13 Best Songs of the Week: Ratboys, Madeline Kenney, Alan Palomo, This Is the Kit, and More | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Monday, May 20th, 2024  

13 Best Songs of the Week: Ratboys, Madeline Kenney, Alan Palomo, This Is the Kit, and More

Plus Lightning Dust, Glasser, Julie Byrne, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Jun 09, 2023 Bookmark and Share


Welcome to the 21st Songs of the Week of 2023. The theme this week was horns, three of the songs in the Top 4 feature some sort of brass instrument (saxophone, etc.). Stricken with indecision, we settled on a Top 13 this week.

In the past week or so we posted interviews with Alex Lahey, Jess Williamson, The Last Dinner Party, Body Type, and others.

In the last week we reviewed some albums.

Remember that we recently announced our new print issue, Issue 71 with Weyes Blood and Black Belt Eagle Scout on the covers.

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, followed by some honorable mentions. Check out the full list below.

1. Ratboys: “It’s Alive”

This Tuesday, Chicago rockers, Ratboys, announced their sixth studio album, The Window, and shared a music video of its new single, “It’s Alive!” The Window is due out August 25 via Topshelf. The music video was directed by John TerEick. The band have also announced some North American fall tour dates. Check out The Window’s tracklist, cover art, and upcoming tour dates here.

Ratboys—composed of members Julia Steiner (guitar, vocals), Dave Sagan (guitar), Marcus Nuccio (drums), and Sean Neumann (bass)—ventured to Seattle to work with producer Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie, Tegan and Sara, Foxing) when making The Window. The album was almost fully crafted before heading into the studio, but Walla pushed the band to expand their vision, adding unexpected instruments such as rototoms, talkboxes, and fiddles.

“We didn’t get bogged down in technical terms, and he never placed pressure on us in that way. With Chris steering the ship, we were free to go off on little creative expeditions and come up with parts and ideas we’d never imagined,” Nuccio says in a press release.

The spontaneity of the instrumentals are matched with the songwriting and lyricism of the band. “The album is sonically diverse, shifting wildly from track to track and flexing everything from fuzzy power pop choruses to warm country twang to mournful folk,” according to the press release.

The Window’s opening track, “It’s Alive” is an ode to “the overarching feeling of the world spinning on beneath you while you’re stuck in one place,” according to Steiner.

The album includes “Black Earth, WI,” a new song the band shared in March which made our Songs of the Week list.

Read our 2021 interview with Ratboys. By Kat Ramkumar

2. Madeline Kenney: “I Drew a Line”

Oakland-based singer/songwriter Madeline Kenney is releasing a new album, A New Reality Mind, on July 28 via Carpark. Yesterday, she shared its second single, “I Drew a Line,” via a self-directed music video. She also announced some new tour dates which you can see here.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about the stories I tell myself to keep plodding along, and how those stories can obfuscate certain realities,” Kenney says of the new song, in a press releae. “Stories not only set limits but also set us up for the most frightening awakening when life starts to contradict the story. When I went through a breakup I realized that the story I had been living out was much different in the plain light of day than what I had constructed out of fantasy. I think it’s very human to tell stories, and I think it can protect us, but what if we don’t need protection? What purpose does the story serve then?”

Previously Kenney shared the album’s first single, “Superficial Conversation,” via a self-directed music video. “Superficial Conversation” was one of our Songs of the Week.

Sketches for the songs on A New Reality Mind began in the pandemic, but the album took on new meaning when Kenney’s partner unexpectedly left her in 2022.

Kenney’s last album, Sucker’s Lunch, came out in 2020 via Carpark, and made it on our Top 100 Albums of 2020 list. In 2021 Kenney surprise-released the EP Summer Quarter. It featured the song “Wasted Time,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. In 2021 she also shared the new song “I’ll Get Over It,” which isn’t featured on the new album but was one of our Songs of the Week.

