10 Best Songs of the Week: Caroline Rose, Feist, Fenne Lily, The Lemon Twigs, and More | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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10 Best Songs of the Week: Caroline Rose, Feist, Fenne Lily, The Lemon Twigs, and More

Plus Bully Feat. Soccer Mommy, Mega Bog, Naima Bock, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Feb 17, 2023 Bookmark and Share

Welcome to the seventh Songs of the Week of 2023. There were lots of great tracks this week, but none that screamed out Very Best Song of the Week, so there was some debate on what should top this week’s list.

In the past week or so we posted interviews with Pearla, Samia, and koleżanka.

In the last week we reviewed some albums.

Remember that our current print issue, the My Favorite Movie Issue, is out now.

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. Caroline Rose: “The Doldrums”

Caroline Rose is releasing a new album, The Art of Forgetting, on March 24 via New West. On Wednesday, they shared its third single, “The Doldrums.” Check out Rose’s upcoming tour dates (including some newly announced European shows) here.

“‘The Doldrums’ was the song I wrote when I was realizing I had basically no understanding of self-compassion,” says Rose of the new song. “It’s about the voice inside my head that blames me for everything that’s ever gone wrong, mostly things out of my control. My idea of rebirth and reformation at the time was killing off my old self and finding a new one, rather than simply being kind to myself…Not because I didn’t want to be, but because I didn’t really know how.”

Back in October, Rose shared the album’s first single, “Love / Lover / Friend,” which was #2 on our Songs of the Week list. Then in January, when The Art of Forgetting was announced, Rose shared the album’s second single, “Miami,” via a music video. “Miami” was #1 on our Songs of the Week list.

Rose (who uses they/them pronouns) released their last album, Superstar, in 2020. Listen to our Under the Radar podcast interview with Rose, where the singer discusses the album, here.

Rose is known for their keen sense humor, with Superstar populated by amusing tales. The Art of Forgetting, however, finds the singer/songwriter channeling rawer emotions. The tone-shift was inspired in part by a difficult breakup, as well as voicemails Rose was getting from their grandmother, “who was clearly losing her mind,” Rose said in a previous press release.

“It got me thinking about all the different ways memory shows up throughout our lives,” Rose added. “It can feel like a curse or be wielded as a tool.”

Rose thus turned to instruments that, as the press release put it, “naturally changed or decayed over time: wooden and string instruments, voices, tape, and granular synthesis.” Recording began in Rose’s home studio. “From there it was about a year of experimenting with those recordings both at home and in a couple other studios—chopping them up into loops and smears, creating modular percussion, and ultimately building any additional parts around them,” said Rose.

2. Feist: “In Lightning”

On Tuesday, Feist announced a new album, Multitudes, and shared three new songs from it: “In Lightning,” “Hiding Out in the Open,” and “Love Who We Are Meant To.” “In Lightning” was the most interesting of the three songs and thus makes this list.

Multitudes is Feist’s first new album in six years and is due out on April 14 via Interscope. Check out all three songs, as well as the album’s tracklist and cover artwork, here.

Feist’s last album was 2017’s Pleasure. Multitudes was forged out of two life-changing events for Feist—the birth of her daughter and the sudden death of her father.

“The last few years were such a period of confrontation for me, and it feels like it was at least to some degree for everyone,” Feist says in a press release. “We confronted ourselves as much as our relationships confronted us. It felt like our relational ecosystems were clearer than ever and so whatever was normally obscured—like a certain way of avoiding conflict or a certain way of talking around the subject—were all of a sudden thrust into the light. And in all that reassessment, the chance to find footing on healthier, more honest ground became possible, and the effort to maintain avoidance actually felt like it took more effort than just handing ourselves over to the truth.”

The songs on Multitudes were written during Feist’s 2021-2022 tour of the same name. Following that trek, Feist landed in Northern California’s Redwood Forest. There she co-produced the album with Robbie Lackritz (Peach Pit, The Weather Station) and Mocky (Jamie Lidell, Vulfpeck). The latter had worked on Feist’s 2011 album, Metals. Multitudes was recorded in a studio built by Lackritz and engineer Michael Harris (HAIM, Vampire Weekend). The album features multi-instrumentalists Gabe Noel (Kendrick Lamar, Kamasi Washington) and Shahzad Ismaily (Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed), alongside Feist’s regular touring musicians—Todd Dahlhoff (woodwinds, synths, bass) and Amir Yaghmai (strings, guitars).

