10 Best Songs of the Week: LUMP, Modest Mouse, Bobby Gillespie and Jehnny Beth, Iceage, and More | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, May 29th, 2024  

10 Best Songs of the Week: LUMP, Modest Mouse, Bobby Gillespie and Jehnny Beth, Iceage, and More

Plus HARD FEELINGS, Alex Lahey, Caveman, Liars, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

May 07, 2021 Bookmark and Share

Welcome to the 17th Songs of the Week of 2021. This week wasn’t overly eventful, in terms of U.S. news. Republicans in Florida and other states made more attempts to restrict voting rights. Elon Musk is hosting Saturday Night Live tomorrow night. Bill and Melinda Gates are getting divorced. The jobs report wasn’t as good as expected (less new jobs were added last month in the U.S. than predicted). Elsewhere, a Chinese rocket is crashing to Earth and the COVID-19 crisis continues to be particularly bad in India.

Now onto Songs of the Week and this week’s other content on our website.

In the last week we posted interviews with Sarah Jarosz, Azure Ray, and Mario Van Peeples.

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

Don’t forget that last month we announced our new print issue. The issue features Japanese Breakfast and HAIM on the two covers and is another edition of The Protest Issue, which examines the intersection of music and politics and features musicians photographed with protest signs of their own making. It follows Protest Issues we also published in 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016.

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. LUMP: “Animal”

On Wednesday, LUMP (aka Laura Marling and Tunng’s Mike Lindsay) announced a new album, Animal, and shared a video for its title track. Animal is due out July 30 via Partisan/Chrysalis. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art here. LUMP has also announced some UK tour dates, which are also here.

Animal follows the band’s self-titled debut album, LUMP, which came out in 2018 via Dead Oceans.

“LUMP is so the repository for so many things that I’ve had in my mind and just don’t fit anywhere in that way,” says Marling in a press release. “They don’t have to totally make narrative sense, but weirdly they end up making narrative sense in some way.”

Marling’s last album, the acclaimed Song For Our Daughter, came out last year via Partisan/Chrysalis. Tunng also released a new album, DEAD CLUB, last year via Full Time Hobby. Marling was working on both Song For Our Daughter and the LUMP album at the same time.

“It became a very different thing about escaping a persona that has become a burden to me in some way. It was like putting on a superhero costume,” she says, adding that sometimes it feels as if she might be “edging Laura Marling off a cliff as much as I can and putting LUMP in the center.”

Animal was recorded at Lindsay’s home studio in Margate, Kent. A big feature of the sessions was his Eventide H949 Harmonizer, which is the same pitch-shifter David Bowie used on Low. In order to make sure her lyrics were more spontaneous, Marling would show up at the studio without hearing Lindsay’s music ahead of time.

“There’s a little bit of a theme of hedonism on the album, of desires running wild,” says Lindsay. “We created LUMP as a sort of persona and an idea and a creature. Through LUMP we find our inner animal, and through that animal we travel into a parallel universe.”

Read our 2018 interview with LUMP.

Marling and Lindsay met when Marling supported Neil Young at a London show in June 2016 and they discovered that they were mutual fans of each other’s work. The collaboration grew from there.

2. Modest Mouse: “We Are Between”

On Wednesday, Modest Mouse announced a new album, The Golden Casket, which is their first full-length in six years, and shared a new song from it, “We Are Between.” The Golden Casket is due out June 25 via Epic. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

The band’s last album was 2015’s Strangers to Ourselves. Although in 2019 Modest Mouse released a great new song, “Ice Cream Party,” which was one of our Songs of the Week and sadly isn’t on the new album.

Dave Sardy and Jacknife Lee produced The Golden Casket, which was recorded in Los Angeles and in Modest Mouse’s studio in Portland.

A press release describes The Golden Casket like so: “The album hovers in the liminal space between raw punk power and experimental studio science, frontman Isaac Brock explores themes ranging from the degradation of our psychic landscapes and invisible technology, to fatherhood. The twelve tracks behave like amorphous organisms, undergoing dramatic mutations and mood swings that speak to the chronic tug-of-war between hope and despair that plays out in Brock’s head.”

