10 Best Songs of the Week: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Kamasi Washington, My Idea, and More | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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10 Best Songs of the Week: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Kamasi Washington, My Idea, and More

Plus SASAMI, Lucy Dacus, Röyksopp, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Feb 04, 2022 Bookmark and Share

Welcome to the fifth Songs of the Week of 2022. This week saw the start of the Winter Olympics in China, Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter on Groundhog Day, the U.S. military took out the head of ISIS, and tensions continued between Russia and the Ukraine.

In the last week we posted interviews with Imarhan, L-E, and Cate Le Bon.

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

Don’t forget to pick up our new double print issue, our 20th Anniversary Issue (which is out now) and to preorder our first album, the 20th anniversary compilation Covers of Covers. Also check out our Top 100 Albums of 2021 list and our Top 130 Songs of 2021 list.

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. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: “The Way It Shatters”

On Wednesday, Melbourne, Australia five-piece Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever announced a new album, Endless Rooms, and shared its first single, “The Way It Shatters,” via a video for it. They also announced some North American tour dates. Endless Rooms is due out May 6 via Sub Pop. Nick Mckk directed the video for “The Way It Shatters.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as the upcoming tour dates, here.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever are like Spoon, they’ve mastered their sound and consistently deliver. While they don’t change up their sound all that much from release to release, they have proven to be one of the most consistent bands of the last five or so years.

The band features singer/songwriter/guitarists Tom Russo, Joe White, and Fran Keaney, as well as bassist Joe Russo and drummer Marcel Tussie.

Endless Rooms is the band’s third full-length and is the follow-up to 2020’s Sideways to New Italy and 2018’s debut album, Hope Downs, both of which also came out via Sub Pop. The album began with the band members trading ideas remotely during lockdown and it was recorded in “a mud-brick house in the bush around two hours north of Melbourne built by the extended Russo family in the 1970s.” The lakeside house also appears on the album’s cover.

The band self-produced the record, working with engineer and collaborator Matt Duffy. “The result is a collection of songs permeated by the spirit of the place; punctuated by field recordings of rain, fire, birds, and wind,” states a press release.

The band collectively add: “It’s almost an anti-concept album. The Endless Rooms of the title reflects our love of creating worlds in our songs. We treat each of them as a bare room to be built up with infinite possibilities.”

Of “The Way It Shatters,” the band say: “It’s about how ending up in your particular situation in life is the result of absolute randomness. If you happen to be born into wealthy Australia or happen to be born into a war zone in Syria. That’s just the way it shatters. So it’s when this good luck is mistaken for a sense of pride in one’s self or their country they become confused and deluded about what’s important. It’s when those on the other side of the luck scale are completely othered and considered not worthy.”

Read our interview with Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever on Sideways to New Italy.

Read our review of Sideways to New Italy.

Hope Downs was our Album of the Week, one of our Top 100 Albums of 2018, and our #1 Debut Album of 2018.

Read our 2018 interview with Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. By Mark Redfern

2. Kamasi Washington: “The Garden Path”

On Wednesday, the endlessly cool Kamasi Washington shared a new song, “The Garden Path.” It is the jazz saxophonist’s first new music in nearly a year and it is out now via Young. He also made his late night TV debut this week, where he performed the song on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

“The world feels turned upside down,” says Washington of the song in a press release. “There’s so much push and pull in every direction, from everyone you meet—no one knows what to think, who to believe, or how to approach life right now. No matter how smart you are, it’s hard not to feel blind.”

Washington is featured on the cover of our latest print issue (Issue 69). His most recent album, Heaven and Earth, was released in 2018. By Joey Arnone

3. My Idea: “Cry Mfer”

On Tuesday, My Idea (the duo consisting of Lily Konigsberg from Palberta and Nate Amos Water From Your Eyes), announced the release of their debut album, Cry Mfer, which will be out on April 22 via Hardly Art. They also shared a video for the album title track. View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

Konigsberg elaborates on the new song in a press release, stating: “In the moment I thought I was needing a big life change and shift, like I had been stuck in something, and I was right, I just went about it in a very wrong way. And now the thing that I’m needing, I’m getting, actually, which is through being sober and getting my life together. I was telling myself a lot of stuff through those lyrics that was subconscious. I thought I was talking to other people, but I was talking to myself.”

