10 Best Songs of the Week: The Love Language, Flasher, The Flaming Lips, and More | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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10 Best Songs of the Week: The Love Language, Flasher, The Flaming Lips, and More

Plus Wooden Shjips, James Blake, HAERTS, Mutual Benefit, and a Wrap-up of the Week's Other Notable New Tracks

May 25, 2018 Hatchie Bookmark and Share

It was a bit tough putting together a Songs of the Week this week. Chalk it up to the Memorial Day three-day weekend I guess, but for whatever reason artists, publicists, and labels weren’t overeager to release a lot of great new tracks this week. Still there are some solid songs listed below. We cheated a bit, as The Flaming Lips song is an old song from 2011 getting a new release as a rarity on their upcoming Greatest Hits Vol. 1 and Goldfrapp’s track is a new version of a song from last year.

Elsewhere on the website in the last week: We posted interviews with musicians The National, Marlon Williams, Hookworms, and First Aid Kit, as well as with actress Natalie Dormer and director Anthony Byrne. We also reviewed a bunch of albums (including the latest by CHVRCHES, Tracyanne & Danny, Heaven, Snow Patrol, Jon Hopkins, and Quiet Slang). Tracyanne & Danny was this week’s Album of the Week.

To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last week, we have picked the 10 best the last seven days had to offer, along with highlighting other notable new tracks shared in the last week. Check out the full list below.

1. The Love Language: “Castle in the Sky” (Plus “Southern Doldrums”)

This week The Love Language (aka Stuart McLamb) announced a new album, Baby Grand, his first in five years, and shared two songs from it, “Castle in the Sky” and “Southern Doldrums.” Baby Grand is due out August 3 via Merge. We’ve included both songs here, but really the shoegazey “Castle in the Sky” is the Song of the Week and “Southern Doldrums” is more of an honorable mention.

Baby Grand is The Love Language’s fourth album, McLamb’s first since 2013’s Ruby Red. The album was begun in a Virginia hammock factory, but was finished after McLamb moved across country to California.

Of the album and “Castle in the Sky,” McLamb says in a press release: “It was something just about being in a new city, and a new light, and reopening the sessions, and this demo that I thought was a throwaway, suddenly I’m really feeling it….”

Read our 2013 My Firsts interview with The Love Language.

2. Flasher: “Who’s Got Time?”

Washington, DC trio Flasher are releasing their debut album, Constant Image, on June 8 via Domino. Previously they shared videos for “Pressure” (which was one of our Songs of the Week) and “Skim Milk.” This week they shared another song from the album, “Who’s Got Time?”

The band issued this statement about the song in a press release: “‘Who’s Got Time?’ is about the twilight of a relationship. When things have soured but you’re not quite ready to jump ship despite your better judgment. It’s a celebration of disappointment and failure.”

Flasher features guitarist Taylor Mulitz, bassist Daniel Saperstein, and drummer Emma Baker. Nicolas Vernhes (Animal Collective, Deerhunter, The War on Drugs) produced Constant Image, which was recorded last year at Rare Book Room in Brooklyn, NY.

3. The Flaming Lips: “Enthusiasm For Life Defeats Existential Fear Part 2”

The Flaming Lips are releasing a new best of simply entitled Greatest Hits Vol. 1 on June 1 via Warner Bros. It will be available on vinyl featuring 11 tracks or as a 3-CD and digital deluxe edition featuring 52 tracks, including a disc of B-sides and rarities. This week they shared the rarity “Enthusiasm For Life Defeats Existential Fear Part 2.” We know we’re cheating in including it on this list, as the song was previously available in 2011 on a USB drive with two other tracks, embedded in a gummy fetus. But hey, it’s a slow week and it’s a good song most people probably haven’t heard before.

The band have also launched a new podcast hosted by the band’s Steve Drozd, Sorcerer’s Orphan: A Song By Song History of the Flaming Lips, and its first episode goes into the making of “Enthusiasm For Life Defeats Existential Fear Part 2.” Listen to the song and podcast below.

Previously The Flaming Lips shared a new video for rarity “The Captain,” which was record during the sessions for 1999’s The Soft Bulletin, but never made the album.

A press previous release laid out some of the rarities and B-sides, describing them this way: “Some of the aural treasures found on disc 3 are among the rarest recorded curios in The Lips musical medicine chest including the previously unreleased demo track ‘Zero to a Million’ which features The Lips short-lived line-up that included Jonathan Donahue on guitar (Mercury Rev) and Nathan Roberts on drums. This track was on the original cassette tape which led to The Lips Warner Bros. Records signing. Another early obscurity ‘Jets (Cupid’s Kiss Vs. the Psyche of Death)’ is one of the three tracks from The Lips first-ever WBR CD EP, Yeah, I Know It’s A Drag…Wastin’ Pigs Is Still Radical.

