12 Best Songs of the Week: Fontaines D.C., Suki Waterhouse, Dutch Interior, Why Bonnie, and More | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, July 21st, 2024  

12 Best Songs of the Week: Fontaines D.C., Suki Waterhouse, Dutch Interior, Why Bonnie, and More

Plus Crack Cloud, Oceanator, deary, Thurston Moore, and a Wrap-up of the Last Two Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Jun 21, 2024 Bookmark and Share

Welcome to the 20th Songs of the Week of 2024. This week Andy Von Pip, Mark Moody, Matt the Raven, and Scott Dransfield helped me decide what should make the list. We seriously considered over 20 songs this week and narrowed it down to a Top 12.

Recently we announced our new print issue, The ’90s Issue, featuring The Cardigans and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth on the covers. Buy it from us directly here.

In the past few weeks we posted interviews with Tomer Capone of The Boys, Arab Strap, Sarah McLachlan, John Carpenter, 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 12 best the last seven days had to offer, followed by some honorable mentions. Check out the full list below.

1. Fontaines D.C.: “Favourite”

Irish five-piece Fontaines D.C. are releasing a new album, Romance, on August 23 via XL. This week they shared its second single, “Favourite,” via a self-directed video.

In a press release, the band’s Grian Chatten describes “Favourite” as having “this never-ending sound to it, a continuous cycle from euphoria to sadness, two worlds spinning forever.”

The video was filmed by the band in Madrid, the city where guitarist Carlos O’Connell was born and grew up in. The video also features childhood footage of each band member.

Previously the band shared the album’s first single, “Starburster,” via a music video. “Starburster” was #1 on our Songs of the Week list.

Then they announced a fall North American tour. The one-month trek runs from September 20 to October 20 and NYC band Been Stellar will be the opening act.

Then they performed “Starburster” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Romance is the band’s fourth album, the follow-up to 2022’s acclaimed Skinty Fia (which was #1 on both the UK and Irish album charts), 2020’s Grammy-nominated A Hero’s Death, and 2019’s Mercury Prize-nominated Dogrel. It finds them working with producer James Ford for the first time.

The band was formed in Dublin but is now based in London and features Grian Chatten (vocals), Carlos O’Connell (guitar), Conor Curley (guitar), Conor Deegan (bass), and Tom Coll (drums). Ideas for the new album started to form while they were touring the U.S. and Mexico with Arctic Monkeys. Then the band members went their separate ways for a while, before reconvening for a three weeks of pre-production in a North London studio and one month of recording in a chateau near Paris.

In a previous press release, Deegan said of the album title: “We’ve always had this sense of idealism and romance. Each album gets further away from observing that through the lens of Ireland, as directly as Dogrel. The second album is about that detachment, and the third is about Irishness dislocated in the diaspora. Now we look to where and what else there is to be romantic about.”

Chatten relates the theme of the album to Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s 1988 anime movie classic Akira, where, as the press release put it, “the embers of love develop despite a maelstrom of technological degradation and political corruption around its characters.”

“I’m fascinated by that—falling in love at the end of the world,” he said. “The album is about protecting that tiny flame. The bigger Armageddon looms, the more precious it becomes.”

O’Connell added: “This record is about deciding what’s fantasy—the tangible world, or where you go in your mind. What represents reality more? That feels almost spiritual for us.”

In 2023 Chatten released his debut solo album, Chaos For the Fly. Read our interview with him about it here.

2. Suki Waterhouse: “Supersad”

Musician/actress Suki Waterhouse is set to release her new 18-track double album, Memoir of a Sparklemuffin, on September 13 via Sub Pop. Waterhouse announced it this week and also unveiled the album’s lead single, “Supersad,” a track characterized by its fast-paced drum fills and garage-inspired guitars.

“I tried to write a ‘90s song you could hear playing at the mall in Clueless or as an opening track for Legally Blonde,” she explained. The single was produced by Brad Cook, with executive producer Eli Hirsch, and written by Waterhouse in collaboration with Chelsea Balan, John Mark Nelson, and Lilian Caputo.

Accompanying the single’s release is the official music video for “Supersad,” featuring Waterhouse as a bed-ridden protagonist and her whimsical game show fairy godmother. The video, filled with sparkling visuals, was directed by filmmaker and longtime collaborator Émilie Richard-Froozan.

