-production in a North London studio and one month of recording in a chateau near Paris.

In a previous press release, Deegan said of the album title: “We’ve always had this sense of idealism and romance. Each album gets further away from observing that through the lens of Ireland, as directly as Dogrel. The second album is about that detachment, and the third is about Irishness dislocated in the diaspora. Now we look to where and what else there is to be romantic about.”

Chatten relates the theme of the album to Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s 1988 anime movie classic Akira, where, as the press release put it, “the embers of love develop despite a maelstrom of technological degradation and political corruption around its characters.”

“I’m fascinated by that—falling in love at the end of the world,” he said. “The album is about protecting that tiny flame. The bigger Armageddon looms, the more precious it becomes.”

O’Connell added: “This record is about deciding what’s fantasy—the tangible world, or where you go in your mind. What represents reality more? That feels almost spiritual for us.”

In 2023 Chatten released his debut solo album, Chaos For the Fly. Read our interview with him about it here.

2. Suki Waterhouse: “Supersad”

Musician/actress Suki Waterhouse is set to release her new 18-track double album, Memoir of a Sparklemuffin, on September 13 via Sub Pop. Waterhouse announced it this week and also unveiled the album’s lead single, “Supersad,” a track characterized by its fast-paced drum fills and garage-inspired guitars.

“I tried to write a ‘90s song you could hear playing at the mall in Clueless or as an opening track for Legally Blonde,” she explained. The single was produced by Brad Cook, with executive producer Eli Hirsch, and written by Waterhouse in collaboration with Chelsea Balan, John Mark Nelson, and Lilian Caputo.

Accompanying the single’s release is the official music video for “Supersad,” featuring Waterhouse as a bed-ridden protagonist and her whimsical game show fairy godmother. The video, filled with sparkling visuals, was directed by filmmaker and longtime collaborator Émilie Richard-Froozan.

“The Sparklemuffin Tour,” her previously announced 25-city North American headlining tour in support of her new album, will now kick off at Salt Lake City’s Love Letters Festival on Friday, September 27. The tour will include stops in major cities such as Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Boston, Toronto, and Montreal. Before the tour begins, Waterhouse will also perform at London’s All Points East on August 18.

Check out the tour dates, as well as the album’s tracklist and cover artwork, here. By Andy Von Pip

3. Dutch Interior: “Ecig”

The project of lifelong friends, this week Dutch Interior released “Ecig,” which happens to be their debut single for Fat Possum. Find both the music video and a live performance video for “Ecig” below.

Jack Nugent, Conner Reeves, Davis Stewart, Noah Kurtz, and brothers Shane Barton and Hayden Barton make up Dutch Interior. Most of the group have known one another for their entire lives, residing in LA.

The band had this to say on their new single: “‘Ecig’ was once a quiet, pensive song, before practicing it and failing to stick to an initial recording of the song. At rehearsal one day, Connor began strumming the fuzzy drone that would become the main rhythm guitar part, and in just a single play through, the entire band figured out their parts and all of them stuck. The song’s lyrical content tries to understand the feelings left over from betrayal through images that are dead but linger in a physical form that is difficult or impossible to dispose of: a rusted swing set, dried blood, circling buzzards, or a disposable vape. ‘Ecig’ is an early song of ours that evolved through many phases as we played it live. Being the first synthesis of the noisier aspects of our live set into a studio recording, it is a perfect bridge from our last record into what is coming next.” By Marina Malin

4. Why Bonnie: “Fake Out”

This week, Why Bonnie (the project of Blair Howerton) announced a new album, Wish on the Bone, and shared a new song from it, “Fake Out.” Wish on the Bone is due out August 30 via Fire Talk. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork here.

Wish on the Bone includes “Dotted Line,” a new song Why Bonnie shared in May via a music video. It was one of our Songs of the Week.

Why Bonnie released her debut album, 90 in November, in 2022 via Keeled Scales. In 2023 she shared a brand new single, “Apple Tree,” which isn’t featured on the new album. Previously the project was presented more as a band, but now it seems to be more of a solo enterprise.

“I’ve changed since that album, and I trust that I’ll probably continue to change,” Howerton says of the years since her debut. “Maybe I won’t be the same person entirely two years from now.”

The new album also features Howerton’s regular bandmates Chance Williams, and Josh Malett. She co-produced the album with Jonathan Schenke. “We were trying on musical hats,” says Howerton. “There’s still some country on this record, but I wasn’t thinking about sticking to one thing. Personal experience of learning to be bolder and more assertive and trusting myself has carried over into my music.”

She adds: “These songs were written out of hope for a better future. I’m not naïve, the world is fucked up, but I think you can radically accept that while still believing it’s possible to change things.”

Read our 2022 interview with Why Bonnie.

5. Crack Cloud: “The Medium”

Canadian art punks Crack Cloud are releasing a new album, Red Mile, on July 26 via Jagjaguwar. This week they shared its second single, “The Medium,” via a music video.

Previously Crack Cloud shared the album’s first single, “Blue Kite,” via a music video. The band also announced some tour dates. “Blue Kite” was one of our Songs of the Week.

Red Mile follows 2022’s Tough Baby. The band features Zach Choy, Aleem Khan, Bryce Cloghesy, Will Choy, Emma Acs, Eve Adams, and Nathaniel Philips, along with creative director Aidan Pontarini. Crack Cloud recorded the album at the outskirts of Joshua Tree, California and in Calgary, Alberta.

Choy had this to say about the album and its first single in a previous press release statement: “When we were recording the album Red Mile in the Mojave Desert, I spent nights reading about 20th century China. My grandparents migrated to Canada during Mao’s Great Leap Forward, and besides the photo albums and childhood memories, I have little basis for understanding their experience.

Beginning in the late ’80s there came to be a generation of Chinese filmmakers whose main subject was the depiction of life during the Cultural Revolution. The films from this time examine the growing pains of national identity, without the glorification that defined National cinema up until then.

“As the viewer with a degree of generational and cultural separation, I found an unusual sense of reprieve in the nuance of it all. And as our time drifted by in the desert, I continued to look inward.

“The music of Red Mile came naturally, and of its own volition. The Mojave had an elemental effect. The seemingly never-ending labyrinth of touring into exhaustion that characterized preceding years. And the externalization of Crack Cloud’s mythology, displaced and dismantled as we’ve grown out of ourselves, constantly, creatively reborn, by virtue and design. This is how I would describe Red Mile, and more generally, the group’s freefall, nearly a decade in the making.

“So when close friend and collaborator Aidan Pontarini pitched the skydiving punk concept for the album cover, it resonated deeply.

“‘Blue Kite’ was written with a cultural intersection in mind. In Canada in the early ’00s we grew up to Sum 41. Late night YTV. And the spectre of Woodstock 99. From the outside looking in: being in a punk band meant that you could be a jackass. Pick your nose on stage; play the drum like Energizer Bunny. My relationship to punk music as a teenager hinged on self-deprecation; an easy, destructive mode of confronting what I didn’t like about myself. And what I didn’t understand about the world around me.

“There’s a film that came out of China in 1993 and was subsequently banned therein, called The Blue Kite. It’s told from the perspective of a boy growing up in 1950’s Beijing. His environment is one of social conformity and political correctness, and he relishes in escapism when flying his kite. Eventually the boy succumbs to the social climate, and the kite itself is swept away into the branches of a tree. I thought the imagery was striking and wanted to incorporate it into a video with Aidan’s skydiving punk, in a hypnagogic way.


“We filmed the video in and around the Desert where the album was recorded, and the skydiving took place.”

6. Oceanator: “Be Here”

Oceanator, aka Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter/guitarist Elise Okusami, is releasing a new album, Everything is Love and Death, on August 30 via Polyvinyl. This week she shared two new songs from it, album opener “First Time” and “Be Here.” We preferred the latter,

Okusami had this to say about the new songs in a press release: “‘First Time’ and ‘Be Here’ very much live in the same world for me. They’re describing the same day—one kind of in the afternoon, and one overnight. ‘First Time’ is what I’ve been calling my Thin Lizzy song, with the harmonizing guitar riff. And ‘Be Here’ is a little more floaty, synth-y, less in your face-y. Will Yip played drums and my brother Michael played bass on ‘First Time,’ but ‘Be Here’ is all me on everything! It was super fun to record all those parts and have the song come together. Even though they sound different I really wanted them to live together, and I’m stoked to be releasing them as a double single.”

Previously Oceanator shared the album’s first single, “Get Out,” via a music video.

Everything is Love and Death is Oceanator’s third album and the follow up to Nothing’s Ever Fine, which was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2022, and Things I Never Said, which initially came out in August 2020 via her own Plastic Miracles label and then was reissued physically in February 2021 by Polyvinyl. It was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2020.

“I feel like these songs are honing in on and parsing the same themes as previous records, more settled and clearer.” Okusami says of the new album and how it finishes what she started with the first two. “I’ve gotten better at listening to the rational part of my brain, the understanding that things aren’t going to work. I know better but I’m gonna do it anyway, because everything is love and death.”

In 2023 Oceanator shared a new song, “Part Time,” which was co-written with Cheekface’s Greg Katz. It is not featured on the new album, but was one of our Songs of the Week.

Oceanator is one of the artists on our Covers of Covers album, which came out in March 2022 via American Laundromat. She covered Elliott Smith’s “The Biggest Lie.” Check the cover out here.

Read our interview with Oceantor about Nothing’s Ever Fine.

Read our interview with Oceanator about Things I Never Said.

Read our review of Nothing’s Ever Fine here.

Read our review of Things I Never Said here.

7. deary: “The Moth”

This week, hotly-tipped duo deary released their first brand new material since last year’s eponymously titled EP in the shape of a new single entitled “The Moth,” the first taste from a new EP which follows later this year. The new song is out now via Sonic Cathedral.

Produced by the band with Iggy B (Spiritualized), “The Moth” is dark and direct with howling guitars atop a strident breakbeat—more Curve than Cocteau Twins.

“We focused a lot on the rhythm and syncopation,” says the band’s Ben Easton. “Counter melodies and off beat percussion, etc. It’s very dense and immediate, with little room to breathe which adds to the claustrophobia in the subject matter.”

“I wanted to write about being drawn to things which are not good for us,” clarifies singer Rebecca “Dottie” Cockram about the song’s lyrics. “However, that fleeting feeling of immortality is too tempting to fly away from.”

Watch the video—directed by Liam Beazley aka Limb—below.

“We decided to create a short film about someone breaking free from a mystical woodland cult,” say the band of the slightly creepy clip. “The result is incredible thanks to Liam and some friends and family who didn’t mind sacrificing their Sunday cavorting in the woods.” By Dom Gourlay

8. Thurston Moore: “Sans Limites” (Feat. Lætitia Sadier)

This week, Thurston Moore (formerly of Sonic Youth) announced a new album, Flow Critical Lucidity, and shared a new song from it, “Sans Limites,” which features Lætitia Sadier of Stereolab. Flow Critical Lucidity is due out September 20 via Moore’s own Daydream Library Series label. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork here.

Moore had this to say about the new song in a press release: “‘Sans Limites’ begins with a cyclic guitar & piano figure which expands further and further with each revolution before settling into a two-chord measure introducing lyrics intoning not only about eradicating any limitations towards enlightenment, but going beyond limitations. The idea that a soldier can fight the good fight. A warrior against war.”

Flow Critical Lucidity includes “Rewilding,” a new song Moore shared in April with its release timed to Earth Day. “Rewilding” was one of our Songs of the Week.

The album features Deb Googe of My Bloody Valentine on bass, alongside James Sedwards (guitar), Jem Doulton (drums), and Jon Leidecker (electronics).

Moore is on one of the two covers of our just announced ’90s Issue, where he discusses Sonic Youth’s albums from that decade. Find out more about the issue here and buy a copy directly from us here.

Last year Moore released his memoir, Sonic Life. Read our interview about that here.

In 2021 he released an instrumental album, Screen Time, and in 2020 he released the solo album, By the Fire.

9. Horse Jumper of Love: “Snow Angel” (Feat. MJ Lenderman and Squirrel Flower)

This week, Horse Jumper of Love shared a new song, “Snow Angel,” which features MJ Lenderman and Squirrel Flower. It’s the opening track from their forthcoming album, Disaster Trick, which is due out on August 16 via Run For Cover.

Lead vocalist and guitarist Dimitri Giannopolous had this to say on new track in a press release: “A lot of my songs start with an image and then stream of consciousness takes over from there. I had this idea of a snow angel melting in the sun. It stemmed from the first poem in Actual Air called ‘Snow.’ Through this piece, David Berman explores the idea of snow metaphorically and abstractly. He relates the outdoors sounding like a room when it’s snowing and snow angels being shot by a farmer, vulnerable and isolated… I wanted to tap into a feeling of being outside in the cold and wanting something.”

Iconic video director Lance Bangs had this to say of directing the track’s video: “‘Snow Angel’ felt like it wanted to be expressed visually as a kinetic, enveloping barrage of vision-confusion. We built contraptions, invented new techniques, prepared loud versions of the song at various speeds. After one particular take we realized we had conjured something in a continuous shot that didn’t look like things we had seen before, and that we didn’t want to look away or cut away to anything else.”

Previously the band shared the album’s first single, “Wink.” By Marina Malin

10. Thee Sacred Souls: “Lucid Girl”

This week Thee Sacred Souls announced their sophomore album, Got a Story to Tell, which will be released on October 4 via Daptone. The trio also shared a taste of their timeless soul sound with the album’s lead single and opening track “Lucid Girl.” Watch the CAKE-directed music video below. Find the band’s tour dates, as well as the album’s tracklist and cover art, here.

Following their 2022-released self-titled debut, Got a Story to Tell was written and recorded by founding members Alejandro Garcia (drums, guitar), Salvador Samano (bass, drums), and Josh Lane (vocals). Their live band features Riley Dunn (keys), Shay Stulz (guitar), Astyn Turrentine (background vocals), and Viane Escobar (background vocals). By Marina Malin

11. Jade Hairpins: “Drifting Superstition”

This week, Jade Hairpins announced their sophmore album, Get Me the Good Stuff, and shared its lead single, “Drifting Superstition.” The album is due out September 13 via Merge. Find the album tracklist, cover art, and tour dates here.

