10 Best Songs of the Week: Geese, Hannah Jadagu, Lael Neale, Mega Bog, and More | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, June 25th, 2024  

10 Best Songs of the Week: Geese, Hannah Jadagu, Lael Neale, Mega Bog, and More

Plus Caroline Rose, Bully, Westerman, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Mar 24, 2023 Bookmark and Share

Welcome to the eleventh Songs of the Week of 2023. There weren’t a lot of new songs on offer this week, perhaps because the music industry was recovering from SXSW last week. But there were still some tracks we liked.

This week we are offering 20% off all print subscriptions as we prepare to ship out our next issue.

In the past week or so we posted interviews with actor Tim Roth, Unloved, Poker Face music supervisor Thomas Golubić, Gina Birch of The Raincoats, new British musician Heartworms, and a The End Q&A with Dutch Uncles.

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. Geese: “3D Country”

On Tuesday, Brooklyn post-punk five-piece Geese announced a new album, 3D Country, and shared its second single, title track “3D Country,” via a music video. 3D Country is due out June 23 via Partisan/Play It Again Sam. Andy Swartz directed the “3D Country” video. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork, as well as the band’s upcoming tour dates, here.

Geese frontman Cameron Winter had this to say about “3D Country” in a press release: “The lyrics are this story I had about a cowboy who does psychedelics in the wild west and fries his brain forever. I was imagining at first he’s this stoic, masculine character like out of a Cormac McCarthy novel, but then he unravels and sees his past lives in Ancient Rome, the Great Wall of China. Ultimately he finds himself in the end and it turns celebratory. I liked the idea of contrasting this strait-laced individual with that super mind-bending, interdimensional experience.

“Similarly, the music is an amalgam of a lot of different country licks, a gospel-ish call-and-response part, things we typically wouldn’t do, but we wanted to push them through this textured, strange, psychedelic lens. We kept jamming around this one groove that’s in the verse for 10 minutes at a time, and then went back to take the best 30-second bits to piece it all together. The original version was over twice as long, and we bring some of those crazier sections back when we play it live and for the version of the song that’s in the music video.”

3D Country includes “Cowboy Nudes,” a new song the band shared in January.

3D Country is the band’s sophomore album. Their debut album, Projector, was released in 2021, also via Partisan/Play It Again Sam.

Drummer Max Bassin ominously sums up the new album this way: “It feels like going to the circus and instead of having a good time, everyone is trying to kill you.”

Read our interview with Geese on Projector.

2. Hannah Jadagu: “Warning Sign”

Hannah Jadagu is releasing her debut full-length album, Aperture, on May 19 via Sub Pop. On Wednesday she shared its third single, “Warning Sign.”

Jadagu co-produced the album with Max Robert Baby and recorded it at Greasy Studios Paris. Marcus Linon mixed the album, which was mastered by Dave Cooley at Elysian Mastering.

“There’s rock Hannah, there’s hip-hop Hannah, and so on. I didn’t want any of the songs to sound too alike,” says Jadagu in a press release “‘Warning Sign’ was practically the last song Max (co-producer) and I recorded for the album. It almost was just a short interlude, but I was inspired by a melody that my sister sang on the original demo, which led Max and I to be able to piece together the rest of the sounds in the studio.”

Aperture includes the 2022 single, “Say It Now.” When the album was announced, Jadagu shared its lead single, “What You Did,” via a music video. “What You Did” was one of our Songs of the Week.

Aperture follows Jadagu’s What Is Going On? EP, released in 2021 via Sub Pop.

What Is Going On? was recorded entirely on Jadagu’s iPhone 7 and was released soon after she graduated high school in Mesquite, TX . Aperture features songs written between high school and her sophomore year of college in New York. “Where I grew up, everyone is Christian; even if you don’t go to church, you’re still practicing in some form,” Jadagu says in a press release. “Moving out of my small hometown has made me reflect on how embedded Christianity is in the culture down there, and though I’ve been questioning my relationship to the church since high school, it’s definitely a theme on this album, but so is family.”

