13 Best Songs of the Week: Craig Finn, Fontaines D.C., Good Morning, Hatchie, and More | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024  

13 Best Songs of the Week: Craig Finn, Fontaines D.C., Good Morning, Hatchie, and More

Plus Jane Inc, Shearwater, Soft Cell, Bauhaus, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Mar 25, 2022 Bookmark and Share

Welcome to the twelfth Songs of the Week of 2022. This week two icons from the 1980s united for a single and another artist from that era released their first new song in 14 years. There were also a couple of album tracks we loved. Tally it all up and we settled at 13 favorite songs this week.

In the last week or so we posted interviews with A Place to Bury Strangers and Snail Mail.

In the last week 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 new 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 13 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. Craig Finn: “Messing with the Settings”

Today, The Hold Steady’s frontman Craig Finn announced a new solo album, A Legacy of Rentals, and shared its first single, “Messing with the Settings.” As with a lot of Finn’s work, “Messing with the Settings” tells a compelling tale, with his vocals alternating between storyteller mode and singing. He’s aided by a string section and backing vocals from Cassandra Jenkins.

A Legacy of Rentals is due out May 20 via Positive Jams/Thirty Tigers. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as a trailer for the album, here.

Finn recorded A Legacy of Rentals with longtime collaborators, producer Josh Kaufman and engineer D. James Goodwin, in May 2021. The album also features saxophonist Stuart Bogie, backing vocalists Cassandra Jenkins and Annie Nero, and the rhythm section of Joe Russo (drums) and Michael Libramento (bass), as well as a 14-piece string section arranged and recorded by Trey Pollard at Spacebomb.

Finn’s last solo album was 2019’s I Need a New War, although in 2020 he put out All These Perfect Crosses for Record Store Day (it featured outtakes, demos, and acoustic tracks).

“Memory is a major theme through A Legacy of Rentals,” says Finn of “Messing with the Settings” in a press release, “and I wanted the first song on the record to open on that note. This song is literally a eulogy. It’s delivered by someone who has lost touch with the recently deceased but still finds them important. Musically, it really explores the line between talking and singing, which was something we leaned into on this record. We wanted to make this song an incantation of sorts. It also features the beautiful 14-piece string section that played on a lot of these songs. I wanted to it have a cinematic feel, like Gone With the Wind or something like that.”

Finn had this to say about the album as a whole: “The title A Legacy of Rentals acknowledges that we can never completely hold any of our possessions, and that our bodies are merely a temporary residence for our souls. All moments are fleeting. After the destruction of the past few years, I believe that there is joy in each and every living action, however mundane—walking to the kitchen, missing a train, spilling coffee, cleaning it up, meeting a friend for a meal. We all want to be remembered. We all want our time here to be consequential. In taking these daily actions, we engage in hope, and we guarantee our unique place in history.” By Mark Redfern

2. Fontaines D.C.: “Skinty Fia”

Irish post-punk five-piece Fontaines D.C. are releasing a new album, Skinty Fia, on April 22 via Partisan. On Monday they shared the album’s third single, title track “Skinty Fia,” via a video for the song. Hugh Mulhern directed the video.

A press release describes the themes of the song: “‘Skinty Fia’ is an Irish phrase which translates to English as ‘the damnation of the deer’ and the album’s cover art features a deer, plucked from its natural habitat and deposited in the hallway of a home, illuminated by an artificial red glow. The phrase, which is used to display disappointment or annoyance, resonated with frontman Grian Chatten as the correct expression of his feelings towards the ‘mutation’ of Irish culture abroad. The song explores the idea through the lens of a relationship doomed by paranoia, alcohol and drugs.”

Previously Fontaines D.C. shared a video for the album’s lead single, “Jackie Down the River,” in addition to announcing a 2022 world tour. Then they shared the album’s second single, “I Love You,” via a video for the song. “I Love You” was one of our Songs of the Week.

Skinty Fia was produced by Dan Carey, who produced the band’s previous album, 2020’s A Hero’s Death.

The band’s full lineup is Carlos O’Connell (guitar), Conor Curley (guitar), Conor Deegan III (bass guitar), Grian Chatten (vocals), and Tom Coll (drums). By Mark Redfern

3. Good Morning: “Misery”

On Wednesday, Good Morning (the duo of Liam Parsons and Stefan Blair) shared two new songs: “Out to Pasture” and “Misery.” A release of the duo’s back catalog has also been announced by Polyvinyl.

We picked “Misery” as our favorite of the two songs. It has a bit of an early Beta Band or Gomez feel. “Out to Pasture” makes our honorable mentions list below.

