10 Best Songs of the Week: Art Feynman, Marika Hackman, Gruff Rhys, Heartworms, and More | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, February 22nd, 2024  

10 Best Songs of the Week: Art Feynman, Marika Hackman, Gruff Rhys, Heartworms, and More

Plus Lala Lala, Ty Segall, Yumi Zouma, Julia Holter, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Nov 10, 2023
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Welcome to the 37th Songs of the Week of 2023. This week Andy Von Pip, Caleb Campbell, Marc Abbott, and Scott Dransfield all helped me decide what should make the list. We settled on a Top 10 this week.

In the past week or so we also posted interviews with Emma Anderson, John Cale, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Slaney Bay, Thurston Moore, Duran Duran, Viji, Alan Palomo, and others.

In the last week we reviewed some albums.

Remember that we previously announced our new print issue, Issue 71 with Weyes Blood and Black Belt Eagle Scout on the covers.

To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last week, we have picked the 10 best the last week had to offer, followed by some honorable mentions. Check out the full list below.

1. Art Feynman: “Therapy at 3pm”

Art Feynman, the moniker of Here We Go Magic frontman Luke Temple, released a new album, Be Good The Crazy Boys, today via Western Vinyl. On Tuesday, he shared another song from it, the frantic “Therapy at 3pm,” via a music video. It’s the final pre-release single from the album. Erren Franklin directed the video, shooting it on reversal B&W regular-8mm film.

Previously Temple shared the album’s lead single, “All I Can Do,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. He also shared the songs “Passed Over” and “Desperately Free.” “Early Signs of Rhythm” was the next single and was #1 on our Songs of the Week list.

The first two Feynman records were crafted in a rural part of Northern California, but Temple relocated to LA with a live in-studio full band to make Be Good The Crazy Boys.

Temple said of the album in a previous press release: “To me, there was a lot of energy that needed to be released as the result of living in isolation for six years. It also seems to speak to a general anxiety we’re all holding, but it’s expressed in a cathartic way.”

In 2020, Temple shared his second studio album as Art Feynman titled, Half Price at 3:30.

Read our COVID-19 Quarantine Check-In interview with Temple. By Mark Redfern

2. Marika Hackman: “Slime”

British singer/songwriter Marika Hackman is releasing a new album, Big Sigh, on January 12, 2024 via Chrysalis, her first album for the label. On Tuesday, she shared its third single, “Slime,” via a music video. Hackman co-directed the music video with Anne-Sofie Lindgaard.

Hackman had this to say about the song in a press release: “It’s a reflection of the destruction that can be caused when you get together with someone and there are other factors at play. On the one hand you have a new thing that’s really exciting and hot and lusty but there can also be a lot of storm clouds floating around, a lot of fall-out socially.”

Big Sigh includes “No Caffeine,” a new song Hackman shared in September via a music video that was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. When the album was announced she shared its second single, “Hanging,” via a lyric video. “Hanging” was one of our Songs of the Week.

Hackman co-produced Big Sigh with Sam Petts-Davies (Thom Yorke, Warpaint) and long-term collaborator Charlie Andrew (Alt-J). It’s her first album of original songs in over four years and described as the “hardest record” she’s ever made.

In 2020 Hackman released a covers album, simply titled Covers, via Sub Pop. Hackman’s last album of originals, Any Human Friend, came out in 2019, also via Sub Pop. Read our rave review of the album. Any Human Friend was the follow-up to her 2017-released breakthrough release, sophomore album I’m Not Your Man.

Read our 2017 interview with Marika Hackman.

Read our My Favorite Album interview with Hackman on Warpaint’s The Fool. By Mark Redfern

3. Gruff Rhys: “Silver Lining Lead Balloons”

Gruff Rhys, Welsh frontman of Super Furry Animals, is releasing a new solo album, Sadness Sets Me Free, on January 26, 2024 via Rough Trade. On Tuesday, he shared its second single, the horn-backed “Silver Lining Lead Balloons.”

Rhys had this to say about the song in a press release: “It’s about facing reality and not trying to overstate something that isn’t all that. But it’s deadpan. I’m not being totally serious. At the end I’m singing ‘I left my dreams in a rental car,’ which is quite a pathetic image, and then it’s followed by the last lines, ‘Live for now/and dream afar.’ The version of me that’s singing it is quite a road-worn character—literally. I’d been driving around Europe in a van, with war starting out. So maybe that mindset.”