3. Bobby Gillespie and Jehnny Beth: “Chase It Down”

Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream and Jehnny Beth from Savages are releasing a new collaborative album together, Utopian Ashes, on July 2 via Third Man. On Thursday they shared its second single, the string-backed “Chase It Down,” via a video for it. Thomas James directed the atmospheric black & white video.

Previously the duo shared the album’s first single, “Remember We Were Lovers,” via a video for it. “Remember We Were Lovers” was one of our Songs of the Week.

As well as Gillespie and Beth, the album also features Beth’s musical partner Johnny Hostile (bass) alongside three members of Primal Scream—Andrew Innes (guitar), Martin Duffy (piano), and Darrin Mooney (drums).

Utopian Ashes is a concept record of sorts that chronicles the collapse of a marriage. A press release compares the album to country-soul classics such as Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris’ Grievous Angel and George Jones and Tammy Wynette’s We Go Together.

“In the same way you create characters for a novel, we’ve created characters here,” says Beth in the press release. “But you put yourself in it, because you’re trying to understand the human situation. The singing has to be authentic. That’s all that matters.”

“When you write a song you marry the personal with the fictional and make art,” adds Gillespie. “I was thinking about two people living alone, together but apart, existing and suffering in a psychic malaise, who plough on because of responsibilities and commitments. It’s about the impermanence of everything—an existential fact that everyone has to face at some point in their lives.”

It was in 2015 when they were both invited to get up on stage with Suicide at the Barbican in London that the duo first met. In 2016 Beth joined Primal Scream on stage for a duet of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood’s “Some Velvet Morning” (a Primal Scream staple). Sessions for the album happened in Paris in 2017.

Summing up his intentions with Utopian Ashes Gillespie says: “I wanted to put pain back into music. I wasn’t hearing a lot of it in modern rock music.”

Beth released her debut solo album, To Love Is to Live, last year via Caroline.

Read our 2020 interview with Beth on To Love Is to Live.

Primal Scream’s most recent album, Chaosmosis, was released back in 2016 via the band’s own label, First International.

Read our 2016 interview with Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie on Chaosmosis.

Also read our 2013 interview with Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie on More Light.

4. Iceage: “High & Hurt”

Iceage released a new album Seek Shelter, today via Mexican Summer. On Wednesday, they shared one last single from it, “High & Hurt,” via Adult Swim’s Singles Program.

Sonic Boom (aka Pete Kember) produced the album. The band’s lineup features Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, Jakob Tvilling Pless, Johan Surrballe Wieth, and Dan Kjær Nielsen. An additional guitarist, Casper Morilla Fernandez, also joined them to record Seek Shelter, which was mixed by Shawn Everett.

Previously released singles from Seek Shelter are “Vendetta” (which was one of our Songs of the Week), “The Holding Hand,” “Shelter Song” (which was also one of our Songs of the Week), and “Gold City” (which was also one of our Songs of the Week).

5. HARD FEELINGS: “Holding On Too Long”

New York City based singer/songwriter Amy Douglas and British producer Joe Goddard of Hot Chip have joined forces to bring a new project to the music scene: HARD FEELINGS. This week the duo shared their debut single, “Holding On Too Long,” via a music video. The single is out now through Domino.

After hearing Douglas’ work with writing Róisín Murphy’s single “Something More,” Goddard reached out to her over Twitter in which he asked: “Amy, can we make a thing?”

Douglas talks about the new song in a press release: “‘Holding On Too Long’ is the common denominator of the entire musical union of Amy and Joe.  In this ‘opera of sad bangers’ here is its key aria, its ‘Un Bel Di’ from Madame Butterfly or the ‘Mad Scene’ from Lucia Di Lammermour, the unforgettable moment of the story wherein our heroine stands up defiantly and has her moment to wail, scream and cry her pain and fury centre stage to the world.”

