10 Best Songs of the Week: Wet Leg, Elbow, Courtney Barnett, Coach Party, and More | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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10 Best Songs of the Week: Wet Leg, Elbow, Courtney Barnett, Coach Party, and More

Plus Field Music, Hovvdy, IAN SWEET, Gone to Color, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Oct 01, 2021 Bookmark and Share

Welcome to the 37th Songs of the Week of 2021. Old school rock was alive and well this week, with new songs from The Rolling Stones, Elton John and Stevie Wonder, Sting, John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen, and David Bowie, but none of those tracks made our Songs of the Week list.

In the last week we posted interviews with Goat Girl and Strand of Oaks.

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

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. Wet Leg: “Wet Dream”

On Tuesday new British duo Wet Leg (Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers) shared a new song, “Wet Dream,” via an amusing video for it directed by Teasdale. In the song, Teasdale tells an ex-lover it’s not okay to still have wet dreams about her. “Wet Dream” is out now via Domino. With its lobster imagery, the slightly surreal video perhaps references Salvador Dalí (or maybe Wet Leg just really like seafood).

Teasdale had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Wet Dream’ is a breakup song; it came about when one of my ex’s went through a stage of texting me after we’d broken up telling me that ‘he had a dream about me.’”

“Wet Dream” is Wet Leg’s second single and the follow-up to “Chaise Longue,” which was shared in July and is arguably the best debut single of the year. The video for “Chaise Longue” has logged over a million YouTube views and the song made our Songs of the Week list. In retrospect it should also have been our #1 Song of the Week.

Wet Leg’s Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers are based in the Isle of Wight. A press release cites their love of French disco, The Ronettes, Jane Birkin, Ty Segall, and Björk, but “Chaise Longue” sat nicely next to the post-punk sounds of fellow Brits Dry Cleaning and Sorry. “Wet Dream” has more of a disco influence.

Read our recent interview with Wet Leg.

2. Elbow: “The Seldom Seen Kid”

Elbow are releasing a new album, Flying Dream 1, on November 19 via Polydor. Today they shared its first single, the delicate “The Seldom Seen Kid,” via a video. Yes, the song shares its title with the band’s Mercury Prize-winning 2008 album, The Seldom Seen Kid, and that’s because both titles were inspired by frontman Guy Garvey’s late friend Bryan Glancy, who died suddenly in 2006 and was nicknamed “the seldom seen kid” by Garvey’s father. Mark Thomas directed the video.

Garvey had this to say about the song in a press release: “Whilst we were recording, the realities of lockdown meant that I often only got to hear the music the lads had been making in their homes in Manchester late at night when the house was still. The first thing I heard was what you hear, the drums leading into a beautiful, daring, woodwind arrangement. I was expecting a piano, not a clarinet, but Craig’s creation perfectly encapsulated my mood at that point and the lyrics came out in the order you hear them.

“It struck me that Bryan meeting my wife Rachael would have been something to witness, a joint charm offensive of grand proportions as both are proud and brilliant and a little bit naughty. In my mind at that point, there was no better thing than watching my best friend dance with the woman I love.”

Elbow wrote the album remotely in their home studios. Then they convened in person and perfected the songs in the empty Brighton Theatre Royal, where they also recorded the album.

“Hiring a two hundred year old theatre that has never in its history been closed for so long was something that could only be done under the circumstances,” Garvey said in a previous press statement, “nice to turn it on its head in that way.”

“Recording in a splendid generous space with no audience was something that throws an anchor in the times that the record was made in,” he added.

Garvey said that recording the album allowed the band’s members time to catch up in a way that they couldn’t in the height of the lockdown. “We don’t phone each other for a chat,” he said. “We don’t talk about life outside the music until we’re together. These hushed, night-time missives told us how each other were doing. When we finally got together, all that was to do was record the songs, honor them with amazing additional singers and players in a gorgeous space and catch up. It was beautiful.”

Of the album’s sound and influences, Garvey said: “We realized we were making a record free of the usual creative guidelines. We love patient, quiet, whole albums like the last Talk Talk records. John Martyn’s Solid Air and Bless the Weather, PJ Harvey’s Is This Desire, Chet Baker Sings, The Blue Nile’s Hats. Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love and Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks. We’ve always written songs like this, but it felt natural to make an album that focuses on the gentler side of our music.”

The band’s keyboardist Craig Potter produced the album, as he did with the band’s last five albums.

Previously the band shared a trailer for the album.

Elbow’s last album was 2019’s Giants of All Sizes (read our rave review of the album).

Read our interview with Elbow’s Guy Garvey on 2017’s Little Fictions.

Also read our 2014 print article on Elbow and our 2014 web-exclusive interview with Garvey on his favorite cities. Plus read our 2016 The End interview with Garvey on endings and death.