“The Sparklemuffin Tour,” her previously announced 25-city North American headlining tour in support of her new album, will now kick off at Salt Lake City’s Love Letters Festival on Friday, September 27. The tour will include stops in major cities such as Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Boston, Toronto, and Montreal. Before the tour begins, Waterhouse will also perform at London’s All Points East on August 18.

Check out the tour dates, as well as the album’s tracklist and cover artwork, here. By Andy Von Pip

3. Dutch Interior: “Ecig”

The project of lifelong friends, this week Dutch Interior released “Ecig,” which happens to be their debut single for Fat Possum. Find both the music video and a live performance video for “Ecig” below.

Jack Nugent, Conner Reeves, Davis Stewart, Noah Kurtz, and brothers Shane Barton and Hayden Barton make up Dutch Interior. Most of the group have known one another for their entire lives, residing in LA.

The band had this to say on their new single: “‘Ecig’ was once a quiet, pensive song, before practicing it and failing to stick to an initial recording of the song. At rehearsal one day, Connor began strumming the fuzzy drone that would become the main rhythm guitar part, and in just a single play through, the entire band figured out their parts and all of them stuck. The song’s lyrical content tries to understand the feelings left over from betrayal through images that are dead but linger in a physical form that is difficult or impossible to dispose of: a rusted swing set, dried blood, circling buzzards, or a disposable vape. ‘Ecig’ is an early song of ours that evolved through many phases as we played it live. Being the first synthesis of the noisier aspects of our live set into a studio recording, it is a perfect bridge from our last record into what is coming next.” By Marina Malin

4. Why Bonnie: “Fake Out”

This week, Why Bonnie (the project of Blair Howerton) announced a new album, Wish on the Bone, and shared a new song from it, “Fake Out.” Wish on the Bone is due out August 30 via Fire Talk. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork here.

Wish on the Bone includes “Dotted Line,” a new song Why Bonnie shared in May via a music video. It was one of our Songs of the Week.

Why Bonnie released her debut album, 90 in November, in 2022 via Keeled Scales. In 2023 she shared a brand new single, “Apple Tree,” which isn’t featured on the new album. Previously the project was presented more as a band, but now it seems to be more of a solo enterprise.

“I’ve changed since that album, and I trust that I’ll probably continue to change,” Howerton says of the years since her debut. “Maybe I won’t be the same person entirely two years from now.”

The new album also features Howerton’s regular bandmates Chance Williams, and Josh Malett. She co-produced the album with Jonathan Schenke. “We were trying on musical hats,” says Howerton. “There’s still some country on this record, but I wasn’t thinking about sticking to one thing. Personal experience of learning to be bolder and more assertive and trusting myself has carried over into my music.”

She adds: “These songs were written out of hope for a better future. I’m not naïve, the world is fucked up, but I think you can radically accept that while still believing it’s possible to change things.”

Read our 2022 interview with Why Bonnie.

5. Crack Cloud: “The Medium”

Canadian art punks Crack Cloud are releasing a new album, Red Mile, on July 26 via Jagjaguwar. This week they shared its second single, “The Medium,” via a music video.

Previously Crack Cloud shared the album’s first single, “Blue Kite,” via a music video. The band also announced some tour dates. “Blue Kite” was one of our Songs of the Week.

Red Mile follows 2022’s Tough Baby. The band features Zach Choy, Aleem Khan, Bryce Cloghesy, Will Choy, Emma Acs, Eve Adams, and Nathaniel Philips, along with creative director Aidan Pontarini. Crack Cloud recorded the album at the outskirts of Joshua Tree, California and in Calgary, Alberta.

Choy had this to say about the album and its first single in a previous press release statement: “When we were recording the album Red Mile in the Mojave Desert, I spent nights reading about 20th century China. My grandparents migrated to Canada during Mao’s Great Leap Forward, and besides the photo albums and childhood memories, I have little basis for understanding their experience.

Beginning in the late ’80s there came to be a generation of Chinese filmmakers whose main subject was the depiction of life during the Cultural Revolution. The films from this time examine the growing pains of national identity, without the glorification that defined National cinema up until then.

