12 Best Songs of the Week: Death Cab for Cutie, Editors, Maya Hawke, Alvvays, and More | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, December 6th, 2022  

12 Best Songs of the Week: Death Cab for Cutie, Editors, Maya Hawke, Alvvays, and More

Plus Braids, Imarhan, The Beths, Ezra Furman, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Aug 19, 2022
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Welcome to the 31st Songs of the Week of 2022. This week’s list covers songs from the last two weeks, as I was on vacation last week. This week we’re doing things slightly differently, 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 two weeks or so we posted interviews with Danny Elfman, Birds in the Brickwork, Dehd, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Geese, Tallies, The Charlatans, Doves, Black Box Recorder, Mogwai, Idlewild, KEG, Ladytron, Grandaddy, Kate Bosworth, and Why Bonnie.

In the last two weeks 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 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. Death Cab for Cutie: “Foxglove Through the Clearcut”

Last week, Death Cab For Cutie shared a new single, “Foxglove Through the Clearcut.” The song is grounded by a poetic spoken-word story, before taking flight at the end. It is the latest release from their forthcoming album, Asphalt Meadows, which will be out on September 16 via Atlantic.

Frontman Ben Gibbard elaborates on the new single in a press release: “‘Foxglove’ is by far the most personal song on the record. While I was writing it, I thought I was merely the narrator. But the longer I sat with it, I realized I was both the protagonist AND the narrator.”

Previously released album singles are “Roman Candles,” which was one of our Songs of the Week, and “Here to Forever,” also one of our Songs of the Week. By Joey Arnone

2. Editors: “Kiss”

Last week, British band Editors shared a video for their new single, “Kiss.” The eight-minute song has shades of Depeche Mode. 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 single “Karma Climb.”

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

3. Maya Hawke: “Sweet Tooth”

On Tuesday, singer/actress Maya Hawke shared a video for her new single, “Sweet Tooth.” It is the latest release from her forthcoming album, MOSS, will be out on September 23 via Mom + Pop.

In a press release, Hawke states: “‘Sweet Tooth’ was the last song written for MOSS. The lyrics were written in Atlanta while filming, but Christian [Lee Hutson] and I recorded the first demo in Nashville. When we finished the first recording session, I felt this eruption of joy and I knew this feeling had to be on the record.”

In June, Hawke announced the album and shared “Thérèse,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. Then she shared a NSFW video for “Thérèse.” By Joey Arnone

4. Alvvays: “Easy On Your Own?”

Last week, Toronto-based indie-pop band Alvvays shared a new single, “Easy On Your Own?” It is the latest release from their upcoming third studio album, Blue Rev, which will be out on October 7 via Polyvinyl.

Blue Rev was recorded in October 2021 and mixed by Shawn Everett. Upon announcement of the album, the band shared the single “Pharmacist,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. The band’s previous album, Antisocialites, came out in 2017.

Read our interview with Alvvays about Antisocialites.

Read the full extended Q&A of our interview with Alvvays’s Molly Rankin about Antisocialites.

Read our review of Antisocialites.

Read our 2014 interview with Alvvays. By Joey Arnone

5. Braids: “Retriever”

Last week, Montreal trio Braids shared a new single, “Retriever.” View a list of the band’s upcoming tour dates, which include several supporting dates with Future Islands on their European tour, here.

In a press release, the band collectively describe their new single as “a 9-minute journey track, simple in its sentiment of love and friendship, yet complex in its lush arrangement and textural experimentation. We returned to our roots with this one, exploring new corners of sound, collaboration and a ‘DGAF’ attitude with where we ended up. This song is a trip back to euphoric freedom and lightness during a time of intense isolation. We were happy to travel there, and for you to now dive into it.”

Last year, Braids shared the singles “Sailor Moon” and “2020.”

The band’s most recent album, Shadow Offering, came out in 2020 on Secret City and made it to #24 on our Top 100 Albums of 2020 list.

Read our Self-Portrait interview with the band. By Joey Arnone

6. Imarhan: “The Distance” (Feat. Gruff Rhys)

On Tuesday, Tuareg quintet Imarhan shared two new songs: “The Distance,” a collaboration with Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, and “Tadalat,” a B-side from Imarhan’s most recent album, Aboogi. Of the two tracks, “The Distance” makes our list. The band have also announced a set of fall North American tour dates. View their full list of upcoming dates here.

In a press release, Rhys states: “‘The Distance’ is my adaptation in English of Imarhan’s track ‘Tadalat.’ We recorded it for fun at the end of a session, live at the band’s Aboogi studio in the desert. Sonically, I think it channels the desolation of the desert well—with very little common language beyond music, my interpretation was based more on feeling than an attempt at direct translation. ‘The distance is long—the longing is longer.’”