Water From Your Eyes are featured on our upcoming Covers of Covers compilation, which will be out on March 4 via American Laundromat. By Joey Arnone

4. SASAMI: “Call Me Home”

SASAMI (aka Los Angeles-based musician Sasami Ashworth) is releasing a new album, Squeeze, on February 25 via Domino. Yesterday, she shared its fourth single, the melodic “Call Me Home.” View SASAMI’s upcoming tour dates, including shows with Mitski and HAIM, here.

Ashworth had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Call Me Home’ is dedicated to anyone who has blown up their life just to remember what it’s like to feel something. It’s about the darkness of feeling nothing and the creeping ache of apathy that can swallow you whole if you let it. It’s about skipping town, driving all night and knowing you’ll always have a home to come back to.”

Upon announcement of the new album in October of last year, Ashworth shared the songs “Skin a Rat” and “The Greatest,” the latter of which was one of our Songs of the Week. Then in January she shared its next single, the industrial sounding “Say It,” which also landed on Songs of the Week.

Ashworth self-produced Squeeze, with some co-prodution help from Ty Segall. The album also features Hand Habits’ Meg Duffy, King Tuff’s Kyle Thomas, Christian Lee Hutson, Barishi, Moaning’s Pascal Stevenson, Jay Bellerose, and No Home.

Ashworth’s self-titled debut album, SASAMI, came out in 2019 via Domino. Read our interview with her on the album. By Mark Redfern

5. Lucy Dacus: “Kissing Lessons”

On Wednesday, Lucy Dacus shared a brand new song, “Kissing Lessons,” via a video for it. It was recorded during the sessions of her 2021 album, Home Video, but was held back for a standalone release. Like much of Home Video, “Kissing Lessons” pulls from Dacus’ childhood in Richmond, VA and is about two girls practicing how to kiss. Fittingly, the Mara Palena-directed video features a young girl in her bedroom. View Dacus’ upcoming tour dates, including a newly announced show at New York City’s SummerStage in Central Park on Thursday, July 21 (tickets go on sale this Friday at 12 p.m. EST), here.

“Kissing Lessons” will be released as a 7-inch single on June 3, with the B-side being “Thumbs Again,” a track she shared back in November.

Home Video came out last June via Matador (stream it here). It was high up on our Top 100 Albums of 2021 list.

In July we posted our in-depth Under the Radar Podcast interview with Dacus on Home Video. Listen to it here.

Read our review of Home Video here.

Home Video included “Thumbs,” a new song she shared in March that was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. When the album was announced Dacus shared its second single, “Hot & Heavy,” which also made our Songs of the Week list. Then she performed “Hot & Heavy” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, performing it with her backing band from the stage of the Virginia Repertory Theatre, in her native Richmond. Dacus’ mother used to play piano for musicals at the theater, musicals Dacus would sometimes appear in as a child. Then she shared another song from it, “VBS,” via an animated video for the single which was about going to vacation bible school and was also one of our Songs of the Week. Then she shared its next single “Brando,” which is about a friend Dacus had in high school who was obsessed with old films. “Brando” once again made our Songs of the Week list. Then she was the musical guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! where she performed “Brando” from the Theatre Gym of the Virginia Repertory Theatre, in her native Richmond. Then she shared a fan-sourced video for “Brando” and performed “VBS” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Read our 2021 Protest Issue interview with Dacus. By Mark Redfern

6. Röyksopp: “Impossible” (Feat. Alison Goldfrapp)

On Wednesday, Röyksopp (the electronic duo of Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland) shared a new song, “Impossible,” featuring Alison Goldfrapp of British duo Goldfrapp. The song is the latest release from their upcoming conceptual project, Profound Mysteries, which will be out on April 29. It’s been five years since the last Goldfrapp album, 2017’s Silver Eye, so it’s nice to hear Alison’s vocals again.