The band is led by Jonah Falco and Mike Haliechik (Fucked Up) and Falco directed the new video.

On “Drifting Superstition,” Falco had this to say in a press release: “The song is about the double dead end of not trusting yourself enough to make good decisions, musically wrapped in a Mondays-meets-Bolan, funky filo pastry. With the video I am trying to bring together a simplified and lighthearted sense of the deeper contradictions and folkloric fantasies taken from the lyrics into something in the visual world of Pet Shop Boys’ ‘It Couldn’t Happen Here’ and Lina Wertmüller.”

Get Me the Good Stuff wrestles with anxiety and self-doubt. When performing new material live, Falco experienced the audience attempting to make sense of his unfinished lyrics which surfaced further anxiety of being worthy of spotlight attention. Falco elaborates: “Music can feel like such aberrant behavior. Humans like to make noise for each other, but it’s not like our factory settings are to hold a guitar, or that we enjoy every song we listen to. When you form a band and commit to touring and recording, there’s an expectation that what you’re making is something that someone needs to hear, and there’s a lot of pressure in meeting that expectation.”

Before the September release of Get Me the Good Stuff, Jade Hairpins will be on a short tour of the UK and Europe, with more dates to be announced. By Marina Malin

12. Tindersticks: “Nancy”

Tindersticks are releasing a new album, Soft Tissue, on September 13 via City Slang. This week they shared its third single, “Nancy.”

Tindersticks’ frontman Stuart Staples had this to say about the song in a press release: “Some say that there are only a few different types of songs. Nancy definitely falls in to the classic ’guy fucks up / begs for forgiveness’ bracket—but hopefully with a few surprises along the way. Like much of Soft Tissue, the musical spark of excitement came from the creation of the rhythm track—Earl Harvin gated, echoed and fused with a CR78. Dan McKinna’s bass and David Boulter’s organ arpeggios combining into a heavy sauce. Nice brass too.”

When the album was announced Tindersticks shared Soft Tissue’s second single, “New World,” via a music video. “New World” was one of our Songs of the Week. The band also announced some EU and UK tour dates. Soft Tissue also includes “Falling, the Light,” a new song from the album the band shared on Valentine’s Day.

Soft Tissue is the band’s 14th studio album, not including their soundtrack work, and is the follow-up to 2021’s Distractions and 2016’s The Waiting Room. In 2020, they also shared an EP entitled See My Girls and 2022 they scored Claire Denis’ film The Stars At Noon.

Staples released a solo album, Arrhythmia, in 2018 via City Slang. In 2019 he scored the Claire Denis film High Life, which starred Robert Pattinson. Tindersticks contributed the new song “Willow” to the soundtrack and it featured the vocals of Pattinson.

Staples had this to say about Soft Tissue: “‘Baby I was falling, but the shit that I was falling through. Thought it was just the world rising.’ These are the opening lines of the album, it seems all the songs on Soft Tissue inhabit this confusion somehow—despairing at the destruction, suspecting you are responsible.

“Musically, it seemed that since 2016’s The Waiting Room, the band’s output had been reactionary. The last two tindersticks have been so opposed to each other—2019’s No Treasure But Hope was an extremely naturalistic recording process—due in part as a reaction to the previous few years of experimental projects (High Life, Minute Bodies) and in turn as a reaction to this purity 2021’s Distractions became one of the bands most dense, experimental albums.

“It felt like time to stop lurching to these extremes and to find a way to marry the rigor of the songwriting and the joy of the band playing together with a more hard-nosed experimental approach.”

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 12.

Ed Schrader’s Music Beat: “Daylight Commander”

Ezra Collective: “God Gave Me Feet For Dancing”

Rui Gabriel: “Change Your Mind”

Ginger Root: “Better Than Monday”

Jamie xx: “Life” (Feat. Robyn)

Lunar Vacation: “Set the Stage”

Liela Moss: “Conditional Love”

TORRES and Fruit Bats: “Married for Love”

total tommy: “ADELINE”

Wand: “JJ”

Here’s a handy Spotify playlist featuring the Top 12 in order, followed by all the honorable mentions:

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Songs of the Week

14 Best Songs of the Week: Nilüfer Yanya, Moses Sumney, Cassandra Jenkins, and More

Jun 14, 2024

Welcome to the 19th Songs of the Week of 2024. We didn’t do a Songs of the Week last week for various reasons, so this list covers the best songs released in the last two weeks. This week Andy Von Pip, Caleb Campbell, Scott Dransfield, and Stephen Humphries helped me decide what should make the list. We seriously considered over 40 songs this week and narrowed it down to a Top 14.

Recently we announced our new print issue, The ’90s Issue, featuring The Cardigans and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth on the covers. Buy it from us directly here.

In the past few weeks we posted interviews with Tomer Capone of The Boys, Arab Strap, Sarah McLachlan, John Carpenter, and others.

In the last week we reviewed some albums.

To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last two weeks, we have picked the 11 best the last 14 days had to offer, followed by some honorable mentions. Check out the full list below. By Mark Redfern (with Andy Von Pip and Marina Malin)

1. Nilüfer Yanya: “Method Actor”

This week, Nilüfer Yanya announced a new album, My Method Actor, and shared a new song from it, almost title track “Method Actor.” My Method Actor is due out September 13 via Ninja Tune. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork, as well as her upcoming tour dates, here.

My Method Actor is Yanya’s third album and follows her 2022 album, PAINLESS, and her 2019 debut album, Miss Universe, (both released on ATO).

Yanya worked on the album with her regular creative partner, Wilma Archer, in isolation. “This is the most intense album, in that respect,” Yanya says in a press release. “Because it’s only been us two. We didn’t let anyone else into the bubble.”

When writing this album, Yanya was grabbling with hitting her late 20s and dealing with the pressures of being an established musician. “For me, writing is definitely problem solving—in the way they say that dreaming is like problem solving,” she says. “You’re like, ‘Oh, that sounds good. That looks good. That makes sense.’ But you don’t really know why. You’re kind of using that part of your creative brain that doesn’t have to make sense.”

Yanya had this to say about the new single “Method Actor” in a press release: “I was researching method acting—and from what I read, it’s based on finding this one memory in your life, a life-altering, life-changing memory. The reason why some people find method acting traumatic and maybe not safe mentally, is because you’re always going back to that moment. It can be good or bad but you’re always feeding off the energy, something that’s defined you—and that’s what helps you become the character. It’s a bit like being a musician. When you’re performing, you’re still trying to invoke the energy and emotion of when you first wrote it, in that moment. It definitely feels like you’re having to recreate or step into that headspace.”

The album features “Like I Say (I runaway),” a new song Yanya shared in April via a music video in which she is a runaway bride. Yanya’s sister, Molly Daniel, directed the video. “Like I Say (I runaway)” was #1 on our Songs of the Week list.

Yanya also announced some fall tour dates in North America, the United Kingdom, and Europe.

Read our in-depth interview with Yanya about PAINLESS here.

Read our rave review of the album here.

Yanya was also one of the artists on the cover of our 20th Anniversary print issue. By Mark Redfern

2. Moses Sumney: “Vintage”

Last week, Moses Sumney shared a new song, “Vintage,” via a self-directed music video. It’s the first taste of an upcoming new EP (its title and other details are still forthcoming).

Sumney had this to say in a press release: “‘Vintage’ is me sliding into the music I probably listen to most these days—progressive R&B. I crafted the video as a callback to the ’90s/2000s clips of my childhood, when men weren’t afraid to beg and plead. I am once again begging to join the pantheon of great yearners: K-Ci & Jojo, Omarion, Ray J, Jodeci, Jagged Edge. Desire has always been at the core of my work; now the desire has a little shimmering shimmy to it.”

On the video, Sumney worked with cinematographer Marcell Rév (Euphoria, Malcolm & Marie, Miley Cyrus’s “Flowers”) and Kodak, who provided them a “yet-to-be-released and never-before-used motion picture stock, which is similar to a beloved professional still photography film.”

In 2022, Sumney put out a live concert film, A Performance in V Acts. In 2021, Sumney released the live album, Blackalachia, via his own label, TUNTUM, as well as an accompanying film. His most recent studio album, græ, came out in 2020 via Jagjaguwar, and earned him a spot on the cover of one of our print issues.

Sumney has also been acting lately, and later this summer he’ll be in A24’s Ti West-directed MaXXXine, alongside Mia Goth, Halsey, Kevin Bacon, and others.

Read our 2017 interview with Moses Sumney on his debut album, Aromanticism. By Mark Redfern

3. Cassandra Jenkins: “Petco”

Cassandra Jenkins is releasing a new album, My Light, My Destroyer, on July 12 via Dead Oceans. Last week she shared its third single, “Petco,” via a self-directed music video.

Jenkins had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Petco’ is about looking for connection and coming up a little short. Writing from a pointedly angsty and existential place allowed me to be more playful with songwriting. I needed a space to explore the lizard brain, and deep down the song stems from the sincere belief that we are wired, on the most basic instinctual level, to love and to be loved.

“I wanted to capture the sense of uncanny malaise inherent to a place that puts a price tag on nature—simultaneously granting us access to the natural world while distancing us from it, all with the promise of companionship.

“I come back to the same ideas again and again in my songs, and Petco throws a new lens on a familiar thought: the further we distance ourselves from the natural world, the harder it is to find our way back. It’s easy to wonder if we’ve gone too far, and despite my anxieties, I can’t help but see the humanity in all of it.”

She had this to add about video: “The video is staged in three distinct locations: an NYC apartment with a window to the outside world, a pet store, and lastly, the dance floor—where the video provides a sense of closure that the song never gives us.”

Previously Jenkins shared the album’s first single, “Only One,” via a music video. It was one of our Songs of the Week. Then she shared its second single, “Delphinium Blue,” via a self-directed music video. “Delphinium Blue” was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. She also announced some new North American tour dates.

My Light, My Destroyer follows Jenkins’ acclaimed 2021-released breakthrough album, An Overview on Phenomenal Nature, and its companion album, An Overview on (An Overview on Phenomenal Nature), released later in 2021. Both were released via Ba Da Bing.

In a press release announcing the new album, Jenkins says that An Overview on Phenomenal Nature was her “intended swan song,” that she was going to give up touring and releasing new music, but then was taken aback by the positive reception to that album and the attention it garnered her.

“I was channeling what I knew in that moment—feeling lost,” Jenkins says. “When that record came out, and people started to respond to what I had written, my plans to quit were foiled in the most unexpected, heartening, and generous way. Ready or not, it reinvigorated me.”

But when it came time to record a follow-up album, Jenkins initially had difficulty recreating the magic in the studio, saying that after two years of touring she was “running on fumes.”

“I was coming from a place of burn out and depletion, and in the months following the session, I struggled to accept that I didn’t like the record I had just made. It felt uninspired,” she explains, “so I started over.”

She abandoned the original sessions for the new album and with the help of producer, engineer, and mixer Andrew Lappin (L’Rain, Slauson Malone 1), Jenkins began My Light, My Destroyer anew.

“When we listened back in the control room that first day, I could see a space on my record shelf start to open up, because the songs were finding their home in real time,” she says on the second attempt to record the album. “That spark informed the blueprint for the rest of the album, and its completion was propelled by a newfound momentum.”

The press release mentions Tom Petty, Annie Lennox, Neil Young, David Bowie’s final album Blackstar, David Berman, and albums in her “high school CD wallet” (Radiohead’s The Bends, The Breeders, PJ Harvey, and Pavement) as influences on My Light, My Destroyer. And the album also features a large number of collaborators, including: Palehound’s El Kempner, Hand Habits’ Meg Duffy, Isaac Eiger (formerly of Strange Ranger), Katie Von Schleicher, Zoë Brecher (Hushpuppy), Daniel McDowell (Amen Dunes), producer and instrumentalist Josh Kaufman (of Jenkins’ An Overview), producer Stephanie Marziano (Hayley Williams, Bartees Strange), and director/actor/journalist Hailey Benton Gates.

Returning home to New York City after being on the road for so long also inspired the album.

“I feel most energized when I’m out in the world, in the mix of things,” Jenkins says. “Coming back home to New York, being with my close friends and community, riding the subway, and going to live shows made me want to channel the palpable feeling of the electricity in a room full of people—I need to be fully immersed in my environment. New York City is endlessly stimulating, and I’m very impressionable.”

Of My Light, My Destroyer’s album title, Jenkins explains: “Awe is a function of nature that keeps us from losing connection. Staying in touch with awe, that light, is the best antidote to fear, and the powers that try to control us with fear. So in that sense, staying in touch with awe is to keep my light intact, and that is my greatest tool for destroying and dismantling the parts of myself and the world around me that have the potential to cause harm. Frankly, this is what keeps me from quitting—it serves as a reminder to pause and appreciate my time on earth, for all its chaos and its beauty.”

Jenkins was one of the artists who took part in our 20th anniversary Covers of Covers album, where she covered Animal Collective’s “It’s You.”

Read our 2021 interview with Jenkins, where she discusses An Overview on Phenomenal Nature. By Mark Redfern

4. IAN SWEET and Porridge Radio: “Everyone’s a Superstar”

Last week, IAN SWEET (the project of Jilian Medford) and England’s Porridge Radio (the band led by Dana Margolin) collaborated on new track, “Everyone’s a Superstar.” The song was recorded at London’s iconic Abbey Road Studios as part of their annual Amplify x Pitchfork London series.

The series takes artists playing at the Pitchfork London music festival to Abbey Road to write and record a song with their engineers in a day’s time. Interviews on the process are conducted alongside film documentation that can be found below as well.