Imarhan add: “‘Tadalat’ is a simple love song. From as far as you are you will see the green, the monsoon arrives and you will dive into the waiting, here you are, here is the longing dive….”

Aboogi came out in January via City Slang. The band’s previous album, Temet, came out in 2018 on City Slang. By Joey Arnone

7. The Beths: “Knees Deep”

On Tuesday, New Zealand four-piece The Beths shared a video for their new single, “Knees Deep.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming album, Expert in a Dying Field, which will be out on September 16 via Carpark. They have also announced a 2023 North American headline tour in support of the album. View the full list of tour dates here.

Lead singer Elizabeth Stokes states in a press release: “I’m the kind of person who wants to go swimming, but takes like 10 minutes to get all the way into the cold water, slowly and painfully. I hate this about myself, and am kind of envious of people who can just jump straight in the deep end. In a shocking twist, this is also a metaphor?! For how I wish I was the kind of person who was brave and decisive instead of cautious and scared.”

Upon announcement of the new album in June, the band shared the song “Silence is Golden,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. They later shared the title track, “Expert in a Dying Field,” also one of our Songs of the Week.

The Beths’ previous album, Jump Rope Gazers, came out in 2020 via Carpark. Read our My Firsts interview with the band. By Joey Arnone

8. Ezra Furman: “Poor Girl a Long Way From Heaven”

Last week, Ezra Furman shared a video for her new single, “Poor Girl a Long Way From Heaven.” It is the latest release from her forthcoming album, All of Us Flames, which will be out on August 26 via ANTI-/Bella Union.

In a press release, Furman elaborates on the new single: “The spiritual life ain’t all pious platitudes. This song is about how weird it gets, when you’re in love with the Source of Being and She’s not texting you back. Ever since it hit me that I was never going to be loved and accepted on the scale of my pop star heroes, me and my bandmates have started to work on a different vision of pop, one more our own, one that gestures at the stranger truths of the human mind. Here we are in thrall to verbally adventurous ’90s music like Björk and Beck and the Silver Jews and them kinda non-linear geniuses.”

Haoyan of America directed the video. Furman adds, regarding the video, that she “basically told Haoyan a story I made up about a trans Joan of Arc narrowly avoiding her public execution, and then gave him free reign to do whatever he wanted with it, as long as Daphne Always (also seen in our recent ‘Forever in Sunset’ video) played Joan. I adore the cracked brilliance of what came out.”

Furman previously shared All of Us Flames’s “Point Me Toward the Real,” which made it to #1 on our Songs of the Week list, “Book of Our Names,” “Forever in Sunset,” which also made our Songs of the Week list, and “Lilac and Black,” also one of our Songs of the Week.

Check out our 2020 interview with Furman in episode two of our official podcast’s first season.

Read our 2018 interview with Furman. By Joey Arnone

9. Beth Orton: “Friday Night”

Yesterday, Beth Orton shared a self-directed video for her new single, “Friday Night.” It is the latest release from her forthcoming album, Weather Alive, which will be out on September 23 via Partisan. Orton has also announced her first U.S. headlining tour in over five years. View the full list of tour dates here.

In a press release, Orton states: “‘Friday Night’ is someone reflecting on and trying to decide what to give up or what to surrender to. Passion or ambivalence? Whether to ‘bleed or rust in the rain.’ Most of us are struggling to make sense of where to put the love we have for those that are lost to us, let alone the ones that remain. Sometimes there is no right answer except to find the wisdom in the spaces between the endings and beginnings, in the remembrance of things past or in search of lost time, there are always repercussions to the choices we make. We are listening to the internal dialogue of someone living it out, what is futile and what is worth fighting for, and trying to do as little damage along the way. Friday night being the night that makes the week more bearable, there is hope. Coming to realize what is real and what is out of reach can be unbelievably painful, waking up to the love that remains can be the greatest gift and the most wonderful surprise. Even in absence there is presence, there is no escape but to look for where the love is still alive within us.”

Upon announcement of the album in May, Orton shared the album’s title track, “Weather Alive,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. She later shared the song “Forever Young,” also one of our Songs of the Week. By Joey Arnone

10. Marlon Williams: “Easy Does It”

Last week, New Zealand singer/songwriter/guitarist Marlon Williams shared a video for his new single, “Easy Does It.” It is the latest release from his forthcoming album, My Boy, which will be out on September 9 via Dead Oceans.

In a press release, Williams states: “I’ve always loved Lee Hazlewood’s personification of ‘Easy’ in his song ‘Easy and Me’; what a great way of cutting to the point. It worked for the Greeks, it works for Māori too. I wanted everything about this song to be as gentle as possible. From Delaney Davidson’s lap steel intro with its Pacifica 6th chords to the whispered vocal delivery to the soft summer visualiser which is something of an addendum to the ‘My Boy’ video: the boys, sweaty from the days digging and dancing, launching into the shallows of Lyttelton Harbor, hoping to lure some poor sailors to a watery grave.”