“I knew I could make another album on my phone, but I wanted to make sure that I was leveling up, especially for the debut,” Jadagu says of her decision to record the album in a proper studio in the outskirts of Paris.

Read our review of What Is Going On? here.

3. Lael Neale: “Faster Than the Medicine”

Lael Neale is releasing a new album, Star Eaters Delight, on April 21 via Sub Pop. Yesterday she shared its third single, “Faster Than the Medicine,” via a self-directed video.

Neale had this to say about the video in a press release: “It’s inspired by filmmaker Jonas Mekas; a collage of moments from my search for the mystical in the mundane.”

Previously Neale shared the album’s first single, “I Am the River,” also via a self-directed music video. “I Am the River” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then she shared its second single, the over eight-minute long “In Verona,” via a self-directed video in which Neale plays a newscaster. “In Verona” was #1 on our Songs of the Week list.

Star Eaters Delight is the follow up to 2021’s Acquainted With Night, which was her debut for Sub Pop and was recorded in 2019. The new album was recorded after Neale moved from Los Angeles to her family’s farm in rural Virginia in April 2020.

Acquainted with Night was a focusing inward amidst the loud and bright Los Angeles surrounding me. It was an attempt to create spaciousness and quiet reverie within. When I moved back to the farm, I found that the unbroken silences compelled me to break them with sound. This album is more external. It is a reaching back out to the world, wanting to feel connected, to wake up, to come together again,” explained Neale in a previous press release.

Guy Blakeslee produced the album with Neale.

Read our 2021 interview with Lael Neale.

4. Mega Bog: “Love Is” (Feat. Westerman)

Mega Bog (aka Erin Birgy) is releasing a new album, End of Everything, on May 19 via Mexican Summer, her first for the label. On Tuesday she shared its second single, “Love Is,” via a music video. The song features backing vocals from Westerman. Allison Goldfarb directed the video.

Birgy’s close friend Austin Jackson, of jazz-punk band Dragons, originally wrote “Love Is.” Birgy and Jackson met in Flagstaff, AZ over a decade ago while on tour. “Austin wrote some of the most shameless and relatable love ballads of all my friends, but presented them through punk bands filled with musical witches practicing sex magic publicly in the smallest, wettest, and most haunted basements,” Birgy explains in a press release. “Another close friend, Tristan Jemsek of Dogbreth, also covered ‘Love Is,’ and has been an anthem in a specific circle of friends for over a decade. I’ve played a dance version for myself and at small, secret shows for years, and finally felt like it was time to share my version with the world.”

Of working with Westerman, Birgy adds: “The magic of ‘Love Is’ 100 percent needed a counterpart to plead through the reckoning of love imagined, love’s reality, and Westerman was a noble companion through this musical voyage.”

Previously Mega Bog shared the album’s first single, “The Clown,” via a self-directed music video. “The Clown” was one of our Songs of the Week.

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 a previous 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.”

5. Caroline Rose: “Where Do I Go From Here?”

Caroline Rose released a new album, The Art of Forgetting, today via New West. Stream it here. Even though all its previous singles made our Songs of the Week list, now that it’s out, we can highlight two album tracks we also really loved. Album closer “What Do I Go From Here?” makes the main list, whereas penultimate track “Jill Says” makes the honorable mentions list.

Read our review of The Art of Forgetting, which we posted this morning, here.

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. Then the album’s third single, “The Doldrums,” was also one of our Songs of the Week. Then Rose shared its fourth single, “Tell Me What You Want,” via a music video. “Tell Me What You Want” was also one of our Songs of the Week.

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.

6. Bully: “Days Move Slow”

On Tuesday, Bully (aka Alicia Bognanno) announced a new album, Lucky For You, and shared its second single, “Days Move Slow,” via a music video. Lucky For You is due out June 2 via Sub Pop. Alex Ross Perry directed the black & white “Days Move Slow” video. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as Bully’s upcoming tour dates, here.