“It’s been great working with the wonderful Svein & Torbjørn from Röyksopp,” states Goldfrapp in a press release. “I’ve been a fan of their music for years and it was a fascinating joy creating ‘Impossible’ together. I truly hope everyone enjoys the track as there’s more to come.”

Röyksopp’s last album, billed as their final, was 2014’s The Inevitable End. By Joey Arnone

7. Arlo Parks: “Softly”

On Tuesday, London-based singer Arlo Parks shared a new song, “Softly,” via a video for it. The song follows her debut album, Collapsed in Sunbeams, released in January 2021 via Transgressive. The album won the Mercury Prize for the best British album of the year and landed high on our Top 100 Albums of 2021 list. Zhang and Knight directed the video.

Parks had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Softly’ is a song about yearning, about how fragile you feel in the dying days of a relationship when you’re still desperately in love. The song is about how it feels to brace yourself before the blow of a break up and reminisce about the days where it all felt luminous.”

Zhang and Knight had this to say about the video: “For us ‘Softly’ explored the idea of wanting something that was once perfect to end in a gentle way, and we wanted to express this using the world surrounding Arlo. We were instinctively drawn to the warm toned, hazy nostalgia of the 1960’s, as we loved the idea of something universally romantic being slowly stripped away throughout the film. We based the colors of the bricks, trims and doors on mid-century painting in order to bake this romanticism into everything. The production itself was a huge challenge, as everything was captured in-camera with each piece of the set built on wheels operated by several production crew. However, we knew it was all worth it when we saw the skyscrapers dancing around Arlo for the first time.”

Read our review of Collapsed in Sunbeams here.

Read our interview with Parks about the album here. By Mark Redfern

8. Obongjayar: “Try”

Yesterday, London artist Obongjayar announced the release of his debut album, Some Nights I Dream of Doors, which will be out on May 13 via September. He also shared a video for the newly released single “Try.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

Last October, Obongjayar shared the album track “Message in a Hammer.” In 2018, he was featured on the Everything is Recorded song “She Said” alongside Kamasi Washington. By Joey Arnone

9. illuminati hotties: “Sandwich Sharer”

On Wednesday, illuminati hotties (the project of singer/songwriter Sarah Tudzin) shared a brand new song, “Sandwich Sharer.” It follows her 2021 album, Let Me Do One More, released last October via Snack Shack Tracks in partnership with Hopeless Records, and comes ahead of her tour that starts next week. Check out the tour dates here.

Tudzin had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Sandwich Sharer’ was very much written at the precipice of unknowns—I was seeking a teammate at a time where I felt swayed by nostalgia for youth as opposed to the reality of the momentum of life. And it feels so good to be close to someone who knows you so well it’s like you finish each others’... sandwiches.”

Let Me Do One More was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2021.

Read our 2021 interview with illuminati hotties. By Mark Redfern

10. The Linda Lindas: “Growing Up”

Earlier this week, L.A.-based teenaged punk band The Linda Lindas announced the release of their debut album, Growing Up, which will be out on April 8 via Epitaph. The band also shared a video for the album’s title track, and performed it this week on The Late Late Show with James Corden. View the album’s tracklist/cover art and a list of tour dates for the band here.

In a press release, director Leon states: “Directing my first video for The Linda Lindas was a dream come true because I love the message and voice the girls have, and I am a true fan. I was really inspired by the girl’s love of cats and wanted to take that to the next level and so the video is a conversation about turning points in their lives all being viewed through the gaze of their cats. It creates a narrative of whether the cats want to trade places with the girls or vice-a-versa.

“This video was extra special because I worked with the girls on designing the outfits with Batsheva, styling the looks with Rodarte and Warby Parker. The entire video was a collaboration between me and the girls. By shooting the video on iPhone 13 Pro Max, it created an intimacy with the video that felt like we were listening in on a day in the life of The Linda Lindas.” By Joey Arnone

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 10.