“As the viewer with a degree of generational and cultural separation, I found an unusual sense of reprieve in the nuance of it all. And as our time drifted by in the desert, I continued to look inward.

“The music of Red Mile came naturally, and of its own volition. The Mojave had an elemental effect. The seemingly never-ending labyrinth of touring into exhaustion that characterized preceding years. And the externalization of Crack Cloud’s mythology, displaced and dismantled as we’ve grown out of ourselves, constantly, creatively reborn, by virtue and design. This is how I would describe Red Mile, and more generally, the group’s freefall, nearly a decade in the making.

“So when close friend and collaborator Aidan Pontarini pitched the skydiving punk concept for the album cover, it resonated deeply.

“‘Blue Kite’ was written with a cultural intersection in mind. In Canada in the early ’00s we grew up to Sum 41. Late night YTV. And the spectre of Woodstock 99. From the outside looking in: being in a punk band meant that you could be a jackass. Pick your nose on stage; play the drum like Energizer Bunny. My relationship to punk music as a teenager hinged on self-deprecation; an easy, destructive mode of confronting what I didn’t like about myself. And what I didn’t understand about the world around me.

“There’s a film that came out of China in 1993 and was subsequently banned therein, called The Blue Kite. It’s told from the perspective of a boy growing up in 1950’s Beijing. His environment is one of social conformity and political correctness, and he relishes in escapism when flying his kite. Eventually the boy succumbs to the social climate, and the kite itself is swept away into the branches of a tree. I thought the imagery was striking and wanted to incorporate it into a video with Aidan’s skydiving punk, in a hypnagogic way.

“We filmed the video in and around the Desert where the album was recorded, and the skydiving took place.”

6. Oceanator: “Be Here”

Oceanator, aka Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter/guitarist Elise Okusami, is releasing a new album, Everything is Love and Death, on August 30 via Polyvinyl. This week she shared two new songs from it, album opener “First Time” and “Be Here.” We preferred the latter,

Okusami had this to say about the new songs in a press release: “‘First Time’ and ‘Be Here’ very much live in the same world for me. They’re describing the same day—one kind of in the afternoon, and one overnight. ‘First Time’ is what I’ve been calling my Thin Lizzy song, with the harmonizing guitar riff. And ‘Be Here’ is a little more floaty, synth-y, less in your face-y. Will Yip played drums and my brother Michael played bass on ‘First Time,’ but ‘Be Here’ is all me on everything! It was super fun to record all those parts and have the song come together. Even though they sound different I really wanted them to live together, and I’m stoked to be releasing them as a double single.”

Previously Oceanator shared the album’s first single, “Get Out,” via a music video.

Everything is Love and Death is Oceanator’s third album and the follow up to Nothing’s Ever Fine, which was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2022, and Things I Never Said, which initially came out in August 2020 via her own Plastic Miracles label and then was reissued physically in February 2021 by Polyvinyl. It was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2020.

“I feel like these songs are honing in on and parsing the same themes as previous records, more settled and clearer.” Okusami says of the new album and how it finishes what she started with the first two. “I’ve gotten better at listening to the rational part of my brain, the understanding that things aren’t going to work. I know better but I’m gonna do it anyway, because everything is love and death.”

In 2023 Oceanator shared a new song, “Part Time,” which was co-written with Cheekface’s Greg Katz. It is not featured on the new album, but was one of our Songs of the Week.

Oceanator is one of the artists on our Covers of Covers album, which came out in March 2022 via American Laundromat. She covered Elliott Smith’s “The Biggest Lie.” Check the cover out here.

Read our interview with Oceantor about Nothing’s Ever Fine.

Read our interview with Oceanator about Things I Never Said.

Read our review of Nothing’s Ever Fine here.

Read our review of Things I Never Said here.

7. deary: “The Moth”

This week, hotly-tipped duo deary released their first brand new material since last year’s eponymously titled EP in the shape of a new single entitled “The Moth,” the first taste from a new EP which follows later this year. The new song is out now via Sonic Cathedral.

Produced by the band with Iggy B (Spiritualized), “The Moth” is dark and direct with howling guitars atop a strident breakbeat—more Curve than Cocteau Twins.

