13 Best Songs of the Week: The WAEVE, Caroline Rose, Algiers, Frankie Cosmos, and More | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, February 23rd, 2024  

13 Best Songs of the Week: The WAEVE, Caroline Rose, Algiers, Frankie Cosmos, and More

Plus Young Fathers, Amber Arcades, Alice Boman, John Cale and Weyes Blood, and a Wrap-up of the Last Two Weeks’ Other Notable New Tracks

Oct 28, 2022
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Welcome to the 38th Songs of the Week of 2022. We didn’t do a Songs of the Week last week because we were turning our new print issue into the printer last Friday. So this week’s list encompasses songs released in the last two weeks and is thus a slightly supersized Top 13 list.

In the last week or so we posted interviews with Brijean, Simple Minds, Paul Thomas Saunders, Joey Santiago of Pixies, Alex Crowton, Frankie Cosmos, and Peter Hedges.

In the last week we reviewed a bunch of albums.

Covers of Covers, our first album, came out at the beginning of March on CD and digitally via American Laundromat. You can stream it here. You can also buy it directly from American Laundromat, via Bandcamp, or on Amazon.

Don’t forget to pick up our double print issue, our 20th Anniversary Issue (which is out now).

To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last two weeks, we have picked the 13 best the last fortnight had to offer, along with highlighting other notable new tracks shared in the last 14 days. Check out the full list below.

1. The WAEVE: “Drowning”

The WAEVE—a new duo consisting of Rose Elinor Dougall and Blur guitarist Graham Coxon—are releasing their self-titled debut album February 3, 2023 via Transgressive. On Monday, they shared the album’s second single, the atmospheric and epic slow-burner “Drowning.” The opening brings to mind Sing Sing (Emma Anderson’s post-Lush band), before there are hints of early Doves and then it settles into simply sounding like The WAEVE.

The band collectively had this to say about the song in a press statement: “‘Drowning’ is one of the more meandering, cinematic songs on the album. The song touches on themes of allowing oneself to be subsumed by forces you can’t deny, whether that be romantically or life in general, of giving into the delicious risk of total failure and oblivion, despite one’s better judgment… Lyrically it comes from two different perspectives, with Rose’s vocal beginning as an intimate half secret, which then expands into soaring strings. By the end we hear Graham’s refrain, acquiescing to the rising tides of intensity and acceptance of a shared fate – ‘Hold on to me as the waters rise. Drowning again…’”

Previously The WAEVE shared the album’s first single, “Can I Call You,” via a video for it. “Can I Call You” was also #1 on our Songs of the Week list.

James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, Florence & The Machine, Foals, HAIM) produced The WAEVE, which was recorded earlier this year. Dougall and Coxon started trading messages during lockdown, around Christmas 2020, and the project grew from there.

Many of the tracks feature Coxon on saxophone, one of the first instruments he picked up when he initially became a musician. Reference points for the album in the press release include: Sandy Denny, John and Beverly Martyn, Kevin Ayers, and Van der Graaf Generator.

A previous press release describes the band’s sound in more detail: “A liquid meeting of musical minds and talents. A powerful elixir of cinematic British folk-rock, post-punk, organic songwriting and freefall jamming. The WAEVE strikes that magical English folk-rock alchemy of earth and ether. Heaviness and weightlessness. Darkness and light.”

The project was announced in April and in May they shared their debut single, “Something Pretty,” which also made it to #1 on our Songs of the Week list and actually isn’t featured on the album. Previously they also shared a trailer for the band.

Dougall is one of the artists on the cover of our special 20th Anniversary print issue, where you can read an exclusive interview with her.

Dougall released her last solo album, A New Illusion, in April 2019 via Vermillion (it was our Album of the Week and one of our Top 100 Albums of 2019).

Read our interview with Dougall on A New Illusion.

Also read our interview with Dougall on her all-time favorite album.

Plus read our review of A New Illusion.

