11 Best Songs of the Week: DIIV, Field Music, Wilco, Soccer Mommy, and More | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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11 Best Songs of the Week: DIIV, Field Music, Wilco, Soccer Mommy, and More

Plus Brittany Howard, Julien Chang, Georgia, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Sep 20, 2019 DIIV Bookmark and Share

Welcome to another Songs of the Week. We’ve got a Top 11 this week, we couldn’t quite narrow it down to a Top 10. And #1 could’ve very easily been any of the Top 3.

In the last week we also reviewed a bunch of albums, including the latest by Liam Gallagher, Vivian Girls, Chastity Belt, Chelsea Wolfe, and Devendra Banhart. Plus every week we post reviews of various other things (some weeks including DVDs, Blu-rays, films, concerts, and TV shows).

Also, our Politics Editor Steve King interviewed J.D. Scholten who is running for Congress against the infamous Republican Congressman also named Steve King.

To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last week, we have picked the 11 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. DIIV: “Blankenship”

DIIV are releasing a new album, Deceiver, on October 4 via Captured Tracks. This week they shared another song from the album, “Blankenship,” via a video. The tight track is akin to a shoegaze version of Sonic Youth’s “Titanium Exposé,” especially in the guitar sounds. Stout directed the video, which intercuts between the band performing the song indoors and a woman (Savannah Macias) seemingly lost in the desert.

Previously DIIV shared Deceiver‘s first single, “Skin Game” (which was one of our Songs of the Week). Then they shared another song from it, “Taker,” a somewhat languid shoegaze cut that grows with intensity as the track ends and was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Deceiver is the band’s third album and the follow-up to 2016’s Is The Is Are. The band’s current lineup features Zachary Cole Smith (lead vocals, guitar), Andrew Bailey (guitar), Colin Caulfield (bass), and Ben Newman (drums). The album was recorded in Los Angeles in March 2019 with producer Sonny Diperri (My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails, Protomartyr), which is the first time the band has used an outside producer.

Read our 2016 interview with DIIV.

2. Field Music: “Only In a Man’s World”

This week Britain’s Field Music (anchored by brothers Peter and David Brewis) announced a new album, Making a New World, inspired by the aftermath and repercussions of World War I, and shared its first single, “Only In a Man’s World.” Making a New World is due out January 10, 2020 via Memphis Industries and features Field Music’s full live band in the recording sessions for the first time in a while. Check out the album’s cover art and tracklist, as well as the band’s upcoming tour dates, here.

Making a New World began when the band performed two World War I-themed shows for England’s Imperial War Museum at their sites in Salford and London in January 2019. The basic tracks for the album were recorded the day after the London Imperial War Museum show. While the majority of Field Music’s studio work has been put together by Peter and David Brewis, the one-day session featured Field Music’s full live band (Liz Corney on keyboards, Kevin Dosdale on guitar, and Andrew Lowther on bass), with Peter and David on guitar and drums respectively. This is the first album since 2007’s Tones of Town that could be considered more of a full band album.

A press release describes the themes and inspirations of the album in more detail: “Making a New World [is] a 19-track song cycle about the after-effects of the First World War. But this is not an album about war and it is not, in any traditional sense, an album about remembrance. There are songs here about air traffic control and gender reassignment surgery. There are songs about Tiananmen Square and about ultrasound. There are even songs about Becontree Housing Estate and about sanitary towels.”

The jumping off point for the Imperial War Museum performances was, as the press release explains, “an image, from a 1919 publication on munitions by the U.S. War Department, made using ‘sound ranging,’ a technique that utilized an array of transducers to capture the vibrations of gunfire at the front. These vibrations were displayed on a graph, similar to a seismograph, where the distances between peaks on different lines could be used to pinpoint the location of enemy armaments. This particular image showed the minute leading up to 11am on 11th November 1918, and the minute immediately after. One minute of oppressive, juddering noise and one minute of near-silence.”

David Brewis explains further in the press release: “We imagined the lines from that image continuing across the next hundred years, and we looked for stories which tied back to specific events from the war or the immediate aftermath. In writing these songs, we felt we were pulling the war towards us - out of remembrance and into the everyday - into the now.”