Medford had this to say in a press release: “We all went into this day with no expectations but also wide eyes and a lot of excitement! To be at Abbey Road was a dream, and to be reunited with Porridge Radio was also a dream, so it was so fun to see our old friends again in a totally new context and to make something special together. We all clicked in a really magical way right off the bat. Everyone sort of took their places and fit in where they had to. We came out of it with something I feel so proud of, and something I never knew would exist. Writing with Dana and seeing her process as a lyricist was really enlightening as well. It had been a long time since I’d written lyrics with someone else…I was excited to see where her mind went and how our two styles found one unique voice together.”

Porridge Radio collectively had this to add: “It was amazing to come into a room of seven musicians with absolutely no idea what was going to happen and lock-in together to write and record a song that we actually all love in one day. Creatively it was so exciting and such a fun process and we’re so proud of what we made.” By Marina Malin

5. Soccer Mommy: “Lost”

Last week, Soccer Mommy (aka Sophie Allison) shared a new song, “Lost,” via a lyric video. She is currently on the sold-out “The Lost Shows” tour, where Allison performs stripped-back and solo. She also has some UK and EU shows this summer. Check out her upcoming tour dates here.

“‘Lost’ feels like something new and something old at the same time,” Allison says of the song in a press release. “It’s a song that’s full of reflection and I wanted its production to really capture that feeling. I’m happy to have a chance to play it at these more intimate solo shows, because I think it really shines in that setting.”

Soccer Mommy’s most recent album, Sometimes, Forever, came out in 2022 via Loma Vista. Last year she teamed up with Bully (aka Alicia Bognanno) for the new song, “Lose You,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. By Mark Redfern

6. Confidence Man: “I CAN’T LOSE YOU”

Last week, London-based Australian electro-pop band Confidence Man announced their new album, 3 AM (LA LA LA), and shared its first single, “I CAN’T LOSE YOU,” via a music video. 3 AM (LA LA LA) is due out October 18 via Casablanca. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork here.

3 AM (LA LA LA) is the band’s third album, the follow-up to 2022’s Tilt. Since 2023, Confidence Man have released “On & On (Again),” co-produced with Daniel Avery, “Now U Do” with DJ Seinfeld, “Forever 2 (Crush Mix),” and the remix album Confidence Man Club Classics Vol. 1.

The band is fronted by Sugar Bones (aka Aidan Moore) and Janet Planet (aka Grace Stephenson). They are backed by masked producers Clarence McGuffie (aka Sam Hales) and Reggie Goodchild (aka Lewis Stephenson). The crazy video for “I CAN’T LOSE YOU” features Sugar Bones and Janet Planet singing the song nude (with the inappropriate bits pixelated out) in a helicopter above London.

In a press release, Sugar Bones says of the album’s title: “It’s 3am, it’s never not 3am, and we party all the time.”

Janet Planet adds: “We pretty much wrote every single song when we were wrecked. We’d get blasted and stay up till 9am coming up with music, but we noticed that 3am was the hottest time for when we were on it and the best ideas were coming out.” By Marina Malin

7. Cola: “Pulling Quotes”

Cola released their sophomore album, The Gloss, today via Fire Talk. Last week they shared another new song from it, “Pulling Quotes,” via a music video.

Cola consists of ex-Ought members Tim Darcy and Ben Stidworthy and Evan Cartwright (drummer with U.S. Girls and The Weather Station). Their debut album, Deep In View, was released in 2022.

Darcy had this to say about “Pulling Quotes” in a press release: “Ben sent us this demo with music based on the melodic limitations of the Uilleann pipes, which he is learning to play (the bassline is mimicking the drone of the pipes). He and Evan then recorded a demo together that they were really happy with. I’ll admit I wasn’t drawn to it initially but they kept reiterating their enthusiasm for it. I finally sat down and wrote the whole vocal in one afternoon, pretty nearly in final form which rarely happens.

“Lyrically, it’s a song about a relationship where two people are approaching each other like journalists, or perhaps even are journalists. The music is so bright and open I felt the lyrics needed to be a bit cheeky to match the tone. There is definitely some pathos, though, in the darkness of the bridge.”

Stidworthy had this to say about the song’s video: “For me, the video could be seen as a reflection on the cycles of desire and deception in our relationships, and the interference running through that arc - the endless doom scrolling and stalking and assumptions and projections and repeating all these roles we think we should be playing that we’ve seen on TV. It’s about navigating through all this mediation, and trying to make sense of what’s real in the density and mess of it all.”

The Gloss includes “Bitter Melon,” a new song Cola shared in March via a lyric video. The single was also available as a flexi disc (accompanied by a zine) and was one of our Songs of the Week. The album also features the band’s 2023 single “Keys Down If You Stay.” When The Gloss was announced Cola shared another new song from it, “Pallor Tricks,” via a music video. Then they shared another new song from it, “Albatross,” via a music video. By Mark Redfern

8. illuminati hotties: “Didn’t” (Feat. Cavetown)

The project of producer and engineer Sarah Tudzin, illuminati hotties announced a new album, POWER, last week and shared a new song from it, “Didn’t.” The song features Cavetown and is accompanied by a video. POWER is due out August 23 via Hopeless. Check out the album’s tracklist and album art, as well as some upcoming tour dates, here.

POWER includes the recent single “Can’t Be Still,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. The new album follows “Sandwich Sharer,” a new song Tudzin shared in 2022, and her 2021 album, Let Me Do One More, which was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2021.

Since her latest album release, Tudzin has produced and engineered records from boygenius, Weyes Blood, Speedy Ortiz, Cloud Nothings, and more.

Read our 2021 interview with illuminati hotties. By Marina Malin

9. This Is Lorelei: “Perfect Hand”

This week, This Is Lorelei, the solo project of Nate Amos of Water From Your Eyes, shared a new song, “Perfect Hand.” It was the final single from his debut album, Box for Buddy, Box for Star, before its release today on Double Double Whammy. This Is Lorelei has also announced some tour dates with Dehd. Find the fall tour dates here.

“Perfect Hand” follows the release of “I’m All Fucked Up,” “Dancing in the Club,” and “Where’s Your Love Now” from Box for Buddy, Box for Star.

Amos has this to say about the single in a press release: “‘Perfect Hand’ is about clarity in the muck—you’ve been headed in a direction so long you don’t know why anymore, and suddenly there’s a moment when you remember and it brings you peace of some kind, like waking up in a good way.” By Marina Malin

10. Fat Dog: “I am the King”

South London five-piece Fat Dog are releasing their debut album, WOOF., on September 6 via Domino. Last week shared its latest single, “I am the King,” via a music video.

Joe Love fronts Fat Dog and the band also features Chris Hughes (keyboards/synths), Ben Harris (bass), Johnny Hutchinson (drums) and Morgan Wallace (keyboards/saxophone).

“It was written in the toilets of the Wetherspoons pub in Forest Hill,” says Love about the song in a press release.

When the album was announced, the band shared its lead single “Running,” via a music video. “Running” was one of our Songs of the Week.

Love produced the album with James Ford and Jimmy Robertson. Influences mentioned in the press release include: Bicep, I.R.O.K, Kamasi Washington, and the Russian experimental EDM group Little Big. WOOF. includes the band’s previously released first two singles, “King of the Slugs” and “All the Same.”

“A lot of music at the moment is very cerebral and people won’t dance to it,” says Hughes. “Our music is the polar opposite of thinking music.” By Mark Redfern

11. Cults: “Left My Keys”

Last week, Cults (the duo of Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion) announced a new album, To the Ghosts, and shared a new song from it, “Left My Keys.” To the Ghosts is due out July 26 via Imperial. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork, as well as the band’s upcoming tour dates, here.

To the Ghosts is Cults’ fifth full-length album and follows Host, which came out in 2020. The new album includes “Crybaby,” a new song the band shared in April that was one of our Songs of the Week.

Cults started work on the album during the pandemic, which was written and recorded in Oblivion’s apartment, before the band worked with Shane Stoneback, who co-produced the album with Cults. John Congleton mixed To the Ghosts.

Follin had this to say about “Left My Keys” in a press release: “It’s about growing up and feeling like you’re being left behind. You think you’re missing out on things and not accomplishing enough. You get a little bit older and realize you don’t care anymore. All those things you were worried about don’t matter. You become comfortable where you are. It’s freeing to let go of the feeling that you need to be a part of something.”

Oblivion adds: “It’s a bright spot. With this being To the Ghosts, ‘Left My Keys’ is dedicated to the ghost of your high school memories with an element of fondness.”

Read our interview with Cults on Host here.

In 2022 they released the companion EP, Host B-Sides & Remixes.

Cults were featured on our Covers of Covers album, which was released for our 20th anniversary and is out now via American Laundromat. By Mark Redfern

12. Heartworms: “Jacked”

UK musician Jojo Orme, under the moniker Heartworms, returned this week with a blistering new single, “Jacked.” Her first release since last year’s “May I Comply,” this track delves into a haunting darkness, described by Orme as “an entity you’re running from, yet it’s you who holds it.” Produced by Dan Carey, “Jacked” melds propulsive gothic rhythms with sharp, intense lyrics.

The accompanying music video, directed by Gilbert Trejo, further amplifies the song’s unsettling energy through a visually arresting and surreal aesthetic. Trejo explains, “‘Jacked’ is the soundtrack to a paranoid fever dream. The song’s relentless movement and energy demanded a visual translation. We wanted to portray Heartworms in flight, yet utterly isolated, so I scratched out everyone else’s faces from the film emulsion with a safety pin. It evokes a feeling of loneliness and the unknown—frightening, yet darkly humorous.” By Andy Von Pip

13. SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE: “LET THE VIRGIN DRIVE”

This week, SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE announced their new album, YOU’LL HAVE TO LOSE SOMETHING, due August 23 on Saddle Creek. This week they shared a video for the album’s first single, “LET THE VIRGIN DRIVE.” Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art, plus their tour dates, here.

Zach Schawrtz of SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE had this to say about the single’s theme: “It’s about unrequited love and making up a situation or whole life in your head. The other person finally ‘sees you’ and your ‘problems are solved,’ but they aren’t, really.”

Brennan had this to say about the video: A video about trying to cure your loneliness through material means, courage, impulsivity, and chopping your finger off after cutting an avocado.”

Available exclusively from Saddle Creek, 500 copies of four vinyl variants will be available on the street date. By Marina Malin

14. Hamish Hawk: “Nancy Dearest”

Scottish musician Hamish Hawk is releasing a new album, A Firmer Hand, on August 16 via Fierce Panda. This week he shared its second single, “Nancy Dearest,” via a music video.

Hawk had this to say about the song in a press release: “Many of the songs on A Firmer Hand are marked by the presence of another: a lover, an authority figure, an enemy, or a confidante. ‘Nancy Dearest’ is defined instead by an absence. On the one hand, it’s a bitterly defiant song, an ego trip, a narcissistic flight of fancy. On the other, it’s a song about sheer loneliness, isolation, and ultimate loss. Either way, it’s a cry for help.

“We all tell ourselves stories about who we are and who we are not. On occasion something will cause our visions of ourselves to short-circuit. In ‘Nancy Dearest,’ our hero is spiralling. ‘I’ve seen the well of emptiness and I have had my fill’... Tell me about it, stud.”

Previously Hawk shared the album’s first single, “Big Cat Tattoos,” via a music video. It was one of our Songs of the Week.

A Firmer Hand is the follow-up to 2023’s Angel Numbers.

Hawk had this to say about the album: “Writing this album, I opened up my closet, and a skeleton came out. The thing that links all of the songs is a sense of the unsaid, whether out of guilt, shame, repression, embarrassment, coyness, whatever it might have been. I realized: I am going to say these things, and not all of them are going to make me look good. The album made so many demands, and I just gave myself over to it.

“Once I’d given myself over to the idea, I thought, I have to stick to this. I can’t hide anything from it. I can’t clean it all up for consumption. It felt uncomfortable for me – and that’s exactly how it should feel. That’s a really strong position.”

Read our 2022 interview with Hamish Hawk.

Read our review of Angel Numbers.

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 14.

ANOHNI and the Johnsons: “Breaking”

Avey Tare: “Vampire Tongues” (Feat. Panda Bear)

Caribou: “Broke My Heart”

Cursive: “Up and Away”

Font: “Natalie’s Song”

Goat Girl: “words fell out”

GUM / Ambrose Kenny-Smith: “Dud”

>

HEALTH and Lauren Mayberry: “ASHAMED”

Jamie xx: “Treat Eachother Right”

Joan As Police Woman: “Long For Ruin”

Los Bitchos: “Don’t Change”

Maxim Ludwig: “Mercury Avenue” (Feat. Angel Olsen)

Mercury Rev: “Patterns”

OK Cowgirl: “Forever”

Pale Waves: “Perfume”

>

Picture Parlour: “Face in the Picture”

Storefront Church: “Tapping on the Glass”

The The: “Cognitive Dissident”

Hayden Thorpe: “They”

Toro y Moi: “Tuesday”

Wings of Desire: “OUTTAMYMIND”

Wishy: “Triple Seven”

Here’s a handy Spotify playlist featuring the Top 14 in order, followed by all the honorable mentions:

Subscribe to Under the Radar’s print magazine.

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Songs of the Week

14 Best Songs of the Week: Girl Scout, Amyl and The Sniffers, Magdalena Bay, Nick Cave, and More

May 31, 2024

Welcome to the 18th Songs of the Week of 2024. We didn’t do a Songs of the Week last week because of the Memorial Day long weekend, so this list covers the best songs released in the last two weeks. This week Andy Von Pip, Matt the Raven, and Scott Dransfield helped me decide what should make the list. We seriously considered over 30 songs this week and narrowed it down to a Top 14.

We are currently having a Memorial Day Sale, with 25% off all subscriptions and 40% off all back issues. Find out more here.

Recently we announced our new print issue, The ’90s Issue, featuring The Cardigans and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth on the covers. Buy it from us directly here.

In the past few weeks we posted interviews with Arab Strap, Sarah McLachlan, John Carpenter, Sunday (1994), Sam Evian, and others.

In the last week we reviewed some albums.

To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last two weeks, we have picked the 11 best the last 14 days had to offer, followed by some honorable mentions. Check out the full list below.