3. Courtney Barnett: “Write a List of Things to Look Forward To”

Courtney Barnett is releasing a new album, Things Take Time, Take Time, on November 12 via Mom + Pop Music/Marathon Artists. On Wednesday she shared its third single, “Write a List of Things to Look Forward To,” via a video for it featuring the Australian musician receiving lots of fun things in the mail. Christina Xing directed the video.

A press release says the song “takes its name from the technique one of Barnett’s friends advocated for her to get her out of a depressive funk, and paints a bittersweet picture of small wins and the circle of life. ‘Nobody knows why we keep trying,’ she sings. ‘And so on it goes, I’m looking forward to the next letter that I’m gonna get from you.’ It strikes the exact chord between wistfulness and acceptance, and points to a deeper level of complexity in Barnett’s songwriting.”

Barnett adds: “I found a deeper communication with people in my life—deeper conversations. And a new level of gratitude for friendships that had been there for so long that I had maybe taken for granted.”

Previously Barnett shared the album’s first single, “Rae Street,” via an amusing video where Barnett plays multiple characters. “Rae Street” was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. She also shared a different fan-sourced video for “Rae Street” featuring footage shot out various fans’ windows. Then she shared its second single, “Before You Gotta Go,” which was also one of our Songs of the Week. The Barnett was the musical guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon where she and her backing band performed “Rae Street” remotely from a cozy table lamp-lit room. Then she shared an amusing video for “Before You Gotta Go” and also launched a stem mixer on her website (check it out here).

Barnett’s last album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, was released back in May 2018 via Mom + Pop/Marathon Artists/Milk! Records. It was our Album of the Week and one our Top 100 Albums of 2018.

Things Take Time, Take Time was written over a two-year period and was recorded in Sydney, Northern NSW, and Melbourne in late 2020/early 2021 with the aid of Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa (who is also Australian and also worked with Kurt Vile, John Grant, Cate Le Bon, The xx, and others). W.A.M. Bleakley directed the “Rae Street” video.

A previous press release hyped up the album this way: “Things Take Time, Take Time is yet another assured leap forward for Barnett; a breakthrough really, but not in the ways you might expect. This is Barnett at her most creative and adventurous—an exquisite look at Courtney’s private world, and consequently her most beautiful and intimate record to date, with songs dealing unabashedly with love, renewal, healing and self-discovery.”

Read our 2018 cover story on Courtney Barnett here.

Read our ranking of the 10 best Courtney Barnett songs.

4. Coach Party: “FLAG (Feel Like a Girl)”

On Tuesday Isle of Wight, England four-piece Coach Party shared a video for their new single, “FLAG (Feel Like a Girl).” The video, directed by Daniel Broadley, sees the band performing the song in 18th century attire, reflecting the antiquated politics of gender inequality.

Frontwoman Jess Eastwood states in a press release: “‘FLAG’ is a song for those who know what it’s like to feel unsafe, objectified or hurt by someone. It’s an intense anger where you just want to see that person suffer as much as they made you suffer. It takes you to the point where you’ll do anything to protect the people around you from this person, whether you know them or not. Look out for your mates.”

The band adds: “‘FLAG’ is our ode to out of date scum buckets who hold on to a dangerously distorted set of morals (or lack of), and who should be dealt with firmly. The song speaks for itself, but, for us, Dan’s concept and vision for the storyline further strengthens the important, relevant and aggressive message of the song. And it was sick to dress up like Jane Austen stuff. We always have a lot of fun making videos, and with this one we’re stoked to have been able to get out of our comfort zone and push some boundaries.”

The band’s most recent EP, After Party, came out earlier this year via Chess Club. By Joey Arnone

5. Field Music: “Endlessly”

English rock band Field Music (led by brothers Peter and David Brewis) are releasing a new EP, Another Shot E.P., on October 15 via Memphis Industries. This week they shared its second single, “Endlessly.”

Field Music just released a new album, Flat White Moon, in April via Memphis Industries (stream it here). Another Shot E.P. features songs that didn’t end up on that album.

“‘Endlessly’ was one of the few songs which was written right in the midst of the first lockdown and that crept into the lyrics,” David Brewis explains in a press statement. “In one way, it would’ve fit with the album — dealing with something which felt apocalyptic and looking for the light in it.”

Previously Field Music shared the EP’s first single, “Someplace Dangerous,” which was one of our Songs of the Week.

Read our recent My Firsts interview with Peter Brewis here.

Flat White Moon included “Orion From the Street,” a new song the band shared in January that was one of our Songs of the Week. Then when the album was announced they shared its second single, “No Pressure,” via an amusing tutorial music video that shows fans how to achieve the band’s signature sound. “No Pressure” was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. Then they shared the album’s third single, “Not When You’re In Love,” via a video for the track (which also made our Songs of the Week list). Then the band shared the album’s fourth single, “Do Me a Favour.” The band also launched Field Musicast, a new podcast about the album.