Check out our interview with Kenney, which was originally published in Issue 67 of our print magazine in 2020. By Mark Refern

3. Alan Palomo: “Stay-At-Home DJ”

Also on Tuesday, Neon Indian’s Alan Palomo announced his first album under his own name, World of Hassle, and shared a new song from it, the jazzy “Stay-At-Home DJ,” via a lyric video. World of Hassle is due out September 15 via Mom+Pop. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork here.

Palomo had this to say about “Stay-At-Home DJ” in a press release: “This is the song that started the whole conversation. My brother and I wrote it back in 2019 and performed it on the last Neon Indian tour. It signaled a change in direction I’d been looking for but had yet to really know what to do with. When things slowed down during the pandemic I dusted it off and from its uncontrollable outgrowth came World of Hassle.”

Previously, Palomo shared his first single under his own name, “Nudista Mundial ’89,” which featured Mac DeMarco and is also included on the album. It was shared via an animated video inspired by the 1980s adult video game Leisure Suit Larry, in which Palomo and DeMarco go to Ibiza and search for a nude beach party. Palomo wrote and directed the video, which was animated by Johnny Woods.

World of Hassle started out as a Neon Indian album, before Palomo decided to switch gears and release it as a solo album.

A press release describes the vibe of the project in further detail: “From the intricate fictional details packed into the cover art (co-created by Palomo and designer Robert Beatty), to the lyrical collage of pop culture and political references, to the music’s early-digital sheen, the album evokes the ’80s golden age of rock stars like Bryan Ferry and Sting leaving their own breakthrough projects to strike out as jazzy solo musicians.”

Palomo’s last Neon Indian song was 2019’s “Toyota Man,” a Spanish language track that was a satire of the immigration crisis that was one of our Songs of the Week.

Neon Indian’s last album, VEGA INTL. Night School, was released way back in 2015 via Mom + Pop. It was #20 on our Top 100 albums of 2015 list.

Read our 2015 print article on Neon Indian, as well as our 2015 bonus digital mag Q&A with Neon Indian. By Mark Redfern

4. This Is the Kit: “Stuck in a Room”

This Is the Kit, the Paris-based project led by British-born singer/songwriter Kate Stables, released a new Gruff Rhys-produced album, Careful of Your Keepers, today via Rough Trade. On Wednesday, they shared its third single, “Stuck in a Room.” They also shared a video of the band performing the song live last month at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall, England, which is an outdoor theater on the side of a cliff overlooking the sea at the very southern tip of England. Check out This is the Kit’s upcoming tour dates here.

Stables had this to say about the new song in a press release: “It’s not so much about being stuck in a literal room (although I suppose it is a bit) but more about getting stuck in the imaginary restrictive rooms we create for ourselves. The behavioral patterns that aren’t always very helpful to us. The loops we go round and round in. The way we deal with what other people expect of us. That sort of thing.”

Previously This Is the Kit shared the album’s first single, “Inside Outside,” via a music video. “Inside Outside” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared its second single, “More Change,” via an amusing music video. The song featured backing vocals by Rhys and was one of our Songs of the Week. This Is the Kit also announced some new North American tour dates.

Careful of Your Keepers follows 2020’s Off Off On, also released via Rough Trade, and 2017’s breakthrough record, Moonshine Freeze, which was their first album for the label. Staples also had a stint performing with The National and sang guest vocals on their 2019 album I Am Easy to Find.

The band also features Rozi Plain (bass/vocals), Neil Smith (guitar), and Jamie Whitby-Coles (drums).

“The album was nearly called Goodbye Bite. And in a way it still is,” said Stables in a previous press release. “I went for Careful of Your Keepers in the end. It’s one of my favorite songs on the album, a song that for me holds the general feeling of the album as a whole. The fragility of things. Of situations. Of relationships. Of humans. What we do to look after each other and ourselves. The passing of time and what that does to us, and how we live our lives going forward.”

