10 Best Songs of the Week: Palehound, Pip Blom, Margaret Glaspy, Blonde Redhead, and More | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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10 Best Songs of the Week: Palehound, Pip Blom, Margaret Glaspy, Blonde Redhead, and More

Plus The Clientele, Protomartyr, Oceanator, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Jun 02, 2023 Bookmark and Share


Welcome to the 20th Songs of the Week of 2023. It was a mixed collection of new songs this week, perhaps because Monday was a holiday, but there were some tracks we liked.

In the past week or so we posted interviews with The Last Dinner Party, The Beths, Body Type, and others.

In the last week we reviewed some albums.

Remember that we recently announced our new print issue, Issue 71 with Weyes Blood and Black Belt Eagle Scout on the covers.

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. Palehound: “My Evil”

Palehound (aka Ellen Kempner) is releasing a new album, Eye on the Bat, on July 14 via Polyvinyl. On Wednesday, Kempner shared the album’s second single, “My Evil,” via a lyric video that pays homage to the opening titles of the classic HBO TV series The Sopranos. Palehound also announced some headlining tour dates. Check out the tour dates here.

Kempner (who uses they/them pronouns) had this to say about the new single in a press release: “‘My Evil’ is about the extremely humbling experience of realizing that yes, you Are the asshole. I found myself acting in ways I was ashamed of, and realizing how capable I was of hurting somebody when I was trying so hard not to. Sometimes when you try so hard to be a ‘good person’ you’re actually swinging so far and recklessly that you make a full circle back to being a shithead. It can be very hard to forgive yourself, and this song is a portrait of that struggle for me.”

Speaking of the song’s lyric video, Kempner says: “The Sopranos is a show that’s been constantly on loop in my life for the past few years. When I got the idea to make a video based on the intro credits of Tony driving through Jersey, I knew I had to do it with my friend Richard Orofino. He’s possibly even a bigger Sopranos fan than I am and he did an incredible job mapping out a lot of the original locations from the show, including Tony’s house that we see at the end of the video. This whole thing was super DIY, just me and Richard (and his camcorder) having the time of our lives and being embarrassing superfans. It’s not exactly shot for shot of the original but, to brag for a sec, I’m truly amazed at how close we were able to get it.”

Palehound previously shared the album’s first single, “The Clutch,” via a music video. “The Clutch” was one of our Songs of the Week.

Eye on the Bat is the follow-up to 2019’s Black Friday, although in 2021 Kempner teamed up with Melina Duterte of Jay Som to form Bachelor and release their debut album, Doomin’ Sun, via Polyvinyl.

Eye on the Bat was recorded across 2022 at Flying Cloud Recordings in the Catskills, with recording done in various brief sessions. Kempner co-produced the album with Sam Owens (Big Thief, Cass McCombs) and also worked with multi-instrumentalist Larz Brogan, a longtime Palehound collaborator.

Summing up the new album in a previous press release, Kempner said: “It’s about me, but it’s also about me in relation to others. After hiding for so long—staying inside and hiding your life and hiding yourself from the world—I was ready. I think I flipped.”

Check out our COVID-19 Quarantine Artist Check-In interview with Palehound from 2020.

Check out our 2021 interview with Bachelor.

Check out our My Favorite Album interview with Palehound. By Mark Redfern

2. Pip Blom: “Is This Love?” (Feat. Alex Kapranos)

On Wednesday, Amsterdam trio Pip Blom announced the release of their third studio album, Bobbie, and shared a new single from it via music video titled “Is This Love?” (which features Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos on both the song and in the video). Bobbie will be out October 20 via Heavenly. MrMr directed the “Is This Love?” video. Watch the video here, followed by Bobbie’s tracklist and cover art.

Pip Blom are a band, but it’s also the name of the band’s frontwoman and main songwriter. “Is This Love” strays from Pip Blom’s native rock music, with more funkier influences from Karpranos. “The nice thing about working with Alex, besides the fact that the atmosphere was really good, was that we both had quite different perspectives. Whereas I am a bit more rock by nature, Alex is a lot funkier. And that turned out to be the perfect addition for this song, both in the verses and completely in the chorus,” Blom says in a press release. “Never before has such a funky Pip Blom song appeared, and we all absolutely love it.”

Pip Blom’s experimentation with style is also evidenced in various other Jump For Joy songs, as they immerse themselves in a more thumping and carefree synth. While this has been a goal for Pip Blom for years, it was finally brought to fruition under collaboration with producer Dave McCracken. Alongside making strides in musicality, Blom has pushed herself with the album’s lyricism. “I always find lyrics difficult because I’m not a native speaker,” she says. “I find it hard to spend time on them because it feels a bit forced.”