Read our 2019 interview with Field Music.

6. Hovvdy: “Blindsided”

Austin, TX duo Hovvdy (Charlie Martin and Will Taylor) have released a new album, True Love, today via Grand Jury. On Tuesday they shared one more song from it, “Blindsided” via a video for it. Hayden Hubner directed the video.

Martin had this to say about the song in a press release: “There was a huge magnolia tree across the street from the house where I grew up. I have this vivid memory of a storm rolling in and climbing up so high I stuck my head out the top. This song is filled with similar memories, the kind that push and pull you. I was so scared and I was so happy.”

Andrew Sarlo (Bon Iver, Big Thief) produced True Love, which was recorded at his studio in Los Angeles throughout 2020. The band’s last album was 2019’s Heavy Lifter.

Previously the band shared the album’s title track, “True Love,” via a video. “True Love” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then Hovvdy shared two more songs from the album, “Junior Day League” and “Around Again,” both via videos.

The duo collectively had this to say about the album in a previous press release: “This collection of songs feels to us like a return to form, writing and recording songs for ourselves and loved ones. Spending less energy consumed with how people may respond freed us up to put our efforts into creating an honest, heartfelt album that spans a range of sonic landscapes, yet feels like a singular breath.”

7. IAN SWEET: “f*ckthat”

On Wednesday IAN SWEET, the project of Jilian Medford, shared a self-directed video for her new single “f*ckthat.” Medford has also announced a North American tour set for early 2022. Check the tour dates here.

“F*ckthat” was produced by Manitoba duo deadmen. Medford elaborates on the new song in a press release: “My phone causes me a lot of anxiety! I really only like to use it to take videos and pictures of my dog. This song is about not wanting to answer calls anymore and wishing I could just throw it out the window and disassociate from its evil/stress inducing technology.”

Earlier this year, Medford released her third studio album as IAN SWEET, Show Me How You Disappear, via Polyvinyl. It featured the songs “Dumb Driver” (which was one of our Songs of the Week), “Power,” “Sing Till I Cry,” and “Drink the Lake” (another one of our Songs of the Week).

Check out our COVID-19 Quarantine Artist Check In with Medford. By Joey Arnone

8. Gone to Color: “Just Smile” (Feat. Kurt Wagner of Lambchop)

Gone to Color are a new electronic rock band led by Tyler Bradley Walker and Matt Heim. They are self-releasing their self-titled debut album on October 25 and this week they shared its sixth single, “Just Smile,” which features Kurt Wagner of Lambchop.

Wagner had this to say about the single in a press release: “When Gone To Color contacted me about working together I was struck by their sonics. They were pretty intense and inspiring, so the work was a pleasure. At the time, I had no idea who these guys were, but they make good art and that’s enough for me, plus they seem to appreciate my way with words, which is big and their approach in collaboration is right and true.”

Previously Gone to Color shared the album’s first single, “The 606,” which features guest vocals from Jessie Stein of The Luyas and was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared its second single, “Voyeur Nation,” which features Carson Cox of Merchandise. That was followed by the album’s third single, “Illusions,” which features Ade Blackburn of Clinic. Then they shared its fourth single, “Dissolved,” which features Martina Topley-Bird. Then Gone to Color shared the album’s fifth single, “Suicide,” which features Liars (aka Angus Andrew). The song’s release was timed to World Suicide Prevention Day and a portion of the proceeds from “Suicide” will be donated to The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. “Suicide” was one of our Songs of the Week.

Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Grandaddy) produced and engineered the album and also plays on it. Additional engineering comes from Pietro Amato, Shane Hendrickson, and John McEntire (of Tortoise). Wilco’s Pat Sansone also plays guitar, piano, and keyboards on the album.

9. Tusks: “Fall In To You”

On Thursday English singer/songwriter Tusks (aka Emily Underhill) shared her new single “Fall In To You.” It is out now via One Little Independent.

Underhill states in a press release: “‘Fall In To You’ started by being heavily influenced by the sound of an orchestra tuning up. I’d bought a Moog Grandmother during lockdown and initially was using the song as a learning process for how to patch and play it. After that start, the song just sort of fell together, with the arpeggiator sample and the pushing bassline being the initial structure and all the other sounds and instruments being created around them. It ended up turning it into a really raw and honest love song with the lyrics talking about going through hard patches in a relationship and being confused and pulled in different directions, but then after every hard phase that you experience, you learn more about love and how to love and your love for the other person just continuously deepens and becomes more real.”

