11 Best Songs of the Week: Ride, Vampire Weekend, Drahla, Waxahatchee, and More | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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11 Best Songs of the Week: Ride, Vampire Weekend, Drahla, Waxahatchee, and More

Plus Hana Vu, The Lemon Twigs, Cola, Metronomy, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Mar 15, 2024 Bookmark and Share

Welcome to the ninth Songs of the Week of 2024. It was a somewhat slow week for new songs, perhaps because a lot of the music industry is at SXSW, but there were more than enough that impressed us.

This week Andy Von Pip, Caleb Campbell, and Scott Dransfield all helped me decide what should make the list. We settled on a Top 11 this week, narrowed down from the 15 songs we seriously considered.

In the past few weeks we posted interviews with Ride, Slowdive, Eaves Wilder, Spiritualized, and others.

In the last week we reviewed some albums.

To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last week, we have picked the 11 best the last week had to offer, followed by some honorable mentions. Check out the full list below.

1. Ride: “Monaco”

Legendary British shoegazers Ride are releasing a new album, Interplay, on March 29 via Wichita and PIAS. Yesterday, they shared its third single, “Monaco.”

Also we recently posted our new interview with the band about the album and you can read that here.

Ride formed in 1988 and its lineup remains guitarist/vocalists Andy Bell and Mark Gardener, drummer Laurence “Loz” Colbert, and bassist Steve Queralt.

Gardener had this to say about “Monanco” in a press release: “The backing track came from the earlier Ox4 Sound sessions we did and we gave it a demo name of ‘Monaco’ as we were naming these jams and ideas we were pulling together as place names. One evening, during the recording sessions at Ox4 Sound, the guys had all left the building and I was there with just producer Richie Kennedy and an engineer. I had been writing some words about how I was feeling that everybody was being smashed in the current economic climate with the rise of energy bills and all else; to the point that it just seems now that we’re having to live to work instead of working to live. The song is a reflection on this feeling of how we’re all being smashed to pieces and under pressure constantly financially. It’s a kind of call to arms against this whilst we still have strength to fight against it. ‘Monaco’ then stayed as the ironic title as the song is totally against the madness of the few who live in their artificial, detached rich bubbles in Monaco.”

Previously Ride shared the album’s first single, “Peace Sign.” It was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared its second single, “Last Frontier,” which was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Interplay is the band’s third album since reforming in 2014, following 2017’s Weather Diaries and 2019’s This Is Not a Safe Place. Ride produced the album with Richie Kennedy and Claudius Mittendorfer mixed the album.

Bell had this to say about Interplay in a previous press release: “This album has taken a long time to make, and has seen the band go through a lot of ups and downs; maybe the most of any Ride album. But it has seen us come through the process as a band in a good place, feeling able to shake off the past, and ready to celebrate the combined musical talents that brought us together in the first place.”

Ride are currently on a co-headlining U.S. tour with The Charlatans. It’s something they did last year as well. The Charlatans are performing their 1992-released sophomore album, Between 10th and 11th, and Ride are performing their 1990-released debut album, Nowhere.

Read our interview with Ride’s Mark Gardener on This Is Not a Safe Place.

Also read our 2013 interview with Ride on Nowhere and our 2015 interview with Gardener where he went through Nowhere track-by-track. By Mark Redfern

2. Vampire Weekend: “Classical”

Vampire Weekend are releasing a new album, Only God Was Above Us, on April 5 via Columbia. Yesterday, they shared its third single, “Classical,” via a music video. The song features saxophonist Henry Solomon. Nick Harwood directed the video, which features a whole lot of green screen, and also features appearances by Ariel Rechtshaid, Ray Suen, and the band’s drum tech, Josh Goldsmith.

Previously the band shared its first two singles: “Capricorn” and “Gen-X Cops.” Both songs made our Songs of the Week list.

Vampire Weekend’s tour will feature various support acts, depending on the date, including LA LOM, The English Beat, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Mike Gordon, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Ra Ra Riot, Princess featuring Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum, Cults, a DJ Set By Mark Ronson, Turnstiles (a Billy Joel tribute band), and The Brothers Macklovitch. In select cities they are doing evening shows on a Saturday night, followed by a matinee show the next day. Check out the tour poster below for info on which artist is opening where.

Previously Vampire Weekend shared a trailer for the album, as well as its tracklist and cover artwork.

Only God Was Above Us is the band’s fifth album, their first new album in five years, and the follow-up to Father of the Bride. Father of the Bride was our Album of the Week, it debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart with the largest first week sales for any rock album in 2019, and you can stream it here. It was also nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys.