1. Girl Scout: “I Just Needed You to Know”

Swedish indie band Girl Scout is back and sounding more expansive than ever with their electrifying new single “I Just Needed You to Know,” released this week. It’s an explosive return and their first new material since their acclaimed 2023 debut EP, and it shows the band pushing in new directions.

The song sounds huge, and was mixed by the renowned Alex Farrar, known for his work with Wednesday, Indigo De Souza, and Hotline TNT. With its infectious ‘90s alt-rock vibes, explosive guitars, and a soaring chorus, this sounds like Girl Scout version 2.0.

They’ll be playing it live on their upcoming UK and European tour, where they’ll be joining Alvvays as well as headlining numerous shows and festivals.

“‘I Just Needed You To Know’ was birthed during a spontaneous jam session in the middle of rehearsing for tour,” says vocalist/guitarist Emma Jansson. “Starting with Viktor toying with the opening riff, almost the entire song was just the band playing in a room with the mics rolling. We wanted the raw energy of the song to remain, so not much has been done to it.”

“The phrase ‘it is what it is’ is one that I hear a lot amongst the older generations,” she adds about the lyrical side of the song. “To me, it feels like a way to avoid acknowledging hard times or difficult feelings. It’s such a stifling phrase. What if that’s not enough? What if I want more than to grit my teeth and move on? I think there is a clear generational divide when it comes to the language surrounding mental health, and the willingness to understand the causes behind it.” By Andy Von Pip

2. Amyl and The Sniffers: “U Should Not Be Doing That”

This week, Australian punks Amyl and The Sniffers shared two new songs, “U Should Not Be Doing That” and “Facts,” the former via a music video. Both are out now via B2B Records / Virgin Music Group. “U Should Not Be Doing That” was our definite favorite of the two songs.

The band features Amy Taylor, Dec Martens, Gus Romer, and Bryce Wilson. They recorded the songs with Nick Launay (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Yeah Yeah Yeahs). Steven Ogg appears in the video. Described as standalone singles, the songs follow the band’s 2021 album, Comfort to Me.

Taylor had this to say in a press release: “Lyrically they’re both pretty self-explanatory. ‘U Should Not Be Doing That’ makes me laugh, but it’s also in a way poking fun at the shock that people still feel at a little bit of skimpy clothing, and the bitchy high school way that the music community still is (yes I’m talking to you random 40 year old metalheads sitting around a table doing lines and bitching about a 28 year old chick in a band for wearing shorts and ‘selling out’) but it mainly makes me laugh. It’s unconscious and meant nothing at the time of writing it but now I think it’s a comedic way of rubbing the dog’s nose in its own dog piss after it wee’d on your favorite rug or something.” By Mark Redfern

3. Magdalena Bay: “Death & Romance”

This week, Los Angeles-based electro-pop duo Magdalena Bay (aka Mica Tenenbaum and Matthew Lewin) shared a new song, “Death & Romance,” and have announced The Imaginal Mystery Tour, a U.S. tour this fall. The new single is the duo’s first release for Mom + Pop, which announced last year that they had signed Magdalena Bay. Check out the tour dates here.

The band collectively had this to say about the song in a press release: “Imagine rain pouring, streetlights glowing. You sit at home and wait for your alien boyfriend to pick you up in his UFO…but this time, he’s not coming.”

“Death & Romance” follows 2023’s mini mix vol. 3, a surprise-released a seven-song EP and an accompanying short film that featured videos for every song. The EP’s “Wandering Eyes” made our Songs of the Week list.

In 2021, Magdalena Bay released their debut album, Mercurial World, which was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2021 and several songs from the album were featured on our Top 130 Songs of 2021 list. Then in 2022 they released a deluxe edition of the album that included several bonus tracks and remixes incorporated into the main tracklist of the original album, presenting a completely different listening experience.

Read our interview with Magdalena Bay on Mercurial World here. By Mark Redfern

4. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: “Frogs”

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds are releasing a new album, Wild God, on August 30 via Bad Seed/Play It Again Sam. This week they shared its second single, “Frogs.”

“Frogs” was the first song written for Wild God. “The sheer exuberance of a song like ‘Frogs,’ it just puts a big fucking smile on my face,” says Cave in a press release.

Previously Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds shared the album’s first single, title track “Wild God,” which was one of our Songs of the Week.

Wild God is Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds’ 18th studio album and is the follow-up to 2019’s acclaimed Ghosteen, which was #3 on our Top 100 Albums of 2019 list.

Cave and bandmate Warren Ellis produced the album, which was mixed by David Fridmann. Cave started writing the album on New Year’s Day 2023 and there were recording sessions at Miraval Studios in Provence, France and Soundtree Studios in London, England. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds are Cave, Ellis, Thomas Wydler, Martyn Casey, Jim Sclavunos, and George Vjestica. The album also features Colin Greenwood of Radiohead (who contributes bass) and Luis Almau (on nylon string guitar and acoustic guitar).

“I hope the album has the effect on listeners that it’s had on me,” Cave said in a previous press release. “It bursts out of the speaker, and I get swept up with it. It’s a complicated record, but it’s also deeply and joyously infectious. There is never a master plan when we make a record. The records rather reflect back the emotional state of the writers and musicians who played them. Listening to this, I don’t know, it seems we’re happy.”

Cave added: “Wild God…there’s no fucking around with this record. When it hits, it hits. It lifts you. It moves you. I love that about it.”

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis recently scored the new Amy Winehouse biopic, Back to Black. Two albums for the film were released, its soundtrack and its score album. In April, Cave and Ellis shared “Song For Amy,” which is found on both albums. By Mark Redfern

5. DIIV: “Raining on Your Pillow”

DIIV released a new album, Frog in Boiling Water, last Friday via Fantasy. Earlier last week they shared the album’s latest single, “Raining on Your Pillow,” via a music video.

The band collectively had this to say about the track in a press release: “‘Raining on Your Pillow’ is a song which brings to mind the shameful past (and present) of American imperialism. Lost in a terrifying landscape, a lone soldier ruminates on the existence of a landscape of his own far removed from conflict. Does it matter if this place is real or not? Is a false sense of hope enough to give our lives meaning in the midst of despair? A looping guitar figure plays underneath a driving rhythm in a cloud of murky atmosphere of analog synths and tape loops. Menacing, doomed, and strangely hopeful.”

Also below is the video for another Frog in Boiling Water track, “Soul Net.” The band originally shared the audio of the song last October exclusively via a strange website of the same name, but more recently they shared a video of the song to YouTube.

Previously the band shared the album’s lead single, “Brown Paper Bag,” which was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. Then they shared a video for “Brown Paper Bag” in which the band has a fake performance on Saturday Night Live. The video also features Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit. They also announced some new tour dates. “Everyone Out” was another single from the album

The album’s “Soul Net” and “Frog in Boiling Water” were also shared via mysterious websites created by the band.

DIIV is Andrew Bailey, Colin Caulfield, Ben Newman, and Zachary Cole Smith. Frog in Boiling Water is the follow-up to Deceiver, which came out in 2019 via Captured Tracks. It’s been five years since that album and DIIV spent four of those making the new record, a process that a press release says almost broke the band as they strived to push their sound. This is also the first album where the band acted as a democracy. “This journey left their relationships with one another fraying, with the many complex dynamics of family, friendship and finances entangled, coupled with suspicions, resentments, bruised egos and anxious questions,” stated the press release announcing the album.

The album’s title was inspired by Daniel Quinn’s 1996 philosophical novel The Story of B. The band collectively explained more about the title in the previous press release: “If you drop a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will of course frantically try to clamber out. But if you place it gently in a pot of tepid water and turn the heat on low, the frog will sink into a tranquil stupor, exactly like one of us in a hot bath, and before long, with a smile on its face, it will unresistingly allow itself to be boiled to death.

“We understand the metaphor to be one about a slow, sick, and overwhelmingly banal collapse of society under end-stage capitalism, the brutal realities we’ve maybe come to accept as normal. That’s the boiling water and we are the frogs. The album is more or less a collection of snapshots from various angles of our modern condition which we think highlights what this collapse looks like and, more particularly, what it feels like.”

Read our 2016 interview with DIIV. By Mark Redfern

6. Chinese American Bear: “Feelin’ Fuzzy (毛绒绒的感觉)”

This week, Seattle-based C-pop duo Chinese American Bear shared a new song, “Feelin’ Fuzzy (毛绒绒的感觉),” via a music video. It is their first release for the British label Moshi Moshi (Girl Ray, Hot Chip, Anna Meredith).

Chinese American Bear are married couple Bryce Barsten and Anne Tong and they sing in both English and Mandarin. While they started the band mainly for fun, the positive reaction to initial singles “Hao Ma” and “Dumpling” led them to be signed to China’s largest indie label, Modern Sky, and also to Moshi Moshi.

Tong had this to say about the song in a press release: “When I was writing the lyrics for this song I wanted to lean more into my experiences growing up in a Chinese immigrant household. I had a stereotypical tiger mom who had very high academic expectations and set very strict household rules. When I was a teenager I was never allowed to go to friend’s homes after school, never allowed to go to parties or school dances on weekends, and definitely not allowed to date. My days were strictly focused on studying, practicing piano, and preparing for exams. This song is about what I longed to do during my teenage years instead of the upbringing I actually had. I have very vivid memories of my mom saying the same things over and over again, reminding me to study and practice over and over again. I wanted to capture that repetitiveness in this song. I’m hoping other kids of immigrants can relate to it!” By Mark Redfern

7. Unessential Oils: “Overwhelmed and Unprepared”

Unessential Oils is the project of Warren Spicer, singer/songwriter for Montreal trio Plants and Animals. Unessential Oils’ self-titled debut album came out today via a Secret City. Ahead of that, earlier this week Spicer has shared one last pre-release single from it, “Overwhelmed and Unprepared,” via a music video.

Spicer had this to say about the song in a press release: “This song is really about the death of my parents and the birth of my children. The stories in the verses are the kinds of things that live on the surface of our conscience while the real meaning of the song is like the hidden emotions that live underneath. In death and birth we become overwhelmed and feel unprepared, we become very instinctual and pure. This is how life works, very profound experiences and mundane experiences are always combined and layered. The long instrumental section at the end is a spiritual movement, my way of connecting with the powers that flow through.”

Read our 2016 interview with Plants and Animals on Waltzed In From the Rumbling. By Mark Redfern

8. La Luz: “Always in Love”

La Luz released a new album, News of the Universe, last Friday via Sub Pop. Last week they also shared its fourth single, “Always in Love,” via a music video. Read our review of the album, which we posted last Friday, here.

The band is led by guitarist, singer, and songwriter Shana Cleveland. She had this to say about the new single in a press release: “To me this song is the heart of the album. I get emotional every time I hear it. Lyrically it’s about realizing that love is the only thing that matters and that it’s always a choice that I’m able to make. It’s hard to explain how huge that is, but if you get it you get it. In the guitar solo that closes the song I can hear myself blasting through all the fear and stress of the year before, the most difficult time of my life, and moving past all of that propelled by the dedication to live in love. The video for this song is inspired by the Japanese camp horror film House.”

Previously La Luz shared the album’s first single, “Strange World,” via a music video. “Strange World” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared its second single, “Poppies,” which was also one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared its third single, “I’ll Go With You,” via a music video. It was again one of our Songs of the Week.

News of the Universe follows 2021’s La Luz, which was released on Hardly Art, Sub Pop’s sister label, which makes this their debut on Sub Pop proper.

Cleveland was diagnosed with breast cancer two years after the birth of her son, which led to the postponement of shows in 2022.

“Seeing the cycle of life, seeing things grow out of decay, the decay of other living things—was super comforting to me. I had to get to a place where I felt more comfortable with the idea of death,” Cleveland said of the new album in a previous press release.

News of the Universe features a changing of the guard in terms of La Luz’s lineup—it’s the first appearance for drummer Audrey Johnson and the final ones from longtime members Lena Simon (bass) and Alice Sandahl (keyboards).

La Luz worked with producer Maryam Qudos (Spacemoth) on the album and the collaboration went so well that Qudos has joined the band as their new keyboardist.

“There are moments on this album that sound to me like the last frantic confession before an asteroid destroys the earth,” said Cleveland, summing up News of the Universe.

Read our 2021 interview with La Luz. By Mark Redfern

9. Charly Bliss: “Calling You Out”

Charly Bliss are releasing a new album, FOREVER, on August 16 via Lucky Number. This week they shared its second single, “Calling You Out,” via a music video. They also announced some tour dates for this fall. Check out the tour dates here.

Charly Bliss is Eva Hendricks, Sam Hendricks, Spencer Fox, and Dan Shure. Sam Hendricks co-produced the album with Jake Luppen (Hippo Campus) and Caleb Wright (Samia).

Hendricks had this to say about “Calling You Out” in a press release: “Falling in love with someone wonderful, I didn’t know how to not fall into the same bullshit that was part of all my previous relationships—namely jealousy. I wasted a lot of time at the beginning trying to poke holes, to see if it was all for real. I think I was trying to protect myself, I’ll find the catch before the catch finds me! But there was no catch.”

Adam Kolodny directed the “Calling You Out” video and a press release states that it’s “inspired by the Beastie Boys “Shake Your Rump” music video from 1989 and Wong Kar-wai’s 1995 film Fallen Angels.”

Previously the band shared the album’s first single, “Nineteen,” via a music video. “Nineteen” was one of our Songs of the Week.

FOREVER follows their 2019 album, Young Enough, and 2019 EP, Supermoon. In 2023 the band released two new songs—“You Don’t Even Know Me Anymore” and “I Need a New Boyfriend” (which was one of our Songs of the Week and accompanied by a dating site)—neither of which are on the new album.

Young Enough was picked as our Album of the Week.

Check out our review of their Supermoon EP. By Mark Redfern

10. Bat For Lashes: “At Your Feet”

Bat For Lashes (aka Natasha Khan) released a new album, The Dream of Delphi, today via Mercury KX. Last week she shared its fourth single, “At Your Feet,” via a music video.