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

Rhys’ backing band on the album features Osian Gwynedd (piano), Huw V Williams (double bass), and former Flaming Lips drummer Kliph Scurlock (drums). Sadness Sets Me Free was recorded at La Frette Studios, a studio on the outskirts of Paris in a 19th-century house. The initial recordings were done in only three days. Kate Stables from This is the Kit contributed backing vocals (Rhys produced This is the Kit’s latest album, Careful of Your Keepers, which came out in June). Sadness Sets Me Free is the 25th album Rhys has released, taking into account Super Furry Animals, his solo work, and various side-projects.

“At this point I quite like working with serendipity,” he says. “Not in a cosmic way, [but] I try and leave things open to chance encounters and chance geography. As I’m around 25 albums in I’m always looking for ways to make a different-sounding record.”

Back in February, Rhys released the soundtrack for the film The Almond and the Seahorse via Rough Trade. His last regular solo album was 2021’s Seeking New Gods. It was one of our Top 100 Albums of the 2021. In 2022 he also shared the new songs “People Are Pissed” and “Arogldarth.” “People Are Pissed” was one of our Songs of the Week.

Read our 2015 interview with Gruff Rhys. By Mark Redfern

4. Heartworms: “May I Comply”

This week, South London artist Heartworms—aka Jojo Orme—was back with her brand new single “May I Comply” on Speedy Wunderground. Produced by Speedy Wunderground head Dan Carey, “May I Comply” is the first Heartworms release since her acclaimed debut EP A Comforting Notion arrived in March this year.

Heartworms will play her biggest headline show to date at Village Underground on 21st November and will tour the U.S. with The Kills in 2024. Check out the tour dates here.

Speaking about “May I Comply’” and its accompanying video by Gilbert Trejo (who also directed Heartworms’ previous video “24 Hours”), Heartworms says: “When I wrote this track I just wanted to get over an ex and to tell my little brother he’s good enough… turned out to be a lot darker than I thought.”

Gilbert Trejo adds: “For ‘May I Comply’ Jojo and I wanted to lean harder into the stark black and white world that Heartworms is building, washing everything but the band out in a sea of emptiness. Between shooting ‘24 Hours’ and ‘May I Comply’ I’ve had the chance to photograph Heartworms on tour and was excited about capturing a bit more of the energy of Jojo’s performance at this stage.” By Andy Von Pip

5. Lala Lala: “Armida”

On Thursday, Lala Lala (aka Lillie West) shared a new single, “Armida,” via a lyric video. The single is out now via Hardly Art.

In a press release, West says: “‘Armida’ is a true heartbreak song written after I had to get sober again last year. I asked Melina Duterte to produce. I was listening to a lot of Oneohtrix Point Never, and we used him as a sonic reference.”

“Armida” follows “HIT ME WHERE IT HURTS,” a new song Lala Lala shared in September that was one of our Songs of the Week.

West’s last album, I Want the Door to Open, came out in 2021 via Hardly Art. In 2022 she shared the new song “Memory.”

Read our Self-Portrait feature with Lala Lala. By Mark Redfern

6. Ty Segall: “My Room”

On Monday, Ty Segall announced a new album, Three Bells, and shared a new song from it, “My Room,” via a music video. Three Bells is due out January 26, 2024 via Drag City. Segall co-directed the “My Room” video with Matt Yoka, in which the singer/guitarist gets pelted by bananas. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork, as well as Segall’s upcoming tour dates, here.

Segall’s previous solo album, “Hello, Hi”, came out in 2022 via Drag City. Also in 2022, Segall released the soundtrack to the Matt Yoka documentary Whirlybird, his first ever feature film score, also via Drag City.

Three Bells includes two recent singles, “Void” and “Eggman.” “Void,” a near-seven-minute-long new song Segall, was shared in August via a music video and was one of our Songs of the Week. “Eggman” was shared in September via a music video in which Segall eats a whole lot of hard boiled eggs.

Segall collaborated with his wife, Denée Segall, on five songs on Three Bells. Emmett Kelly plays bass on some songs and the remaining members of Segall’s backing band, The Freedom Band, also played on the album. Cooper Crain co-produced the album, as well as engineering and mixing most of Three Bells.

A press release describes the album in more detail: “Three Bells is an obsessive quest for expression. With much of the album being played by Ty in conversation with himself, a decision that further elevates the album’s conception, it answers back to the riptide always pulling Ty subconsciously into the depths. Questions we all ask in our own private mirrors are faced down here—and regardless of what the mysterious ‘Three Bells’ mean in the context of the album’s libretto, you can be assured that Ty’s ringing them for himself, and for the rest of us in turn. With all fifteen songs brimming with perspectives, shape-shifting incessantly, Ty pushed them out farther and farther compositionally, challenging the way they’d be played. Each song moves through repetitive, thematic material in its own way, building a claustrophobic/paranoia vibe, cycling bold thrusts forward into ego deaths, the one-step-forward, two-steps- back patterns framing an overriding ask: what we can do to get past the back-and-forth conversation, to arrive at a place of acceptance?” By Mark Redfern

7. Yumi Zouma: “Kicking Up Daisies”

On Wednesday, New Zealand alt-pop group Yumi Zouma shared a new song, “Kicking Up Daisies.” It’s the third single they’ve shared late and all are supposed to be taken from a forthcoming EP (details of which are TBA).

