12 Best Songs of the Week: Arctic Monkeys, Fujiya & Miyagi, The Orielles, Plains, and More | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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12 Best Songs of the Week: Arctic Monkeys, Fujiya & Miyagi, The Orielles, Plains, and More

Plus Gorillaz and Tame Impala, Crack Cloud, Francis Lung, Alex Lahey, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Sep 02, 2022 Bookmark and Share

Welcome to the 33rd Songs of the Week of 2022. Lots of British artists this week! Including the entire Top 3. This week after much inner-dialogue, we settled on a Top 12.

As we started two weeks ago, we’re doing things slightly differently than we have been with Songs of the Week, with just a main Top 12 list and some honorable mentions, without the longer list of songs also released in the last week.

In the last week we 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 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 12 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. Arctic Monkeys: “There’s Better Be a Mirrorball”

Arctic Monkeys are releasing a new album, The Car, on October 21 via Domino. It was announced last week, but at the time no music from it was shared. On Monday, the British band released the album’s first single, the string-backed ballad (and album opener) “There’d Better Be a Mirrorball,” via a video for the song directed by frontman Alex Turner. The whole thing has a bit of a ’70s vibe. View the band’s upcoming tour dates here.

The Car is the follow-up to 2018’s Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. It’s the band’s seventh album and all the songs were written by frontman Alex Turner. James Ford produced the new album, which was recorded at Butley Priory, Suffolk, RAK Studios, London, and La Frette, Paris.

A previous press release described the album like so: “The Car finds Arctic Monkeys running wild in a new and sumptuous musical landscape and contains some of the richest and most rewarding vocal performances of Alex Turner’s career.”

The deluxe LP version of the album, only available from the band’s website, will be available on “limited gray vinyl with a tip on sleeve and mounted gloss cover image.” The album will also be released on standard LP, CD, cassette, and digitally.

Arctic Monkeys’ complete lineup is Jamie Cook, Matt Helders, Nick O’Malley, and Alex Turner.

Read our 2013 print magazine interview with Arctic Monkeys on AM.

Read our 2013 digital magazine Q&A interview with Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner on AM. By Mark Redfern

2. Fujiya & Miyagi: “Slight Variations”

Fans last heard from long-running Brighton-based electronic outfit Fujiya & Miyagi with their 2019 record, Flashback. Over the band’s twenty-year career, they have consistently taken an ardent and expansive approach to electronic music, fusing elements from pop, house, disco, acid, Krautrock, and more. Their discography acts as a sampling for decades of electronica, an approach they doubled down on for their newly announced forthcoming LP, Slight Variations.

As singer and guitarist David Best describes, “There’s two meanings behind Slight Variations as a title. The first being how although biologically we are pretty much the same it’s the differences that tend to define us and cause friction and misunderstandings. The second is a nod to the suggestion that all our records sound similar to one another, when they all sound quite different to me. There’s a thread running through everything we do but we’ve always tried to push things forward.”

The full album is out September 30th via the band’s label, Impossible Objects of Desire. Accompanying the announcement, the band also shared an early listen to the record’s title track, premiering with Under the Radar on Tuesday.

“Slight Variations” opens the record with a pulsing dancefloor gem, pulling together house and disco beats with sharp funk guitar and backing vocals from Everything Shook. The band captures an addictive synthesis of sounds and genre, tightly packing the track with infectious grooves, jolting synth textures, and colorful lyricism. Like the best of the band’s work, “Slight Variations” shows their affection for the many sub-genres of electronic and dance music, crafting a track that manages to be sleek and propulsive while remaining insular and hypnotic.

Slight Variations is out everywhere on September 30th via Impossible Objects of Desire. Read our new interview with the band on the album here. By Caleb Campbell

3. The Orielles: “BEAM/S”

This week, The Orielles announced the release of a new studio album, Tableau, which will be out on October 7 via Heavenly. They also shared a video for a new single from the album, the eight-minute long “BEAM/S.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

In a press release, the band’s Esme Hand-Halford elaborates on the new single: “This is a song that has traveled, grown and adapted with us through all of the seasons. This is why the lyrics kind of reflect that, the song reflects the changing of conditions. The warping of time, memories and relationships that you foster along the way. The original track was jammed at practice, Henry would bring his recording gear and it came about in quite an off the cuff way. I can’t remember how we really began jamming that. We further developed it whilst jamming at Eve Studios. We added distortion pedals and made it really big, but then going into the studio months later, maybe a year or more, we pared it back slightly. The majority of the song is just us in a room, a big room at that, which did the track a lot of justice. We wrote a visual score inspired by Wadada Leo Smith for this one, and then in the later half you hear the group percussion which is the final fallout of the song, and has nods to Afrobeat, where the majority of the song is taking this slowcore, emo feel to it. The track was originally titled ‘Brian Emo.’”

