10 Best Songs of the Week: Caroline Polachek, The Beths, Everything Everything, and More | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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10 Best Songs of the Week: Caroline Polachek, The Beths, Everything Everything, and More

Plus Sunflower Bean, Spoon, Sharon Van Etten, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Feb 11, 2022 Bookmark and Share

Welcome to the sixth Songs of the Week of 2022.

In the last week we posted interviews with alt-J, Black Country, New Road, and Trentemøller.

In the last week we also reviewed a bunch of albums.

Don’t forget to pick up our new double print issue, our 20th Anniversary Issue (which is out now) and to preorder our first album, the 20th anniversary compilation Covers of Covers. Also check out our Top 100 Albums of 2021 list and our Top 130 Songs of 2021 list.

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, along with highlighting other notable new tracks shared in the last seven days. Check out the full list below.

1. Caroline Polachek: “Billions”

On Wednesday, Caroline Polachek (formerly of Chairlift) shared a video for her new single, “Billions.” Produced by Polachek alongside Danny L Harle, the song features London’s Trinity Choir on the chorus. The video was co-directed by Polachek and Matt Copson. Polachek is currently on tour with Dua Lipa as a supporting act; view the full list of dates here.

In a press release, Polachek states: “The overabundance of this world overwhelms me. Sometimes it seems like ultimate tragedy, the earth being pillaged and destroyed for it. Sometimes it seems pre-human, beyond morality, sublime. I don’t pick sides, I just live here, with you. How does it feel, being so rich?”

Polachek will be releasing “Billions” as a 7-inch single alongside a new reworking of Oneohtrix Point Never’s “Long Road Home,” the original of which she provided backing vocals on. Listen to the reworking below as well.

Polachek’s latest album, Pang, came out in 2019. By Joey Arnone

2. The Beths: “A Real Thing”

Yesterday, New Zealand four-piece The Beths shared a video for their new single, “A Real Thing.” It marks the band’s first release of new music since their most recent album, Jump Rope Gazers.

“‘A Real Thing’ is a kind of anxiety dream. It’s a bit muddled, a bit frantic, a bit sinister,” states lead singer Liz Stokes in a press release. “It’s what came out of my guitar in late 2020, post N.Z. election (and U.S. election). I was limply reaching for optimism about the future, but was really just marinating in dread.”

Jump Rope Gazers came out in 2020 via Carpark. Read our My Firsts interview with The Beths. By Joey Arnone

3. Everything Everything: “Bad Friday”

On Wednesday, British art-rockers Everything Everything announced the release of a new album, Raw Data Feel, which will be out on May 20. The band also announced the release of a limited-edition lyric book, CAPS LOCK ON: Lyrics + Debris 2007-2022, due out the same day via Faber Music. A video for the album’s lead single, “Bad Friday,” was shared by the band.

In a press release, Higgs elaborates on the band’s new single: “This song is about being a victim of violence, explaining it away through the gauze of a ‘crazy night out.’ We wanted the video to have a monochrome Ink Spots classicism to it, disrupted by elements of A.I.-generated imagery. This reflects the approach to writing and producing the song—the minimalistic combined with the surreal and disorientating.”

The band’s most recent album, Re-Animator, came out last year on Infinity Industries and made it to #40 on our Top 100 Albums of 2020 list. It featured the songs “Arch Enemy,” “Planets,” “Violent Sun,” and “Big Climb,” all of which were featured on our Songs of the Week.

Check out the fourth episode of our Under the Radar podcast, where we speak to Jonathan Higgs.

Read our COVID-19 Quarantine Check-In interview with Higgs. By Joey Arnone

4. Sunflower Bean: “Who Put You Up to This?”

On Tuesday, New York trio Sunflower Bean announced the release of a new album, Headful of Sugar, which will be out on May 6 via Mom + Pop. They also shared a Josefine Cardoni-directed video for a new single from the album, “Who Put You Up to This?,” and announced a North America/U.K. tour for this year. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as the full list of tour dates, here.