In a press release, Parsons states: “‘Misery’ was written when I felt like yelling, and when we recorded it I still felt like yelling. The low key meeting the high is where I live most the time”

“Out to Pasture” features violinist Chloe Sanger, whom Blair states “was able to take my vague instructions and turn them into something beautiful which was cool to hear. I also had a nice family day in the studio recording the horns so that was nice too. I’m not saying I’d always like to record with my parents, but that day was a good time. Ultimately I’m just making fun of myself about commodifying my darker thoughts through music. I know that I connect with a lot of darker music, and I know it has it’s place in the world, but it’s hard not to feel like it’s super conceited and dumb at times too.”

Good Morning’s most recent album, Barnyard, came out last year via Polyvinyl. By Joey Arnone

4. Hatchie: “Lights On”

Hatchie, the dream pop project of Australian musician Harriette Pilbeam, is releasing a new album, Giving the World Away, on April 22 via Secretly Canadian. On Tuesday she shared its fourth single, album opener track “Lights On,” via a video for it. Long-time Hatchie collaborator and guitarist Joe Agius (who also releases music as RINSE) directed the video.

Pilbeam had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Lights On’ was one of the first songs written for this album and set me on a path of writing more honestly and personally than previously. I don’t often write about physical attraction, but wanted to peel back the layers of a certain type of relationship. The video was conceptualized around a blend of our favorite sci-fi influences from the last 30 years relating to the title of the song.”

Giving the World Away includes “This Enchanted,” a new song Hatchie shared in September via a video for it. “This Enchanted” was one of our Songs of the Week and one of our Top 130 Songs of 2021. When Giving the World Away was announced Hatchie shared a new song from it, “Quicksand,” via a video for the single. “Quicksand” was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. Then Hatchie shared its third single, title track “Giving the World Away,” via a lyric video for it. “Giving the World Away” also made our Songs of the Week list.

Giving the World Away is Hatchie’s second full-length album, the follow-up to her acclaimed debut album, Keepsake, which came out via Double Double Whammy.

Jorge Elbrecht (Sky Ferreira, Japanese Breakfast, Wild Nothing) produced the album, which also features Agius and Beach House drummer James Barone.

Hatchie is featured on Under the Radar’s 20th anniversary compilation album, Covers of Covers, where she covers HAIM’s “FUBT.”

Read our rave 8.5/10 review of Keepsake here.

Read our 2018 interview with Hatchie on her EP Sugar & Spice.

Read our My Favorite Album interview with Hatchie on Carole King’s Tapestry. By Mark Redfern

5. Jane Inc: “2120”

Jane Inc (the project of Carlyn Bezic) is releasing a new album, Faster Than I Can Take, on April 22 via Telephone Explosion. This week she shared its latest single, the decidedly dancey “2120.”

Bezic had this to say about “2120” in a press release: “This is a song about the relentless passage of time, the tension between hope and despair, and choosing to be hopeful about the future of our planet despite all the reasons we have not to be. It’s about feeling powerless as an individual, yet finding power in my emotional reaction to what’s happening in the world… That my sadness and my anger is meaningful and important, and it can fuel me to commit to hopeful action.”

Bezic has worked with U.S. Girls, Ice Cream, and Darlene Shrugg. Faster Than I Can Take is her second solo album and Bezic self-produced it. Previously she shared its first single, “Contortionists.” By Mark Redfern

6. Shearwater: “Xenarthran”

On Tuesday, Shearwater announced the release of a new album, The Great Awakening, which will be out on June 10 via the band’s Polyborus label in partnership with Secretly Distribution. The band also shared a video for the album’s lead single, “Xenarthran,” which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Talk Talk album.

Emily Cross directed the video. Frontman Jonathan Meiburg and Cross are also both in the band Loma together.

In a press release Meiburg elaborates on the new song: “Xenarthrans are the ‘strange-jointed’ mammals, which mostly live in South America: armadillos, anteaters, and sloths. Only one species of armadillo has wandered up to the southern U.S., and while we were recording The Great Awakening in Texas, I often saw them scurrying dimly through fields at dusk or snuffling in the mud after a rainstorm, and I couldn’t help admiring them. They’d walked thousands of miles on their wispy little feet, long noses to the ground, trundling into alien landscapes filled with unfamiliar dangers.”

“This song, and Emily’s eerie video, aren’t about armadillos, exactly—but they are about making your way through the dark spaces of a menacing but still very beautiful world. The roaring sounds near the end are howler monkeys I recorded in Guyana.”

Shearwater’s most recent album, Jet Plane and Oxbow, came out in 2016 via Sub Pop. By Joey Arnone

7. Soft Cell: “Purple Zone” (Feat. Pet Shop Boys)

On Tuesday, Soft Cell shared a video for their new single “Purple Zone.” The song features Pet Shop Boys, and it is the latest release from Soft Cell’s forthcoming album, *Happiness Not Included, which will be out on May 6. Yassa Khan directed the video.