The band features Christie Simpson, Josh Burgess, Charlie Ryder, and Olivia Campion. Burgess had this to say about “Kicking Up Daisies” in a statement to Under the Radar:

“‘Kicking Up Daisies’ was born as I tried (and failed) to learn Elliott Smith’s ‘Angeles’ on guitar—there is a beautiful chord I borrowed from him.

“The summer of 21/22 I went back to NZ for the first time after COVID—spending two weeks quarantined in a hotel room before being set free.

“I was house sitting Christie’s parents’ house in Christchurch—her grandmother’s piano was in the living room, and all summer I worked on the song on that piano. ‘I came home for an hour, and spent the whole day,’ kind of sums up that period. I was a bit broken and found myself cancelling plans left, right and centre. I felt like I was constantly running away from the black dog.

“It was a pretty complete song by the time I took it to the band in Japan in August. I had actually lost the original recording, so we started again—adding a half-time outro at the end, with a haunting section from Christie about her own demons.

“I love how it turned out and feel like there’s a little bit of Elliott in there.

“(Finding beauty from misery.)”

“Kicking Up Daisies” follows “KPR,” a new song the band shared in September via a music video directed by the band. “KPR” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then in October they shared another new song, “be okay,” also via a music video (which is below too).

The band’s last album, Present Tense, came out in 2022 via Polyvinyl.

The band collectively had this to say about the new EP in a previous press release: “All four of us are New Zealanders, but we live between NZ, the US, and the UK, which makes it difficult to spend time physically together. This was a particular challenge during the pandemic, which made the creation of our last album Present Tense a fully remote process. However, last year, we played over 70 shows in 13 countries, including one show and 24 hours in Japan—a fleeting glimpse which planted a seed that Tokyo could be a good middle point for us to meet again to write and record one day.

“And so, it transpired—over three weeks in April and May, we wrote and recorded at Studio Mech, a studio based in the quiet neighbourhood of Yutenji, south of Shibuya. Working in a different environment without the pressures of being on tour was a new experience, while the mix of routine and residency brought us all closer together. The sessions also sparked new creative conversations—this was the first time Olivia had been able to join the group for each step of making a record, and the proximity of organic instruments in the studio for sharing ideas meant that songs primarily became established on the guitars and pianos around us, instead of software instruments shared wirelessly between our laptops at home.

“The result is our fourth EP, and ninth Yumi Zouma record overall—a fuller, more natural-sounding collection of recordings crammed full of cascading piano lines, pummelling drums, chorused gang vocal takes, and waves of distorted guitars. Particularly inspired by the sounds of ’90s noise, shoegaze, and midwestern emo, these new songs push the band’s signature dream pop sheen to new extremes, exemplified by the bursts of screeching feedback and spoken word on lead single ‘KPR,’ and the overdriven screams in the bridge of the anthemic ‘be okay.’ There are even surprises during the record’s more classic Yumi Zouma moments, such as the naked, intimate vocals in the coda to ‘Kicking Up Daisies,’ and Olivia’s joyous shout of ‘whoo!’ before the piano-led second verse of the alt-folk-leaning ‘Desert Mile.’”

The tracks on the EP were mixed by Kenny Gilmore (Weyes Blood, Julia Holter, Chris Cohen), Jake Aron (Grizzly Bear, Snail Mail, Solange), Tom Healy (The Chills, Tiny Ruins, Marlon Williams) and Simon Gooding (Fazerdaze, Neil Finn, Dua Lipa). Antoine Chabert (Daft Punk, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Christine & The Queens) mastered the EP.

Burgess had this to add about the EP: “The time we spent together writing and recording this EP will forever be one of my most cherished memories.”

While Ryder says the EP “is the best music we have ever released, without a shadow of a doubt—it feels like a very dramatic update to the world of who we are as a band.”

The EP’s exact title, tracklist, cover artwork, and release date all have yet to be announced.

Yumi Zouma’s 2020 album, Truth or Consequences, was featured on our Top 100 Albums of 2020 list.

Read our COVID-19 Quarantine Artist Check-In interview with the band’s Charlie Ryder.

