10 Best Songs of the Week: Viagra Boys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beth Orton, Flasher, 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: Viagra Boys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beth Orton, Flasher, and More

Plus Florist, Andrew Bird, Angel Olsen, of Montreal, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Jun 03, 2022
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Welcome to the 22nd Songs of the Week of 2022. Thanks to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, it was a fairly quiet week for new singles (or at least new singles we loved). We even considered skipping Songs of the Week this week, but found enough we liked for a Top 10 list.

In the last week we posted interviews with The Black Keys and James Krivchenia.

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 new 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. Viagra Boys: “Punk Rock Loser”

On Wednesday, Swedish post-punk band Viagra Boys shared a video for their new single, “Punk Rock Loser.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming album, Cave World, which will be out on July 8 via YEAR0001.

“Punk Rock Loser” displays the band’s trademark wit and makes fun of guys who try to out-punk-rock each other. “I tried to warn ya that I’m bad and I’m loose/I’m looser than a piece of low hanging fruit,” frontman Sebastian Murphy sings. “And I don’t go to parties where folks get dressed up I go to the function just to fuck shit up/I warned you baby, that ain’t juice in my cup/It’s Promethazine and a little 7 Up.”

The song is accompanied by an equally amusing video directed by SNASK and featuring Murphy strutting through an Old West town shooting off his pistol nonchalantly.

Upon announcement of the new album in April, Viagra Boys shared the song “Ain’t No Thief,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. They later shared the album track “Troglodyte,” which was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Their previous album, Welfare Jazz, came out last year via YEAR0001. By Joey Arnone and Mark Redfern

2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs: “Spitting Off the Edge of the World” (Feat. Perfume Genius)

On Wednesday, Yeah Yeah Yeahs announced the release of their first new album in nine years, Cool It Down, which will be out on September 30 via Secretly Canadian. They also shared a video for the album’s lead single, the Perfume Genius collaboration “Spitting Off the Edge of the World.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

Frontwoman Karen O had this to say about the new single in a press release: “I see the younger generations staring down this threat, and they’re standing on the edge of a precipice, confronting what’s coming with anger and defiance. It’s galvanizing, and there’s hope there.”

Of the song’s video, Karen O adds: “A note on this video, it’s a dream collaboration with one of our favorite artists of the 21st century Cody Critcheloe who did the artwork for our first record back in 2003 and has been making visionary music videos for the last decade. The time to collaborate again came with Spitting, the shoot in Kansas City was dream-like, the dreams you have after eating something really greasy right before bed; bizarre, poetic, and intense. Perfume Genius was incredibly gracious to roll in the very cold mud as my co pilot and steal scene after scene with his surreal charm. We trusted Cody implicitly, he surpassed expectations and gave us our November Rain. YYY’s spirit is alive and well through the eyes of Cody Critcheloe. Custom Yeahs limo was largely his handiwork, fueled on love.”

Speaking about the album as a whole, Karen O says: “To all who have waited, our dear fans, thank you, our fever to tell has returned, and writing these songs came with its fair share of chills, tears, and euphoria when the pain lifts and truth is revealed. Don’t have to tell you how much we’ve been going through in the last nine years since our last record, because you’ve been going through it too, and we love you and we see you, and we hope you feel the feels from the music we’ve made. No shying away from the feels, or backing down from what’s been gripping all of us these days. So yes, we’ve taken our time, happy to report when it’s ready it really does just flow out.

“The record is called Cool It Down, which is snagged from a lesser known Velvet Underground Song. I told Alex Prager whose photo graces our record cover that her image speaks to sweeping themes in the music and sums up how I, Karen, feel existentially in these times! But there’s always more to the story. This is how our new story begins, we present to you with heads bowed and fists in the air ‘Spitting Off the Edge of the World’ featuring Perfume Genius.”

Last month, the band announced a string of tour dates for 2022. By Joey Arnone

3. Beth Orton: “Weather Alive”

On Tuesday, Beth Orton announced the release of a new album, Weather Alive, which will be out on September 23 via Partisan and is her first album in six years. Orton also shared a video for the album’s gorgeous seven-minute long title track. View the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as a list of upcoming tour dates for Orton, here.

“Through the writing of these songs and the making of this music, I found my way back to the world around me,” states Orton in a press release, “a way to reach nature and the people I love and care about.”

She adds: “This record is a sensory exploration that allowed for a connection to a consciousness that I was searching for. Through the resonance of sound and a beaten up old piano I bought in Camden Market while living in a city I had no intention of staying in, I found acceptance and a way of healing.” By Joey Arnone

4. Flasher: “I’m Better”

Flasher are releasing a new album, Love Is Yours, on June 17 via Domino. On Wednesday, they shared the album’s third single, “I’m Better,” via a video. They’ve also announced some new tour dates. Jolie Maya-Altshuler directed the video. View all the band’s upcoming tour dates here.