Rhys is the Welsh frontman of Super Furry Animals and also an accomplished solo artist. In February he released the soundtrack for the film The Almond and the Seahorse, also via Rough Trade. Stables said his role was being a “tonesetter.”

“I’ve always loved the idea of working with him somehow, and when this album started getting planned, I realized that maybe this was my chance to reach out and see if he was up for working together,” Stables explained. “And he was! As if that wasn’t enough, he was also up for doing a bit of singing on the record, which totally blew my mind and made my year. His way with harmony and melody and the tone and quality of his voice is a totally killer combo.”

Rhys had this to say: “They are so ridiculously talented—and every member is a great producer in their own right—so it was just a matter of trying to capture the magic they make when playing live together. Their playing is by default so thoughtful and complimentary in terms of respect to each other’s parts and to the integrity of the songs themselves that it creates a beautiful foundation of often cosmic interplay that’s always in aid of Kate’s voice and vision as a songwriter.”

Read our 2017 interview with This Is the Kit. By Mark Redfern

5. Lightning Dust: “Wrecked”

Lightning Dust (Amber Webber and Joshua Wells) released a new album, Nostalgic Killer, today via Western Vinyl. Yesterday, they shared its third single, “Wrecked,” via a music video that takes place at a strip club and has some David Lynch vibes. Lara Jean Gallagher directed the video. Check out the band’s upcoming tour dates here.

The band collectively had this to say about the song in a press release: “Lyrically, ‘Wrecked’ is about self-destruction; a sizzle-fried heart, with no will left to pick up the pieces. Somehow, the character at the center must land on her feet. In the studio, we had a lot of fun with this. We talked about making this dark song more upbeat; ‘Driver’s Seat’ and ‘Under Pressure’ came to mind, laterally.”

Gallagher had this to say about directing the video: “I wanted to make something that felt as sensual, unsettling, and catchy as this song. Amber’s voice is like a siren’s call that I’d follow anywhere. Portland, Oregon’s legendary dancer Viva Las Vegas has this distinct way of luring you in with her eyes as much as her body that felt like a perfect match with this track. I wanted to introduce an unexpected patron into the scene—an older lady (Helena de Crespo), who contains her own kind of power and intrigue. It was fun to embrace bodies and women of different ages in a setting that we often only see one way.”

Nostalgic Killer is the follow-up to 2019’s Spectre. That same year, Webber and Wells the real life romantic couple, broke up, but vowed to keep the band going.

Previously Lightning Dust shared the album’s first single, “Run,” via a music video. “Run” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared its second single, “Different War,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. They also announced some June tour dates in British Columbia, Canada.

The album was recorded in home studios in Vancouver (Webber) and Chicago (Wells). The duo performed almost everything themselves, “save for a few guitar parts performed by touring band member Rob Butterfield, backing vocals by Himalayan Bear’s Ryan Beattie, and string arrangements performed by viola/violinist Meredith Bates.”

Lightning Dust was previously a side-project for Webber and Wells, back when they were in Black Mountain. But in 2017 they both left the mother ship to focus solely on Lightning Dust. By Mark Redfern

6. Glasser: “Vine”

On Wednesday, Glasser, the electronic music project of Cameron Mesirow, announced the release of her third studio album, crux, and shared its first single, “Vine.” Crux is due out October 6 via One Little Independent. This is Glasser’s first full-length album release in 10 years. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork here.

Glasser, who works in trances of dreamy experimental pop and carefully curated electronics, uses crux as a form of self reflection, delving into themes of personal identity, emotional vulnerability, and the human experience. The album becomes a little deeper for Galsser as some tracks discuss the death of an old friend, the fragility of life, and the delicacy of relationships in times of uncertainty. With such a heavy narrative in mind, the album comes together to embody the use of traditional Celtic folk music, Scottish themes, and Eastern-European styles.