Vampire Weekend is Ezra Koenig, Chris Baio, and Chris Tomson. Koenig wrote most of the album’s lyrics in 2019 and 2020 and the band have been refining the album since then, recording in various cities around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, London, and Tokyo. Koenig produced the album with longtime collaborator Ariel Rechtshaid and it was mixed by Dave Fridmann and mastered by Emily Lazar.

A press release promises that the album is “direct yet complex, showing the band at once at its grittiest, and also at its most beautiful and melodic.”

The album’s cover artwork also inspired its title. It is a photo taken in 1988 by Steven Siegel at a subway graveyard in New Jersey. In the photo is a man sitting in a turned over subway car, reading the May 1, 1988 edition of The New York Daily News. The cover of the newspaper details an airplane accident on Aloha Airlines flight 243, when an explosion tore the roof off. The headline of the newspaper quotes a survivor saying, “Only God was above us,” which is now the title of the new album.

We were the first nationally distributed print magazine to interview Vampire Weekend, way back in 2007, and you can revisit that article here. By Mark Redfern

3. Drahla: “Grief In Phantasia”

This week, the Leeds-based art-rock experimentalists known as Drahla unveiled “Grief In Phantasia,” the latest single from their highly anticipated second album, angeltape, set to be released on April 5th via Captured Tracks. Serving as the expressive finale of angeltape, “Grief In Phantasia” encapsulates Drahla’s characteristic experimental creative approach whilst mirroring the turbulent essence of the album.

According to the band: “This song was informed by others on the record and those we’d written in the past. It felt like the closing track when we wrote it, as though it summarized the chaos and the calm of the album.”

“I think the process and inspiration for this album has been way more experimental and insular than taking on any external musical references,” says Singer Luciel Brown. “This record feels like it was built on a foundation of insular inspiration.”

Angeltape was unveiled in January following the release of their recent singles “Lip Sync” and “Under The Glass,” marking their first full-length album since their critically acclaimed 2019 debut, Useless Coordinates. “Grief In Phantasia” succeeds the album’s energetic single “Second Rhythm.”

The lead single, “Default Parody,” debuted in January, blending offbeat guitars with unpredictable saxophone melodies and harmonious yet strident vocals.

Inspired by the experimental rock band This Heat, Drahla found their main source of inspiration in each other during the recording sessions, fostering a collaborative free-flowing environment. By Andy Von Pip

4. Waxahatchee: “365”

Waxahatchee (aka Katie Crutchfield) is releasing a new album, Tigers Blood, on March 22 via ANTI-. This week she shared its third single, “365,” via a music video filmed in one continuous shot. Corbett Jones and Nick Simonite directed the video.

Crutchfield had this to say about “365” in a press release: “‘365’ is a song about codependency as it pertains to addiction and relationships with addicts. It’s something I’ve dealt with a lot in my life and I really wanted to distill the nerves and emotions down to their purest form in this song. Brad Cook and I had a lot of ideas we tried for this one, but in the end, we tracked it live just him, Jake Lenderman, and myself running the song a couple of times together in the room.”

Previously Waxahatchee shared the album’s first single, “Right Back to It,” which features MJ Lenderman. It was shared via a music video and the track was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. Then she shared its second single, “Bored,” via a music video. “Bored” was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Tigers Blood follows Saint Cloud, which was #6 on our Top 100 Albums of 2020 list. In 2022 Crutchfield teamed up with Jess Williamson to form Plains and release their debut album, I Walked With You A Ways, via ANTI-.

The new album also features Spencer Tweedy, alongside Phil and Brad Cook. Brad Cook produced the album, which was recorded at the Sonic Ranch in the border town Tornillo, Texas. Brad Cook also worked on Saint Cloud at the same studio.

Read our 2020 interview with Waxahatchee on Saint Cloud. By Mark Redfern

5. Hana Vu: “Hammer”

Los Angeles-based musician Hana Vu is releasing a new album, Romanticism, on May 3 via Ghostly International. This week she shared another song from it, “Hammer,” via a music video.

Vu had this to say about the song in a press release: “I do plead with the world, or the universe, in writing. My writing of songs is where I feel inclined to ask questions and look for answers within myself. ‘Hammer’ is one of the first songs I wrote for this record. It’s one of those songs you write to yourself amidst existential crisis. Maybe that’s what all songs are.”