In March 2020, we posted our My Firsts interview with the band, which can be read here.

Read our 2017 interview with Yumi Zouma on their second album Willowbank. By Mark Redfern

8. Julia Holter: “Sun Girl”

On Tuesday, Julia Holter shared a new song, “Sun Girl,” via an animated video. The single is out now via Domino. Artist and animator Tammy Nguyễn directed the “Sun Girl” video.

A press release says the song features “fragments of flute, field recordings, Yamaha CS-60, bagpipes, mellotron, drums, and fretless bass.”

It’s been five years since Holter released a regular new album, Aviary, via Domino. It was our Album of the Week and made the Top 10 in our Top 100 Albums of 2018 list.

Since then she has kept busy, including composing the score for Eliza Hittman’s 2020 film Never Rarely Sometimes Always and working in the past year with England’s Chorus of Opera North on a new live soundtrack to the 1928 silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc, which Holter wrote and performed. She’s also recently worked with Call Super, Beverly Glenn-Copeland, and Max Tundra.

Read our rave review of Aviary.

Read our interview with Julia Holter on Aviary.

Read our 2015 interview with Holter. By Mark Redfern

9. Dua Lipa: “Houdini”

Yesterday, British pop singer Dua Lipa shared a new song, “Houdini,” via a music video. The song was co-written and co-produced by Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker. Manu Cossu directed the video.

Lipa co-wrote “Houdini” with Parker, as well as with Caroline Ailin, Danny L. Harle, and Tobias Jesso Jr. Parker and Harle produced the song. These also seem to be the main collaborators on Lipa’s yet to be announced new album, which will be the follow-up to 2020’s Future Nostalgia.

“This track represents the most light and freeing parts of my singledom,” says Lipa in a press release. “‘Houdini’ is very tongue in cheek, exploring the idea of whether someone is really worth my while or if I’ll ghost them in the end. You never know where something may take you, that’s the beauty of being open to whatever life throws your way. I’m looking forward to sharing that feeling of defiant bliss with my fans.”

Of the next album, Lipa adds: “A lot of this album was written in those joyous moments of absolute chaos and how I moved through the world with lightness and optimism of whatever the outcome may be.” By Mark Redfern

10. Mary Timony: “Dominoes”

Mary Timony has been involved in many notable bands over the years, including Helium, Ex Hex, Autoclave, and Wild Flag, but ton Thursday she announced her first new solo album in 15 years, Untame the Tiger, and shared its first single, “Dominoes,” via a music video. She’s also announced some 2024 tour dates. Untame the Tiger is due out February 23, 2024 via Merge. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork, as well as the tour dates, here.

“This song was almost not on the record,” says Timony of “Dominoes” in a press release. “We needed one last song, and I found a demo of it I had forgotten about at the last minute.”

Timony produced Untame the Tiger alongside Joe Wong (composer on Master of None, Russian Doll, The Midnight Gospel) and Dennis Kane. Over the course of two years the album was recorded at various locations: Studio 606, Magpie Cage, 38North, and in Timony’s basement. Chad Molter (Faraquet, Medications), David Christian, and Brian Betancourt (Cass McCombs, Devendra Banhart, Hospitality) all play on the album. Dave Fridmann (MGMT, The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev) and John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile, Waxahatchee) mixed the album.

Timony worked on the album after the end of a long-term relationship and while she was caring for her elderly parents, who both passed away during its creation.

“This was the hardest thing I’ve been through. Every week I had to manage a new crisis.” Timony says in the press release. “I started realizing that I gotta control the things that I can. Because I was making impossible decisions on behalf of my parents, creative choices now seemed more manageable. Since I had to confront the reality of loss, I realized what was important to me about being alive, and I became less scared. The record became my anchor in a time when I was losing so much around me. It felt like all I had—a guide that helped me through, and gave me hope.”

At Los Angeles’ Studio 606 Timony recorded with Dave Mattacks, drummer of legendary British folk-rock band Fairport Convention. “Mattacks is a hero of mine and one of my favorite musicians of all time. He is a true legend. I never in a million years thought he’d agree to play on my record,” she says. “Before the session, I had a panic attack and had to go sit alone in the parking lot… Once we started playing together, it felt so great that the fear subsided and turned into excitement. His playing felt instantly familiar, which makes sense because it’s the foundation of many of my favorite records.” By Mark Redfern

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 10.

Zooey Celeste: “Big Trouble” (Feat. Tei Shi)

Clark: “Vardo”

David Holmes: “Yeah x 3” (Feat. Raven Violet)

Will Sheff: “Some News”

Sinkane: “Everything is Everything” (Feat. Tru Osborne)

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

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