Underhill’s sophomore album as Tusks, Avalanche, came out in 2019 via One Little Independent. By Joey Arnone

10. Holy Fuck: “Airport Dreams” (Feat. Sarah Bonito)

Toronto-based electronic rock band Holy Fuck have been working remotely over the pandemic, crafting fresh additions to their unconventional genre-blending catalog. Fans last heard from the band with their early 2020 album Deleter, including the singles “Luxe” and “Free Gloss” which were two of our Songs of the Week. Now the band has returned with their first single of this year, “Airport Dreams” (feat. Sarah Bonito), premiering with Under the Radar on Monday.

The band’s latest effort marries their relentless dance rhythms with new glittery pop melodies courtesy of Sarah Bonito, frontwoman of Kero Kero Bonito, making for an instantly catchy addition to the band’s catalog. Skittering chopped percussion, eclectic analog synth textures, and pulsating basslines blend effortlessly with Bonito’s Technicolor vocal style and freewheeling lyrics. Together, “Airport Dreams” makes for the best kind of collaboration; an unforeseen delight that brings together branching talents for something new and unexpected.

The track finds Bonito daydreaming of travel and joy, all while trapped in the stifling confines of pandemic living—“I’m on top of the world/Higher than the tower/Trapped in a square/But the worlds is my oyster.”

As Sarah Bonito explains of the song: “During lockdown, I was having recurring dreams about being at the airport catching a flight every night. I feel like my mind was trying to break free from the physical constraints by travelling the universe whilst I slept. We are all free in our dreams!”

Holy Fuck describes the track’s creation in a personal statement:

“Contrary to our usual method of recording ‘live off the studio floor’ where we prefer to hash out and capture the core of our songs together in the same room, we found ourselves, like a lot of people in 2020/21, working remotely. This meant building up tracks and song ideas separately at our own various recording and rehearsal spaces and then sharing them with each other online. In spite of the physical distance, we still dug into our classic ‘holy fuck spirit’: embracing whatever tools we have at hand to make the music we want. Voice memos of drum ideas Matt Schulz recorded of himself playing at home were shared, then edited together, forming the rhythmic foundation for ‘Airport Dreams.’ This later gave life to Matt McQuaid’s bass parts, which were recorded over WiFi from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to Toronto, Ontario. Situations are not always ideal, but can be used to an advantage—idea over execution. Branching even further into the spirit of collaboration, we sent these ideas to an incredibly talented artist, Sarah Bonito (of Kero Kero Bonito). Sarah’s super catchy and inspiring vocal parts were initially intended for a different song altogether. Their frenetic energy, however, became the catalyst for what is now called ‘Airport Dreams.’”

You can also read our review of Kero Kero Bonito’s latest EP here. By Caleb Campbell

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 10.

Ducks Ltd.: “Fit to Burst”

IDLES: “The Beachland Ballroom”

La Luz: “Oh, Blue”

San Fermin and Wye Oak: “My First Life”

Sylvie: “Shooting Star”

The Weather Station: “Better Now” and “Look”

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:

Tori Amos: “Speaking With Trees”

Anjimile: “Ever New” (Beverly Glenn-Copeland Cover)

Arca: “Incendio”

Bedouine: “It Wasn’t Me”

David Bowie: “You’ve Got a Habit of Leaving”

Phoebe Bridgers: “That Funny Feeling” (Bo Burnham Cover)

John Carpenter: “Michael’s Legend”

Christine and the Queens: “Freedom” (George Michael Cover)

Circuit des Yeux: “Vanishing”

Converge and Chelsea Wolfe: “Blood Moon”

Corridor: “Et Hop”

Death Valley Girls: “It’s All Really Kind of Amazing”

Deep Sea Diver: “Hand In My Pocket” (Feat. Damien Jurado) (Alanis Morissette Cover)

Wendy Eisenberg: “Analogies”

Empath: “Born 100 Times”

Helado Negro: “La Naranja”

Elton John: “Finish Line” (Feat. Stevie Wonder)

John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen: “Wasted Days”

Connan Mockasin: “Flipping Poles”

Martha Skye Murphy: “Stuck”

The Rolling Stones: “Troubles A’ Comin”

Soccer Mommy and Kero Kero Bonito: “rom com 2021”

Sting: “Rushing Water”

Bartees Strange, Eric Slick, and Ohmme: “Province” (TV on the Radio Cover)

Years & Years: “Crave”

Classic Song of the Week:

Stereolab: “Fluorescences”

Released in 1996, “Fluorescences” was the title track to Stereolab’s EP of the same name. The Fluorescences EP came out in between 1996’s Emperor Tomato Ketchup and 1997’s Dots and Loops. “Fluorescences” leans towards the more accessible and pop side of the English-French band. All four songs on the EP were later collected on 2005’s Oscillons from the Anti-Sun three-disc compilation.

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