In a press release, she shares: “I guess it’s just about the sort of inevitability of us coming to our own fate, and some of the lyrics are about my voice and the fear of my voice disappearing. Itself a kind of death. This record for me is texturally and thematically half heaven and half earth. crux was a word that stuck with me always, as it’s onomatopoeic, it literally sounds like a vital aspect of intersection. It’s a cross in Latin, and it’s a horizon to me. I’m the crux of this project and I’m on the earth and heaven is inside of me. And in us all.”

Crux becomes a melting pot of sorts, pulling from unavoidable hardships and making it into something a bit more digestible. Of the album’s lead single “Vine,” Glasser says, “It was like an attempt at making something where all the parts sound like they’re very separated. I was thinking like jazz, actually. It was about getting back to writing music after feeling a bit disconnected from the machinery around making it your profession.”

Glasser’s other recent releases include the 2022 single “New Scars,” which doesn’t appear on this album. Glasser’s last album, Interiors, came out in 2013.

Read our 2013 interview with Glasser. By Kat Ramkumar

7. Julie Byrne: “Moonless”

Julie Byrne is releasing a new album, The Greater Wings, on July 7 via Ghostly International. On Tuesday, she shared the album’s third single, “Moonless.” Check out Byrne’s upcoming tour dates here.

A press release calls “Moonless” an “ode to the glistening darkness.” Byrne partially wrote the song on an island off southern Portugal where she was taking part in an artist residency. “I remember walking through the dune systems on the ocean side of Culatra, the noises of the docks, the scent of tidal flats. The land itself, as a coastal formation, in a constant state of movement between erosion and growth,” she says in the press release.

Byrne adds: “Something I love about being a songwriter, especially as a queer woman, is being able to have the last word in my work, becoming myself line by line. This is a breakup song, and it’s the first song I wrote on piano.”

Previously she shared the album’s first single, “Summer Glass,” via a music video. “Summer Glass” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then she shared the album’s title track, “The Greater Wings.”

Byrne’s last album was 2017’s acclaimed Not Even Happiness.

“My hope for The Greater Wings is that it lives as a love letter to my chosen family and as an expression of the depth of my commitment to our shared future,” Byrne said in a previous press release. “Being reshaped by grief also has me more aware of what death does not take from me. I commit that to heart, to words, to sound. Music is not bound to any kind of linear time, so in the capacity to record and speak to the future: this is what it felt like to me, when we were simultaneous, alive, occurring all at once. What it has felt like to go up against my edge and push, the love that has made it worth all this fight. These memories are my values, they belong with me.”

Byrne started recording the album with her longtime creative partner, the late Eric Littmann (who produced Not Even Happiness). She finished the album with producer Alex Somers (Sigur Rós, Julianna Barwick), recording in the Catskills of New York. By Mark Redfern

8. Peter Gabriel: “Road to Joy”

On Monday, Peter Gabriel shared a new song, “Road to Joy.” It is the latest single from Gabriel’s forthcoming new album, i/o, which will be his first album of original songs in over 20 years. The album’s exact release date has yet to be announced. Check out a behind-the-scenes video about the song here.

Gabriel produced the song with Brian Eno. “Road to Joy” was recorded at Real World Studios in Bath, The Beehive and British Grove in London, and High Seas Studios in South Africa. It features the Soweto Gospel Choir and a string arrangement from John Metcalfe. Members of Gabriel’s current touring band also contributed to the song: Tony Levin (bass), David Rhodes (guitar), Manu Katché (drums), Don E (bass/keys, “He did the funkiest bass line that you can imagine,” Gabriel says in a press release), and Josh Shpak (trumpet, “Beautiful playing, a super musical guy,” Gabriel praises).

Gabriel had this to say about the song in the press release: “I’m working on a project which is partly a story focused around the brain and how we perceive things and this song connects to that. It deals with near-death experience and locked-in syndrome situations where people are unable to communicate or to move. It’s an amazingly frustrating condition. There have been some great books and films about this subject, but at this point in our story the people looking after our hero manage to find a way to wake him up. So, it’s a lyric about coming back into your senses, back to life, back into the world.”

