10 Best Songs of the Week: Jessie Ware, Julia Jacklin, Disq, Scout Gillett, and More | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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10 Best Songs of the Week: Jessie Ware, Julia Jacklin, Disq, Scout Gillett, and More

Plus Local Natives, Julien Chang, Cass McCombs, Art Moore, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Jul 22, 2022
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Welcome to the 28th Songs of the Week of 2022. It was a weak week for new tracks. Don’t get us wrong, we stand behind all the songs that made this week’s main list, there just wasn’t a plethora of other tracks to choose from.

In the last week we posted interviews with Neko Case and Wolf Alice. We also posted a list of the 12 Best Wolf Alice Songs and looked back on the 20th anniversary of My Chemical Romance’s I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love.

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

Covers of Covers, our first album, came out at the beginning of March on CD and digitally via American Laundromat. You can stream it here. You can also buy it directly from American Laundromat, via Bandcamp, or on Amazon.

Don’t forget to pick up our double print issue, our 20th Anniversary Issue (which 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, along with highlighting other notable new tracks shared in the last seven days. Check out the full list below.

1. Jessie Ware: “Free Yourself”

On Tuesday, Jessie Ware shared a new song, “Free Yourself.” The dancefloor anthem is described as “a taster session” to her fifth album. The song is out now via PMR/Interscope. View Ware’s upcoming tour dates opening for Harry Styles here.

Ware co-wrote “Free Yourself” with Coffee Clarence JR and Stuart Price, with Clarence and Price producing the song.

“‘Free Yourself’ is the beginning of a new era for me,” says Ware in a press release. “I’m so excited for people to have this song for the end of their summer; to dance, to feel no inhibitions and to feel joyful because that’s how I’ve been feeling recently being able to tour again and being able to sing again. Enjoy yourself, Free Yourself!”

Ware’s last album was the acclaimed What’s Your Pleasure?, which was #5 on our Top 100 Albums of 2020 list. A deluxe edition, What’s Your Pleasure? The Platinum Pleasure, came out in 2021 and featured eight bonus tracks, including six new songs (stream it here).

Read our print magazine article on Jessie Ware and What’s Your Pleasure?

Read our extended Q&A interview Jessie Ware on What’s Your Pleasure?

Read our 2017 Self-Portrait interview with Jessie Ware.

Read our 2014 interview with Jessie Ware. By Mark Redfern

2. Julia Jacklin: “Love, Try Not To Let Go”

Australian singer/songwriter Julia Jacklin is releasing a new album, PRE PLEASURE, on August 26 via Polyvinyl. On Tuesday, she shared its third single, “Love, Try Not to Let Go,” via a video for the song shot in one take. Jacklin co-directed the video with regular collaborator Nick Mckk. View her upcoming tour dates here.

“‘Love, Try Not To Let Go’ was written one night during the recording period in my apartment in Montreal,” Jacklin says in a press release. “It’s the first song I’ve ever written fully on piano. It’s the first time I’ve played piano on a record. I thought someone better would redo the take but we kept it so now I’m officially a pianist. We recorded it the next day. I made everyone watch the running scene from Rocky beforehand.”

Previously Jacklin shared PRE PLEASURE’s first single, “Lydia Wears a Cross,” via a self-directed video for it. “Lydia Wears a Cross” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then she shared its second single, “I Was Neon,” via a self-directed video for the song (which was also one of our Songs of the Week).

PRE PLEASURE is Jacklin’s third album and the follow-up to 2019’s acclaimed Crushing and 2016’s Don’t Let the Kids Win. The album was written after the end of the world tour for Crushing and was concluded with several months of recording in Montreal with co-producer Marcus Paquin. “The songs on this record took either three years to write or three minutes,” Jacklin said in a previous press release announcing the album.

Members of Jacklin’s tour band—bassist Ben Whiteley and guitarist Will Kidman, who are both based in Canada and also in The Weather Station—played on PRE PLEASURE, as do drummer Laurie Torres and saxophonist Adam Kinner. Owen Pallett (Arcade Fire) provided the string arrangements, which were recorded by a full orchestra in Prague.

“Making a record to me has always just been about the experience, a new experience in a new place with a new person at the desk, taking the plunge and just seeing what happens,” said Jacklin. “For the first time I stepped away from the guitar, and wrote a lot of the album on the Roland keyboard in my apartment in Montreal with its inbuilt band tracks. I blu-tacked reams of butcher paper to the walls, covered in lyrics and ideas, praying to the music gods that my brain would arrange everything in time.”

Seemingly referencing the album’s title, PRE PLEASURE, Jacklin said: “A lot of the time I feel like I need to do all the work before I can enjoy my life. Whether that’s work on songs or sex, friendships, or my relationship with my family – I think if I work on them long and hard enough, eventually I’ll get to sit around and really enjoy them. But that’s not how anything works is it. It’s all an ongoing process.”