“We focused a lot on the rhythm and syncopation,” says the band’s Ben Easton. “Counter melodies and off beat percussion, etc. It’s very dense and immediate, with little room to breathe which adds to the claustrophobia in the subject matter.”

“I wanted to write about being drawn to things which are not good for us,” clarifies singer Rebecca “Dottie” Cockram about the song’s lyrics. “However, that fleeting feeling of immortality is too tempting to fly away from.”

Watch the video—directed by Liam Beazley aka Limb—below.

“We decided to create a short film about someone breaking free from a mystical woodland cult,” say the band of the slightly creepy clip. “The result is incredible thanks to Liam and some friends and family who didn’t mind sacrificing their Sunday cavorting in the woods.” By Dom Gourlay

8. Thurston Moore: “Sans Limites” (Feat. Lætitia Sadier)

This week, Thurston Moore (formerly of Sonic Youth) announced a new album, Flow Critical Lucidity, and shared a new song from it, “Sans Limites,” which features Lætitia Sadier of Stereolab. Flow Critical Lucidity is due out September 20 via Moore’s own Daydream Library Series label. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork here.

Moore had this to say about the new song in a press release: “‘Sans Limites’ begins with a cyclic guitar & piano figure which expands further and further with each revolution before settling into a two-chord measure introducing lyrics intoning not only about eradicating any limitations towards enlightenment, but going beyond limitations. The idea that a soldier can fight the good fight. A warrior against war.”

Flow Critical Lucidity includes “Rewilding,” a new song Moore shared in April with its release timed to Earth Day. “Rewilding” was one of our Songs of the Week.

The album features Deb Googe of My Bloody Valentine on bass, alongside James Sedwards (guitar), Jem Doulton (drums), and Jon Leidecker (electronics).

Moore is on one of the two covers of our just announced ’90s Issue, where he discusses Sonic Youth’s albums from that decade. Find out more about the issue here and buy a copy directly from us here.

Last year Moore released his memoir, Sonic Life. Read our interview about that here.

In 2021 he released an instrumental album, Screen Time, and in 2020 he released the solo album, By the Fire.

9. Horse Jumper of Love: “Snow Angel” (Feat. MJ Lenderman and Squirrel Flower)

This week, Horse Jumper of Love shared a new song, “Snow Angel,” which features MJ Lenderman and Squirrel Flower. It’s the opening track from their forthcoming album, Disaster Trick, which is due out on August 16 via Run For Cover.

Lead vocalist and guitarist Dimitri Giannopolous had this to say on new track in a press release: “A lot of my songs start with an image and then stream of consciousness takes over from there. I had this idea of a snow angel melting in the sun. It stemmed from the first poem in Actual Air called ‘Snow.’ Through this piece, David Berman explores the idea of snow metaphorically and abstractly. He relates the outdoors sounding like a room when it’s snowing and snow angels being shot by a farmer, vulnerable and isolated… I wanted to tap into a feeling of being outside in the cold and wanting something.”

Iconic video director Lance Bangs had this to say of directing the track’s video: “‘Snow Angel’ felt like it wanted to be expressed visually as a kinetic, enveloping barrage of vision-confusion. We built contraptions, invented new techniques, prepared loud versions of the song at various speeds. After one particular take we realized we had conjured something in a continuous shot that didn’t look like things we had seen before, and that we didn’t want to look away or cut away to anything else.”

Previously the band shared the album’s first single, “Wink.” By Marina Malin

10. Thee Sacred Souls: “Lucid Girl”

This week Thee Sacred Souls announced their sophomore album, Got a Story to Tell, which will be released on October 4 via Daptone. The trio also shared a taste of their timeless soul sound with the album’s lead single and opening track “Lucid Girl.” Watch the CAKE-directed music video below. Find the band’s tour dates, as well as the album’s tracklist and cover art, here.

Following their 2022-released self-titled debut, Got a Story to Tell was written and recorded by founding members Alejandro Garcia (drums, guitar), Salvador Samano (bass, drums), and Josh Lane (vocals). Their live band features Riley Dunn (keys), Shay Stulz (guitar), Astyn Turrentine (background vocals), and Viane Escobar (background vocals). By Marina Malin

11. Jade Hairpins: “Drifting Superstition”

This week, Jade Hairpins announced their sophmore album, Get Me the Good Stuff, and shared its lead single, “Drifting Superstition.” The album is due out September 13 via Merge. Find the album tracklist, cover art, and tour dates here.