The song was one of the last tracks to be included on i/o, but the song’s origins come from an earlier project. Gabriel explains: “It was actually very late in the record that we got to this. There had been a song that musically I’d started, I think, around the OVO project called Pukka. It was very different to this, but it was actually the starting point for coming back to this song. I just felt there was a good groove there, and I wanted something else with rhythm and so we tried a few things when I was working with Brian Eno. The excitement and energy in the song was something that I was getting off on. I felt we didn’t have enough of that for this record.”

For each single from the album, Gabriel is working with a different artist to do the cover artwork. Ai Weiwei and his work “Middle Finger in Pink” forms the single cover artwork for “Road to Joy.”

Gabriel says: “‘I’m a big fan of Ai Weiwei, both as an artist, as a designer and as a human rights campaigner. He’s an incredibly brave man and regularly risks the wrath of the Chinese government. But his work is exceptional, often political and quite extraordinary.

“When I was hustling him, I think he had absolutely no idea who I was, so it was an uphill battle at first, but he was open to talking and we got to know each other and hang out a little bit.

“I was delighted when he agreed to being a part of the i/o project and generously sent us three designs. He has this middle finger image that he uses a lot in his work, and it is often directed to those in power.

“He’s definitely been at the root end of power, as his father was before him. So that’s an important symbol for him and I guess in the context of the story I am now working on, death is the dominant power, and the hero is coming back to life and raising his finger to death.”

Previously Gabriel shared the album’s first single, “Panopticom,” which featured Brian Eno and was one of our Songs of the Week. That was followed by its second single, “The Court.” Then the album’s third single was “Playing For Time.” The fourth single was the album’s title track, “i/o.” The album’s fifth single was “Four Kinds of Horses,” which also made our Songs of the Week list.

Gabriel’s last full-length album of original materials was 2002’s Up, although in 2010 he released the Scratch My Back covers album and in 2011 he released New Blood, which featured orchestral re-recordings of songs from across Gabriel’s career. Gabriel’s last full tour was 2014’s Back to Front Tour, which celebrated his classic 1986 album So.

The new tour will feature Gabriel’s regular band-mates Tony Levin, David Rhodes, and Manu Katché and will include songs from i/o, as well as ones across his back catalogue.

Also read our previous interview between Gabriel and Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry. By Mark Redfern

9. Chris Farren: “Bluish”

Yesterday, Floridian singer/songwriter Chris Farren shared a music video for his new song “Bluish,” off of his upcoming album, Doom Singer. The album, which was produced by Jay Som, is due out August 4 via Polyvinyl. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork, as well as his upcoming tour dates here.

Farren crafted “Bluish” when he felt co-dependent in his marriage, bogged down with worries that he was too much to manage and that his neuroses might disrupt a delicate domestic balance. “I’m constantly processing the way I feel about things, and I didn’t want any of these songs to sound sure of themselves, or to communicate any clear message,” he says in a press release.

When explaining the music video, Farren says: “For this video I stood in front of a green screen while my wife blasted me with a leaf blower for five minutes. I was inspired by a short animated film I saw on the Criterion Channel (I’m smart) called Asparagus by an amazing visual artist named Suzan Pitt.”

The making of Doom Singer was a more collaborative process for Farren compared to his previous solo releases. Working with multi-instrumentalist and producer Jay Som, drummer Frankie Impastato, and Jeffrey Rosenstock on the occasional bass and saxophone, Farren’s music turns more cathartic and lively. “Looking back on those records… I have no good memories of making them,” Farren says of his previous solo output. “It’s always been a lonely, doubt-ridden process.” Now, Farren describes his ragtag group of instrumentalists as a “’60s-tinged girl group vibe.”