Henry Kaplan directed the song’s video and had this to say: “‘Hammer’ does the thing that I love most about Hana’s music: it expresses something primal, almost indescribable, about what it’s like to be alive. I wanted the video to somehow tap into that anxious, existential energy. I thought about what it’s like when you’re going through something, when every moment seems to loop endlessly in your brain until you manage to somehow find release. This innocent ‘thought’ led to Hana doing 50+ takes of herself running up to her jilted Scorpio ex’s door.”

Romanticism follows Vu’s 2021 debut album, Public Storage. By Mark Redfern

6. The Lemon Twigs: “A Dream is All I Know”

The Lemon Twigs (aka brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario) are releasing a new album, A Dream is All We Know, on May 3 via Captured Tracks. This week they shared another song from it, almost title track “A Dream is All I Know,” and announced some new tour dates.

Brian had this to say about the track in a press release: “This song is about impermanence and the dreamlike nature of our day to day lives. It was written when I was feeling a strong sense of unreality in my kitchen. Unfortunately, ‘Unreality In My Kitchen’ didn’t have much of a ring to it so we had to go with ‘A Dream is All I Know’ as the title.”

A Dream is All We Know includes “My Golden Years,” a new song they shared in January via a music video. The band performed it on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, which is when they first announced the new album. Watch the performance below. Then the band shared the album’s second single, “They Don’t Know How to Fall in Place,” via a music video. It was one of our Songs of the Week.

A Dream is All We Know is the quick follow-up to Everything Harmony, which came out last May via Captured Tracks and was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2023.

The D’Addario brothers mixed and mastered the album themselves, recording it on period-specific equipment.

The band previously released 2020’s Songs For the General Public (read our review of it here), 2018’s concept musical Go to School, and their 2016-released debut album, Do Hollywood.

Read our 2016 interview with The Lemon Twigs in our Pleased to Meet You section. By Mark Redfern

7. Cola: “Bitter Melon”

This week, Cola shared a new song, “Bitter Melon,” via a lyric video. The single is out now via Fire Talk and is available as a flexi disc (accompanied by a zine).

Cola consists of ex-Ought members Tim Darcy and Ben Stidworthy and Evan Cartwright (drummer with U.S. Girls and The Weather Station). Their debut album, Deep In View, was released in 2022.

Darcy had this to say about the new song in a press release: “This one started with a demo brought in by Ben. The vocals and lyrics came naturally from the backlit, brooding atmosphere of the music. I wrote what was almost a piece of fiction (fleshed out in the accompanying zine we’ve released) where a person is up in the middle of the night studying ‘the gloss’—additional comments written in the margins of a book. In my mind the text was like the rind of a fruit surrounding something, maybe even written at an earlier point by the reader themselves. The motorik drums and chiming guitars are guided by the bass on this song, something not unusual for us but the bass really provides a compelling longform melody on this song. The track has the energy of a full moon or some kind of fertile dark / gaia-facing productive spirit to me.” By Mark Redfern

8. Metronomy: “Nice Town” (Feat. Pan Amsterdam)

This week, Metronomy shared a new song, “Nice Town,” which is a collaboration with New York by way of Houston artist Pan Amsterdam. It also marks Metronomy’s first release for Ninja Tune, which have just announced that they’ve signed the band. “Nice Town” is the first single from a new project that will act as the follow-up to Metronomy’s Posse EP Volume 1, which was a collaborative EP from 2021. The single will be released on 12-inch vinyl on March 22 in the UK and April 19 in America. Also below are by two remixes of the song shared this week.

The band’s leader and sole permanent member, Joe Mount, had this to say in a press release: “My collaborations always start out the same way. I send out a folder of ideas, beats mainly, and see what comes back. Some artists will play around with a number of the tracks, and some will focus just on one thing that works for them. With Pan Amsterdam, it was the latter, one of those tracks that when he sent it back it was like ‘Oh wow,’ it just all fell into place…. It’s sort of an old school rap track, but in the case of Pan he doesn’t just rap, he’s also an incredible jazz trumpet player, who also works with Iggy Pop.”

Pan Amsterdam says: “‘Nice Town’ deals with my own battles. With the internal versus the external or, intangible versus the tangible. I’m always trying to remember that tangibles may applaud my pursuit in attempting to fulfill my purpose but that my purpose is not tangible. Nor is it for my ego to be gratified. A ‘Town’ can be a ‘Nice’ thing to blame during these reckonings with the inner dimensions of one’s self. And it’s ‘Nice’ to have a new ‘Town’ interrupting this reckoning, and escape to.”