Khan had this to say about the song in a post on Facebook: “I improvised this song, all the piano and vocoder parts, from start to finish. The words are all about the hallucinatory state of being sleep deprived in the night, breastfeeding, rocking the baby: so tired, so aware that I almost have no say in this devotional nocturnal practice of caring for my child. ”

Bat For Lashes previously shared the album’s title track via a music video. It was one of our Songs of the Week. Then she shared its second single, “Letter to My Daughter,” in which she sang to her daughter. It was also one of our Songs of the Week. Then she shared its third single, “Home,” which was a cover of a remix of a song by American producer/musician Baauer.

The Dream of Delphi is the sixth Bat For Lashes album and follows 2019’s Lost Girls. The album is named after her daughter, who was born in 2020. “I thought motherhood would take me away from my art, but it opened up this massive world,” says Khan.

Bat For Lashes was one of the artists on the cover of our 20th Anniversary Issue, which you can still buy directly from us here.

Also read our 2016 interview with Bat For Lashes, as well as our 2007 one. By Mark Redfern

11. GIFT: “Going In Circles”

This week, Brooklyn-based psych-rock quintet GIFT announced a new album, Illuminator, and shared a new song from it, “Going In Circles,” via a music video. They also announced some tour dates. Illuminator is due out August 23 via Captured Tracks. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork, as well as the tour dates, here.

Illuminator is the band’s sophomore album and first for Captured Tracks. It follows their 2022 debut, Momentary Presence, released via Dedstrange. The album includes “Wish Me Away,” a new song GIFT shared in April via a music video. “Wish Me Away” was one of our Songs of the Week.

GIFT features vocalist/guitarist TJ Freda, multi-instrumentalists Jessica Gurewitz and Justin Hrabovsky, drummer Gabe Camarano, and bassist Kallan Campbell.

Freda had this to say about “Going In Circles” in a press release: “This was the first song I wrote for Illuminator that helped me realize the direction of the album. I wrote the chorus while passively playing guitar and rushed to record the idea. At that moment, something clicked and I realized where the album was going. At our shows from the Momentary Presence tour, people would stand in the crowd wide-eyed without moving. We wanted to get people moving with the new album, so we were really inspired by bands like Primal Scream, Oasis, and Massive Attack. It’s our psych-rock tribute to U.K. rave culture in the ’90s.

“The song is about the endless cycle of a relationship, the back and forth in both euphoria and doubt. The chorus “I never told you why’ is about never being able to say how you really feel, not having closure and the cycle continuing.”

Of the new album as a whole, Freda says: “We had a lot more confidence going in. The main goal was to take a big swing, embrace the pop sounds we love and clear the mist and clouds surrounding the last record to make it a lot punchier.” By Mark Redfern

12. Storefront Church: “Melting Mirror”

Storefront Church (the Los Angeles-based project of Lukas Frank) is releasing a new album, Ink & Oil, on June 28. Last week he shared another new song from it, the orchestral and theatrical track “Melting Mirror.”

Ink & Oil includes the lush, string-backed “The High Room,” which was shared in March and was one of our Songs of the Week. When the album was announced the next single, “Coal,” was shared, as well as a live video for the song. “Coal” was also one of our Songs of the Week.

The album was inspired by Frank’s great uncle, Roger, who was serving a five-year sentence for a desertion charge of the Army in 1993 when he disappeared from his cell and was never found, leaving only an orange behind. From there, things get decidely more ghostly, as a press release explains in more detail:

“When he was just 5 years old, Lukas began receiving visitations from his elusive uncle through vivid, recurring nightmares. Roger would come to Lukas in his room and try to speak with him, but Roger’s mouth wasn’t working; like it was glued shut. In his hands was a large orange, the skin peeled back, and written in the rind were words in black ink.

“The subsequent years of his life spent between LA, with family on the East Coast and a solitary sabbatical in Connecticut, have been inexplicably haunted by sensory ‘manifestations’ seemingly tied to his uncle’s presence. Images of a black rope hanging in the sky, a flock of black birds swarming inside the supermarket, and phone calls from unknown numbers asking him unnervingly prescient questions have all struck Lukas at various points. Stuck in limbo between walking nightmares and existential visions, Lukas’ perspective shifted with his return to Los Angeles while working on this body of work. Instead of feeling like the visions and dreams were intruders in the night, they became visitors—not always welcome or understood—but accepted as integral pieces of the narrative of Ink & Oil.”

Storefront Church’s debut album, As We Pass, came out in 2021 via Sargent House. That album’s lead single, “After the Alphabets,” which featured Cole Smith of DIIV, was one of our Songs of the Week. Previously, Storefront Church’s “The Gift” was featured on the soundtrack to Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit. More recently, Frank collaborated with Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier on the track “La Langue Bleue,” which was featured in an episode of the AMC series Monsieur Spade. By Mark Redfern

13. Rosie Lowe: “Mood to Make Love”

Last week, British singer/songwriter Rosie Lowe shared a new song, “Mood to Make Love,” via a music video. The self-produced single is out now via Blue Flowers. Her brother, Louis Hemming-Lowe, directed the song’s video.

Rosie Lowe had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Mood to Make Love’ was written on a warm evening in Spain and we wanted it to sound like our surroundings. It is a moment of self love and an acknowledgement of what I have to offer my partner.”

Of the video she adds: “I knew I wanted to keep the team small and work with people I know, trust and love so I decided to collaborate with my big brother, a director, on the music videos. We wanted the visuals to feel much like a dream sequence. We shot it on a very cold January morning on a small rowing boat on a river in Devon, and somehow lucked out with the one sunny day we got in January!”

Louis Hemming-Lowe had this to say about the video: “I wanted to create an abstract, fantasy feel with hand drawn animation elements and dream sequence symbolic connectivity. Themes of nostalgia, looking back, looking forward, time and repetition, the reliving of episodes and memories, beginning and ending, life and death. I wanted the viewer to do the work to figure these out, much like waking up from a dream and trying to decipher the meaning.” By Mark Redfern

14. Youth Lagoon: “Lucy Takes a Picture”

Last week, Youth Lagoon (aka Trevor Powers) shared a new song, “Lucy Takes a Picture,” via a music video.

“Once in a while there’s a song that feels like I’ve been trying to write it my whole life,” says Powers in a press release. “‘Lucy’ is one of those.”

Powers adds: “My only concern now with music is bringing the inner world to life. It’s not about making something better—it’s about making something true. Songs were a lot harder to write when I hated myself. When my soul changed, my music did too.”

Powers wrote “Lucy Takes a Picture” at home in Idaho and then recorded it in Los Angeles with co-producer Rodaidh McDonald (Weyes Blood, The xx, Gil Scott-Heron). Regular collaborator Tyler T. Williams directed the song’s video.

Powers goes into deeper detail on the genesis of the new song: “In February, I walked past a bus stop and noticed a small piece of paper tucked into the bars of a metal bench. In shaky handwriting that looked both deranged and Biblical, the note said, ‘This is the tale of my resurrection. I died so I could live again.’ l found the nearest patch of grass and lay down like a dummy. This note was either a message from an angel or the ravings of a pharmaceutical junkie—maybe both. Either way it was just for me. I don’t think it’s possible to have true character without first catching a glimpse of hell. Maybe that’s what it meant? In the words of W.H. Auden, ‘Don’t get rid of my devils, because my angels will go too.’ Whatever this poetic rascal, angel or imp was getting at, these words rang the bell of my soul. I went home and wrote ‘Lucy Takes a Picture.’”

“Lucy Takes a Picture” follows another new song, “Football,” Youth Lagoon shared in January that was one of our Songs of the Week.

After releasing two albums under his given name, last year Powers revived his Youth Lagoon moniker and released a new album under that name, Heaven Is a Junkyard, in June 2024 via Fat Possum.

When Heaven Is a Junkyard was announced, Youth Lagoon shared the album’s first single, “Idaho Alien,” via a music video. “Idaho Alien” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then he shared the album’s second single, “Prizefighter,” via a music video, and announced some new tour dates. The third single was “The Sling” (also one of our Songs of the Week).

As Youth Lagoon, Powers released three albums: 2011’s The Year of Hibernation, 2013’s Wondrous Bughouse, and 2015’s Savage Hills Ballroom. Then he retired the name in 2016 and released two albums simply as Trevor Powers: 2018’s Mulberry Violence and 2020’s surprise-released Capricorn.

Read our 2011 interview with Youth Lagoon.

Read our 2015 interview with Youth Lagoon.

Read our 2023 interview with Youth Lagoon. By Mark Redfern

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 14.

Abstract Crimewave: “The Gambler” (Feat. Lykke Li)

Emma Anderson: “For a Moment (deary Dub Mix)”

James Blake: “Thrown Around”

Horse Jumper of Love: “Wink”

Imogen and the Knife: “If It Won’t Talk of Rain”

Katy Kirby: “Headlights”

Metronomy: “Contact High” (Feat. Miki and Faux Real)

Oceanator: “Get Out”

Katy J Pearson: “Those Goodbyes”

Personal Trainer: “Round”

Pond: “So Lo”

SASAMI: “Honeycrash”

Luke Temple and The Cascading Moms: “I Can Dream”

Here’s a handy Spotify playlist featuring the Top 14 in order, followed by all the honorable mentions:

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Songs of the Week

11 Best Songs of the Week: Cassandra Jenkins, Loma, Tindersticks, Beth Gibbons, John Grant, and More

May 17, 2024

Welcome to the 17th Songs of the Week of 2024. This week Andy Von Pip, Matt the Raven, Mark Moody, Scott Dransfield, and Stephen Humphries helped me decide what should make the list. We seriously considered over 25 songs this week and narrowed it down to a Top 11.

Recently we announced our new print issue, The ’90s Issue, featuring The Cardigans and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth on the covers. Buy it from us directly here.

In the past few weeks we posted interviews with Arab Strap, Sarah McLachlan, John Carpenter, Sunday (1994), Sam Evian, and others.

In the last week we reviewed some albums.

To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last week, we have picked the 11 best the last seven days had to offer, followed by some honorable mentions. Check out the full list below.

1. Cassandra Jenkins: “Delphinium Blue”

Cassandra Jenkins is releasing a new album, My Light, My Destroyer, on July 12 via Dead Oceans. This week she shared its second single, “Delphinium Blue,” via a self-directed music video. She’s also announced some new North American tour dates.

Jenkins had this to say about the song’s lyrics in a press release: “Sometimes when I don’t know where to turn, I look for something reliably beautiful. Applying for a job at my local flower shop felt like survival instinct kicking in, and that job got me through one of the bluest periods in my life—being surrounded by flowers didn’t just make the weight easier to bear—it helped me understand it and myself better. I began to dream in Technicolor; flowers became the language of my subconscious. At times I felt like I was surrounded by a Greek Chorus while I went about my menial tasks—they took on an all knowing quality, like they held the keys if I was willing to listen, like they were porters of my grief, and delicate portals to awareness.”

She had this to add about the recording of the song: “The lyrics of ‘Delphinium Blue’ had a solitary residence in the back of my mind for years, and the recording process was very collaborative. The song felt like a crustacean crawling around the ocean floor, trying on different shells, until it finally found a home when I called Isaac [Eiger, of Strange Ranger]. We got together at his home studio and worked together to shape its form, before I sent it to Andrew Lappin and he agreed to sneak it onto the album as the paint was starting to dry. It felt like just the right outlier, so we worked in Andrew’s LA studio to bring it into the world of the album with players like Spencer Zahn on fretless bass, Kosta Galanopolos for some of the more bombastic percussion, and Michael Coleman on synths. It’s my melancholy bi-coastal bop.”

Previously Jenkins shared the album’s first single, “Only One,” via a music video. It was one of our Songs of the Week.

My Light, My Destroyer follows Jenkins’ acclaimed 2021-released breakthrough album, An Overview on Phenomenal Nature, and its companion album, An Overview on (An Overview on Phenomenal Nature), released later in 2021. Both were released via Ba Da Bing.

In a press release announcing the new album, Jenkins says that An Overview on Phenomenal Nature was her “intended swan song,” that she was going to give up touring and releasing new music, but then was taken aback by the positive reception to that album and the attention it garnered her.

“I was channeling what I knew in that moment—feeling lost,” Jenkins says. “When that record came out, and people started to respond to what I had written, my plans to quit were foiled in the most unexpected, heartening, and generous way. Ready or not, it reinvigorated me.”

But when it came time to record a follow-up album, Jenkins initially had difficulty recreating the magic in the studio, saying that after two years of touring she was “running on fumes.”

“I was coming from a place of burn out and depletion, and in the months following the session, I struggled to accept that I didn’t like the record I had just made. It felt uninspired,” she explains, “so I started over.”

She abandoned the original sessions for the new album and with the help of producer, engineer, and mixer Andrew Lappin (L’Rain, Slauson Malone 1), Jenkins began My Light, My Destroyer anew.

“When we listened back in the control room that first day, I could see a space on my record shelf start to open up, because the songs were finding their home in real time,” she says on the second attempt to record the album. “That spark informed the blueprint for the rest of the album, and its completion was propelled by a newfound momentum.”

A press release mentions Tom Petty, Annie Lennox, Neil Young, David Bowie’s final album Blackstar, David Berman, and albums in her “high school CD wallet” (Radiohead’s The Bends, The Breeders, PJ Harvey, and Pavement) as influences on My Light, My Destroyer. And the album also features a large number of collaborators, including: Palehound’s El Kempner, Hand Habits’ Meg Duffy, Isaac Eiger (formerly of Strange Ranger), Katie Von Schleicher, Zoë Brecher (Hushpuppy), Daniel McDowell (Amen Dunes), producer and instrumentalist Josh Kaufman (of Jenkins’ An Overview), producer Stephanie Marziano (Hayley Williams, Bartees Strange), and director/actor/journalist Hailey Benton Gates.

Returning home to New York City after being on the road for so long also inspired the album.