Soft Cell’s Marc Almond states in a press release, “Working with the Pet Shop Boys was a pleasure, and this track is the perfect combination of us and them.”

The band’s other half, Dave Ball, refers to the new song as “probably our finest pop moment since the early 1980s.”

Pet Shop Boys add: “We are thrilled to collaborate with such an inspirational duo as Soft Cell on this gorgeous song.” By Joey Arnone

8. Bauhaus: “Drink the New Wine”

On Wednesday, Goth legends Bauhaus shared a new song, “Drink the New Wine.” It is the band’s first new song in 14 years. “Drink the New Wine” finds Bauhaus sounding like…Bauhaus, as they thankfully haven’t gone out of their way to modernize their sound (a trap some bands from their era fall into).

The lineup as ever features Peter Murphy, Daniel Ash, Kevin Haskins, and David J. The band recorded the song last year via the Surrealists’ “Exquisite Corpse” technique, in which each artist adds to the piece without seeing what the others have done.

This technique also inspired the song’s title, as a press release explains in more detail: “The title refers to the very first ‘Cadavre exquis’ drawing rendered by André Breton, Marcel Duchamp, Jacques Prévert and Yves Tanguy which included words which when strung together made up the sentence, ‘Le cadavre exquis boiara le vin nouveau’ (‘The exquisite corpse will drink the new wine.’)”

In 2018, Bauhaus shared the B-sides compilation The Bela Session. By Joey Arnone and Mark Redfern

9. Destroyer: “It Takes a Thief”

Destroyer (the project of Dan Bejar) released a new album, LABYRINTHITIS, today via Merge. All of its singles made our Songs of the Week lists, but there was one album track we really liked that we can now include in Songs of the Week, “It Takes a Thief,” which is relatively short when compared to the album’s other singles (the last one was seven minutes long).

Previously Destroyer shared the first single from LABYRINTHITIS, “Tintoretto, It’s for You,” via an atmospheric video for it. “Tintoretto, It’s for You” was #2 on our Songs of the Week list. Then he shared the album’s second single, “Eat the Wine, Drink the Bread,” which is led by a bit of a disco beat. “Eat the Wine, Drink the Bread” was also #2 on our Songs of the Week list. Then shared the album’s third single, the seven-minute long “June,” via a video for it. “June” was also one of our Songs of the Week.

LABYRINTHITIS is the follow-up to 2020’s Have We Met. It was written mainly in 2020 and recorded in spring 2021. Bejar once again worked with regular collaborator John Collins, this time under lockdown conditions, with Bejar in Vancouver and Collins on the nearby remote Galiano Island. The Destroyer band then came in to flesh out some of the songs prior to mixing. The Books, Art of Noise, New Order, and disco are all cited as reference points in a press release announcing the album.

Read our interview with Destroyer on Have We Met.

10. Aldous Harding: “Tick Tock”

New Zealand singer/songwriter Aldous Harding released a new album, Warm Chris, today via 4AD. Read our rave review of it here. Harding only put out two pre-release singles from the album, which left plenty of other great album tracks to cherry pick from for this week’s Songs of the Week. We settled on the playful “Tick Tock.”

When Warm Chris was announced Harding shared its first single, “Lawn,” via a video for it also co-directed by Harding and Sagadin. “Lawn” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then she shared its second single, “Fever,” via a video for it. “Fever” was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Warm Chris is the follow-up to 2019’s Designer. Harding once again partnered with producer John Parish, who also worked on Designer and 2017’s Party. The album was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales. Warm Chris also features H. Hawkline, Seb Rochford, Gavin Fitzjohn, John and Hopey Parish, and Jason Williamson (Sleaford Mods).

Last June Harding shared the new song, “Old Peel,” via a video for it. That song is not featured on Warm Chris.

Read our interview with Aldous Harding on Designer. By Mark Redfern

11. Soccer Mommy: “Shotgun”

On Wednesday, Soccer Mommy (aka Sophie Allison) announced the release of a new album, Sometimes, Forever, which will be out on June 24 via Loma Vista. Allison also shared a video for the album’s lead single, “Shotgun.” Kevin Lombardo directed the video. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

“‘Shotgun’ is all about the joys of losing yourself in love,” explains Allison in a press release. “I wanted it to capture the little moments in a relationship that stick with you.”