In October, the band shared the album track “Baby Don’t Cry.” Their most recent album, Twentytwo in Blue, came out in 2018 via Mom + Pop. In 2020, they shared the song “Moment in the Sun,” which was one of our Songs of the Week.

5. Spoon: “Satellite”

Spoon released a new album, Lucifer on the Sofa, today via Matador. Read our rave review of it here. Now that it is out, we can include one of our favorite album tracks, “Satellite,” which wasn’t a pre-release single.

Previously the band shared the album’s first two singles: “The Hardest Cut” (which was one of our Songs of the Week) and the U2-esque “Wild” (which was also one of our Songs of the Week). Earlier this week they shared the album’s third and final pre-release single, “My Babe,” which also makes the honorable mentions list below. They also shared a video of the band performing “My Babe” live from The Teragram in Los Angeles.

Spoon co-produced the album with Mark Rankin (Adele, Queens of the Stone Age) and it also features contributions from Dave Fridmann and Justin Raisen. It’s the first time in more than a decade that Spoon has recorded an album in their hometown of Austin, Texas. A press release promises “it’s the band’s purest rock ’n roll record to date.”

Frontman Britt Daniel had this to say about the album in a press release: “It’s the sound of classic rock as written by a guy who never did get Eric Clapton.” By Mark Redfern

6. Hatis Noit: “Fernweh”

On Wednesday, Japanese voice artist Hatis Noit shared a new single, “Fernweh.” It is the latest release from the upcoming Erased Tapes compilation, Music for kō, which will be out on April 1. Celebrating the label’s 15th anniversary, the compilation features Rival Consoles, Masayoshi Fujita and Daniel Thorne, among others.

In a press release Noit says: “During the third U.K. lockdown in early 2021, I finally challenged myself to self-produce a whole song, which I hadn’t done before. Before, I wanted to focus on just using my voice rather than making music sitting in front of a computer, but the situation of lockdown challenged me to go on this new journey.

“Whilst making the piece, I felt a sense of missing going on physical journeys, and that sense of wonder that comes with traveling. So the song turned out to be a collage of memories of journeys I had so far as well as imaginary journeys I might have in the future. The whole process of making this healed the painful feeling of ‘Fernweh’ for me somehow, and I hope it might have the same effect on others.” By Joey Arnone

7. Sharon Van Etten: “Porta”

On Wednesday, Sharon Van Etten shared a new song, “Porta,” via a video featuring the singer/songwriter working out. Leslie Raymond directed the video, which features Stella Cook as Van Etten’s work out partner. Right now it’s just a standalone single, perhaps in honor of Van Etten’s upcoming The Wild Hearts tour this summer with Angel Olsen and Julien Baker.

In a press release Van Etten says “Porta” was written in 2020 “at one of my lowest lows. For most of my adult life I have struggled with bouts of depression and anxiety and coping mechanisms, and I sometimes let those dark moments get the best of me. During this time I felt very dissociated. Not connected to my body and I felt out of control.”

It was Van Etten’s friend, the aforementioned Stella Cook, who runs Base Pilates in North Carolina, who helped her through this dark period. “I was seeking a friend, someone to talk to who understands what finding the core means but also knows what my weaknesses are and can help me work around them and find my other strengths,” Van Etten explains. “I knew I was entering a no judgment zone and I needed to be held accountable for my actions and Stella helped me step up. We would meet once a week on Zoom, have a catch up on life over a quick coffee and then get to work. Then, a day or two later she would send another video my way so I had something to work towards the end of the week. She was encouraging, but not pushy. If life got in the way, I didn’t feel like I let her down—but I loved our sessions. I looked forward to them. I started feeling closer to her, and closer to myself, and it helped things seem hopeful. And I just wanted to share that with the world. Instead of the darkness. Instead of my fears. My message is to work through them. Even when it’s hard. Even when it hurts. Reach out. Reach out to that friend who helps you reach out towards yourself.”