3. Fenne Lily: “Dawncolored Horse”

New York City-based (but British born) singer/songwriter Fenne Lily is releasing a new album, Big Picture, on April 14 via Dead Oceans. Yesterday, she shared the album’s second single, “Dawncolored Horse,” via a lyric video.

“Dawncolored Horse” borrows its title from a Richard Brautigan poem, “The Horse That Had a Flat Tire.” A press release says that Lily “interprets the poem—and the song it inspired—to be a reflection of the idea that another person can become almost a sentient space in which to exist.”

Lily further explains: “[Brautigan] talks about the woman he loves as being a ‘breathing castle.’ I truly don’t know what that means, but for me he’s distilled a feeling of absolute closeness. When you know someone so well it feels like you’re almost living inside them. That can be claustrophobic, but before it’s too much, it’s incredible.

“A lot of the music I was listening to while I was writing seemed to be old kind of country stuff; the album Anymore For Anymore by Ronnie Lane and Slim Change was a big one (hear ‘Roll on Babe’ from ’74)—anything that sounded warm and comfortable, just people in a room playing what came most naturally. When I brought this song to the band it easily fell into that sort of world—it felt stable, which is cool for a song that came from a place of total instability.”

Previously Lily shared the album’s first single, “Lights Light Up,” via a music video. “Lights Light Up” was one of our Songs of the week.

Big Picture is the follow-up to 2020’s BREACH. Brad Cook co-produced the album, which was tracked live in his North Carolina studio.

“Writing this album was my attempt at bringing some kind of order to the disaster that was 2020,” Lily said in a previous press release. “By documenting the most vulnerable parts of that time, I felt like I reclaimed some kind of autonomy.”

Read our interview with Lily on BREACH.

4. The Lemon Twigs: “Any Time of Day”

On Monday, The Lemon Twigs (aka brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario) announced a new album, Everything Harmony, and shared a new song, “Any Time of Day,” via a music video. Everything Harmony is due out May 5 via Captured Tracks (their first album for the label). Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as the band’s upcoming tour dates, here.

The Lemon Twigs collectively had this to say about “Any Time of Day” in a press release: “We were hired to write material and act in an interactive TV show about an imaginary ’70s brother band. We wrote a bunch of KISS type songs for the soundtrack plus this one. This one wasn’t quite right for the show, so we held it back. For a month in 2019, we filmed all 8 episodes. In the fallout of a high profile lawsuit taken by the company against Quibi, the show was shelved and remains on someone’s hard drive if not completely erased to save space. The song’s about the cyclical nature of life. Everything goes on and on. Out with the old, in with the new!”

Ambar Navarro directed the video for “Any Time of Day” and says it was “heavily inspired by ’60s television live performances and focusing on the minimal set pieces, referencing The Carpenters, Tom Petty, and especially The Monkees’ TV Show and absurd/surreal comedy of that era.”

Everything Harmony features “Corner of My Eye,” a new song the band shared in January via a music video.

The band’s last album, Songs For the General Public, was released in 2020 via 4AD (read our review of it here). Songs For the General Public was the band’s third album, the follow-up to 2018’s concept musical, Go to School and their 2016-released debut album, Do Hollywood, both also on 4AD.

Read our 2016 interview with The Lemon Twigs in our Pleased to Meet You section.

5. Bully: “Lose You” (Feat. Soccer Mommy)

On Wednesday, Bully (aka Alicia Bognanno) shared a new song, “Lose You,” which features Soccer Mommy (aka Sophie Allison). The single is out now via Sub Pop. Check out Bully’s upcoming tour dates, including some previously announced dates opening for Pixies, here.

“Lose You” was recorded in 2022 at MMK Studios and Bognanno’s house in Nashville.

Bognanno had this to say in a press release: “‘When ‘Lose You’ came about it was the first time I’ve considered having someone else sing on a Bully song. I love Sophie’s voice and have always admired everything she does so to me it was a no brainer. Watching her soar out of the Nashville scene and dominate indie music world wide has been a joy. Writing ‘Lose You’ was a way for me to work through the pain and reality of impermanence. It doesn’t make it any easier but reflection is often followed by growth and to me that’s what life is all about.”

Bully’s most recent album, SUGAREGG, came out in 2020 on Sub Pop, and was featured on our Top 100 Albums of 2020 list.

Soccer Mommy’s most recent album, Sometimes, Forever, came out last year via Loma Vista.