Williams previously shared the album singles “My Boy,” which was one of our Songs of the Week, “Thinking of Nina,” also one of our Songs of the Week, and “River Rival,” also one of our Songs of the Week.

Williams’ last full-length was his sophomore album, Make Way For Love, released back in February 2018 via Dead Oceans. In 2019 he released his first official live album, Live at Auckland Town Hall.

Read our 2017 interview with Marlon Williams on Make Way For Love.

Read our 2016 interview with Marlon Williams. By Joey Arnone

11. First Aid Kit: “Out of My Head”

Last week, Swedish sister alt-country/folk duo First Aid Kit (Klara and Johanna Söderberg) announced the release of a new album, Palomino, which will be out on November 4 via Columbia. They have also shared a video for the album’s lead single, “Out of My Head.” View the album’s tracklist and a full list of the band’s upcoming tour dates here.

Speaking about “Out of My Head” in a press release, First Aid Kit state: “We wrote this song last year together with songwriter and producer Björn Yttling. It was the first time we wrote for First Aid Kit with someone else and it was very inspiring. The song was written in the spur of the moment, almost like a stream of consciousness. It’s about feeling stuck inside your own thoughts and desperately wanting to escape. We produced the song with Daniel Bengtson in Stockholm. It has a bit of a different sound from our previous songs. We wanted the production to feel like an old rock song from the ’80s. We were inspired by Fleetwood Mac, Kate Bush and Tom Petty. This is one of our favorite songs we’ve ever written, we’re so proud of it and are so excited to finally get to share it.”

With regards to Palomino, they add: “This is the first record we’ve recorded in Sweden since we made our debut album The Big Black & The Blue 12 years ago! We worked with Swedish producer Daniel Bengtson at his lovely studio Studio Rymden in Stockholm. It was such a fun experience. We really let the recording take time, we didn’t want to rush it.

“The songs were mostly written during the pandemic. In such dark times, music felt like an escape from all the horrible things going on in the world. We wanted this album to feel more upbeat and cheerful than our previous album Ruins, which was a break-up record. It’s probably our most pop sounding record yet. We took inspiration from all over the place—old acts such as Fleetwood Mac, Carole King, Tom Petty, T Rex, Elton John but also Angel Olsen, Whitney, and Big Thief. The title is a reference to freedom, learning how to stand on your own two feet. Growing older and feeling more comfortable in your own skin. Riding off on a Palomino!”

In June, First Aid Kit shared the album track “Angel,” which was also one of our Songs of the Week. By Joey Arnone

12. Vundabar: “Time”

Last week, Vundabar announced the release of a compilation album, Good Old, which will be out on September 16 via amuse. The compilation consists of seven unreleased tracks that were recorded between 2015’s Gawk and 2017’s Smell Smoke and four acoustic reinterpretations of previously released tracks. The band also shared the previously unreleased track “Time.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

The band’s Brandon Hagen elaborates on the new album in a press release: “You change quite a bit as a person in ten years time and naturally your music will follow suit. We see releasing these songs that never saw the light in 2016 as a way to celebrate the passage of time and fill the gap the omission of these songs left in our development as a band. From a listener’s perspective this is what will bridge the gap between 2015’s Gawk and 2017’s Smell Smoke.

“Releasing these songs now also acts as a conversation between ourselves from the past and present. In 2016 we were touring constantly, hadn’t really made the band work in any meaningful way and I was desperate to try to get it off the ground while it felt like many of the moorings in my life were dissolving. I think this reflects in the songs as they focus on insecurity, uncertainty about the future and self critique. I hear a kid in their early twenties trying to figure their shit out, which makes sense.”

The band’s newest album, Devil for the Fire, came out in April via Gawk. Upon announcement of the album last November, the band shared the album’s title track, “Devil for the Fire.” Later, they shared two other album tracks, “Aphasia” and “Ringing Bell.” Then they shared the track “Lore,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. By Joey Arnone

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 12.

The Big Pink: “Rage”

Broken Bells: “Saturdays”

Julien Chang: “Time and Place”

Danger Mouse & Black Thought: “Strangers” (Feat. A$AP Rocky and Run The Jewels)

Lee Fields: “Sentimental Fool”

Nick Hakim: “Happen”

Kiwi Jr.: “The Sound of Music”

Kutiman: “Believe in You” (Feat. Dekel)

Little Dragon: “Frisco”

Martha: “Baby, Does Your Heart Sink?”

>

Moby and serpentwithfeet: “On Air”

Pixies: “Vault of Heaven”

UNKLE: “The Way Back Home”

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: “Burning”

>

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

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