David also had this to say about “Only In a Man’s World” in the press release: “I found myself researching the development of sanitary pads - not a statement I’ve ever imagined myself making - and was surprised at how little the advertising material has changed in a hundred years. It’s still, ‘Hey Ladies! Let’s not mention it too loudly but here is the perfect product to keep you feeling normal WHILE THE DISGUSTING, DIRTY THING HAPPENS.’ And you realize that it’s a kind of madness that a monthly occurrence for billions of women - something absolutely necessary for the survival of humanity - is seen as shameful or dirty - and is taxed MORE than razor blades?! At every stage of making this song, I had to ask myself, am I allowed to do this? Is it okay to do this? And I cringed in the next room when I first showed it to my wife. But I think confronting my own embarrassment is a pretty fundamental part of what the song is about.”

We interviewed Field Music earlier this year about their Imperial War Museum performances and you can read that here.

Field Music’s last album was 2018’s Open Here. In May David Brewis released 45, a concept album about President Donald Trump released under his School of Language solo side-project moniker. Meanwhile, in January Peter Brewis released You Tell Me, the self-titled debut album for his side-project You Tell Me (a duo with Sarah Hayes of Admiral Fallow).

3. Wilco: “Everyone Hides”

Wilco are releasing a new album, Ode to Joy, on October 4 via the band’s own dBpm label. This week they shared another song from the album, “Everyone Hides,” in which the band play an elaborate game of hide and seek. The other band members hide across Chicago (pay attention to a reference to the band’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot) while frontman Jeff Tweedy is tasked with finding them. Jamie Fleischel directed the video, which was produced by Picture Show Films.

Tweedy had this to say about the video in a press release: “‘Everyone Hides’ is the first promotional video to feature Wilco as a living breathing band of humans in close to 20 years. Maybe for obvious reasons we’ve avoided putting ourselves forward in this way and have tried to play to our strengths musically or, I don’t know, maybe we’ve just been lazy… Or suspicious of expenditures outside of our focus on album making. For whatever reason this time around we just said f**k it and had a blast.”

Previously Wilco shared Ode to Joy‘s first single, “Love Is Everywhere (Beware),” which was one of our Songs of the Week.

Wilco’s last studio album was 2016’s Schmilco. Meanwhile, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy released a new solo album, WARM, last November via dBpm, which was followed by the companion album, WARMER, released in April via dBpm as a Record Store Day exclusive. In 2018 he also released the memoir Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back).

Ode to Joy was recorded at The Loft in Chicago. Tweedy and his bandmate Glenn Kotche spearheaded each song, but each song also features all six members of the band.

A press release says Ode to Joy “encourages the act of finding joy in a dark political climate. The album presents a unique rhythm track and a minimalist instrumentation, with lyrics at once observant, hopeful, morbid, tolerant, and abstract.”

In a press release Tweedy says the album features “really big, big folk songs, these monolithic, brutal structures that these delicate feelings are hung on.”

Also read our 2015 joint interview between Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Australian singer/songwriter/guitarist Courtney Barnett, from our Best of 2015 issue.

4. Soccer Mommy: “lucy”

This week Soccer Mommy (the project of Nashville native Sophie Allison) shared a brand new song “lucy.” There’s no word of a new album or EP, so right now it’s just a standalone single, perhaps in honor of her impending tour dates with Vampire Weekend this month and Wilco next month. (Note: the song title is meant to be styled all lowercase.) Check out “lucy” below via a visual reminiscent of the movie poster for The Matrix.

Allison had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Lucy’ is a really fun song for me because it has a dark, evil vibe. It’s a song about struggling with inner demons and your own morality, but I masked it with this scenario of being seduced by the devil. I’m really excited to share this with everyone because I think it shows a different side of my writing.”

Allison released her debut full-length album, Clean, back in March 2018 via Fat Possum. It was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2018. Back in January she shared a demo version of the album’s “Blossom,” as well as the B-side “Be Seeing You.”

Read our 2018 interview with Soccer Mommy on Clean.

5. Brittany Howard: “13th Century Metal”

Brittany Howard, singer for Alabama Shakes, released her debut solo album, Jamie, today via ATO. This week she shared one last pre-release song from the album, “13th Century Metal.” She has also shared a video of her performing the song live, which you can watch here.

Previously Howard shared Jamie‘s first three singles, “History Repeats,” “Stay High,” and “He Loves Me,” as well as a video of her performing “He Loves Me” live. “He Loves Me” was one of our Songs of the Week.