“I feel most energized when I’m out in the world, in the mix of things,” Jenkins says. “Coming back home to New York, being with my close friends and community, riding the subway, and going to live shows made me want to channel the palpable feeling of the electricity in a room full of people—I need to be fully immersed in my environment. New York City is endlessly stimulating, and I’m very impressionable.”

Of My Light, My Destroyer’s album title, Jenkins explains: “Awe is a function of nature that keeps us from losing connection. Staying in touch with awe, that light, is the best antidote to fear, and the powers that try to control us with fear. So in that sense, staying in touch with awe is to keep my light intact, and that is my greatest tool for destroying and dismantling the parts of myself and the world around me that have the potential to cause harm. Frankly, this is what keeps me from quitting—it serves as a reminder to pause and appreciate my time on earth, for all its chaos and its beauty.”

Jenkins was one of the artists who took part in our 20th anniversary Covers of Covers album, where she covered Animal Collective’s “It’s You.”

Read our 2021 interview with Jenkins, where she discusses An Overview on Phenomenal Nature. By Mark Redfern

2. Loma: “Pink Sky”

Loma are releasing a new album, How Will I Live Without a Body, on June 28 via Sub Pop. This week they shared its second single, “Pink Sky,” via an animated video.

Loma consists of Shearwater singer Jonathan Meiburg, alongside Emily Cross (of Cross Record) and Dan Duszynski.

Sabrina Nichols directed and animated the “Pink Sky” video, which features drawings by Cross.

Meiburg had this to say about the song in a press release: “This mischievous little song was a late addition to the album. We recorded it in a chilly, whitewashed room in southern England, and we didn’t have many instruments to work with at first—just a nylon string guitar, a two-piece drum set, a Casio keyboard, and a clarinet. But we liked the challenge.”

How Will I Live Without a Body follows 2020’s Don’t Shy Away. Previously Loma shared the album’s first single, “How It Starts,” via a music video. It was one of our Songs of the Week.

The pandemic found the band living on different continents, with Duszynski in central Texas, Cross in Dorset, England (she’s a UK citizen), and Meiburg in Germany to research a book. Remote sessions didn’t work and an attempt to reconvene in Texas after the pandemic didn’t garner much fruit when it was cut short due to illness.

“We got lost,” says Meiburg in a press release, “and stayed that way.”

“It’s like a demon enters the room whenever we get together,” laments Cross.

Then, at Cross’ suggestion, they gathered in a tiny stone house in England, a house that used to a coffin-maker’s workshop and where Cross works as an end-of-life doula. They turned it into a makeshift studio, with a vocal booth made from a coffin woven from willow branches.

“There was a sense of, well, this is it,” Meiburg says of the stone house sessions. “And when the ice storm swept in I thought: here we go again, even the elements are against us. But sitting in our heavy coats around a little electric radiator, we realized how much we’d missed each other—and that just being together was precious.”

Legendary artist Laurie Anderson offered Loma an opportunity to work with an AI trained on her full body of work. The AI sent the band two poems in the style of Anderson, in response to a photo Meiburg sent from his book-in-progress about Antarctica. “We used parts of them in a few songs,” he says. “And then Dan noticed that one of its lines, ‘How will I live without a body?’ would be a perfect name for the album, since we nearly lost sight of each other in the recording process.”

Anderson gave her blessing for the band to use the title for their new album. “I think she was tickled that her AI doppelganger is running around naming other people’s records,” says Meiburg.

At the end of the day, the band’s resilience paid off.

“Making this record tested us all,” says Duszynski. “I think that feeling was alchemized through the music.”

“Somehow, out of the chaos, we made something that sounds very relaxed,” Cross says.

“I’ve never run a marathon,” she adds. “But I can imagine it’s kind of what that feels like.”

Read our 2018 interview with Loma. By Mark Redfern

3. Tindersticks: “New World”

This week, Tindersticks announced a new album, Soft Tissue, and shared its first single, “New World,” via a music video. The band also announced some EU and UK tour dates. Soft Tissue is due out September 13 via City Slang. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork, plus the tour dates, here.

Sidonie Osborne Staples, daughter of Tindersticks’ frontman Stuart Staples, created the album’s artwork, which influenced the video for “New World.” Stuart Staples had this to say about the video in a press release: “Sid was making these tiny ceramic characters, so I asked her to make some of the band. Later I wrote this song ‘New World’ about somehow trying make sense of this strange world I felt developing around me and these little guys came back into my mind. Let’s take them on a stop motion journey across a strange land, from the barren rocks to the bountiful fruit that is not familiar and maybe poisonous. Sid put the landscapes together and moved the figures, millimeters at a time. Neil Fraser took the photographs, we edited as we went along.”

Soft Tissue is the band’s 14th studio album, not including their soundtrack work, and is the follow-up to 2021’s Distractions and 2016’s The Waiting Room. In 2020, they also shared an EP entitled See My Girls and 2022 they scored Claire Denis’ film The Stars At Noon.

Staples released a solo album, Arrhythmia, in 2018 via City Slang. In 2019 he scored the Claire Denis film High Life, which starred Robert Pattinson. Tindersticks contributed the new song “Willow” to the soundtrack and it featured the vocals of Pattinson.

Staples had this to say about Soft Tissue: “‘Baby I was falling, but the shit that I was falling through. Thought it was just the world rising.’ These are the opening lines of the album, it seems all the songs on Soft Tissue inhabit this confusion somehow—despairing at the destruction, suspecting you are responsible.

“Musically, it seemed that since 2016’s The Waiting Room, the band’s output had been reactionary. The last two tindersticks have been so opposed to each other—2019’s No Treasure But Hope was an extremely naturalistic recording process—due in part as a reaction to the previous few years of experimental projects (High Life, Minute Bodies) and in turn as a reaction to this purity 2021’s Distractions became one of the bands most dense, experimental albums.

“It felt like time to stop lurching to these extremes and to find a way to marry the rigor of the songwriting and the joy of the band playing together with a more hard-nosed experimental approach.”

The album includes “Falling, the Light,” a new song from the album the band shared on Valentine’s Day. By Mark Redfern

4. Beth Gibbons: “Lost Changes”

Beth Gibbons of Portishead released her debut solo album, Lives Outgrown, today via Domino. Earlier this week she shared its third single, “Lost Changes,” via a music video. Juno Calypso directed the video. She also announced some new UK and EU tour dates.

Previously Gibbons shared the album’s first single, “Floating on a Moment,” via a music video. “Floating on a Moment” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then she shared its second single, “Reaching Out,” via an interactive music video. It was again one of our Songs of the Week.

Portishead’s last album was 2008’s Third. In 2002 Gibbons teamed up with Rustin Man (aka Talk Talk’s Paul Webb) for the collaborative record Out of Season. In 2014 Gibbons teamed up with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki, to perform Henryk Górecki’s acclaimed 1977 symphony, Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs). An album and film documenting the performance, simply titled Henryk Górecki: Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs), was released in 2019. In 2022, Gibbons collaborated with Kendrick Lamar on the song “Mother I Sober,” from his Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers album.

Despite her decades-long career, Lives Outgrown is her first true solo album. Gibbons produced the album with James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, Depeche Mode, The Last Dinner Party), with additional production by Lee Harris (Talk Talk).

The album was inspired by a decade of change, as she entered middle age and the vitality and hope of youth started to fade. As loved ones started to pass away much more regularly than when she was younger.

“I realized what life was like with no hope,” says Gibbons in a press release. “And that was a sadness I’d never felt. Before, I had the ability to change my future, but when you’re up against your body, you can’t make it do something it doesn’t want to do.”

Topics on the album include motherhood, anxiety, menopause, and mortality.

“People started dying,” Gibbons says. “When you’re young, you never know the endings, you don’t know how it’s going to pan out. You think: ‘We’re going to get beyond this. It’s going to get better.’ Some endings are hard to digest.”

Gibbons adds, more hopefully: “Now I’ve come out of the other end, I just think, you’ve got to be brave.”

Read our rave review of Henryk Górecki: Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs). By Mark Redfern

5. John Grant: “All That School For Nothing”

John Grant is releasing a new album, The Art of the Lie, on June 14 via [PIAS]. This week he shared its third single, “All That School For Nothing.”

Grant had this to say about the song in a press release: “This is a song I wrote for Blondie, but they didn’t want it, so I decided to reclaim it for myself. It was much more electronic at first but when I sang it, it became clear that it was much more of a Cameo or Whodini vibe, which I’m all for!”

Previously Grant shared the album’s first single, “It’s a Bitch,” via a music video. “It’s a Bitch” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then he shared its second single, “The Child Catcher,” which has an ominous Blade Runner-like undercurrent and was again one of our Songs of the Week.

The Art of the Lie is the follow-up to 2021’s Boy from Michigan (which was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2021). Grant worked with producer Ivor Guest on the album. The two met when Grant performed at the Meltdown Festival that was curated by Grace Jones and was produced by Guest. Guest produced Jones’ Hurricane and Brigitte Fontaine’s Prohibition. “Grace and Brigitte are two very big artists for me,” explains Grant in a press release. “I love the albums he did for them. Hurricane is an indispensable piece of Grace’s catalogue.”

This led to Grant suggesting to Guest that they work together. “I said, ‘I really think you should do this next record with me.’ He said, ‘I think you’re right,’” says Grant.

The press release compares the album to Laurie Anderson, The Art of Noise, Vangelis’ soundtrack for Blade Runner, and “The Carpenters if John Carpenter were also a member.”

The album’s title and its themes are inspired by the current political climate.

“Trump’s book, The Art of the Deal, is now seen by MAGA disciples as just another book of the Bible and Trump himself as a messiah sent from heaven. Because, God wants you to be rich,” Grant explains. “This album is in part about the lies people espouse and the brokenness it breeds and how we are warped and deformed by these lies. For example, the Christian Nationalist movement has formed an alliance with White Supremacist groups and together they have taken over the Republican party and see LGBTQ+ people and non-whites as genetically and even mentally inferior and believe all undesirables must be forced either to convert to Christianity and adhere to the teachings of the Bible as interpreted by them or they must be removed in order that purity be restored to ‘their’ nation. They now believe Democracy is not the way to achieve these goals. Any sort of pretence of tolerance that may have seemed to develop over the past several decades has all but vanished. It feels like the U.S. in is free-fall mode.”

In 2023, Grant teamed up with Midlake for two new songs: “Roadrunner Blues” and “You Don’t Get To.” He also guested on the CMAT song “Where Are Your Kids Tonight?”

Be sure to read our in-depth 2013 article on Grant, one of the most honest and personal interviews we’ve ever done.

Also read our 2015 interview with John Grant on Grey Tickles, Black Pressure.

Plus read our The End interview with John Grant. By Mark Redfern

6. The Decemberists: “Oh No!”

The Decemberists are releasing a new album, As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again, on June 14 via YABB Records and Thirty Tigers. This week they shared the album’s fourth single, “Oh No!” They also shared a live video for the song.

The Oregon-based band features frontman Colin Meloy, bassist Nate Query, keyboardist Jenny Conlee, guitarist Chris Funk, and drummer John Moen.

Meloy had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Oh No!’ is the sort of song that just tumbles out of you. It all started with the first line—‘It was on a wedding night / How they danced by the firelight’—and flowed from there. In my mind, the narrator of the song is channeling the two brothers from Emir Kusturica’s immortal film, ‘Underground.’ This song is about causing havoc, causing chaos, its narrator forever followed by an even greater form of chaos, a great darkness. But it’s a darkness you can dance to!”

In February the band shared the album’s opening track, “Burial Ground,” which features backing vocals from James Mercer of The Shins and was one of our Songs of the Week. They also announced some tour dates. When the album was announced, The Decemberists shared the album’s the epic 19-minute closing track, “Joan in the Garden,” which was also one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared the album’s third single, “All I Want Is You.”

As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again is the band’s first album in six years, the follow-up to 2018’s I’ll Be Your Girl. Meloy produced the album with Tucker Martine. The album also features R.E.M.’s Mike Mills. As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again is the band’s longest album and is a double LP featuring four different thematic sides.

Read our interview with Meloy on I’ll Be Your Girl. By Mark Redfern

7. She Drew The Gun: “Howl”

This week, She Drew The Gun, the acclaimed musical project of musician and poet Louisa Roach, dropped a new video for their latest single, “Howl.” This release marks the first new material since their 2021 album, Behave Myself.

Heading to Margate for the recording process, She Drew The Gun collaborated with renowned producer Ash Workman, known for his work with artists like Christine & the Queens and Metronomy. The result is a track that showcases the Roach’s renewed energy and commitment to their craft. “Howl” opens with an undulating bassline, setting the tone for a direct and politically-charged musical journey. Roach’s adept lyricism and diverse musical influences are on full display, reflecting her passion for poetry and wordplay.

Talking about “Howl” Roach reveals in a press release: “The definition of Howl is to utter a loud profound mournful cry and howling has been used across cultures and time periods in a variety of rituals and practices as a way to connect with others and give rise to primal energy, as well as connect with the spiritual world, honor ancestors, invoke protection, and release emotions. “To me my howl is the thing I do to release emotions and connect, the howl as art form, song, poem, it makes the now, the present moment alive when I share that with those present with me. It’s also about the staggering amount of things that led to ones existence, how part of me, the things that make up my body were there at the beginning of time, the atoms, the elements of our bodies were formed in the hearts of long dead stars over billions of years. Then there’s what all of our ancestors lived through, the magic of consciousness, survival, all of the dangers that wired us the way we are, spirituality, respect for the earth, and I see the way life is organized through this historical understanding, how we got to this point, civilizations, feudalism, colonialism, patriarchal power, the witch hunts and how they were instrumental in the transition to capitalism, the crushing of indigenous traditions and knowledge, all of these histories and institutions shape who I am today, and I mourn for the suffering caused in the pursuit of power, but they can’t touch my soul and I have my howl to connect, release and invoke spiritual energy, most potently in the ritual of live performance.”

She Drew The Gun has a handful of festival appearances lined up this summer. By Andy Von Pip

8. Crack Cloud: “Blue Kite”

This week, Canadian art punks Crack Cloud announced a new album, Red Mile, and shared its first single, “Blue Kite,” via a music video. The band also announced some tour dates. Red Mile is due out July 26 via Jagjaguwar, their first for the label. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork, as well as the tour dates, here.