Pip Blom’s last album was 2021’s Welcome Break. Last year Franz Ferdinand released a greatest hits album, Hits to the Head. By Kat Ramkumar

3. Margaret Glaspy: “Act Natural”

Also on Wednesday, Margaret Glaspy announced the release of new album, Echo the Diamond, and shared its first single, opening track “Act Natural,” via a music video. She also announced some fall 2023 tour dates. Echo the Diamond is due out August 18 via ATO. Check out the new LP’s tracklist and cover artwork, as well as the tour dates, here.

Glaspy, native to Northern California, has been writing music since 15, channeling notions of sensitivity and incisiveness that makes itself present throughout her music. Echo the Diamond will be Glaspy’s third full length studio album, and she attributed the songwriting towards efforts to preserve her own expressions. “This is the most fluid and immediate music I have ever made,” she says in a press release. “I see now that I protected the creative space by surrounding myself with incredible people in making this record, and I’m so happy I did.”

Drawing inspiration from artists who display spontaneity such as Sonic Youth, Vivienne Westwood’s punk-influenced fashion, and 1985 Japanese Western film Tampopo, the making of this album was a fast paced process with notions of urgency. The album’s first single, “Act Natural” was composed by Glaspy on the back of a tour bus and the riff was refined in her home. The music video, directed by Phineas Alexander, displays Glaspy’s role within her New York community and showcases her love for guitar.

“I love music with a big element of risk to it, which was really the heartbeat of this album,” she says. “A lot of what you hear are the very first takes.” The album was produced by Glaspy alongside guitarist/composer Julian Lage, drummer David King, and bassist Chris Morrissey.

“I’m excited to make music that doesn’t try to manipulate the listener into wishing for things to be any different from what they are,” she says. “Ideally, I want my songs to reveal life for what it is, and to show that it’s that way for everyone.”

Glaspy will celebrate the release of this album with an in-store performance and album signing at New York’s Rough Trade on August 18.

Previous releases by Glaspy include the 2022 single “My Body My Choice” which also made our songs of the week. Her last album, Devotion, came out in 2020. By Kat Ramkumar

4. Blonde Redhead: “Snowman”

On Tuesday, Blonde Redhead announced a new album, Sit Down for Dinner, their first new studio album in nine years, and shared its first single, “Snowman.” They also announced some tour dates. Sit Down for Dinner is due out September 29 via section1. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork, as well as the tour dates, here.

The iconic band features Kazu Makino and Italian twin brothers Simone and Amedeo Pace. Sit Down for Dinner was written and recorded over a five-year period in New York City, Upstate New York, Milan, and Tuscany.

Of the album’s title, Simone Pace says in a press release: “I know a lot of people eat and run, eat in front of their TV, or don’t care about it too much—and that’s OK—but we really do. It’s a moment for us to sit down and have time with each other.”

For Makino, eating dinner as a family took on new meaning during the pandemic when she couldn’t visit her parents in Japan. She says: “Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.”

Amedeo Pace wrote “Snowman” while riding a bus in the Monte Rosa mountains (which is on the border between Italy and Switzerland). At the time he was feeling motion sick. “I got inspired to write a song that only had two chords and a melody that would live and float between them,” he says. “‘Snowman’ is about how it can be a blessing or a curse to be invisible and undetectable, and how it’s something we all feel and desire at times.”

Of Blonde Redhead’s enduring band dynamic, Makino says: “We have a language we have kept. We try to change rhythms, concepts, and sounds. But that harmonic sensibility has stayed the same. It hits the same part of your heart.”

Blonde Redhead’s last full-length album was 2014’s Barragán, although in 2017 they released the 3 O’Clock EP. By Mark Redfern

5. The Clientele: “Dying in May”

This Wednesday, England’s The Clientele shared its upcoming album’s second single, “Dying in May.” The new album, I Am Not There Anymore is due out on 28 via Merge.

The Clientele is led by vocalist/lyricist/guitarist Alasdair MacLean and also features bassist James Hornsey and drummer Mark Keen.

In a press release, MacLean had this to say about the new single: “I think ‘Dying in May’ is the first Clientele song with no guitar. It also has no chords, as such—it’s a drone, with French horn, cello, and Mellotron. So the rhythm does a lot of the work—the drums and percussion are in 9/8, but the singing and instruments are in 4/4, so as each bar goes past, there’s a slightly different rhythmic emphasis. This was a complete accident, but I loved it when I heard it—the patterns are a bit disorientating, but there’s a pulse that goes through it. I almost feel I could dance to this, but not quite. It’s based on an Arabic flamenco rhythm.