Tableau was produced by the band alongside Joel Anthony Patchett (King Krule, Tim Burgess).

Read our interview with The Orielles on their 2020 album Disco Volador here. By Joey Arnone

4. Plains: “Abilene”

On Tuesday, Plains, a new duo consisting of Waxahatchee (aka Katie Crutchfield) and Jess Williamson, shared a video for their new single, “Abilene.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming debut album, I Walked With You A Ways, which will be out on October 14 via ANTI-.

Crutchfield states in a press release: “The song ‘Abilene’ really solidified the vision of the album for me. I’ll never forget how giddy I felt when Jess sent me the original demo. In a very stereotypical-of-a-songwriter way, Jess felt unsure if it fit or made sense and I reassured her immediately that this was probably my favorite song of the bunch. She achieved something really special in my view, which is writing a classic country waltz that feels extremely modern.”

Williamson adds: “In the video for ‘Abilene,’ my dear friend Adriene Mishler plays the narrator of the song. We see her struggle in the final stages of a romantic relationship and then make the hard decision to choose herself and leave. I think we all have our own personal ‘Abilene.’ Maybe it’s a place where you used to live and things didn’t turn out as planned, like in the song. It could also be a relationship that ended in disappointment, or a dream that turned into a hard reality, or even an old version of yourself that’s better left in the past. ‘Abilene’ is a song about knowing your worth, having courage in the face of an uncertain future, and trusting your gut.”

Upon announcement of the album in July, Plains shared its lead single, “Problem With It,” which was also one of our Songs of the Week. By Joey Arnone

5. Gorillaz: “New Gold” (Feat. Tame Impala and Bootie Brown)

On Wednesday, Damon Albarn’s virtual band Gorillaz announced the release of a new album, Cracker Island, which will be out on February 24, 2023 via Warner. The band also shared a new single from the album, “New Gold,” which features Tame Impala and The Pharcyde’s Bootie Brown. View the album’s tracklist/cover art here.

Cracker Island features musical contributions from Stevie Nicks, Adeleye Omotayo, Thundercat, Bad Bunny and Beck. It was produced by the band alongside Greg Kurstin and Remi Kabaka Jr.

In June, Gorillaz shared the album’s title track, “Cracker Island,” featuring Thundercat.

Last year, Gorillaz released the EP Meanwhile. Their most recent album, Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez, came out in October 2020. By Joey Arnone

6. Crack Cloud: “Costly Engineered Illusion”

Yesterday, Vancouver collective Crack Cloud shared a video for their new single, “Costly Engineered Illusion.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming album, Tough Baby, which will be out on September 16 via Meat Machine and Crack Cloud Media Studio.

In a press release, Crack Cloud states: “We spent a week in Trenčín, Slovakia, over the summer producing a theatre representation of the housing crisis in Western Canada. It was our first venture into live theatre; the process was spontaneous, disorienting, and new. Finding synergy with Silvia Sviteková and her dance company was an elevating experience, reinforcing our mutual love for creative improvisation. The video is primarily a compilation of B roll from our time there.”

Upon announcement of the new album in May, Crack Cloud shared the song “Please Yourself,” which was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. They later shared the title track “Tough Baby,” which was also #1 on our Songs of the Week list. By Joey Arnone

7. Francis Lung: “Midland Hotel II - The Restaurant”

On Tuesday, Francis Lung shared a new song, “Midland Hotel II - The Restaurant.” It is the latest release from his forthcoming spoken word EP Short Stories, which will be out on September 23 via Memphis Industries.

Short Stories was written, produced, and mixed by Lung. Upon announcement of the EP in June, Lung shared the song “2p Machine,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. By Joey Arnone

8. Alex Lahey: “Congratulations”

On Wednesday, Australian singer/songwriter Alex Lahey shared a new song, “Congratulations,” via a video for the single in which she marries herself. It’s a song about the complicated emotions than ensue when an ex-lover moves on and settles down with someone else. The single is out now via Liberation. View Lahey’s upcoming tour dates of Europe and Australia here.

“Two of my exes got engaged within an improbably short space of time of one another. What are the odds? I couldn’t not write a song inspired by it,” says Lahey in a press release.