“Various odds & sods included here that have never been available on CD until now include the epic, fan favorite ‘The Captain’ which was left off The Soft Bulletin and a welcome addition to this set. ‘We Can’t Predict The Future’ is taken from a June 2000 John Peel BBC Session. ‘Your Face Can Tell The Future,’ and ‘You Gotta Hold On’ are outtakes from At War With the Mystics sessions. Another rare gem, ‘Noodling Theme,’ is from the 2001 Lips soundtrack to director Bradley Beesley’s indie-film Okie Noodling about bare-handed fishing in Oklahoma. Those lucky enough to attend early screenings were handed a copy of this now ultra-rare 3-song CD upon entry. ‘Spiderman Vs Muhammed Ali,’ originally recorded for 2007’s Music from and Inspired by Spider-Man 3 soundtrack has never released in any form. Prior to this collection, ‘Enthusiasm For Life Defeats Existential Fear Pt. 2’ existed on a USB drive—along with two other tracks—buried within the edible Gummy Fetus sold on tour in 2011. Closing out the collection is ‘Silent Lord’ which is comprised of The Lips mash-up of ‘Silent Night’ with Spacemen 3’s ‘Lord, Can You Hear Me’ from a Christmas 2008 limited edition 7-inch picture disc. The most comprehensive of any Lips compilation to date, Greatest Hits Vol. 1 Deluxe Edition becomes an essential piece of the puzzle into the wonderful and strange world view of The Flaming Lips.”

The Flaming Lips are also releasing a new six-CD box set that collects their early work, Seeing the Unseeable: The Complete Studio Recordings of The Flaming Lips 1986-1990, on May 25 via Rhino. On April 20 they released a single disc compilation, Scratching the Door: The First Recordings of The Flaming Lips, via Rhino. On Record Store Day they released a new song, “The Story of Yum Yum and the Dragon.” The band teamed up with Dogfish Head Alehouse to make a beer called Dragons & Yum Yums, which was the official beer of Record Store Day, and the song was released on a special 7-inch pressed with the beer (with the B-side fittingly titled “Beer in Your Ear”). The Flaming Lips also shared a video for “The Story of Yum Yum and the Dragon.”

Read our 2017 cover story interview with The Flaming Lips on Oczy Mlody from our 15th Anniversary Issue

4. Wooden Shjips: “Already Gone”

Wooden Shjips released their fifth album, fittingly titled V., today via Thrill Jockey. On the eve of its release, yesterday they shared one last pre-release song, “Already Gone,” via a relaxed video that features the band playing hacky sack, among other things.

Previously they shared the album’s first single, the 8-minute long “Staring At the Sun,” as well as “Red Line” (which was also one of our Songs of the Week).

5. James Blake: “Don’t Miss It”

This week James Blake shared a lyric video for a new song, “Don’t Miss It.” The song is a collaboration with Mount Kimbie’s Dominic Maker and was shared via a lyric video featuring the song’s lyrics being typed on a smart phone. It follows “If the Car Beside You Moves Ahead,” another new song Blake shared back in January (via a video for the song). That was Blake’s first new solo track since his 2016 album The Colour In Anything.

6. HAERTS: “New Compassion”

Brooklyn-based band HAERTS returned today with an anthemic new song, “New Compassion.” The band are now signed to Arts & Crafts and are presumably at work on their sophomore album. Last year they shared another new song, “Your Love,” which recently showed up on season two of the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why.

HAERTS turned heads in 2012 with their fantastic debut single, “Wings.” Its documentary style video has over 1.4 million views on YouTube. That was followed by their 2013 Hemiplegia EP and their 2014-released self-titled debut album (both which featured “Wings”).

Some things have changed since their debut. Firstly, half the line-up has left, leaving only founding members Nini Fabi and Benny Gebert. Secondly, they have left major label Columbia and are now signed to Canada-based indie Arts & Crafts.

Read our 2013 interview with HAERTS.

7. Hatchie: “Bad Guy”

Hatchie is the project of Australian musician Harriette Pilbeam. Today she released her debut EP under the Hatchie name, Sugar & Spice, via Double Whammy. You can now stream it below. It features “Bad Guy,” the EP’s closing track, which is the only song from the EP not to be previously shared and why it makes this list. So listen to “Bad Guy” below separately if you’d like.

Previously we posted Hatchie’s “Sleep” (which was our #2 Song of the Week). We also posted the video for Sugar & Spice‘s title track (which was also one of our Songs of the Week). Hatchie has a shoegazer/dream-pop vibe, so it makes sense that in February Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie remixed previous single “Sure.” Hatchie also previously shared videos for “Try” and “Sure.”

8. Mutual Benefit: “Storm Cellar Heart” (Plus “New History”)

This week Mutual Benefit (aka Jordan Lee) announced a new album, Thunder Follows the Heart, and shared two songs from it, “New History” and “Storm Cellar Heart.” Thunder Follows the Heart is due out September 21 via Transgressive. Listen to both songs below, but we consider “Storm Cellar Heart” to be the track that made the Top 10.