“‘I’m Better’ is about leaving a toxic relationship and finding joy, freedom, and self assurance on the other side,” the band collectively explain in a press release. “We filmed the video in central Oregon during a brief escape from pandemic isolation in 2021. The footage captures the expansive feeling that comes with exploring a new place or path forward.”

Flasher previously shared the album’s first single, “Sideways,” via a video for the song. “Sideways” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared the album’s second single and title track, “Love Is Yours,” via a video that pays homage to the Nicolas Cage-starring National Treasure movies, in which the band set out to steal the Declaration of Independence.

Love Is Yours is the follow-up to their acclaimed debut album, Constant Image, which was one of our Top 25 Debut Albums of 2018. Constant Image’s “Material” had a truly amazing and crazy music video.

Since their debut, things have changed for Flasher. Bassist Daniel Saperstein left the band and guitarist Taylor Mulitz relocated from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore and then Los Angeles, making the band (now a duo with drummer Emma Baker) bi-coastal. Flasher worked with Owen Wuerker, who, according to a press release, “also helped flesh out the instrumentation by contributing additional bass, percussion, synths, and guitar,” and recorded the album in Washington, D.C.

Read our review of Constant Image.

Read our 2018 interview with Flasher. By Mark Redfern

5. Florist: “Sci-Fi Silence”

Brooklyn-based quartet Florist are releasing a new self-titled album on July 29 via Double Double Whammy. On Wednesday, they shared its delicate third single, “Sci-Fi Silence,” via a video. Vanessa Haddad directed the video. View the band’s upcoming tour dates here.

“Sci-fi Silence is a love song about the mystical forces that attract us to one another and the spaces in-between words that can hold profound communications,” says singer Emily Sprague in a press release. “It is also a reflection on our impermanence and the acceptance that it is worth it to invite love and connection into our lives even for just a moment.”

Florist is Sprague, Jonnie Baker, Rick Spataro, and Felix Walworth. Florist is the follow-up to 2019’s Emily Alone, which was essentially a solo album from Sprague.

“The trauma response to losing my best friend, my mom, was to feel really afraid to get close to anybody ever again,” she said in a previous press release. “It’s sort of cheesy, but I realized that life is better when you share it. The answer isn’t to isolate yourself and be alone.”

So Sprague reconvened with the rest of the band to record the new album in Hudson, NY in 2019.

Of the album title, Sprague explains: “We called it Florist because this is not just my songs with a backing band. It’s a practice. It’s a collaboration. It’s our one life. These are my best friends and the music is the way that it is because of that.”

Florist previously shared the album’s first single, “Red Bird Pt. 2 (Morning),” via a video for the song (which was one of our Songs of the Week). Then they shared its second single, “Spring in Hours,” via a fan-sourced video made up of footage from over 125 collaborators from around the world. “Spring in Hours” was also one of our Songs of the Week. By Mark Redfern

6. Andrew Bird: “Make a Picture”

Andrew Bird released a new album, Inside Problems, today via Loma Vista. On Wednesday, he shared the album’s third and final pre-release single, “Make a Picture,” via a video that features lots of cats, among other things. Matthew Daniel Siskin directed the video.

Bird had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Make a Picture’ is about digesting images from historic events and constituting a narrative for your memory. ‘Tell us what you think you saw. Make a picture.’ We saw a lot of horror and darkness and a lot of inspiring bravery. So, what’s the story we tell after digesting? What’s the synapses’ synopsis?”

Inside Problems includes “Atomized,” a new song Bird shared in March. It was shared via a Matthew Daniel Siskin-directed video and was one of our Songs of the Week. Then he shared its second single, album opener “Underlands,” also via a Siskin-directed video and also one of our Songs of the Week.

In 2021, Bird released an album with Jimbo Mathus, These 13, via Thirty Tigers. Bird’s last solo album was 2019’s My Finest Work Yet. Since then he’s also gotten into acting, appearing on Fargo.

Mike Viola produced Inside Problems, which was recorded live with Bird’s four-piece band.

“I have so much fun taking my ideas apart before they really have defined themselves as distinct songs, when they’re still in that amoeba-like state,” says Bird of recording the new album live. “I love the feeling of chasing ideas and having them split off and go hang out with another idea and then butting them up against each other to see if they talk to each other.”

View Bird’s upcoming tour dates, including some previously announced summer shows with Iron & Wine (aka Sam Beam), here.