“Holding On Too Long” is the band’s first single ever, and the video directed by Katie Paul stars Amy herself. Separately, the two have made impressions on the music industry. Douglas has a reputation in the disco world with her distinctive voice on tracks with artists like Juan Maclean, Horse Meat Disco, The Crooked Man, Bill Brewster, and more.

Goddard released a solo album, Electric Lines, in 2017 on his own Greco-Roman label, via Domino. Hot Chip meanwhile released a new album, A Bath Full of Ecstasy, in June 2019 via Domino (stream it here and read our positive review of the album here). By Emma Goad

6. Alex Lahey: “On My Way”

This week, Australian singer/songwriter Alex Lahey shared a lyric video for her anthemic new song “On My Way.” The track plays during the end credits of the critically acclaimed new animated movie The Mitchells vs. the Machines, which debuted last Friday on Netflix.

The Mitchells vs. the Machines was originally going to get a theatrical release last year via Sony Pictures under the title Connected, but then due to the pandemic it was sold to Netflix and given a much better title. In the film a Michigan family of four go on a road trip to escort teenage daughter Katie Mitchell to film school in California, but when an AI becomes selfaware and tries to take over the world with an army of robots, the Mitchells unexpectedly end up being the only family who can take them on. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller produced the film and the duo have quite an animated track record, including writing/producing the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, writing/directing The Lego Movie, writing/producing The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, and producing The Lego Batman Movie, among others. Mike Rianda directed The Mitchells vs. the Machines, which features the voice talents of Abbi Jacobson, Olivia Colman, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Fred Armisen, Beck Bennett, Erice Andre, Charlyne Yi, Conan O’Brien, John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, and more.

“On My Way” includes such lyrics as “I’m gonna cross state lines in my first car,” so it’s a good fit for the road trip nature of the movie.

In February, Lahey shared the song “Dino’s,” a collaboration with fellow Australian artist Gordi, and it was featured on our Songs of the Week. She released the EP Between the Kitchen and the Living Room last year on Dead Oceans and her last album was 2019’s The Best of Luck Club.

Read our interview with Lahey on her all-time favorite album, along with our 2017 interview with her.

7. Caveman: “Like Me”

New York’s Caveman are releasing a new album, Smash, on July 16 via Fortune Tellers. Today, the trio shared the album’s second single, “Like Me.”

Frontman Matthew Iwanusa had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Like Me’ is a song about being completely lost and starting to realize you’ve been placing the blame on everything else but yourself.”

Smash is the long-awaited follow-up to the Bossgaze trio’s last full-length, 2016’s Otero War, although in 2020 they did release the New Sides EP and a video for its single “You Got a Feeling” (the song also appears on Smash). A series of setbacks, including legal issues, led the delay between albums.

Caveman also shared another single from Smash, “Helpless,” in April via a music video for it.

Otero War was the follow-up to 2011’s CoCo Beware and 2013’s Caveman. The band also features James Carbonetti and Jeff Berrall.

Read Matthew Iwanusa’s Nocturnal Admittance post for us on his most vivid recurring dream.

And read our 2016 interview with Caveman.

8. Liars: “Sekwar”

On Wednesday, Liars (the project of Angus Andrew) announced a new album, The Apple Drop, and shared a new song from it, “Sekwar,” via a Clemens Habicht-directed video for the single. The Apple Drop is due out August 6 via Mute. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

Liars’ last two albums were 2017’s TFCF and 2018’s Titles With The Word Fountain. Both of those were more solitary affairs, the first recorded without founding member Aaron Hemphill. For The Apple Drop, Andrew embraced collaboration again, working with avant-garde jazz drummer Laurence Pike, multi-instrumentalist Cameron Deyell, and lyricist Mary Pearson Andrew.

“For the first time I embraced collaboration from an early stage, allowing the work of others to influence the work of my own,” says Angus Andrew in a press release. He adds: “My goal was to create beyond my abilities—something bigger than myself.”

Of the album’s themes, Andrew says: “Momentum and revolution were themes I wanted to explore, to give the listener this sense of transformation and to feel like you were being transported through the wormhole.”