“New History” features guest vocals from Johanne Swanson (of Yohuna). Lee had this to say about the song in a press release: “I think people in power benefit greatly from a general lack of historic memory in the U.S. I’ve been wondering if the first step to imagining a more just world is to study our history better, not just the linear revisionist one that is oft-repeated but all the unsung champions of equal rights as well as the acts of unthinkable cruelty that humans are also capable of.”

“Storm Cellar Heart” is described in the press release as “an ode to taking shelter and the fraught impulse to hide from the loudness of the outside world.” Says Lee in the press release: “Writing this provided a reminder that while moments of recharging are important, I didn’t want to get too entrenched in escapism instead of the messiness of living.”

Lee was inspired by sitting through a big storm in rural New England, where, as the press release put it, he “found himself becoming transfixed by the time in between the lightning and thunder.”

In Lee’s own words: “The silence thick with inevitability. While I was writing the record, everywhere I looked, I saw massive societal strain on both people and the environment, and began to wonder if this is the lightning before some thunderous change. If we are living in that in-between time.”

The album is the follow-up to 2013’s Love’s Crushing Diamond and 2016’s Skip a Sinking Stone.

9. Gurr: “Hot Summer”

In the last week Berlin-based garage punk duo Gurr (Laura Lee and Andreya Casablanca) shared an energetic new song, “Hot Summer,” as well as a video for the song. Richard X (Roisin Murphy, Goldfrapp, Kelis) produced the song, which follows their 2016-released debut album, In My Head.

The band issued this statement about the song: “We wrote the song on a very grey day in London and I think this added to us focusing on the darker sides of summer. It’s such an iconic time of year time and something we long for so often, but in the ends up having very little to do with reality. We wanted to write a song that sounds like you want to get fucking crazy to it but also shout: Shit, maybe the condom did break, or shit, did I forget to take the pill, or shit, why is everyone around me doing ok and I feel like I need therapy. It’s a celebration of the imperfect summer, and everyday neurosis.”

10. Goldfrapp: “Ocean” (Feat. Dave Gahan)

Goldfrapp, the British duo of Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory, released a new album, Silver Eye, back in March 2017 via Mute. This week Goldfrapp announced a deluxe edition of the album and shared one of its bonus tracks, a previously unreleased new version of the album’s “Ocean” that is now a duet with Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode. Silver Eye: Deluxe Edition is due out July 6 via Mute.

The band issued this quick statement about the new track: “Working with Dave Gahan on the new version of ‘Ocean’ has been a real honor for us as a band. We’re thrilled to finally share this collaboration with the world.”

Silver Eye was the band’s first album in four years, since 2013’s Tales of Us. John Congleton and The Haxan Cloak both did production work on the album. Goldfrapp and Gregory spent 10 days at the Dallas studio of Congleton, who has also worked with St. Vincent and Wild Beasts, among others. Then The Haxan Cloak (aka Bobby Krlic, who has worked with Björk, among others) worked with the band in London. Leo Abrahams, who has worked with Brian Eno, provided “abstract guitar textures” and David Wrench (The xx, Caribou) mixed the album. Alison Goldfrapp photographed all of the album’s artwork, including the press photos, herself on Fuerteventura, a volcanic island in the Canary Islands.

Read our 2017 interview with Goldrapp about Silver Eye.

Other notable new tracks in the last week include:

ANOHNI: “Miracle Now”

Devendra Banhart: “Shown and Told” (Joan of Arc Cover)

Barrie: “Tal Uno”

Jenn Champion: “Time to Regulate”

Downtown Boys: “Fotos Y Recuerdos” (Selena Cover)

Echo & The Bunnymen: “Seven Seas (Transformed)”

Farao: “The Ghost Ship”

Fog Lake: “California”

The Get Up Kids: “Better This Way”

Goon: “Choke Throat”

Johnny Jewel: “Red Door”

Liars: “Liquorice”

Mark Lanegan and Duke Garwood: “Save Me”

Oh Sees: “Overthrown”

Ovlov: “Sprint”

Amanda Palmer & Jasmine Power: “Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now”

Maggie Rogers: “Fallingwater”

Silk City: “Only Can Get Better” (Feat. Daniel Merriweather)

Sudan Archives: “Escape”

Tyler, The Creator: “435”

Weezer: “Rosanna” (Toto Cover)

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life quotes cute
May 28th 2018

I haven’t totally read the article but the video collection is excellent. I really love those videos watching. Thanks

May 28th 2018

I liked the song video by Flasher - Who’s Got Time?. It reminded me of the old school television sets when you turned to certain channels and it would come up with a zigzag like shown in the video.

You can see whats on that station barely but sometimes you would be able to click to the next station and see the show in clear view. That zigzag made me think of my younger years. Very creative and nice touch :).