Van Etten (vocals, synths, drum machines) and Daniel Knowles (synths) produced “Porta,” which also features Van Etten’s live band: Jorge Balbi (drums), Charley Damski (guitars), and Devin Hoff (bass).

Last year Van Etten and Angel Olsen released the joint song, “Like I Used To,” which was shared via a Kimberly Stuckwisch-directed video. The duet easily landed at #1 on our Songs of the Week list and was also #3 on our Top 130 Songs of 2021 list. Then they performed the song with a full band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Then they shared an acoustic version of the song and performed the acoustic version on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.

In April 2021, Van Etten released epic Ten, an anniversary reissue of her 2010 Epic album, via Ba Da Bing. It featured covers of the some of the album’s songs by notable artists, including Fiona Apple, Courtney Barnett and Vagabon, IDLES, and more. Van Etten’s most recent new album, Remind Me Tomorrow, came out in 2019 via Jagjaguwar.

Read our in-depth interview with Sharon Van Etten on Remind Me Tomorrow and check out our exclusive photo shoot with her. By Mark Redfern

8. Ibeyi: “Sister 2 Sister”

Today, French Cuban twin sisters Ibeyi (Naomi Díaz and Lisa-Kaindé Díaz) announced a new album, Spell 31, and shared its first single, “Sister 2 Sister,” via a video for the song. In the song they teach you how to pronounce their band name. Spell 31 is due out May 6 via XL. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

The duo wrote and produced all the songs on Spell 31, working again with their long-time producer Richard Russell. The album was recorded last year in London. It’s the follow-up to Ash, which came out in 2017 on XL. Spell 31 includes “Made of Gold,” a new song the duo shared last November.

Colin Solal Cardo directed the “Sister 2 Sister” video and the song samples “River,” an early single by Ibeyi.

Activist and storyteller Janaya Future Khan was commissioned to write an essay on Spell 31 and had this to say about the album in a press release: “Spell 31 casts with conviction, transmuting nihilism into sangoma, binaries into endless dualites, moral austerity into abundance. A subversive and halcyonic manifesto from queens of a sovereign land, Ibeyi occupies the liminal, the space between life and death, past and present, right and wrong, and calls for the interior revelations that create the systemic revolutions we long for.”

9. alt-J: “The Actor”

On Tuesday, alt-J shared a new track, “The Actor.” It was the latest release from their new album, The Dream, which came out today via Canvasback/Infectious Music. Read our new interview with alt-J on The Dream here.

In a press release, the band state: “Hollywood, 1982. Another hopeful young movie star arrives in search of The Dream. What follows is a tale of desperation, drugs and death in L.A.’s most famous hotel. It’s ‘The Actor.’”

Upon announcing the album last September, the band shared the track “U&ME,” which made it to #2 on our Songs of the Week list. Later, they shared a Baauer remix of the song. In November, the band shared the track “Get Better,” which was also one of our Songs of the Week. Last month, the band shared the track “Hard Drive Gold,” also one of our Songs of the Week. Their previous studio album, Relaxer, came out in 2017.

Read our interview with alt-J about Relaxer, our review of the album, and our Album of the Week write up on Relaxer.

Plus read our 2014 cover story interview with alt-J and our 2014 cover story bonus Q&A with the band. By Joey Arnone

10. Ed Schrader’s Music Beat: “Echo Base”

Baltimore-based post-punk duo Ed Schrader’s Music Beat (vocalist Ed Schrader and bassist Devlin Rice) are releasing a new album, Nightclub Daydreaming, on March 25 via Carpark. On Monday, they shared its third single, “Echo Base,” which is inspired by the late Star Wars actress and acclaimed author, Carrie Fisher, and is accompanied by a horror movie themed video.

Ed Schrader had this to say about the song in a press release: “A few years ago, I saw Carrie Fisher speak, and she referenced a Paul Simon song from Graceland where he compares her eyes to cold coffee. Her voice cracked as she spoke, and the whole theater went silent. This lyric from a decades-old song about a decades-old relationship still hurt her. This moment showed the brilliant, sharp-shooting woman of my childhood dreams as a real, vulnerable, wildly misunderstood and underappreciated human being. I wanted to make a song befitting a princess, our Carrie.”