The video for “Congratulations,” which Lahey describes as “deeply unhinged,” was written by Lahey and co-directed by Jon Danovic. “It felt like the perfect time to execute a long standing concept I had of making out with myself on camera,” says Lahey. “Now both the song and the video feel like a message about choosing yourself over anyone else.”

Last year, Lahey shared the song “On My Way” from the animated Netflix film The Mitchells vs. the Machines, and it nabbed a spot on our Songs of the Week list. That was followed by another new song, “Spike the Punch,” shared in October and also one of our Songs of the Week. Lahey was also one of the artists on our 20th anniversary Covers of Covers album, where she covered St. Vincent’s “New York.” By Mark Redfern

9. Young Jesus: “Rose Eater”

On Wednesday, Young Jesus shared a video for their new single, “Rose Eater.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming album, Shepherd Head, due out on September 16 via Saddle Creek.

The band’s founding member, John Rossiter, states in a press release: “I wrote ‘Rose Eater’ on the piano and tried to record it. I used the internal mic on my computer because at the time I had lent my microphone to Emerald House, a beautiful DIY space and small community in L.A. The recording of the piano sounded horrible. So I pitched it down and ran it through a million effects until it sounded like Enya or Peter Gabriel strings. The lyrics are in line with that ethos. Trying very hard to be the ‘ideal’ of something or someone, and finding the truth of oneself is very different and is perhaps discovered in the process. The video is very much in conversation with that evolving process, the unfinished work of a life, and the fun that lives right next to ‘serious’ art and life.

“I think it fits with the way I made the album, which was allowing in sounds of the environment, not going for a perfectly quiet room while recording. Allowing mediums and ways of capturing a video of music into a format that traditionally has a very specific way of communicating. Trying to be creative rather than fulfill an assignment. Unconventional but hopefully it’s got a spirit all its own!”

Upon announcement of the new album, Young Jesus shared the lead single, “Ocean,” which features Tomberlin and was one of our Songs of the Week.

Young Jesus’ previous album, Welcome to Conceptual Beach, came out in 2020 via Saddle Creek. By Joey Arnone

10. Weird Nightmare: “I Think You Know”

Today, Weird Nightmare (the solo project of METZ guitarist/singer Alex Edkins) and Ancient Shapes (led by Daniel Romano) shared a double A-side single, which features four new songs. Edkins has shared the single “I Think You Know,” with Ancient Shapes sharing three new songs: “Bird With an Iron Head,” “Imaginary Agony,” and “I’m Against the Wind.” A video for “Bird With an Iron Head” has also been shared. The new release is out now via Sub Pop, and will be out on 7-inch vinyl on October 21.

Edkins had this to say about the collaboration in a press release: “Daniel has been one of my favorite writers/performers for many years now and his work with Ancient Shapes and the Outfit are a constant source of joy. I’m super excited to be sharing this record with him.”

11. The 1975: “I’m In Love With You”

The 1975 are releasing a new album, Being Funny in a Foreign Language, on October 14 via Dirty Hit. Yesterday, they shared another new song from it, “I’m In Love With You,” via a video for the song. Samuel Bradley directed the black & white video, which has a silent movie vibe and features a cameo from Phoebe Bridgers at the end. View the band’s upcoming tour dates here.

Previously the band shared the album’s first single “Part of the Band,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. That was followed by “Happiness,” also one of our Songs of the Week.

The 1975’s previous album, Notes On a Conditional Form, came out in 2020 via Dirty Hit/Interscope. By Mark Redfern

12. Editors: “Vibe”

Yesterday, British band Editors shared a new single, “Vibe.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming album, EBM, which will be out on September 23 via [PIAS].

EBM will be Editors’ first album since Blanck Mass (aka Benjamin John Power) joined the band. In a press release, frontman Tom Smith states: “Ben has certainly been a shot of adrenaline in our creative process. The songs are so immediate and in your face.”

Upon announcement of Blanck Mass joining the band in April, they shared the album track “Heart Attack.” They later shared the singles “Karma Climb” and “Kiss,” the latter of which was one of our Songs of the Week.

Editors’ last studio album, Violence, was released back in March 2018 via [PIAS]. Read our interview with Tom Smith on Violence. By Joey Arnone

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 12. Suede came closest to making the main list.

Benjamin Clementine: “Genesis”

Frankie Cosmos: “Aftershook”

Knifeplay: “Promise”

Nisa: “Affection”

Peel Dream Machine: “Pictionary”

Suede: “That Boy on the Stage”

Trentemøller: “Into the Silence” (Feat. DiSA)

Vundabar: “Shadow Boxing”

Here’s a handy Spotify playlist featuring the Top 10 in order, followed by all the honorable mentions:

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