Doom Singer is about the uncertain. Citing movies such as Tár and I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Farren attributes his songwriting to a sense of “optimistic nihilism.” In life, things aren’t usually handed to you—Farren has a lot of truth to speak on that.

Farren’s last album he released was 2022’s Death Don’t Wait (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).

Check out our interview with Jay Som on her debut album Everybody Works. By Kat Ramkumar

10. Shamir: “Oversized Sweater”

Yesterday, indie pop singer and songwriter, Shamir, announced the release of his ninth studio album, Homo Anxietatem and shared its debut single “Oversized Sweater.” Homo Anxietatem, which was recorded and produced by Hoost aka Justin Tailor (Rina Sawayama), is due out August 18 via Kill Rock Stars. Shamir has also shared a music video for “Oversized Sweater,” which was directed by himself and tour manager Felix Donate Perez. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork here.

Homo Anxietatem is the latin translation of “anxious man,” a phrase that Shamir embodied over the last few years. “The first quarter of 2020 before lockdown I felt a lot of anxiety. I was fresh out the psych ward and had quit smoking weed and cigarettes cold turkey,” Shamir says in a press release. “I spent the first couple months of 2020 knitting this huge baby blue sweater. It’s basically a wearable security blanket that I used to channel all my anxiety into.”

Shamir’s songwriting is loud and buoyant, displaying a full array of human emotions such as yearning, anger, and jubilancy, where in the end, he tethers them down in his own distinct style. Drawing inspiration from names such as Nina Simone, Prince and Taylor Swift, Shamir’s music recaps his dances in the dark and leaps of faith in the light.

According to the press release, there is an actual confrontation with the devil in the album. “Not as sweet as I might seem,” Shamir confesses on “Crime.” “No interest in searching for meaning,” Shamir ends the appropriately titled “Calloused.” No matter the tribulations that Shamir faces throughout the journey of Homo Anxietatem, he makes it personable and real.

Shamir’s previous projects include his 2022 album Heterosexuality.

Read our interview with Shamir, originally featured in the digital version of Issue 67 of Under the Radar’s print magazine. Also check out our podcast interview with him. By Kat Ramkumar

11. Sweeping Promises: “You Shatter”

On Tuesday, Sweeping Promises shared a new song, “You Shatter,” which is the second single off of their upcoming second studio album, Good Living is Coming For You. The new LP is due out June 30 via Feel it and Sub Pop. The band have also announced some fall North American tour dates. Check out the album’s tracklist, cover artwork, and upcoming tour dates here.

In a press release band members Lira Mondal and Caufield Schnug say that, “‘You Shatter’ is our ode to being a hammer.”

Good Living is Coming For You’s first single was “Eraser.” Sweeping Promises’ 2021 single “Pain Without a Touch” made our Songs of the Week list. The band’s last album was 2020’s Hunger for a Way Out. By Kat Ramkumar

12. Sharon Van Etten and Zachary Dawes: “Quiet Eyes”

On Wednesday, A24 Music shared “Quiet Eyes,” a new song performed by Sharon Van Etten and Zachary Dawes. It is the end credit songs for the new romantic drama Past Lives, whose score was composed by Christopher Bear and Daniel Rossen, one half of acclaimed indie rock band, Grizzly Bear. “Quiet Eyes” has debuted with its music video which features unseen movie footage, directed by Celine Song and Shannon Fitzpatrick.

Of the song, Van Etten says in a press release: “I wrote ‘Quiet Eyes’ with Zach Dawes. The song is an attempt to embody the sentiment that Celine Song so gracefully portrayals in her film, Past Lives. Longing. Loss. Identity… It was an honor to be a part of this incredible production. The most beautiful story I’ve seen in a long time.”

Past Lives is out now in New York and Los Angeles, and hits more theaters nationwide on June 23. Below also is a trailer for the film.

Earlier this year, Van Etten shared an anniversary reissue of her breakthrough album, Tramp.