The band is led by Jonah Falco and Mike Haliechik (Fucked Up) and Falco directed the new video.

On “Drifting Superstition,” Falco had this to say in a press release: “The song is about the double dead end of not trusting yourself enough to make good decisions, musically wrapped in a Mondays-meets-Bolan, funky filo pastry. With the video I am trying to bring together a simplified and lighthearted sense of the deeper contradictions and folkloric fantasies taken from the lyrics into something in the visual world of Pet Shop Boys’ ‘It Couldn’t Happen Here’ and Lina Wertmüller.”

Get Me the Good Stuff wrestles with anxiety and self-doubt. When performing new material live, Falco experienced the audience attempting to make sense of his unfinished lyrics which surfaced further anxiety of being worthy of spotlight attention. Falco elaborates: “Music can feel like such aberrant behavior. Humans like to make noise for each other, but it’s not like our factory settings are to hold a guitar, or that we enjoy every song we listen to. When you form a band and commit to touring and recording, there’s an expectation that what you’re making is something that someone needs to hear, and there’s a lot of pressure in meeting that expectation.”

Before the September release of Get Me the Good Stuff, Jade Hairpins will be on a short tour of the UK and Europe, with more dates to be announced. By Marina Malin

12. Tindersticks: “Nancy”

Tindersticks are releasing a new album, Soft Tissue, on September 13 via City Slang. This week they shared its third single, “Nancy.”

Tindersticks’ frontman Stuart Staples had this to say about the song in a press release: “Some say that there are only a few different types of songs. Nancy definitely falls in to the classic ’guy fucks up / begs for forgiveness’ bracket—but hopefully with a few surprises along the way. Like much of Soft Tissue, the musical spark of excitement came from the creation of the rhythm track—Earl Harvin gated, echoed and fused with a CR78. Dan McKinna’s bass and David Boulter’s organ arpeggios combining into a heavy sauce. Nice brass too.”

When the album was announced Tindersticks shared Soft Tissue’s second single, “New World,” via a music video. “New World” was one of our Songs of the Week. The band also announced some EU and UK tour dates. Soft Tissue also includes “Falling, the Light,” a new song from the album the band shared on Valentine’s Day.

Soft Tissue is the band’s 14th studio album, not including their soundtrack work, and is the follow-up to 2021’s Distractions and 2016’s The Waiting Room. In 2020, they also shared an EP entitled See My Girls and 2022 they scored Claire Denis’ film The Stars At Noon.

Staples released a solo album, Arrhythmia, in 2018 via City Slang. In 2019 he scored the Claire Denis film High Life, which starred Robert Pattinson. Tindersticks contributed the new song “Willow” to the soundtrack and it featured the vocals of Pattinson.

Staples had this to say about Soft Tissue: “‘Baby I was falling, but the shit that I was falling through. Thought it was just the world rising.’ These are the opening lines of the album, it seems all the songs on Soft Tissue inhabit this confusion somehow—despairing at the destruction, suspecting you are responsible.

“Musically, it seemed that since 2016’s The Waiting Room, the band’s output had been reactionary. The last two tindersticks have been so opposed to each other—2019’s No Treasure But Hope was an extremely naturalistic recording process—due in part as a reaction to the previous few years of experimental projects (High Life, Minute Bodies) and in turn as a reaction to this purity 2021’s Distractions became one of the bands most dense, experimental albums.

“It felt like time to stop lurching to these extremes and to find a way to marry the rigor of the songwriting and the joy of the band playing together with a more hard-nosed experimental approach.”

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 12.

Ed Schrader’s Music Beat: “Daylight Commander”

Ezra Collective: “God Gave Me Feet For Dancing”

Rui Gabriel: “Change Your Mind”

Ginger Root: “Better Than Monday”

Jamie xx: “Life” (Feat. Robyn)

Lunar Vacation: “Set the Stage”

Liela Moss: “Conditional Love”

TORRES and Fruit Bats: “Married for Love”

total tommy: “ADELINE”

Wand: “JJ”

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

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