Red Mile follows 2022’s Tough Baby. The band features Zach Choy, Aleem Khan, Bryce Cloghesy, Will Choy, Emma Acs, Eve Adams, and Nathaniel Philips, along with creative director Aidan Pontarini. Crack Cloud recorded the album at the outskirts of Joshua Tree, California and in Calgary, Alberta.

Choy had this to say about the album in a press release statement: “When we were recording the album Red Mile in the Mojave Desert, I spent nights reading about 20th century China. My grandparents migrated to Canada during Mao’s Great Leap Forward, and besides the photo albums and childhood memories, I have little basis for understanding their experience.

Beginning in the late ’80s there came to be a generation of Chinese filmmakers whose main subject was the depiction of life during the Cultural Revolution. The films from this time examine the growing pains of national identity, without the glorification that defined National cinema up until then.

“As the viewer with a degree of generational and cultural separation, I found an unusual sense of reprieve in the nuance of it all. And as our time drifted by in the desert, I continued to look inward.

“The music of Red Mile came naturally, and of its own volition. The Mojave had an elemental effect. The seemingly never-ending labyrinth of touring into exhaustion that characterized preceding years. And the externalization of Crack Cloud’s mythology, displaced and dismantled as we’ve grown out of ourselves, constantly, creatively reborn, by virtue and design. This is how I would describe Red Mile, and more generally, the group’s freefall, nearly a decade in the making.

“So when close friend and collaborator Aidan Pontarini pitched the skydiving punk concept for the album cover, it resonated deeply.

“‘Blue Kite’ was written with a cultural intersection in mind. In Canada in the early ’00s we grew up to Sum 41. Late night YTV. And the spectre of Woodstock 99. From the outside looking in: being in a punk band meant that you could be a jackass. Pick your nose on stage; play the drum like Energizer Bunny. My relationship to punk music as a teenager hinged on self-deprecation; an easy, destructive mode of confronting what I didn’t like about myself. And what I didn’t understand about the world around me.

“There’s a film that came out of China in 1993 and was subsequently banned therein, called The Blue Kite. It’s told from the perspective of a boy growing up in 1950’s Beijing. His environment is one of social conformity and political correctness, and he relishes in escapism when flying his kite. Eventually the boy succumbs to the social climate, and the kite itself is swept away into the branches of a tree. I thought the imagery was striking and wanted to incorporate it into a video with Aidan’s skydiving punk, in a hypnagogic way.


“We filmed the video in and around the Desert where the album was recorded, and the skydiving took place.” By Mark Redfern

9. Nada Surf: “In Front of Me Now”

This week, Nada Surf announced a new album, Moon Mirror, and shared its first single, “In Front of Me Now,” via a music video. The band also announced some new tour dates. Moon Mirror is due out September 13 via New West. Check outthe album’s tracklist and cover artwork, plus the tour dates, here.

Moon Mirror is the band’s first album for New West and comes out as the band celebrates the 30th anniversary of their debut single, “The Plan”/“Telescope.” The band produced the album with Ian Laughton (Supergrass, Ash), recording it at Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire, Wales.

In a press release frontman Matthew Caws had this to say about the Neilson Hubbard and Joshua Britt-directed video for the new single: “We know the pandemic is over, but we made a Covid-era video to save on gas. Made on location (i.e. where we live) in Cambridge, England, Sarasota, Florida, Ibiza, Spain, and Austin, Texas, we bring you ‘In Front of Me Now,’ my diary of not being a great multi-tasker and wanting to be present for everything from now on if possible.”

Of the new album, Caws says: “Every time we make an album, I’m asked (and ask myself) what it’s about. I never know how to answer that question. I’m still trying to figure everything out, and that’s probably as close to a theme as there is. Looking back over the years, I know what our songs are about in theory: trying to reach acceptance (of circumstances, of oneself, of others), connection, a constant search for possibility and the bright side, a willingness to change, forgiveness, curiosity, checking in with one’s mortality, motivations and judgements, etc. But in the moment when making one up, I have no idea what I’m doing and maybe that’s ok. I’m just trying to stay honest with myself and take my best guess at making sense of the world.”

And of signing to New West, Caws adds: “We’ve been lucky to be on some really wonderful record labels over the years, and so far New West sure feels like another one of those. We couldn’t be more fortunate.”

For the past three decades Nada Surf’s main lineup has remained: Matthew Caws (vocals, guitar), Daniel Lorca (bass, vocals), and Ira Elliot (drums). Longtime collaborator Louie Lino is also part of the current lineup. By Mark Redfern

10. London Grammar: “Kind of Man”

British trio London Grammar are releasing a new album, The Greatest Love, on September 13 via Ministry of Sound. Earlier today they shared its second single, “Kind of Man.”

Frontwoman Hannah Reid had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Kind of Man’ is about watching somebody descend into the sort of glamour and slight corruption of Hollywood. The song is obviously about misogyny but it’s about sexism in a tongue-in-cheek way. That’s kind of what I love about the song. I didn’t want it to be melancholic in any way. So, yeah it’s quite an upbeat way of saying that. I like the fact that it’s talking about a pattern of relationship where you could maybe expect a man who might not respect you and who might be the exact kind of man to fall in love with you—and it’s kind of that dichotomy.”

The Greatest Love is the band’s fourth album and the follow-up to 2021’s Californian Soil. Previously they shared its first single, “House,” which is also below.

Listen to our 2021 podcast interview with London Grammar.

Read our 2017 interview with London Grammar about Truth Is a Beautiful Thing.

Also read our 2013 interview with London Grammar. By Mark Redfern

11. of Montreal: “Soporific Cell”

Of Montreal, the project of Kevin Barnes, released a new album, Lady on the Cusp, today via Polyvinyl. Earlier this week he shared its third single, “Soporific Cell.”

A press release says the song is “influenced by the Afro-Futurism of Saul Williams’ [film] Neptune Frost, the novels of Ursula K Le Guin, and the band Hot Chocolate.”

Previously of Montreal shared the album’s first single, “Yung Hearts Bleed Free,” via a music video. Then he shared its second single, “Rude Girl on Rotation,” via a music video.

Lady on the Cusp is the follow-up to 2022’s Freewave Lucifer f<ck f^ck f>ck and 2020’s UR FUN. A press release says Barnes “will answer to any pronoun you proffer,” including he, she, and they. A fixture of the Athens, Georgia music scene since 1996, Barnes and his partner, musician Christina Schneider (aka Locate S, 1), recently left the South for the more progressive state of Vermont. The move informed the new album, as it was written and recorded as they were making preparations to relocate, with Barnes reflecting on his nearly three decades of making music in Athens.

Read our 2016 The End interview about endings and death with of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes. By Mark Redfern

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 11.

J. Bernardt: “Don’t Get Me Wrong”

Empire of the Sun: “Music on the Radio”

Peggy Gou: “Lobster Telephone”

Nap Eyes: “Feline Wave Race”

+/- {Plus/Minus}: “Calling Off the Rescue”

Strand of Oaks: “Future Temple”

This Is Lorelei: “Where’s Your Love Now”

Trentemøller: “A Different Light”

Wishy: “Love on the Outside”

Here’s a handy Spotify playlist featuring the Top 11 in order, followed by all the honorable mentions:

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Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

Songs of the Week

10 Best Songs of the Week: Miki Berenyi Trio, Good Looks, Dehd, Sour Widows, and More

May 10, 2024

Welcome to the 16th Songs of the Week of 2024. This week Andy Von Pip, Caleb Campbell, Matt the Raven, and Scott Dransfield helped me decide what should make the list. We seriously considered over 25 songs this week and narrowed it down to a Top 10.

Recently we announced our new print issue, The ’90s Issue, featuring The Cardigans and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth on the covers. Buy it from us directly here.

In the past few weeks we posted interviews with Arab Strap, Sarah McLachlan, John Carpenter, Sunday (1994), Sam Evian, and others.

In the last week we reviewed some albums.

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, followed by some honorable mentions. Check out the full list below.

1. Miki Berenyi Trio: “Vertigo”

This week, Miki Berenyi Trio—led by the former singer/guitarist with1990s shoegaze, dream pop, and Britpop sensations Lush—shared their debut single, “Vertigo,” via a music video. It comes ahead of the group’s previously announced U.S. tour dates.

After Lush, Berenyi was also in the band Piroshka and for the trio she is backed by two members of that band—Berenyi’s life partner KJ “Moose” McKillop (of ’90s shoegazers Moose) and guitarist Oliver Cherer. McKillop is sitting out the U.S. tour because he doesn’t like to fly due to both environmental concerns and a fear of flying, so bassist Mick Conroy (Modern English and formerly of Piroshka) is standing in.

“‘Vertigo’ is about anxiety and the efforts to talk myself down from the precipice—the usual cheerful stuff,” says Berenyi of the new single in a press release.

Of the recording the song, she adds: “It’s a challenge to not have a drummer, and to use more programming, but the essence of the music is still guitars and melody—as it always has been, particularly in mine and Moose’s bands.”

French director Sébastien Faits-Divers made the “Vertigo” video, filming it in the Consortium Museum (Contemporary Art Center) in Dijon, in one of the Isabella Ducrot exhibition rooms.

On their tour, Miki Berenyi Trio will be performing both Lush and Piroshka songs, as well as some new Miki Berenyi Trio originals, including “Verigo.”

In 2022, Berenyi released her acclaimed memoir, Fingers Crossed: How Music Saved Me From Success, and the trio was partially born out of the need to perform at book events. Fingers Crossed is now finally available in America via Mango Publishing.

Berenyi does a joint interview with Australian dream pop artist Hatchie in the current issue of our print magazine, The ’90s Issue, where she discusses her memoir and Lush. Buy a copy directly from us here.

Pirohska, which also features former Elastica drummer Justin Welch, released their second studio album, Love Drips and Gathers, in 2021 via Bella Union. Read our interview with them about it here.

Pirsoshka also contributed to our Covers of Covers album in honor our 20th Anniversary, where they covered Grandaddy’s “The Crystal Lake.”

Last year, 4AD reissued Lush’s three full-length studio albums—Spooky (1992), Split (1994), and Lovelife (1996)—on vinyl.

In April, Lush and 4AD also teamed up with The Criterion Channel to release A Far From Home Movie, a new short documentary film on the band based on Super-8 footage filmed by bassist Philip King during their tours from 1992 to 1996.

Lol Tolhurst x Budgie x Jacknife Lee—which is Lol Tolhurst (formerly of The Cure), Budgie (formerly of Siouxsie and the Banshees), and producer/musician Jacknife Lee—will support most dates. Their debut album together, Los Angeles, came out last November via Play It Again Sam. Read our review of the album.

Berenyi was one of the artists on the cover of our 20th Anniversary Issue.

Read our 2015 interview with Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson of Lush on Lovelife and the final days of the band.

Read our 2015 interview with Lush on Split.

Read our 2016 interview with Lush on their reunion.

2. Good Looks: “Can You See Me Tonight?”

Austin, Texas four-piece Good Looks are releasing a new album, Lived Here For a While, on June 7 via Keeled Scales. This week they shared its third single, “Can You See Me Tonight?,” via a music video.

In a press release frontman Tyler Jordan says the song is about his relationship with his mom and “the connection to why I write songs and perform them, and how it affects my other relationships, turning darkness to light in the process.”

Riley Engemoen directed the song’s video and had this to say in a press release: “My friend Liz and I met Dan & Doris at the Broken Spoke and have since been creating a documentary on them called Forcefield of Love. Dr. Dan is known as ‘Austin’s coolest marriage and family therapist.’ Him and Doris are enamored with one another, always color-coordinated in a honeymoon state. They spend most evenings dancing through Austin’s honky tonks and jazz clubs—blissfully and unabashedly forming a quantum energy field of Love—hypnotizing all of those in their orbit.”

Previously the band shared its first single, “If It’s Gone,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared its second single, “Self-destructor,” via a music video. It was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Lived Here For a While is the band’s second album and the follow-up to 2022’s Bummer Year.

The album was influenced by an accident lead guitarist Jake Ames had just after the band’s hometown record release show for Bummer Year, when he was hit by a car outside the venue and ended up in the hospital with a fractured skull and tailbone, along with short-term memory issues.

“We were in the hospital with him every day,” says frontman Tyler Jordan in a press release. “It wasn’t clear how bad it was gonna be for Jake. We had no idea how this traumatic brain injury would affect him until the swelling went down. We even wondered if we’d ever play music together again.”

Luckily Ames made a full recovery and joined by drummer Phil Dunne and bassist Robert Cherry, they set out to record Lived Here For a While at Texas’ Dandy Sounds with producer/engineer Dan Duszynski (of Loma and Cross Record). Harrison Anderson has since joined the band as their new bassist.

3. Dehd: “Dog Days”

Chicago trio Dehd released a new album, Poetry, today via Fat Possum. Earlier this week they shared its fourth single, “Dog Days,” via a one-take video.

The band’s Jason Balla had this to say about the song in a press release: “This song is a celebration for the messiness of life and the search for companionship. It’s about opening your heart and letting it be pummeled. It’s taking risks, receiving rejection, dealing out disappointment. It’s about being brave and sometimes making bad decisions. It seems like everyone I know is out here grasping at love and often, fucking it up, breaking hearts and having ours broken along the way. It’s just the rules of the game and I wanted to make an anthem for people on the same rollercoaster, just trying their best, losing fast and loving hard.”

Previously the band shared the album’s first single, “Mood Ring,” via a music video. It was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared its second single, “Light On.” The album’s third single was “Alien.”

Poetry is the follow-up to 2022’s Blue Skies (also on Fat Possum) and 2020’s Flower of Devotion (which was released by Fire Talk).

Dehd is Emily Kempf, Jason Balla, and Eric McGrady. After they finished touring Blue Skies, the band embarked on some writing sessions in remote locations. “Eating, sleeping, breathing, living—our only purpose was to write,” says Kempf in a press release.