Calexico: “El Mirador”

Circuit des Yeux: “The Manatee”

Cate Le Bon: “Wheel”

Mallrat: “Your Love”

METZ: “Demolition Row”

Mitski: “Stay Soft”

The Range: “Bicameral”

Special Mention:

Cassandra Jenkins: “It’s You” (Animal Collective Cover) and Peter Bjorn and John: “Songs of Love” (The Divine Comedy Cover) from Under the Radar’s Covers of Covers Album

In December we announced Covers of Covers, our first album, and on Monday we shared two more singles from it: Cassandra Jenkins’ cover of Animal Collective’s “It’s You” and Peter Bjorn and John’s cover of The Divine Comedy’s “Songs of Love.” Covers of Covers is due out March 4, 2022 via American Laundromat (preorder it here). Since they are covers and from our own album, we can’t include the tracks in our main Songs of the Week list, even though we love them both, but wanted to give them a special mention.

In honor of our 20th anniversary we approached some of our favorite musicians and asked them to cover any song by any artist who had been on the front or back cover of our print issue over the years. In December we shared its first two singles: Grandaddy’s cover of Metric’s “Blindness” and EMA’s cover of Modest Mouse’s “Trailer Trash.” The album also features Alex Lahey, Hatchie, Nation of Language, Cults, Kevin Drew, Black Belt Eagle Scout, Sondre Lerche, Girl Ray, Piroshka, Strand of Oaks, Oceanator, C Duncan, NZCA LINES, Ora the Molecule, James Yorkston, and Water From Your Eyes.

Covers of Covers will be available on CD and digitally, with cassette tape and vinyl releases in the works too. We are also donating $1.00 from every physical album sold and every full album download purchased to Sweet Relief Musicians Fund (www.sweetrelief.org), which “provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians and music industry workers who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems.”

Cassandra Jenkins was the first artist to say yes to the Covers of Covers project. Her 2021 album, An Overview on Phenomenal Nature, was on our Top 100 Albums of 2021 list and also landed on several other best albums of 2021 lists. Its single “Hard Drive” also landed in the Top 10 of our Top 130 Songs of 2021 list and was one of the most acclaimed songs of last year. “It’s You” was originally found on Animal Collective’s Prospect Hummer EP, from 2005, which was a collaboration with British folk singer Vashti Bunyan. Animal Collective are releasing a new album, Time Skiffs, this Friday via Domino. They were on the cover of Issue 43 in 2012.

Jenkins had this to say about her track in a statement to Under the Radar: “I was introduced to Vashti Bunyan’s music when some Baltimore friends started playing with her in the early 2000s around the time ‘It’s You’ was released. I love Animal Collective’s music and was reminded of their beautiful EP with Bunyan when a friend put it on a driving mix for me recently. I listened to it on repeat for miles and when asked to pick a song for this compilation I was hoping AC had been featured on a cover so I’d have an excuse to record this song.

“Covers are a great way for me to experiment with sounds, palettes, and people I want to work with, without the weight of my songs being at the helm. Rebecca El-Saleh (harpist) and I did some email recording over quarantine and this was the first time we got to play in a room together with my friend Zubin Hensler (who engineered the session). I had been listening to a lot of Curtis Mayfield at the time and loved some of the harp in his recordings, and I felt like harp was one of the few acoustic instruments that could capture something similar to the original recording. Michael Coleman added some piano, and I used field recordings from the house where I’ve been living for a good part of this year, because the bugs made their way into all of my vocal tracks anyway, so I just embraced them.

“I’m psyched to benefit a good cause because it’s organizations like Sweet Relief that helped me finish my album, An Overview on Phenomenal Nature, after COVID first hit the U.S. Grant money gave me the extra push I needed to finish my record, and I’m so grateful I was able to put that out this year. Artists need as much support as we can give right now, and we need good art more than ever.”

The Divine Comedy (the project of Irish singer/songwriter Neil Hannon) was on the cover of our second issue, in 2002, although “Songs of Love” is from his 1996 album Cassanova and is also featured on Charmed Life - The Best of the Divine Comedy, which came out today. Hannon is one of the 11 artists on one of the two covers of our 20th Anniversary Issue, which is out now.