6. Mega Bog: “The Clown”

On Wednesday, Mega Bog (aka Erin Birgy) announced a new album, End of Everything, and shared its first single, “The Clown,” via a self-directed music video. She’s also announced some tour dates. End of Everything is due out May 19 via Mexican Summer, her first for the label. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as Mega Bog’s upcoming tour dates, here.

“‘The Clown’ is about the terrible, sensual, and chaotic release of merging one’s own multitudes, showing love to the darkness and insecurities, having curiosity about what is beyond presumed perceptions—surrendering to the uncontrollables, while nourishing the small statues of what we do have control over within ourselves,” says Birgy in a press release.

End of Everything is the follow-up to 2021’s Life, and Another, released via Paradise of Bachelors.

Birgy co-produced the album with James Krivchenia of Big Thief, who also mixed the record and co-engineered it with Phil Hartunian. Krivchenia also plays drums on the album, which also features regular Mega Bog bassist Zach Burba, alongside Will Segerstrom, Meg Duffy (Hand Habits), Jackson Macintosh (Drugdealer, TOPS), and Westerman.

As Birgy got sober and started to work through her personal traumas, she decided to make a more direct record, writing on piano and synthesizer instead of guitar.

In the press release Birgy said she had the need “to feel… instantly. I didn’t want to dig into secret codes. I no longer wanted to hide behind difficult music. I was curious to give others the same with the music I create; to make music someone could use to explore drama, playfulness, and dancing, to shake the trauma loose.”

7. Naima Bock: “Lines”

Yesterday, London-based artist Naima Bock shared a new song, “Lines,” via a music video. It’s being described as a standalone single and is out now via Sub Pop and Memorials of Distinction. Kit Harwood directed the video. Check out Bock’s upcoming tour dates here.

Ali Chant engineered and produced the song, which was recorded in 2022 at The Playpen Studio, in Bristol, UK.

Bock had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Lines’ is about what we do to each other, some call the dance of intimacy, exchanges. What we are given, carry with us, then subsequently pass on to others—good and bad. How the recipient is often undeserving of the negative side of this reality. It’s about trying to dodge blame and the loneliness of guilt. It’s about the irony of impermanence and unhealthy patterns coexisting; ‘nothing stays’ but ‘nothings changed’. The idea of change I had grown accustomed to but the reality that some things won’t change until you actively work on them is something new to me, preferring to adopt a slightly lazy attitude and misunderstanding the saying ‘all passes.’ Sometimes it doesn’t pass quickly enough. It’s also a song about anger and the familiarity of not knowing where to put it.”

“Lines” follows her debut album, Giant Palm, which came out in 2022 via Sub Pop and Memorials of Distinction. It featured the songs “Campervan” (which was one of our Songs of the Week) and “30 Degrees.”

8. Steve Mason: “Brixton Fish Fry” (Feat. Javed Bashir)

Steve Mason, former frontman of The Beta Band, is releasing a new album, Brothers & Sisters, on March 3 via Double Six, an imprint of Domino. On Wednesday, he shared its third single, “Brixton Fish Fry,” which features Pakistani singer Javed Bashir.

Mason had this to say in a press release: “Myself and Javed chatted for some time over Zoom about the track, he was in Lahore, and I explained my love of Indian and Pakistani music, my connection to Kashmir (my wife) and Pakistan, the concept of the record and how I wanted it to be a statement against the direction Britain has gone in and how I wanted it to represent all the innumerable and indispensable things we take for granted that immigration and movement of people and culture has brought here. Like everybody involved in the making of this record he understood immediately and was very happy to be part of this statement. Both his contributions took my breath away and made my wife cry. The connection of her family and culture being brought together with me and my music was very powerful for us as a family and encapsulated in a moment the entire purpose and point of this album.”

Previously Mason shared the album’s first single, “No More,” which also features Pakistani singer Javed Bashir and was one of our Songs of the Week. Then he shared its second single, “The People Say,” which was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Brothers & Sisters was co-produced with Tev’n and also features British gospel singers Jayando Cole, Keshia Smith, Connie McCall, and Adrian Blake, as well as Kaviraj Singh on the santoor. It is the follow-up to About the Light, which was released in January 2019 via Double Six. That album followed Boys Outside (2010), Monkey Minds in the Devil’s Time (2013), and Meet the Humans (2016).

Mason had this to say about the new album in a previous press release: “To me, this record is a massive ‘Fuck you’ to Brexit. And a giant ‘Fuck you’ to anyone that is terrified of immigration because there is nothing that immigration has brought to this country that isn’t to be applauded. Can you imagine what this place would be like without that [immigration]? I mean what would it be like? Cornish pasties and morris dancing?”