Sometimes, Forever was produced by Oneohtrix Point Never. Allison’s most recent album, color theory, came out in 2020 via Loma Vista. By Joey Arnone

12. beabadoobee: “Talk”

On Wednesday, Filipino-born, London-raised singer/songwriter/guitarist beabadoobee announced a new album, Beatopia, and shared its first single, “Talk,” via a video for it. Beatopia is due out July 15 via Dirty Hit. Alexandra Leese and Luke Casey directed the video. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as beabadoobee’s upcoming tour dates, here.

Beabadoobee’s real name is Beatrice Laus (and she is also known as Bea Kristi). Beatopia is her sophomore album, the follow-up to her debut album, Fake It Flowers, which was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2020, and 2021’s Our Extended Play EP, which was co-written with and produced by Matty Healy and George Daniel of label-mates The 1975.

Beabadoobee had this to say about the new single in a press release: “I wrote ‘Talk’ just after my first album. I was obsessed with Tuesday because I thought it was the best night to go out, not too much chaos but just enough to have a good time. Generally, it’s about doing things that aren’t necessarily healthy or great for you, but you can’t help indulging. It’s like that unavoidable feeling that you get. You can’t get rid of it, and you know it’s bad, but you love it really, and it’s whatever, so you do it anyways.” By Mark Redfern

13. Flock of Dimes: “It Just Goes On”

On Wednesday, Flock of Dimes (the solo project of Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner) announced Head of Roses: Phantom Limb, a new companion collection to her 2021 album, Head of Roses, and shared a new song from it, “It Just Goes On,” via a video. Head of Roses: Phantom Limb features unreleased tracks connected to Head of Roses, including demos, covers, live tracks, and more. Head of Roses: Phantom Limb will be released digitally on April 15 via Sub Pop. Wasner co-directed the “It Just Goes On” video with Spence Kelly. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as Flock of Dimes’ upcoming tour dates, here.

Wasner had this to say about “It Just Goes On” in a press release: “This is perhaps one of the most simple and direct songs I’ve ever made (and, also, one of my favorites!)—so it made sense to try and create a video that was similarly straightforward and heart-on-sleeve. I haven’t been to many parties over the past few years (for obvious reasons) so it felt particularly surreal to stage this one with some of my actual friends in Durham, NC. The party was fake but the feelings were real. Thanks so much to my friends for letting me invite them to a party and then force them to watch me be an absolute bummer the entire time.”

Flock of Dimes released a new album, Head of Roses, in April 2021 via Sub Pop. It was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2021 and you can stream it here. Last October Flock of Dimes shared a brand new song, the electric guitar heavy “Through Me.” It was the latest offering in the Adult Swim Singles series and is featured on Head of Roses: Phantom Limb.

Flock of Dimes recently shared two new songs, “Pure Love” and “Time.” Both songs are out now digitally and will be released on 12-inch vinyl in mid-July via Psychic Hotline (the label founded by Sylvan Esso), which also feature instrumental and a cappella versions of “Pure Love.”

Read our review of Head of Roses here.

Read our The End interview with Wasner about endings and death here. By Mark Redfern

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 10.

Dehd: “Stars”

Good Morning: “Out to Pasture”

Yves Jarvis: “Bootstrap Jubilee”

Cassandra Jenkins: “Pygmalion”

Lala Lala: “Memory”

Let’s Eat Grandma: “Levitation”

Proper.: “Jean”

Kurt Vile: “Mount Airy Hill (Way Gone)”

Zola Jesus: “Lost”

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

Other notable new tracks in the last week include:

!!!: “Here’s What I Need to Know”

Mykki Blanco: “Family Ties” (Feat. Michael Stipe)

Bloc Party: “If We Get Caught”

Brian Jonestown Massacre: “The Real” and “Where Do We Go From Here?”

Bright Eyes: “St Ides Heaven” (Elliott Smith Cover)

Camp Cope: “Jealous”

Chance the Rapper: “Child of God” (Feat. Moses Sumney)

Danny Elfman and Trent Reznor: “Native Intelligence”

Girlpool: “Nothing Gives Me Pleasure”

Guerilla Toss: “Live Exponential”

Bruce Hornsby: “Sidelines” (Feat. Ezra Koenig)

Lykke Li: “No Hotel”

mxmtoon: “sad disco”

Obongjayar: “Tinko Tinko (Don’t Play Me For a Fool)”

Papercuts: “Palm Sunday”

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets: “Bob Holiday”

PUP: “Totally Fine”

The Range: “Ricercar”

Red Hot Chili Peppers: “Not The One”

Romero: “Halfway Out the Door”

Röyksopp: “Breathe” (Feat. Astrid S)

Say Sue Me: “Around You”

Son Lux and Moses Sumney: “Fence”

Spielbergs: “Brother of Mine”

Stars: “Build a Fire” and “Patterns”

Luke Steele: “Pool of Love”

Wednesday: “Feast of Snakes”

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