Following her huge Crushing tour, Jacklin spent some time reconnecting with music and finding her way back to the joy of listening. “Once music becomes your job, you can lose the purity of music fandom,” she explained. “I spent the last two years trying to reconnect with that. I didn’t play much, I just listened. Especially to a lot of big pop music like Céline Dion, Robyn and Luther Vandross—music that wasn’t so heavy, big feelings, big production. You lose sight of what putting on a big, beautiful song can do.”

Céline Dion was particularly important, with the Canadian singer’s 1996 hit “Because You Loved Me” being a favorite of Jacklin’s dad. She says that revisiting the song in 2020, “brought back a lot of nice, uncomplicated feelings about music. Pure joy and feeling. And as someone relatively introverted and trying to be cool, Céline was a good person for me to lock onto during this period, because she’s definitely not that. She’s dramatic as hell and incredibly cheesy. I think listening to her helped me get over myself.” If you look closely in the “Lydia Wears a Cross” video, Céline Dion is the background photo on Jacklin’s phone.

Of the themes on the new album, Jacklin said: “I care so much about the people around me, so much it makes me want to sleep forever, it feels so overwhelming. I wasn’t raised in an environment where language was used to express love and care, part of my songwriting process is me trying to rectify that, force myself to put words to those feelings”

Read our interview with Julia Jacklin on Crushing. By Mark Redfern

3. Disq: “Cujo Kiddies”

On Wednesday, Wisconsin-based band Disq announced the release of a new album, Desperately Imagining Someplace Quiet, which will be out on October 7 via Saddle Creek. They also announced a tour in support of the album and have shared the album’s lead single, “Cujo Kiddies.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art, along with the full list of tour dates, here.

Band bassist and vocalist Raina Bock elaborates on the new single in a press release: “I wanted to make a song that sounded like a freight train full of clowns and silly toys, barreling through the dark, observing and taking note of the various gloomy landscapes of my brain (without dwelling too long or taking any of it too seriously).

“I wrote the first half of ‘Cujo’ from deep inside the hole of substance abuse and loneliness. The song was meant to function as a blueprint for how I wished my reality could look. Six months later, sitting in an ocean of boxes all packed up for what would be my fourth time moving that year, I wrote the second half.

“The experience inspired what I hope to be my lifelong approach to songwriting going forward…. To write songs not with the goal of reflecting on where I am at a given moment, but as a tool to pull myself out of the way things are and toward the way I’d like them to be.

“I wrote ‘Cujo Kiddies’ for nobody else’s ears but my own, so while it is now making its way out into a strange world where I am not the only living person on earth, I truly from the bottom of my heart hope you all enjoy—but if you don’t, rest easy in knowing that it is no skin off the author’s back either way. This song has already done everything I could have ever hoped it would.” By Joey Arnone

4. Scout Gillett: “signal”

Yesterday, Scout Gillett announced the release of her debut album, no roof no floor, which will be out on October 28 via Captured Tracks. She also confirmed a set of summer U.S. tour dates in support of the album and shared a self-directed video for the album’s lead single, “signal.” View the album’s tracklist/cover art and a full list of upcoming tour dates here.

In a press release, Gillett states: “I wrote this song when I was over-anticipating the outcome of a newly formed romance. I was searching for answers and looking for signals to affirm the love, rather than just letting go and letting things be.”

She adds, regarding the video: “I chose to make the object of desire a sandwich rather than a lover…. I wanted to channel the slapstick work of Charlie Chaplin. I never end up finding the sandwich, just the mime pretending to chow down. I think lightness is achieved by letting go and embracing uncertainty. As in the video, which ends in laughter and acceptance, there is joy in surrender.”

No roof no floor was produced by Nick Kinsey and features musical contributions from Ellen Kempner of Palehound, David Lizmi, and Kevin Copeland.

Gillett’s debut EP, one to ten, came out in April via Captured Tracks. By Joey Arnone

5. Local Natives: “Desert Snow”

Today, Local Natives shared a new double single featuring the songs “Desert Snow” and “Hourglass.” It is the band’s first release of new music in two years, and it is out now via Loma Vista. “Desert Snow” makes our main Songs of the Week list, with “Hourglass” an honorable mention.

The band state in a press release: “After the heartbreak and insanity of the past few years, when we finally got together to make music again, these songs reconnected and reignited us.”

They add, regarding “Hourglass”: “It explores the difficulty when feeling divided and isolated from some of the people we love most while knowing the time we have with them is finite, and contains some of our favorite Local Natives lyrics.”