Howard’s sister inspired the album’s title. She taught Howard to play piano and write poetry, but passed away from cancer when the sisters were teenagers.

“The title is in memoriam, and she definitely did shape me as a human being,” says Howard in a press release. “But, the record is not about her. It’s about me. I’m pretty candid about myself and who I am and what I believe. Which is why I needed to do it on my own.”

In regard to branching out with a solo album, Howard had this to say: “I turned 30 and I was like, ‘What do I want the rest of my life to look like?’ Do I want to play the same songs until I’m 50 and then retire, or do I do something that’s scarier for me? Do I want people to understand me and know me, do I want to tell them my story? I’m very private, but my favorite work is when people are being honest and really doing themselves.”

6. Julien Chang: “Memory Loss”

Promising new 19-year-old Baltimore singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer Julien Chang is releasing his debut album, Jules, on October 11 via Transgressive. This week he shared another song from it, the dreamy “Memory Loss,” which has a bit of a relaxed Toro y Moi vibe.

Chang had this to say about the song in a press release: “A worsening memory is something I’ve always been worried about. The song was made with a kind of structural rigidity in mind, and about memory’s natural lack of it when having trouble putting faces to names, for example. It’s easy to be frustrated by that feeling, but being left with a sudden emotional reaction sparked by some stimulus for an unclear reason can be as lovely as it is disorienting.”

When the album was announced Chang shared a new single from it, “Butterflies from Monaco,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. Jules also features his previously shared debut single, “Of the Past.”

Chang self-produced the album and played most of its instruments. He’s currently in college, but the album began in his senior year of high school two years ago.

“The record was brought to life by uncertainty and experimentation, just like most everything else in life is during the summer before senior year,” Chang explains in a press release. “Even in the last weeks of recording, I was unsure of what kind of album it would turn out to be, but I think that was the point of making it-to follow inspirations indiscriminately and to whatever extent I felt.”

Chang adds: “The summer before my senior year was a really formative time for me. I got exposed to a ton of revelatory music, all sorts of stuff like Pink Floyd and Tchaikovsky and ‘70s Afro-funk and Gregorian chants. At the same time, I finally started doing the kinds of things you’d expect a 17-year-old kid to do.”

Of the album title, Chang explains: “I called the album Jules because it’s a nickname that no one ever actually calls me. Nicknames can give you something to grab onto, a sense of familiarity with someone, but in this case it’s actually a false familiarity. Just like people thought they knew who I was but had no idea what I was creating in that basement all summer, you might think you know me well from listening to this record, but the truth is that there’s a lot more going on below the surface.”

7. Georgia: “Never Let You Go”

This week British singer Georgia announced a new album, Seeking Thrills, and shared its new single, “Never Let You Go,” via a video for the track. Seeking Thrills is due out January 10, 2020 via Domino. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as Georgia’s upcoming tour dates, here.

Seeking Thrills is the follow-up to 2015’s self-titled debut. It includes the previously shared singles “Started Out” and “About Work the Dancefloor.” Joseph Connor directed the “Never Let You Go” video, which was filmed in Jordan. The album’s cover art features a 1988 photograph by Nancy Honey titled “St Stephens School Disco, Bath.” Honey’s photos have been featured on of Georgia’s releases.

8. Lightning Dust: “Run Away”

Lightning Dust (Amber Webber and Josh Wells) are releasing a new album, Spectre, on October 4 via Western Vinyl. This week they shared another song from the album, “Run Away.”

The band collectively had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Run Away’ explores the hardships of change-when our minds resist it. It’s the battle between logic and emotion. A tense and sonically deranged one in which a backward pulse blips into an electric piano solo and builds to a cosmic eruption of dark disco rain.”

Previously Lightning Dust shared Spectre‘s first single, album opener “Devoted To” (which was one of our Songs of the Week). Then they shared another song from the album, “Led Astray,” via a video for the track (it was also one of our Songs of the Week). Spectre features Stephen Malkmus and Destroyer’s Dan Bejar .

Lightning Dust was previously a side-project for the Vancouver, BC-based duo of Amber Webber and Josh Wells, back when they were in Black Mountain. But in 2017 they both left the mother ship to focus solely on Lightning Dust and this is their first album since then. In 2018 Webber went back to school and tried out a new career, before music came calling again.