“Days Move Slow” was written after Bognanno’s beloved dog “and best friend,” Mezzi died. Bognanno explains in a press release: “As someone who has spent the majority of my life feeling agonizingly misunderstood, there is no greater gift than experiencing true unconditional love and acceptance. I waited my whole life for the bond and irreplaceable companionship I had with Mezzi. She was my best friend and my only constant through some of the most pivotal moments and phases of my life. I was a stranger to the level of love I now know exists because of Mezzi. Love you forever; I’m lucky for you.”

Alex Ross Perry had this to say about directing the “Days Move Slow” video: “This is my third time collaborating with Alicia, but my first time collaborating with Bully. Having written the original songs for my film Her Smell and performed at the Pavement Museum Tribute Concert ‘scene’ for my forthcoming film on them, I can’t believe I finally got to make a Bully video. Right away, it seemed striking to make a piece as stark and measured as possible, not to make a video that replicates the song’s sonic energy but to visualize the emotional weight and feelings of loss and grief depicted in the lyrics. Alicia doesn’t seem to have been filmed in 16mm black and white before, so it was a no-brainer to give that a try.”

Lucky For You includes “Lose You,” a new song shared in February that features Soccer Mommy (aka Sophie Allison) and was one of our Songs of the Week.

Lucky For You was recorded in 2022 at MMK Studios and Bognanno’s house in Nashville. Producer J.T. Daly helped with the recordings and Joe LaPorta mastered the album at Sterling Sound.

Bognanno had this to say about recording with Daly: “If I’m doing something that doesn’t feel natural or right, I’m quick to shut it down. So it was great to work with J.T. because I could tell he was a genuine fan who wanted to emphasize what he thinks is good about my writing instead of changing it. I could tell how much he cared about the project, and it meant a lot to me.”

The album was recorded over a seven-month period, which is much longer than previous Bully albums. “I was freaking out about it at first because taking my time was so new for me,” admits Bognanno. “But a few months in, I realized how crucial that time ended up being. I got songs out of it that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.”

Summing up the experience of recording Lucky For You, Bognanno says: “With every record, I feel more and more secure in terms of doing what I want. For this one, I wanted to be as creative as possible with these songs.”

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

7. Westerman: “Take”

Westerman (full name Will Westerman) is releasing a new album, An Inbuilt Fault, on May 5 via Partisan. On Wednesday he shared the album’s third single, “Take,” via a music video. Edwin Burdis directed the video.

In a press release Westerman says “Take” is “a selfish song glimpsed momentarily somewhere through the haze of the mesh and the swarm…. Taking breaks the heart of love.”

Previously Westerman shared the album’s lead single, “CSI: Petralona.” An Inbuilt Fault includes “Idol; RE-run,” a new single Westerman shared last year.

An Inbuilt Fault is Westerman’s second album. His debut album, Your Hero is Not Dead, came out in 2020 via Partisan, and made it to #23 on our Top 100 Albums of 2020 list.

For An Inbuilt Fault, Westerman worked with James Krivchenia of Big Thief, who co-produced the album with him via recordings in Los Angeles that built on demos Westerman recorded in Italy.

Check out our interview with Westerman, which originally appeared in Issue 67 of our print issue.

8. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds: “Dead to the World”

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (aka former Oasis guitarist/singer/songwriter Noel Gallagher) is releasing a new album, Council Skies, on June 2 via his own Sour Mash label. Yesterday he shared a new song from it, the string-swept ballad “Dead to the World.” It was shared via a lyric video.

In January, Gallagher shared the album’s second single, “Easy Now,” via a music video that co-stars Milly Alcock (Rhaenyra Targaryen in HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon). Gallagher shared the album’s first single, “Pretty Boy,” back in October. It featured Johnny Marr, as do two other other songs on the album.

In February, Gallagher announced a co-headlining tour with Garbage, with support from Metric. The Cure’s Robert Smith also remixed “Pretty Boy.”

His last solo album was 2017’s Who Built the Moon?, although in 2021 he released a greatest hits compilation album, Back the Way We Came: Vol. 1 (2011-2021).