“The words are all fragmented too—simple images repeating, like someone in a high fever. I took some inspiration from cante jondo, Spanish flamenco—there tend to be two or three very focused, repetitive images in the words. There was no way in hell I could play guitar along with these rhythms, so I scored out a simple melody which would leave space for the drums, and be something the bass could latch on to. By the end, the words go over and over, like someone beside themselves with grief. Hence the title. It’s a harrowing subject, but I think it’s presented with love—the song hopefully opens it out and lets some air in. It feels like an exorcism for me.”

Previously The Clientele shared the album’s first single, “Blue Over Blue,” via a music video. “Blue Over Blue” was one of our Songs of the Week.

I Am Not There Anymore is the follow-up to 2017’s Music for the Age of Miracles, which was the band’s first new album in seven years. Sessions for the new album began in 2019, but took a while because of the pandemic and the band’s desire to experiment in the studio.

“We’d always been interested in music other than guitar music, like for donkey’s years,” said MacLean in a previous press release, with post-bop jazz, contemporary classical, and electronic music all cited as new influences for the band. “None of those things had been able to find their way into our sound other than in the most passing way, in the faintest imprint.”

The lyrics on I Am Not There Anymore are partially inspired by memories of the death of MacLean’s mother in the summer of 1997, a delayed sense of mourning. He said the album is about “the memory of childhood but at the same time the impossibility of truly remembering childhood… or even knowing who or what you are.” By Mark Redfern

6. Protomartyr: “Polacrilex Kid”

Detroit-formed post-punkers Protomartyr released a new album, Formal Growth in the Desert, today via Domino. On Tuesday they shared its third single, “Polacrilex Kid,” as well as a live performance video for the song. They also announced a telethon that streamed yesterday, The Marty Singer Telethon.

The Marty Singer Telethon featured live performances from the band (including of the new songs “Fun In Hi Skool” and “3800 Tigers”) and much more.

Protomartyr is vocalist Joe Casey, guitarist Greg Ahee, drummer Alex Leonard, and bassist Scott Davidson.

“Polacrilex Kid” takes its title from the chemical name for nicotine gum. In a press release, Casey refers to nicotine gum an “unwanted friend I’ve become acquainted with since getting on the quit smoking/start smoking again tilt-a-whirl.”

Previously Protomartyr shared the album’s first single, “Make Way,” via a music video. Then they shared its second single, “Elimination Dances,” via a music video. “Elimination Dances” was one of our Songs of the Week.

Formal Growth in the Desert is the follow-up to 2020’s Ultimate Success Today. The album was recorded at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas. “The desert is more of a metaphor or symbol,” Casey says in a press release, “of emotional deserts, or a place or time that seems to lack life.”

Read our review of Ultimate Success Today here.

Read our 2017 interview with Protomartyr. By Mark Redfern.

7. Oceanator: “Part Time”

On​​ Tuesday, Oceanator, aka Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter/guitarist Elise Okusami, shared a new song, “Part Time.” It was co-written with Cheekface’s Greg Katz. The single is out now via Polyvinyl. Check out Oceantor’s current dates opening for AJJ here.

“Part Time” follows Oceantor’s 2022 album Nothing’s Ever Fine, which was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2022. Okusami co-produced Nothing’s Ever Fine with Bartees Strange and her brother and longtime bandmate Mike Okusami.

Nothing’s Ever Fine was Oceanator’s sophomore album, the follow-up to her debut album, Things I Never Said, which initially came out in August 2020 via her own Plastic Miracles label and then was reissued physically in February 2021 by Polyvinyl. It was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2020.

Oceanator is one of the artists on our Covers of Covers album, which came out in March 2022 via American Laundromat. She covered Elliott Smith’s “The Biggest Lie.” Check the cover out here.

Read our interview with Oceantor about Nothing’s Ever Fine.

Read our interview with Oceanator about Things I Never Said.

Read our review of Nothing’s Ever Fine here.

Read our review of Things I Never Said here. By Mark Redfern

8. Foo Fighters: “The Teacher”

Foo Fighters released a new album, But Here We Are, today via Roswell/RCA. On Tuesday they shared its fourth single, the 10-minute long “The Teacher,” via a music video. Multimedia artist Tony Oursler directed the short film/video for “The Teacher.”

According to a press release, Oursler’s work spans video, sculpture, installation, performance, and painting and he came to prominence in the late 1970s. Foo Fighters were exposed to his work via his video for David Bowie’s “Where Are We Now?” in 2013. “The Teacher” could be about frontman Dave Grohl’s mother, Virginia Hanlon Grohl, who died last year and was a teacher. The song’s lyrics do seem to tackle grief.