9. Temples: “Cicada”

British psychedelic pop four-piece Temples are releasing a new Sean Ono Lennon-produced album, Exotico, on April 14 via ATO. On Tuesday, they shared its second single, the string-swept “Cicada.”

Temples’ bassist Thomas Walmsley had this to say about “Cicada” in a press release: “That song came from being inspired by the sound of cicadas, and the idea of emerging from the underground after a long time of being suppressed. We were attempting to turn that sound into a sort of dance rhythm, and once we started working with Sean we really built up the production by digging into his cupboard of keyboards and synths.”

Lead singer James Bagshaw adds: You never really see cicadas but you can imagine them having a frantic life, and to me that song feels like a huge army of them whipped into a frenzy.

Previously Temples shared Exotico’s first single, “Gamma Rays,” via a music video. “Gamma Rays” was one of our Songs of the Week.

Sean Ono Lennon produced Exotico, which was mixed by Dave Fridmann (Tame Impala, The Flaming Lips, MGMT).

In 2020 Temples shared a new song, “Paraphernalia,” that was also produced by Lennon and mixed by Fridmann, but isn’t featured on the new album.

Lennon’s band The Claypool Lennon Delirium is also on ATO and the two artists connected at the Desert Daze festival in 2019, although Lennon was already very much familiar with the band. “I’d always been a fan of the band. Had seen them play some pretty great shows over the years,” Lennon said in 2020.

Temples’ last album, Hot Motion, came out in 2019 via ATO (it was their first for the label). Hot Motion was the band’s third album and followed 2014’s debut album, Sun Structures, and 2017’s sophomore album, Volcano.

Temples’ full lineup is James Bagshaw (guitar, vocals) Tom Walmsley (bass guitar, backing vocals), Adam Smith (keyboards, rhythm guitar, backing vocals), and Rens Ottink (drums and percussion).

Read our 2020 COVID-19 Quarantine Artist Check-In interview with Temples.

Read our 2019 My Favorite Album interview with Temples on Scott Walker.

Read our 2019 interview with Temples on Hot Motion.

Read our 2013 interview with Temples and our 2014 interview with the band. Also read our 2017 interview with Temples on Volcano.

10. The New Pornographers: “Angelcover”

The New Pornographers are releasing a new album, Continue as a Guest, on March 31 via Merge, their first for the label. Yesterday, they shared its second single, “Angelcover.”

“I pictured this one as a weird little George Saunders-esque sketch, a snapshot,” says frontman Carl Newman (aka A.C. Newman) in a press release. “I found myself a lot more concerned with performance and/or delivery, changing melody and phrasing to get a better performance, less concerned, less precious about the original melody or lyric that I wrote. With that in mind, I had the idea of angels visiting me in the night with the message that ‘melody ain’t got nothing on delivery.’ Kind of a fever dream, where feelings take on their own personality and shape.”

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

The New Pornographers’ last album was 2019’s In the Morse Code of Brake Lights, released via the band’s own Collected Work imprint, in partnership with Concord. After touring for that album finished, Newman began writing the new album at his home in Woodstock, NY. The lineup for this album was Newman, Neko Case, Kathryn Calder, John Collins, Todd Fancey, and Joe Seiders, as well as contributions from saxophonist Zach Djanikian. Sadie Dupuis (Speedy Ortiz, Sad13) co-wrote the song “Firework in the Falling Snow.”

A previous press release said Continue as a Guest deals with “themes of isolation and collapse, following the ambivalence of day-to-day life during the pandemic and the endless pitfalls of living online” but that the title track “also addresses the continually rolling concerns that come with being in a band for so long.”

“The idea of continuing as a guest felt very apropos to the times,” Newman explained. “Feeling out of place in culture, in society—not feeling like a part of any zeitgeist, but happy to be separate and living your simple life, your long fade-out. Find your own little nowhere, find some space to fall apart, continue as a guest.”

Read our 2017 interview with The New Pornographers’ Carl Newman on Whiteout Conditions.

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 10.

Dark Horses: “Hyper Green”

Death and Vanilla: “Out For Magic”

Dry Cleaning: “Swampy”

Cory Hanson: “Housefly”

H. Hawkline: “Empty Room”

JFDR: “Spectator”

koleżanka: “City Summer Sweat”

SunYears: “Come Fetch My Soul!” (Feat. Jess Williamson)

Eaves Wilder: “Are You Diagnosed?”

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

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