Van Etten was on the cover of our My Favorite Movie issue.

Van Etten’s most recent album was We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong, which was released in May 2022 and landed on our Top 100 Albums of 2022 list. A deluxe edition of the album was released in November and it included the previously unreleased songs “When I Die,” which was one of our Songs of the Week, and “Never Gonna Change,” which was also one of our Songs of the Week. The deluxe edition also includes two previously released singles that didn’t make it on the album: “Porta” and her beloved 2021 duet with Angel Olsen, “Like I Used To.”

Read our review of We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong here.

Read our in-depth interview with Sharon Van Etten on 2019’s Remind Me Tomorrow and check out our exclusive photo shoot with her. By Kat Ramkumar

13. PJ Harvey: “I Inside the Old I Dying”

PJ Harvey is releasing a new album, I Inside the Old Year Dying, on July 7 via Partisan. On Wednesday she shared its second single, near title track “I Inside the Old I Dying,” via an animated music video. She also announced some European tour dates for this fall. Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña directed the video. Find out more about Harvey’s upcoming tour dates here.

Harvey had this to say about the song in a press release: “This delicate and beautiful song eluded us until the very last day in the studio. Over the previous five weeks we had tried so many times to capture it and failed, and/but then John [Parish] reinvented the feel of the guitar pattern. As he was demonstrating it in the control room, Flood handed me a microphone and pressed record whilst I sat next to John trying to work out how to sing to it. The result somehow captures the ethereal and melancholic longing I was looking for.

“In the lyric everyone is waiting for the savior to reappear—everyone and everything anticipates the arrival of this figure of love and transformation.

“There is a sense of sexual longing and awakening and of moving from one realm into another— from child to adult, from life to death and the eternal.”

León and Cociña had this to say about directing the video: “We envisioned the video as a short story about love, death, and resurrection. We imagined that the video can be seen as a little fairy tale and also as an intimate ritual. We wanted to keep the animation in a state of scenic and material rawness, as if the elements we see are not characters or props, but artifacts and talismans that are part of a ceremony.”

Previously Harvey shared the album’s first single, “A Child’s Question, August,” via a music video. It was one of our Songs of the Week.

I Inside the Old Year Dying is Harvey’s 10th studio album and follows 2016’s The Hope Six Demolition Project, released by Vagrant. Last year she released the boxset compilation, B-Sides, Demos and Rarities, via UMe/Island.

In a previous press release, Harvey said the songs on I Inside the Old Year Dying offer “a resting space, a solace, a comfort, a balm—which feels timely for the times we’re in.”

After she finished touring The Hope Six Demolition Project, Harvey felt a little lost creatively, uninterested in re-entering the album-tour-album cycle, and instead focussed on poetry, composing music for the stage and screen, and reissuing her previous work. But eventually inspiration struck and the songs on I Inside the Old Year Dying “all came out of me in about three weeks,” she said.

Harvey once again worked with her longtime collaborators, producer/musicians John Parish and Flood, recording at Battery Studios, in North West London. “The studio was set up for live play, and that’s all we did,” she said matter of factly.

Summing up I Inside the Old Year Dying, Harvey said: “I think the album is about searching, looking—the intensity of first love, and seeking meaning. Not that there has to be a message, but the feeling I get from the record is one of love—it’s tinged with sadness and loss, but it’s loving. I think that’s what makes it feel so welcoming: so open.” By Mark Redfern

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 13.

A Giant Dog: “Different Than”

Rachel Bobbitt: “Two Bit”

Christine and the Queens: “A day in the water”

The Drums: “Obvious”

The Japanese House: “One for Sorrow, two for Joni Jones”

King Krule: “Flimsier”

Lifeguard: “Alarm”

L’Rain: “New Year’s UnResolution”

Mantra of the Cosmos: “Gorilla Guerilla”

Romy: “Loveher”

Wombo: “Thread”

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

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