Previously Foo Fighters shared But Here We Are’s first single, “Rescued,” via a lyric video. “Rescued” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared its second single, “Under You,” and hosted a live stream event, Foo Fighters: Preparing Music For Concerts, where they revealed their new drummer is Josh Freese. Then they shared its third single, “Show Me How,” which ws surprisingly a dream pop song and featured guest vocals from Violet Grohl, the 17-year-old daughter of Dave Grohl. “Show Me How” was one of our Songs of the Week.

But Here We Are is the band’s first album since the 2022 death of the band’s former drummer Taylor Hawkins, who passed away at the age of 50 while the band were on a South American tour in Bogotá, Colombia.

Greg Kurstin produced the album with the band. The band’s last album was 2021’s Medicine at Midnight.

A previous press release describes the new album in more detail:

“A brutally honest and emotionally raw response to everything Foo Fighters endured over the last year, But Here We Are is a testament to the healing powers of music, friendship and family. Courageous, damaged and unflinchingly authentic, But Here We Are opens with newly released lead single ‘Rescued,’ the first of 10 songs that run the emotional gamut from rage and sorrow to serenity and acceptance, and myriad points in between.

“Produced by Greg Kurstin and Foo Fighters, But Here We Are is in nearly equal measure the 11th Foo Fighters album and the first chapter of the band’s new life. Sonically channeling the naiveté of Foo Fighters’ 1995 debut, informed by decades of maturity and depth, But Here We Are is the sound of brothers finding refuge in the music that brought them together in the first place 28 years ago, a process that was as therapeutic as it was about a continuation of life.” By Mark Redfern

9. Helena Deland: “Spring Bug”

This Tuesday, Montreal singer/songwriter Helena Deland came back with a new song, “Spring Bug.” She also announced dates for her first North American headline tour. Chivi Chivi directed the visualizer video for “Spring Bug.” Check out the tour dates here.

Deland’s dainty vocals backed by a tenacious guitar are no stranger to concert halls as she’s toured with names such as Weyes Blood, Andy Schauf, Connan Mockasin, Soccer Mommy, and Iggy Pop in the past. Tickets are on sale now.

“Spring sun and spring rain make past selves sprout out of the ground. The question of whether or not to leave this town becomes the background on which they wreak havoc,” Deland says in a press release. “‘Spring Bug’ is the wave of a hand trying to shoo off a noisy flying creature, and the creature is me! Thank you for listening.”

Deland’s previous releases include the recent single “Deceiver” in collaboration with Claire Rousay and 2022 single “Swimmer.”

Deland released her debut solo album, Someone New, in 2020 on Luminelle. It was #30 on our Top 100 Albums of 2020 list.

Read our 2018 The End interview with Helena Deland about endings and death. By Kat Ramkumar

10. Patio: “En Plein Air”

This Tuesday, New York post-punk band Patio shared a new song, “En Plein Air.” Nate Amos of Water From Your Eyes produced the song. This is Patio’s first new single since 2019 and it’s out now on Fire Talk.

The concept behind Patio was created out of a joke about outdoor day drinking, but band members Loren Dibalsi and Lindsay Paige-Mccloy turned it into a real band. They were soon joined by their third member, Alice Suh, and rose to prominence within the early 2010’s DIY scene in New York. After gaining exposure by playing with bands such as Pile, Dry Cleaning, and Dhed, the band debuted with 2016’s EP, Luxury.

“En Plein Air” which means “in the open air” represents the band at their most liberated and collaborative stage. This song was polished during the spring of 2021, where the band drew inspiration from the turbulence of disco music through artists such as Donna Summer and the Bee Gees.

“En Plein Air” describes “winning a fight, for once, but by proxy—finding the right thing to say, but five years too late,” according to the band, in a press release. The song is filled with lyrics of regret and a search for amicability, without losing crucial punk elements with a steady drum and tenacious guitar.

Patio’s previous projects include the 2019 debut LP Essentials. By Kat Ramkumar

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 10.

Grian Chatten: “Last Time Every Time Forever”

Paul Cherry and Kate Bollinger: “Playroom”

CMAT: “Have Fun!”

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds: “Open the Door, See What You Find” (Feat. Johnny Marr)

Hannah Georgas: “Better Somehow”

Grrrl Gang: “Spunky!”

Purr: “Who Is Afraid of Blue”

Anna St. Louis: “Morning”

Wye Oak: “I Learned it From You”

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

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