We first interviewed Sweden’s Peter Bjorn and John in 2006, in honor of their breakthrough album Writer’s Block (which featured the enduring hit “Young Folks”). The band’s last album was 2020’s Endless Dream.

Peter Morén of Peter Bjorn and John had this to say about their cover in a statement to Under the Radar: “We made it to the studio (for the first time in one-and-a-half years in the same room all together) still not sure what to do exactly from the long list of potential artists to cover. We tried a song by Devendra Banhart (we booked his first ever Swedish show, so there’s a connection), we also dipped our toes into some Super Furry Animals and Feist material. Nothing really seemed to click. Elliott Smith we had covered before at our third show or something but he was already taken… Ah well… Suddenly I realized that Divine Comedy/Neil Hannon wrote the theme tune for the Irish-British sitcom-classic Father Ted, a perennial favorite of mine. This madcap mid-’90s series about three bonkers Catholic priests on a remote fictitious island called Craggy Island, hit me hard when it ran on late night TV in Sweden sometime early noughties. Apparently it’s been banned in the States and voted second best British comedy after Fawlty Towers by some poll in 2019. Either way it might be an acquired taste but it’s my taste. On a tour of (you guessed it) Ireland I got the DVD box-set and pained the rest of the band with it on the bus TV (though the British crew got it). Long story but I thought we might as well have a go at it. Bingo! A few jammed out slightly psychedelic PBJ-angled takes with some added vibraphone and tape-echo and there you have it! We then thought…well the song DOES have a lyric, looked it up and sang it. Cause why not? A good set of words too…nothing whatsoever to do with Mrs. Doyle or ecumenical matters. It’s called ‘Songs of Love.’ Thanks Neil for writing it and thanks Under the Radar for the opportunity!”

And once again, you can preorder Covers of Covers here from American Laundromat and here from Bandcamp. By Mark Redfern

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:

Animal Collective: “We Go Back”

BENEE: “Beach Boy”

James Blake: “(Pick Me Up) Euphoria” (Feat. Labrinth)

Blue Hawaii: “My Bestfriend’s House”

Bright Eyes: “Falling Out of Love at This Volume,” “Contrast And Compare” (Feat. Waxahatchee), and “Haligh, Haligh, a Lie, Haligh” (Feat. Phoebe Bridgers)

The Cactus Blossoms: “Is It Over”

Madi Diaz: “Resentment (New Feelings Version)” (Feat. Waxahatchee)

Dubstar: “Token”

Flume: “Say Nothing” (Feat. MAY-A)

Liam Gallagher: “Everything’s Electric” (Feat. Dave Grohl)

Jasmyn: “Crystal Ball”

Kavinsky: “Zenith”

LAPÊCHE: “Bottom Feeder”

Letting Up Despite Great Faults: “She Spins”

Many Voices Speak: “Seat for Sadness”

Matmos: “Flight to Sodom / Lot do Salo”

Nicki Minaj: “Do We Have a Problem?” (Feat. Lil Baby)

Thurston Moore: “The Station” and “The Walk”

Jerry Paper: “Kno Me”

Personal Trainer: “Key of Ego”

Pictish Trail: “It Came Back”

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets: “Bubblegum Infinity” and “Dread & Butter”

Red Hot Chili Peppers: “Black Summer”

Rosalia: “SAOKO”

Caroline Spence: “I Know You Know Me” (Feat. Matt Berninger)

String Machine: “Soft Tyranny”

Tegan and Sara: “Where Does the Good Go” (Acoustic)

Kae Tempest: “Salt Coast”

Wallows: “Especially You”

Wet Leg: “Life is a Rollercoaster” (Ronan Keating Cover)

Young Guv: “Good Time”

Classic Song of the Week:

Ladytron: “Playgirl”

Our 20th Anniversary Issue includes a section where we conduct new interviews with most of the artists originally interviewed in our first issue. Included is Ladytron, who we interviewed about their debut album, 604. Here is the video for album highlight “Playgirl.” It’s followed by the chilled out Snap Ant remix of the song.

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