Gallagher had this to say about Council Skies in a previous press statement: “It’s going back to the beginning. Daydreaming, looking up at the sky and wondering about what life could be…that’s as true to me now as it was in the early ’90s. When I was growing up in poverty and unemployment, music took me out of that. Top of the Pops on TV transformed your Thursday night into this fantasy world, and that’s what I think music should be. I want my music to be elevating and transforming in some way.”

Read our interview with Noel Gallagher on Who Built the Moon?

9. Bernice: “No Effort to Exist”

Toronto’s Bernice are releasing a new album, Cruisin’, via Telephone Explosion. On Tuesday they shared its second single, “No Effort to Exist.”

The band’s lead singer, Robin Dann, had this to say about the song in a press release: “Although I initially wrote this song in an attempt to manifest an easier future for my new and anxious rescue dog, Sammi, I think we landed on something more broad: we’re all just doing our best. No assumptions can be made about someone’s lived experience. The chorus is a wish, a prayer, an incantation: ‘No effort to exist, like a bird in the grey sky in the mist, the bird in the evening just exists.’ Just sticking around for more life is enough. The vocals pass in and out of auto-tune, as if speaking from a future world where we’re all just birds flying, wings open, held by the wind.”

Previously Bernice shared the first single from Cruisin’, “Underneath My Toe.”

Cruisin’ is the follow-up to 2021’s Eau De Bonjourno and 2018’s eclectically named Puff LP: In the air without a shape.

Read our 2018 interview with Bernice here.

10. Wednesday: “TV in the Gas Pump”

Asheville rockers Wednesday are releasing a new album, Rat Saw God, on April 7 via Dead Oceans (their first for the label). On Wednesday they shared its fourth and final pre-release single, “TV in the Gas Pump,” via an animated music video. Lewis Dahm directed the video.

“This is the first song I’ve written about being on the road, and I really just wanted to collect all that imagery you ingest on tour,” the band’s frontwoman Karly Hartzman explains in a press release. “A few images that made it in the song include: the never ending gas station stops that blend together and the dystopian gas pump advertisements, a stressful experience in a Panera bread and a story of coming up from taking what you thought was a microdose of shrooms in a Dollar General.”

Dahm had this to say about directing the music video: “This video is a result of Karly’s sicko vision of the Arresting Beauty of the American South. That vision was digitized by local freak-on-a-leash Lewis Dahm.”

The band also features MJ Lenderman, Alan Miller, and Xandy Chelmis.

Back in October, Wednesday shared the album’s eight-and-a-half minute long “Bull Believer,” in addition to announcing that they had signed to Dead Oceans. When Rat Saw God was announced in January, Wednesday shared its second single, “Chosen to Deserve,” via a music video. “Chosen to Deserve” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then in February they shared its third single, “Bath County,” via a music video.

In 2022, Wednesday released the covers album Mowing the Leaves Instead of Piling ‘em Up. Read our interview with the band on the album here. The band’s last album of original songs was 2021’s Twin Plagues. Wednesday wrote Rat Saw God in the months soon after following Twin Plagues’ completion. They recorded at Asheville’s Drop of Sun studio over the course of a week.

“I really jumped that hurdle with Twin Plagues where I was not worrying at all really about being vulnerable—I was finally comfortable with it, and I really wanna stay in that zone,” said Hartzman in a previous press release.

The songs on Rat Saw God tackle everyday life, rather than big issues. “Everyone’s story is worthy,” said Hartzman. “Literally every life story is worth writing down, because people are so fascinating.”

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 10.

Nicholas Allbrook: “Round Round the Moon and All”

Foyer Red: “Gorgeous”

Moor Mother: “We Got the Jazz” (Feat. Kyle Kidd, Keir Neuringer, and Aquiles Navarro)

The National: “Eucalyptus”

Dave Okumu & The 7 Generations: “Amnesia”

Caroline Rose: “Jill Says”

Tanlines: “Burns Effect”

Ther: “with you”

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

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