Local Natives released an EP, Sour Lemon, in 2020. Their most recent album was Violet Street, which was released in 2019 on Loma Vista. By Joey Arnone

6. Julien Chang: “Marmalade”

Yesterday, Baltimore singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer Julien Chang announced the release of a new album, The Sale, which will be out on November 4 via Transgressive. Chang also shared a video for a new single from the album, “Marmalade.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

In a press release, Chang states: “I think the point is that memory runs up against certain limits in sense-making and then has to start relying on fictions. I wrote ‘Marmalade’ at a time in which this feeling of passionate regret had just finished transforming into something domesticated, incorporated, and basically mundane—a part of everyday life, something that pops up in the mind from time to time and causes me to scrunch my nose.”

Chang’s debut album, Jules, came out in 2019 via Transgressive. By Joey Arnone

7. Cass McCombs: “Karaoke”

On Tuesday, Cass McCombs shared a video for his new single, “Karaoke.” Co-produced by Ariel Rechtshaid, it is the latest release from his forthcoming album, Heartmind, which will be out on August 19 via ANTI-.

McCombs previously shared the album single “Belong to Heaven” in April. Upon announcement of the new album, he shared the track “Unproud Warrior,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. His last album, Tip of the Sphere, came out in 2019 via ANTI-. In 2020, he shared the song “Don’t (Just) Vote,” an updated version of his 2011 song “Don’t Vote.” By Joey Arnone

8. Art Moore: “Sixish”

This week, Art Moore (a new group consisting of Boy Scouts’ Taylor Vick and Ezra Furman collaborators Sam Durkes and Trevor Brooks) shared a new single, “Sixish.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming self-titled debut album, which will be out on August 5 via ANTI-.

In a press release, Vick states: “When I first heard the instrumental demo version of ‘Sixish,’ the choruses had a heavy and heartbroken feeling to them so I tried to write lyrics to match that. I wrote about the version of heartbreak that involves a situation where you feel like you’ve got an infinite amount of love and energy to give someone but they’re no longer able to reciprocate.”

Upon announcement of the album in May, the band shared the single “Muscle Memory.” They later shared the album track “A Different Life.” By Joey Arnone

9. girlpuppy: “Wish”

On Tuesday, girlpuppy (aka Becca Harvey) announced the release of her debut album, When I’m Alone, which will be out on October 28 via Royal Mountain. She also shared a video for the album’s lead single “Wish.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

“On ‘Wish’ I was thinking about when friends leave your life and you’re not entirely sure why,” Harvey explains in a press release. “It’s a pretty universal feeling, I think. And, the thing is—even if you managed to live in the walls of that person’s apartment and were able to figure it out, their reasons might not make total sense. This song is me living with that feeling, when loss just doesn’t quite add up. This is the first shoegaze rock song I’ve made and I did that intentionally—the emotions in the song go from anger to sadness to nostalgia and all the other emotions that you feel when you go through a ‘friend breakup.’ I imagined it being really cathartic to play it live.”

When I’m Alone was produced by Marshall Vore. Girlpuppy’s debut EP, Swan, came out last year via Royal Mountain. By Joey Arnone

10. Teens in Trouble: “Decomposing”

Yesterday, Teens In Trouble announced the release of their self-titled debut EP, which will be out on September 2 via Asian Man Records. They also shared a video for a new single from the album, “Decomposing.” View the EP’s tracklist here.

In a press release, band vocalist Lizzie Killian states: “I developed a green thumb over the pandemic and started getting into composting last spring. It was a sunny day in Raleigh and I was out in my backyard collecting dried leaves and twigs and putting them in compost. Something about it felt very cathartic that I started singing ‘We are dirt/We are clean/We are slowly decomposing’ to myself enough times until I recorded a voice memo on my phone.”

Teens In Trouble previously shared the track “I’m Not Worried,” which is featured on the EP. By Joey Arnone

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 10.

The Beaches: “Grow Up Tomorrow”

The Bug Club: “It’s Art”

Fazerdaze: “Come Apart”

Kiwi Jr. “The Extra Sees the Film”

Local Natives: “Hourglass”

San Fermin: “Someone You Call Baby”

Skullcrusher: “Whatever Fits Together”

Sun Ra Arkestra: “Somebody Else’s Idea”

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:

Air Waves: “Alien” (Feat. Cass McCombs)

The Afghan Whigs: “A Line of Shots”

Julien Baker: “Vanishing Point” and “Mental Math”

Billie Eilish: “TV” and “The 30th”

Daphni: “Clavicle”

Nils Frahm: “Lemon Day”

Robyn Hitchcock: “The Shuffle Man”

Japanese Breakfast: “Be Sweet (Korean Version)” (Feat. So!YoON!)

Magdalena Bay: “Chaeri (Danny L Harle Remix)”

Mamalarky: “Mythical Bonds”

Muse: “Kill or Be Killed”

Night Moves: “As Innocent Looking as Candy”

Sour Widows: “Witness”

Starcrawler: “Stranded”

Macie Stewart: “Maya, Please”

Titus Andronicus: “(I’m) Screwed”

Johanna Warren: “I’d Be Orange”

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