Read our interview with Andrew Bird on My Finest Work Yet. By Mark Redfern

7. Angel Olsen: “Right Now”

Angel Olsen released a new album, Big Time, today via Jagjaguwar. The album’s accompanying short film, directed by Olsen alongside Kimberly Stuckwisch, premiered last night. Stream the new album and view the short film, along with a full list of Olsen’s upcoming tour dates, here.

All the album’s three pre-release singles made our Songs of the Week lists, but there were some album tracks we also liked and wanted to highlight now that the album is out. We narrowed it down to “Right Now” and sweeping album closer “Chasing the Sun.” We opted for the former, with “Chasing the Sun” making the honorable mentions list further below.

Upon announcement of the new album in March, Olsen shared the song “All the Good Times,” which was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. She later shared the album’s title track, which was also one of our Songs of the Week. In May, she shared “Through the Fires,” also one of our Songs of the Week.

Last year, Olsen shared the song “Like I Used To” with Sharon Van Etten. It was #3 on our Top 130 Songs of 2021 list. By Joey Arnone and Mark Redfern

8. of Montreal: “Marijuana’s a Working Woman”

On Wednesday, of Montreal (the project of Kevin Barnes) announced the release of a new album, Freewave Lucifer f<ck f^ck f>ck, which will be out on July 29 via Polyvinyl. Barnes also announced a tour and shared an animated video for a new album single, “Marijuana’s a Working Woman.” View the album’s cover art and full list of tour dates here.

“Like all the songs on the album, this one was informed by pandemic isolation and the psychological struggle inherent in that kind of existence,” states Barnes in a press release. “The lyrics are a free flowing collage of all that I was perceiving and absorbing during that time period. I swapped alcohol for weed midway through the pandemic and that is what the title of the song refers to.”

Of Montreal’s previous album, UR FUN, came out in 2020 via Polyvinyl. By Joey Arnone

9. The Mountain Goats: “Training Montage”

Yesterday, The Mountain Goats announced the release of a new album, Bleed Out, which was produced by Alicia Bognanno of Bully and will be out on August 19 via Merge. They also announced a new tour in support of the album and have shared a video for the album’s lead single, “Training Montage.” View the album’s tracklist/cover art and a full list of the band’s tour dates here.

In a press release, frontman John Darnielle states: “So, heads up. I got this idea to write a bunch of songs where they were all uptempo mini-action movies. Plots, characters, heists, hostages, questionable capers, getaway cars, all that stuff. Gas pedal glued to the floor. Eventually as you might guess I wanted at least one song where the tempo relaxed a little and that’s the title track, but otherwise buckle up. We hid out in the woods in Chapel Hill and made this album with nobody knowing about it. Proper secret-soldier style.

“It has been pretty hard keeping this under our hats, we are really proud of what we got here. Alicia Bognanno produced and played with us, and the great Shani Gandhi mixed. The first single is ‘Training Montage,’ which does what it says on the tin, and you can preorder the album now, and as for tour dates…you know we gotta bring these uptempo jams to a stage near you at the earliest possible convenience.”

The Mountain Goats’ last album, Dark in Here, came out last year via Merge. By Joey Arnone

10. Revelators Sound System: “Grieving”

On Wednesday, Revelators Sound System (the collaborative project of Hiss Golden Messenger’s MC Taylor and Cameron Ralston) shared a video for their new single, “Grieving.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming album, Revelators, which will be out on June 17 via 37d03d. “Grieving” is a 10-minute long free jazz track.

Upon announcement of the album in May, the duo shared the album track “George the Revelator.” By Joey Arnone

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 10.

Will Butler: “A Stranger’s House”

Tim Heidecker: “Sirens of Titan” (Feat. Kurt Vile)

Nikki Lane: “First High”

Angel Olsen: “Chasing the Sun”

Working Men’s Club: “Ploys”

Here’s a handy Spotify playlist featuring the Top 12 in order, followed by all the honorable mentions:

Other notable new tracks in the last week include:

Big Joanie: “Happier Still”

Brijean: “Ooo La La”

Will Butler: “Nearer to Thee”

Henry Carlyle: “A Bigger Splash”

Cat Power: “You Got the Silver” (The Rolling Stones Cover)

cumgirl8: “dumb bitch”

easy life: “Dear Miss Holloway” (Feat. Kevin Abstract)

Editrix: “Editrix Goes to Hell”

Meditations on Crime: “Crime Seed”

Moby: “Medusa” (Feat. Aynzli Jones)

Muse: “Will of the People”

Nation of Language: “Androgynous” (The Replacements Cover)

Phoenix: “Alpha Zulu”

Pinkshift: “nothing (in my head)”

Maggie Rogers: “Want Want”

She & Him: “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (The Beach Boys Cover)

Joan Shelley: “Home”

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