Summing up where he’s at now creatively, Andrew concludes: “Throughout Liars’ history I have consistently tried to develop new methods of creating music. On each project I’ve essentially abandoned previous methods and attempted to instead learn different ways of writing and producing songs. Where once I perceived this journey as a straight line, I’m increasingly realizing my trajectory is more akin to a spiral. As new ideas are generated, older ones take on new meaning and evolve further.”

9. Water From Your Eyes: ““Quotations””

This week, dance music focused duo from New York, Water From Your Eyes, announced their newest LP, Structure, and released a new song from it, ““Quotations.”” Structure is due out August 27 via Wharf Cat, their first album for the label. Check out the LP’s tracklist and cover art here.

Water From Your Eyes is composed of Nate Amos and Rachel Brown, formerly independently known for their solo projects: This Is Lorelei and Thanks For Coming. Since coming together as a musical duo, the two have refined their sound and made a name for themselves in the dance music genre.

Amos talks about the new single in a press release: “‘“Quotations”’ is a sort of inverse version of ‘Quotations,’ the fourth track on the album. The vocal melody and lyrics are the same but are reframed with an entirely different backing track. It sort of wraps up and finalizes the whole ‘Structure’ idea of the record, which is as much a joke as it is a serious working concept. It was the last track on the album to be put together by about three months. We wanted another more approachable song to finish the project and I had gotten really attached to the ‘Quotations’ melody and felt like it would make sense to bring that back and showcase it’s versatility (the first version of the song is spooky enough that the way it translates is fragmented at best). Rachel said they wanted something that felt like waking up on a sunny day so that was the intent (not sure how successful we were but whatever it is it came out cool).”

Structure is influenced by Scott Walker’s Climate of Hunter and the works of painter Mark Rothko. A press release says that “it’s a concept album that pokes fun of the idea of concept albums, exploring high-minded ideas while subverting them and applying a hyper-focused eye for detail in the service of a series of clever misdirections.”

The duo’s last album was 2019’s Somebody Else’s Song. By Emma Goad

10. Storefront Church: “Total Stranger”

Storefront Church (the Los Angeles-based band led by Lukas Frank) are releasing their debut album, As We Pass, on May 21 on Sargent House. This week they shared another song from it, “Total Stranger.”

Previously Storefront Church shared the album’s lead single, “After the Alphabets,” which features Cole Smith of DIIV. “After the Alphabets” was one of our Songs of the Week.

Last year, the band signed with Sargent House, and had their first single for the label, “The Gift,” featured on the soundtrack to Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit.

Honorable Mentions:

These five songs almost made the Top 10.

Madi Diaz: “Nervous”

HEALTH and Nine Inch Nails: “ISN’T EVERYONE”

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble Cover: “Soon It Will Be Fire” (Feat. Moses Sumney) (Richard Young Cover)

James: “Recover”

Rostam: “From the Back of a Cab”

Other notable new tracks in the last week include:

Anika Pyle: “Thank You For Being a Friend” (Andrew Gold Cover)

Lydia Ainsworth: “Cosmic Dust”

Anjimile: “1978 (Reunion)” (Feat. Lomelda)

The Black Keys: “Going Down South” (R. L. Burnside Cover)

Coldplay: “Higher Power”

Matthew Dear: “Hikers Y”

Empress Of: “One Breath”

Ganser: “Emergency Equipment & Exits (Bartees Strange Remix)”

The Joy Formidable: “Back to Nothing”

Kevin Morby: “Dumcane”

Nap Eyes: “When I Come Around” (Green Day Cover)

No Joy: “Teenager (From Heaven)” (Deftones Cover)

Solidarity Not Silence: “This Is Sisterhood” (Feat. Kathleen Hanna)

Sufjan Stevens: “Incantation VIII”

Yann Tiersen: “Ker al Loch”

Wavves: “Help is on the Way”

Andrew W.K.: “I’m In Heaven”

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.


Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.