Ziyad Asrar of Whitney co-produced the album alongside Balla, recording at Palisade Studios in Chicago. Charles Bukowski’s poem “The Laughing Heart” inspired the album.

Read our interview with Dehd on Flower of Devotion.

4. Sour Widows: “Staring Into Heaven/Shining”

Bay Area trio Sour Widows are releasing their debut album, Revival of a Friend, on June 28 via Exploding In Sound. This week they shared its latest single, the over eight-minute long “Staring Into Heaven/Shining,” via a music video. It’s the album’s closing track.

The band’s Susanna Thomson had this to say about the song in a press release: “After my mom passed in late June of 2021, I went on a trip in August of that year in an attempt to put physical distance between myself and the pain of what I had just experienced. I was searching for relief wherever I thought I could find it; ultimately, that trip taught me that grief cannot be outrun. ‘Staring Into Heaven/Shining’ is a confessional song, written at a time when I was desperate to gain control over my life through ideas I had about grieving the ‘right’ way. As I tried and failed to reconcile feelings of regret and unanswerable questions, it became clearer to me that all I can do is choose to simply observe the experience of grief. The lyrics are searching, but come to their natural end in a place without resolution; it wasn’t until after finishing the song that I realized there can be hope in accepting that there are things we cannot know about death.”

Previously the band shared the album’s first single, “Cherish.”

5. Jay Som: “If I Could”

The new A24 film, I Saw the TV Glow, was released to select theaters last week and today the soundtrack was released. It features new songs by Bartees Strange, Jay Som, The Weather Station, Proper., Sloppy Jane featuring Phoebe Bridgers, Florist, Caroline Polachek, and more. Stream the whole thing here.

Jay Som’s “If I Could” was one of our favorites of the tracks not yet released as a single.

Previously we posted Polachek’s contribution to the soundtrack, “Starburned and Unkissed.” Alex G’s original score for the film is coming out on May 16.

Jane Schoenbrun directs I Saw the TV Glow, which is the follow-up to their acclaimed 2021 film, We’re All Going to the World’s Fair. The horror film stars Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine, with Ian Foreman, Helena Howard, Fred Durst, Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan, and Danielle Deadwyler in supporting roles. Bridgers and Sloppy Jane also appear in the film as themselves.

6. Ducks Ltd.: “When You’re Outside”

Toronto-based duo Ducks Ltd. released a new album, Harm’s Way, in February via Carpark. This week they shared a new song, “When You’re Outside,” that was recorded during the Harm’s Way sessions but didn’t end up on the album. It features backing harmonies from Julia Steiner (of Ratboys) and Margaret McCarthy (of Moontype).

Ducks Ltd. is Tom McGreevy and Evan Lewis.

McGreevy had this to say about the single in a press release: “This was one we wrote pretty early in the process for Harm’s Way, which was a period when a lot of country-leaning ideas were working their way into our arrangements. I’d demoed the harmonies in the chorus (badly), and when we were working on backing vocals with Julia and Margaret they immediately understood what we were trying to do and really elevated it. The song didn’t end up quite fitting in the sequence for the album, but it does a couple things we’ve never done before in a Ducks song so I’m glad we’re finding a way to put it out. It’s about trying to support someone who is making that difficult to do. Unconditional love in a sense. Or at least love with limited conditions.”

Harm’s Way is the follow-up to Modern Fiction, which came out in 2021 via Carpark and was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2021.

McGreevy had this to say about the rest of the tracks on the album in a previous press release: “They’re songs about struggling. About watching people I care for suffer, and trying to figure out how to be there for them. And about the strain of living in the world when it feels like it’s ready to collapse.”

Ducks Ltd. previously shared the album’s first single “The Main Thing,” via a music video. “The Main Thing” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared its second single, “Hollowed Out,” via a music video (it was also one of our Songs of the Week). The album’s third single, “Train Full of Gasoline,” was also one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared the album’s fourth single, “Heavy Bag,” via a lyric video. It was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Dave Vettraino (Deeper, Lala Lala, Dehd) produced the album, which was recorded in Chicago.

Read our The End interview with Tom McGreevy.

7. Hinds: “Boom Boom Back” (Feat. Beck)

This week, Madrid-based band Hinds announced a new album, VIVA HINDS, and shared a new song from it, “Boom Boom Back,” which features Beck. They also announced some North American tour dates. VIVA HINDS also features Fontaines D.C.’s Grian Chatten and is due out September 6 via Lucky Number. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork, as well as the tour dates, here.

VIVA HINDS features “Coffee,” a new song the band shared in February. VIVA HINDS is the band’s first album since becoming a duo again. Hinds was founded by co-vocalists and co-guitarists Carlotta Cosials and Ana Perrote in 2011, but for most of their career they’ve been a four-piece. Ade Martin and Amber Grimbergen left the band in 2022, returning them to a duo.

Pete Robertson (The Vaccines, beabadoobee) produced the album, which was mixed by Caesar Edmunds (The Killers, Wet Leg) and engineered by Tom Roach. It was recorded in rural France.

“This isn’t a rational album, this is made with emotions, in no specific order,” Cosials says in a press release. “We never sat down to think what we should write about, we sat down to write about what we were going through. We didn’t choose a ‘new look,’ we didn’t wanna pretend to be mature, or appear as a more sophisticated band. To me it is cohesive, but it’s not a fairy tale or a brainy narrative. It’s heart-driven.”

Of keeping the band going despite the line-up change and other challenges (the pandemic, no label), Cosials says: “We started the band because we are so safe and comfortable with each other. Our relationship is unbreakable. This connection between us hasn’t changed since the very beginning. We still finish each other’s ideas, laugh at each other’s jokes and rhyme each other’s lines. Maintaining that enthusiasm for music and for Hinds through the years may seem extremely difficult to find, but it’s something that only can happen with your very best friend.”

Hinds’ last album, The Prettiest Curse, came out in 2020. Read our interview with the band about it.

8. Bartees Strange: “Big Glow”

Another previously unreleased song from the I Saw the TV Glow soundtrack we liked was “Big Glow” by Bartees Strange.

Bartees Strange released a new album, Farm to Table, in 2022 via 4AD. It was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2022. Stream it here and read our review of it here.

Read our interview with Strange on Live Forever.

9. Bonny Light Horseman: “Old Dutch”

Bonny Light Horseman are releasing a new double album, Keep Me on Your Mind/See You Free, on June 7 via Jagjaguwar. This week they shared its third single, “Old Dutch,” via a lyric video.

Bonny Light Horseman is Anaïs Mitchell, Eric D. Johnson, and Josh Kaufman. Kaufman produced the album, which was partially recorded at Levis (pronounced: “leh-viss”) Corner House, which is a century-old pub in Ballydehob, County Cork in Ireland. JT Bates (drums), Cameron Ralston (bass), and recording engineer Bella Blasko joined them in those sessions. The album was finished Dreamland Recording Studios in Upstate New York, which is where they completed their first two albums. Those sessions included Mike Lewis on bass and tenor saxophone and Annie Nero on upright bass and harmonies.

The band collectively had this to say about “Old Dutch” in a press release: “This song began as a backstage voice memo when we were performing at the Old Dutch Church in Kingston, NY, so iPhone named it for us. It came together fast with the three of us just finger-painting until there it was. It took a few fits and starts before we realized that it should be a duet and–importantly–a conversation. We recorded it live at Levis’ and when the whole crowd started singing ‘yeah I got a feelin,’ we all experienced a moment of collective lift-off. Josh looked over at Joe’s [bar owner] partner Caroline behind the bar, eyes wide open, arms outstretched, singing along and deeply feeling it. We’d never had that kind of moment tracking a song for a record before, seeing and feeling the connection (beyond the musicians in the room) in real-time as it’s all going to tape. It feels like this recording has some of that ‘real-life’ energy to it.”

The album includes “When I Was Younger,” a new song the band shared in February that was one of our Songs of the Week. When the album was announced they shared its second single, “I Know You Know,” via their first ever music video.

Bonny Light Horseman’s last album, Rolling Golden Holy, came out in 2022 via 37d03d.

Kaufman is also a member of Muzz (read our interview with them).

10. Wand: “Smile”

This week, psych-rockers Wand announced a new album, Vertigo, and shared its first single, “Smile,” via a music video. Vertigo is due out July 26 via Drag City.

Cory Hanson leads the band, which also features Evan Backer, Evan Burrows, and Robbie Cody. The album was formed from 50 hours of live improvisations. Vertigo follows 2019’s Laughing Matter.

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 10.

Amen Dunes: “Rugby Child”

beabadoobee: “Take a Bite”

The Bug Club: “Quality Pints”

John Cale: “Shark-Shark”

Cola: “Albatross”

Efterklang: “Plant”

fantasy of a broken heart: “Ur Heart Stops”

Kaeto: “HERO”

Martha Skye Murphy: “Pick Yourself Up”

Proper.: “The 90s”

Quivers: “Apparition”

The Weather Station: “Moonlight”

Here’s a handy Spotify playlist featuring the Top 10 in order, followed by all the honorable mentions:

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Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

Spacey Jane

Spacey Jane – Listen to Our Interview in the New Episode of Our Under the Radar Podcast

Mar 30, 2023

Caleb Harper, frontman of the Australian band Spacey Jane, is our final artist interview for Season 3 of our Under the Radar with Celine Teo-Blockey podcast. The fast rising band—which includes Kieran Lama, Ashton Hardman-Le Cornu, and Peppa Lane—had six songs off their recent sophomore album, Here Comes Everybody, break into the Triple J Hottest 100 listener’s poll for 2022. Three of those songs were also in the Top 10—an impressive feat only three other bands have achieved since the Australian radio station launched the popular, annual poll three decades ago.

Their 2020 debut, Sunlight, broke the Top 10 albums on the ARIA charts, while Here Comes Everyone went to Number One. A single from their first record, “Booster Seat,” is a sunny jangle about a dark period that won Song of the Year at the 2021 ARIA awards, proving how resonant their music was, particularly for young people who felt the twin stresses of COVID and climate change at what was meant to be the best time of their life.

The global pandemic might have prevented Spacey Jane from touring their first album but the album’s reach helped grow their popularity internationally and meant that the release of their follow up was met with sold out shows across America, last October.

On the podcast, Harper talks about being labeled the poster child for the COVID generation—kids that came off age during the pandemic—because he sings transparent songs about his own anxiety (“Booster Seat”), mental health (“It’s Been a Long Day”), the culture of binge drinking among young men (“Lunchtime”), and his sometimes difficult childhood (“Good Grief”) growing up part of a strict, religious community in rural Australia.

“It’s fine if people say this or that about it,” Harper says, referring to the label, “I might not always agree…but I’ll just keep making the music that I want to make…for the fans.” The band are currently on a Los Angeles sojourn to write new music, and have already been booked for Shaky Knees festival in Atlanta, with more festival dates expected to follow.

Listen to the episode below.

Please write to [email protected] if you would like to share your thoughts on this episode.

Follow us on Apple Podcasts and rate the show. You can also listen to us on Spotify and podcast apps such as Podchaser.

Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey.

Season 3 launched with episode one and our interview with Warpaint. Season 3, episode two featured Seratones. Season 3, episode three featured Marlon Williams. Season 3, episode four featured Bloc Party. Season 3, episode five featured Phoenix. Season 3, episode six featured Tim Burgess. By Celine Teo-Blockey

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

Tim Burgess

Tim Burgess – Listen to Our Interview in the New Episode of Our Under the Radar Podcast

Feb 09, 2023

Author, solo artist, and Charlatans frontman, Tim Burgess is our latest guest on Season 3 of our Under the Radar with Celine Teo-Blockey podcast, talking about his sixth solo album Typical Music. Clocking in at more than 120 mins, this 22-track double album is anything but typical. “It was always going to be considered tongue in cheek,” explains Burgess of the album title, “but during COVID…I kept thinking, typically, music can save the day.”

The Charlatans have lost two founding members (keyboardist Rob Collins in a tragic accident in 1997, at the height of the band’s popularity and drummer, Jon Brookes in 2013, from a brain tumor), the first one delivering a seismic shift to the band, and Burgess also recently lost his father, who died during the pandemic. Tim’s Twitter Listening Party grew out of his need to want to connect with people at a time when all live gigs were being cancelled. It quickly became for Burgess, his coterie of musician friends, and music fans everywhere a much needed distraction, then source of joy. The positivity of the listening parties inspired the optimistic tone of Typical Music.

On a more somber moment on the podcast, Burgess reveals the toll that Collins’ fatal accident took on him, “I just drank a lot…after Rob’s death.” Now sober for 15 years, Burgess’ joie de vivre is most apparent when he discusses his love for old records and growing up in Northwich with a mother as the unlikely conduit between him and one of his favorite bands, New Order. He admits that his teenage obsession for listening to full albums from cover to cover with his friends was rekindled during the pandemic when Tim’s Twitter Listening Party became a beacon for people looking to connect with others while in isolation.

Now that Twitter has somewhat imploded with Elon Musk, Burgess was unsure of the Listening Party’s future, “I have no idea. I mean, I’ve disengaged a little bit from Twitter…who knows what’s going to happen? But I mean, the Listening Party kind of is continuously evolving anyway.” They’ve done live shows and Burgess reveals that there are plans for the Listening Party to continue as a radio show.

Listen to the episode below.

Please write to [email protected] if you would like to share your thoughts on this episode.

Follow us on Apple Podcasts and rate the show. You can also listen to us on Spotify and podcast apps such as Podchaser.

Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey.

Season 3 launched with episode one and our interview with Warpaint. Season 3, episode two featured Seratones. Season 3, episode three featured Marlon Williams. Season 3, episode four featured Bloc Party. Season 3, episode five featured Phoenix. By Celine Teo-Blockey

Check out our interview with Burgess about his Twitter listening parties, along with our COVID-19 Quarantine Artist Check-In interview with him from 2020.

Read our First Issue Revisited interview with Burgess about The Charlatans’ Wonderland.

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.