“It made me realize that art and music are still my light,” Webber explained in a previous press release. “Spectre is my journey. It’s for all the women warriors that have been battling throughout life looking for a place to express themselves that feels inclusive and inspiring. It’s about finding yourself when no one is paying attention and inventing a new way of creating that feels honest and sincere. I truly feel that women, especially as we age, are underrepresented. That was truly the driving force to creating this album.”

Malkmus plays guitar on “A Pretty Picture” and Bejar contributes guest vocals “Competitive Depression.”

9. Allah Las: “Prazer Em Te Conhecer”

Los Angeles four-piece Allah Las are releasing a new album, LAHS, on October 11 via Mexican Summer. This week they shared another song from the album, “Prazer Em Te Conhecer,” via a video for the track. Drummer Matt Correia sings the song in Portuguese and the title translates to “Nice to Meet You.” A press release says the song “evokes George Harrison while also sounding like a rare 45 from a Brazilian flea market.” Correia also directed the video, which seems to have been filmed on Super-8 and perhaps shot in various cities on tour.

Previously Allah Las shared the album’s first single, “In the Air,” via a Weekend at Bernie’s-inspired video for the track that featured a cameo from Kirin J Callinan. Then they shared another song from the album, “Polar Onion,” via an animated video for the track.

The band features drummer Matt Correia, bassist Spencer Dunham, and guitarists Miles Michaud and Pedrum Siadatian. They started the album in their own studio in Los Angeles before producer/engineer Jarvis Taveniere (Woods) was “brought in to help polish it off.” The album’s title is “a reference to a common misspelling of the band’s name.” The band’s last album was 2016’s Calico Review.

Correia had this to say about the album in a previous press release: “We’ve been traveling a lot the past couple years and I think that played a role in influencing the broader variety of songs on this record…. LAHS to me feels like a soundtrack to the past five years or so. A sort of audio postcard to anyone who wants to listen.”

10. Tegan and Sara: “Don’t Believe The Things They Tell You (They Lie)”

Tegan and Sara (sisters Tegan and Sara Quin) are releasing a new album, Hey, I’m Just Like You, on September 27 via Sire. Today they shared another song from the album, “Don’t Believe The Things They Tell You (They Lie),” via a lyric video for the track.

Sara had this to say about the song in a press release: “Our mother tells a story about watching the 1980s television show Punky Brewster with us when we were four years old. The episode’s morality tale focused on lying, and near the end of the show, she describes one of us climbing onto her back, sobbing into her neck and confessing a lie we’d told her earlier in the day. At 15, we started telling lies again, and we absolved ourselves constantly in the lyrics of our songs.”

Previously Tegan and Sara shared the album’s first single, “I’ll Be Back Someday,” via a lyric video for the track directed by Sara (it was one of our Songs of the Week). Then they shared a full on video for “I’ll Be Back Someday” that featured the Quin sisters waiting for the phone to ring, as in an old school corded phone mounted to the wall. Then they shared the album’s title track, “Hey, I’m Just Like You,” via a Sarah M Worden-directed lyric video featuring old VHS footage of the Quins.

Hey, I’m Just Like You features Tegan and Sara reworking old unreleased songs they originally wrote in high school and were thought lost for over 20 years. It is due out only three days after the release of their first memoir, High School, which is being released on September 24 via MCD, a division of Farrar, Straus & Giroux (and Simon & Schuster in Canada and Virago in the UK). The shows in their upcoming tour will include readings from their memoir. $1.00 from every ticket will be donated to the Tegan and Sara Foundation.

In a previous press release, Sara had this childhood memory to offer about the period in which “I’ll Be Back Someday” was written: “We had been begging for an electric guitar, and on our 16th birthday, we got one. Of course, we had to share it, so it became a weapon that we stole from each other’s rooms, barricading ourselves behind locked doors with guitar in hand. Screaming over the small amplifier, we tested our voices by writing punk songs, shredding our thumbs on the strings.”

The band discovered 40 songs they wrote in high school, which led to Hey, I’m Just Like You. “While working on our memoir, we discovered lost cassette tapes that had been unheard for over 20 years,” said Tegan in a previous press release. “They contained dozens of our first songs, written between the ages of 15 and 17…we immediately recognized the songs as an essential part of our high school story.”

“With only minor tweaks to lyrics and structure, we tried to remain true to the original essence of each song,” added Sara.