When Nightclub Daydreaming was announced the band shared its first two singles, “This Thirst” and “Berliner,” the former via a Gillian Waldo-directed video. “Berliner” was one of our Songs of the Week.

Nightclub Daydreaming is the band’s fourth album and the follow-up to 2018’s Dan Deacon-produced Riddles, which was their first album for Carpark. Schrader and Rice began writing the album in 2019 and started playing some of the songs live in February 2020 on tour with Deacon, where they were joined by drummer Kevin O’Meara before COVID-19 stopped all touring. Alas those would be their last shows with O’Meara, who died in October 2020. The album transformed from the upbeat disco record they initially intended it to be to something darker (and deeper), with O’Meara’s death weighing on them during its creation. Nightclub Daydreaming was recorded and mixed with Craig Bowen at Tempo House in Baltimore over a two-week period.

Schrader had this to say about the album in a previous press release: “The fun thing about this record is that it’s all at once informed by our more recent lush productions with Dan Deacon, yet spartan and boiled-down, exuding a coldness wrapped in ecstasy, following our time honored trend of never giving people what they expect, but hopefully what they want.” By Mark Redfern

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 10.

Helena Deland: “Swimmer”

Fantastic Negrito: “Highest Bidder”

Father John Misty: “Q4”

Foals: “2AM”

Lucius: “White Lies”

Real Lies: “An Oral History of My First Kiss”

Soundwalk Collective: “Lovotic” (Feat. Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg)

Spoon: “My Babe”

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

Other notable new tracks in the last week include:

50 Foot Wave: “Staring into the Sun”

The Asteroid No.4: “Set Your Sights”

Barrie: “Jenny”

Big Thief: “Red Moon”

The Black Tones: “The End of Everything”

Mal Blum: “Stockpiled Guns & TV Dinners”

S. Carey: “Break Me Open”

Congotronics International: “Banza Banza”

Dalek: “Decimation (Dis Nation)”

Kevin Devine: “How Can I Help You?”

Drug Church: “Premium Offer”

Duran Duran: “Laughing Boy”

Ellevator: “Slip”

Fawn: “Graffiti in the Hall”

FredAtLast: “One Day”

Frog Eyes: “When You Turn On the Light”

The Head and the Heart: “Virginia (Wind in the Night)”

Islands of Love: “Songs of Love”

Julia Jacklin: “Just to Be a Part” (Bill Fay Cover)

Wesley Joseph: “Cold Summer”

Killing Joke: “Lord of Chaos”

Lo Moon: “Stop”

Walter Martin: “Easter”

Carson McHone: “Only Lovers”

Nicki Minaj: “Bussin” (Feat. Lil Baby)

Moderat: “Fast Land”

mxmtoon: “mona lisa”

Willie Nelson: “I’ll Love You Till the Day I Die”

Orion Sun: “dirty dancer”

Palm Friends: “Hidden Perks”

Pillow Queens: “Hearts & Minds”

Tess Roby: “Ideas of Space”

The Rural Alberta Advantage: “CANDU”

Jo Schornikow: “Visions”

Seratones: “Good Day”

Shamir: “Caught Up”

Andy Shauf: “Satan” and “Jacob Rose”

Luke Steele: “Common Man”

Colin Stetson: “Every Last One”

Superchunk: “On the Floor”

Susanna: “Rose Pale Dawn”

Harvey Sutherland: “Feeling of Love” (Feat. DāM-FunK)

Jack White: “Fear of the Dawn”

Classic Song of the Week:

Idlewild: “Roseability”

Our 20th Anniversary Issue includes a section where we conduct new interviews with most of the artists originally interviewed in our first issue. Included is Scottish band Idlewild, who we interviewed about their 2000 album, Hope Is Important. Here is the video for album highlight “Roseability.”

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