Mount adds: “To me, it’s exciting to be involved with artists at this point in their career. The whole spirit is one of discovering artists, and to make something that you find inspiring.”

Of joining Ninja Tune, Mount says: “It feels like a full circle moment. As a teenager I was obsessed with the romance of labels like Ninja Tune, Warp, and Wall of Sound. The artists they represented really made me who I am as a musician today. With Ninja Tune, they are a label who have gone from strength to strength at a time when it’s pretty hard to do that, and it’s something I think can also be said of Metronomy.”

Metronomy’s album, Small World, came out in 2022 via Because Music.

Read our The End interview with Metronomy. By Mark Redfern

9. Cosmorat: “something in the rain”

Cosmorat is the brainchild of Taylor Pollock and Olly Liu and their debut EP, Evil Adjacent, delves into the complexities of growing up. It explores anxieties, boredom, and despair, weaving tales of girlhood, abusive relationships, social anxieties, and the challenges of loving those who can’t reciprocate. The EP is out today and you can stream it here. Today the band also released a video for their new single, “something in the rain.”

Pollack, who grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, had this to say about the EP in a press release: “Evil Adjacent is walking abreast with the kid you went to high school with that spent three years in jail for stealing catalytic converters out of the local VFW parking lot. This EP is an American Fever Dream. Most of it was written in a secluded cabin or in a basement. We wanted to capture the feeling of growing up in a crumbling world and making light of the fact that we are one to two degrees of separation away from tragedy. Some people aren’t bad, even if they are ostracized. We all do what we can to get by.”

The stunning single “something in the rain” showcases the band’s expansive sound. It blends warm, heartfelt soundscapes with bursts of euphoria, as Pollack explains: “In short, it’s a song about social anxiety in groups of people. It comes from a place of relying heavily on substances to feel normal in group settings and in public places. I know most of my friends feel this way as well, but sometimes it feels impossible to act normal and be okay in the world right now. Just existing comfortably and being able to afford rent feels so unfair compared to most of the world. I try to feel grateful, but I just feel guilty.

“I used to have a habit of going to social events and chugging drinks, getting drunk really fast, then feeling embarrassed about how drunk I was. In retrospect, it was a way to cope with my internal anxieties in public setting. I am so desperate for human connection, but have no idea how to relate to people sometimes.” By Andy Von Pip

10. Elbow: “Good Blood Mexico City”

Elbow are releasing a new album, AUDIO VERTIGO, on March 22 via Polydor/Geffen. This week they shared its third single, “Good Blood Mexico City.”

Previously the band shared the album’s first single, “Lovers’ Leap,” which was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. Then they performed the song on the British chat show The Graham Norton Show. The band also shared a video for “Lovers’ Leap.” Then Elbow released its second single, “Balu,” via a music video. “Balu” once again topped our Songs of the Week list.

Many of the songs on AUDIO VERTIGO were born of Elbow’s members working in smaller groups, before the whole band finished the songs.

AUDIO VERTIGO is the follow-up to 2021’s Flying Dream 1 and in contrast to that more intimate sounding album, the new record embraces a more varied and rhythmically diverse musical landscape, or as Garvey puts it, “gnarly, seedy grooves created by us playing together in garagey rooms.”

The band recorded the album throughout 2023 at the members’ individual studios, Migration Studios in Gloucestershire, and at the band’s facility at Blueprint Studios in Salford (in Greater Manchester).

Elbow’s album before last 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.

Garvey was also one of the artists on the cover of our 20th Anniversary Issue. By Mark Redfern

11. RINSE: “Stranger” (Feat. Caroline Loveglow)

This week, Australian shoegazer RINSE shared a new song, “Stranger,” which features guest vocals by Los Angeles singer Caroline Loveglow. It was shared via a self-directed music video.

RINSE is the shoegaze/dream pop project of Joe Agius, who is married to Harriette Pilbeam (aka Hatchie) and often collaborates with her and plays guitar in her band.

In 2021 he released the Wherever I Am EP. One of its singles, “Tamaryn (Wherever I Am),” made our Songs of the Week list. The 2021 song “Back Into Your Arms,” featuring Hatchie, also made it to our Songs of the Week list. By Mark Redfern

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 11.

Boeckner: “Dead Tourists”

Horse Jumper of Love: “Gates of Heaven”

Mount Kimbie: “Empty and Silent” (Feat. King Krule)

Villagers: “You Lucky One”

Here’s a handy Spotify playlist featuring the Top 11 in order, followed by all the honorable mentions:

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