Hey, I’m Just Like You was recorded in Vancouver, Canada in April and May 2019. The previous press release pointed out that it is “the first Tegan and Sara album created with a team of all women.” This includes producer Alex Hope (Troye Sivan, Broods), Rachael Findlen (engineer), Beatriz Artola (mixing), Emily Lazar (mastering), Annie Kennedy (assistant engineer), Carla Azar (drums), and Catherine Hiltz (bass).

Tegan and Sara summed up Hey, I’m Just Like You with this previous press release statement: “This is the record we never could have made as teenagers, full of songs we never could have written as adults.”

When High School was announced it was dubbed “the origin story of Tegan and Sara.” It recounts their high school years, with alternating chapters written by each sister.

Tegan and Sara previously offered this joint statement about the book: “How did you start your band? When did you know that you were gay? What were you like before Tegan and Sara? We have spent 20 years answering those complicated questions with simple answers. Writing High School gives us the opportunity to tell the intricate stories that shaped our relationship as sisters, musicians, and queer girls.”

11. Caroline Polachek: “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings”

Caroline Polachek (formerly of Chairlift) is releasing a new solo album, Pang, on October 18 via Columbia (the release date has just been announced). This week she shared another song from the album, “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings.”

Previously Polachek shared three songs from Pang. “Ocean of Tears” and “Parachute” were shared when the album was announced, with “Ocean of Tears” making our Songs of the Week list. Then she shared a video for “Ocean of Tears.” The album also includes the previously shared single “Door.”

For Pang Polachek has collaborated with producer/composer Danny L Harle. “Parachute” was the first song written for the album, with lyrics inspired by a dream Polachek had “in which she accepts her own death only to find herself saved,” as a press release puts it.

“It was an incredible moment, realizing that this melody we’d written was unintentionally re-telling a dream I’d been shaken by,” says Polachek in the press release. “I went home, re-drafted the words to fit, and came back to the studio at 1am to record the vocal the same day. And that’s the take we kept. From that moment on, Dan and I knew we had a lot more work to do together.”

Polachek adds: “‘Parachute’ is about the total trust that only comes with total emergency. Like a mayfly trying its wings for the first time over a large body of water full of hungry fish… and the wings work.”

“Ocean of Tears” was the last song written for the album. The song was written by Caroline Polachek, Nate Campany, and Kyle Shearer and produced by Caroline Polachek, Danny L Harle, and Valley Girl, with additional production by A. G. Cook.

In the press release Polachek says, “‘Ocean of Tears’ is dedicated to the sharp pain of being in love with someone far away, and the maddening doubt that comes with it.”

She adds: “I’d really like someone to figure skate to this at the 2022 Winter Olympics.”

Pang will be Polachek’s first album released under her own name, although she did release, Arcadia, a solo album as Ramona Lisa, in 2014, as well as an instrumental Ramona Lisa album, Drawing the Target Around the Arrow in 2017. Chairlift announced in 2016 that they were splitting up and they played some final shows in 2017.

Honorable Mentions:

These 6 songs almost made the Top 10.

Blaue Blume: “Lovable”

Danny Brown: “Best Life”

Leonard Cohen: “The Goal”

Cursive: “Black Hole Town”

Mary Lattimore: “Quintana”

M83: “Feelings”

Other notable new tracks in the last week include:

beabadoobee: “I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus”

The Beatles: “Come Together (Take 5)” and “Come Together (2019 Mix)”

Blue Hawaii: “All The Things”

Mariah Carey: “In the Mix”

DJ Shadow: “Rosie”

A Giant Dog: “Intervention” (Arcade Fire Cover)

Common Holly: “Measured”

Alicia Keys: “Show Me Love” (Feat. Miguel)

Ben Lee: “Speeding Motorcycle” (Daniel Johnston Cover) and “Divine Hammer” (The Breeders Cover)

Mandy Moore: “When I Wasn’t Watching”

Moor Mother: “Black Flight” (Feat. Saul Williams)

Van Morrison: “Dark Night of the Soul”

Say Sue Me: “Your Book”

Teebs: “Studie” (Feat. Panda Bear)

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Junie & TheHutFriends
September 22nd 2019

I am so captivated by the vocals on “Lucy” by Soccer Mommy. Her voice is so hypnotic and satisfyingly evil. Thanks for sharing!!

Klingelton Kostenlos
November 14th 2019

Thank you so much, great post.