Coxon’s last solo album was 2012’s A+E, but he’s kept busy with soundtrack work, including releasing two albums of songs and score from the acclaimed TV show The End of the F***ing World and his 2021 score to the comic book Superstate. By Mark Redfern

2. Caroline Rose: “Love / Lover / Friend”

On Wednesday, Caroline Rose shared a new single, the sweeping “Love / Lover / Friend.” She has also announced a North American tour for 2023. Tickets are on sale now. View the full list of tour dates here.

In a press release, Rose states: “I feel like I’ve really grown up in the last few years. I’ve learned, and am learning still, so much about life and love and all its many forms. When I first wrote this song it felt like the perfect jumping off place to tell a story about love… Not just love for another person but also for myself.”

Rose released her latest album, Superstar, in 2020. Listen to our Under the Radar podcast interview with Rose, where she discusses the album, here. By Joey Arnone

3. Algiers: “Irreversible Damage” (Feat. Zack de la Rocha)

On Wednesday, Algiers announced the release of a new album, SHOOK, which will be out on February 24, 2023 via Matador. They also announced a 2023 U.K/E.U. tour in support of the album in addition to sharing a new single from the album, “Irreversible Damage,” a collaboration with Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine. View the album’s tracklist and cover art, in addition to the tour dates, here.

SHOOK was recorded in Atlanta and features musical contributions from Mark Cisneros of Hammered Hulls, Samuel T. Herring of Future Islands, Jae Matthews of Boy Harsher, and a plethora of other artists.

In September, Algiers shared the album track “Bite Back,” which features Billy Woods and Backxwash and was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Algiers’ most recent album, There Is No Year, came out in early 2020 via Matador.

Read our 2017 interview with Algiers on their album The Underside of Power. By Joey Arnone

4. Frankie Cosmos: “Empty Head”

Frankie Cosmos, the project led by Greta Kline, released their fifth studio album, Inner World Peace, last Friday via Sub Pop. Just prior to its release, they shared another song from it, “Empty Head,” via an amusing video in which Kline develops the ability to fly (à la Supergirl), but her bandmates don’t seem to notice. Stay until the end, when she develops another superpower. Sophia Bennett Holmes directed the video.

In a press release Kline says the song “is about wishing for inner peace, and conversely: spiraling. It’s about self-control and the fear of unlocking myself and overflowing. It’s also about finding joy in small moments - walking in circles, hoping to see the neighbor’s dog. I’m so happy we got to work with Sophia Bennett Holmes again for this music video (I last worked with her in 2014 on the ‘Art School’ video). I love the concept Sophia came up with—it tells its own story that fits in with the story of the song, but also takes it somewhere else. To me, the video is about blossoming because of a chill perspective (once I stop trying to jump into flight, I lift off the ground with ease); and then letting go of the need to be perceived, and instead disappearing and floating into the sunset. It perfectly captures the way meditation works—that once you stop focusing and trying too hard, it comes naturally.”

When Inner World Peace was announced the band shared the single “One Year Stand.” They later shared the album’s “Aftershook.” Then the band shared “F.O.O.F.”

Their last album, Close It Quietly, came out in 2019 via Sub Pop.

Read our My Favorite Album interview with Frankie Cosmos.

Read our 2019 interview with Frankie Cosmos on Close It Quietly.

Read our 2018 interview with Frankie Cosmos on Vessel.

Also read our 2016 interview with Frankie Cosmos. By Mark Redfern

5. Young Fathers: “I Saw”

Last week, Scottish hip-hop trio Young Fathers announced the release of a new album, Heavy Heavy, which will be out on February 3, 2023 via Ninja Tune. They also shared a video for a new album single, “I Saw.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

The band elaborate on the new single in a press release: “It’s a big bully with shite down their leg, still swaggering. That pamphlet through your door blaming the establishment and immigrants for everything going wrong. The stench of long-dead empire, trudging along, a psychological hammer to your head in every step. The delusion.”

In July, Young Fathers shared the album track “Geronimo,” which was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Young Fathers’ last album, Cocoa Sugar, came out in 2018 via Ninja Tune. Read our interview with Young Fathers on Cocoa Sugar. By Joey Arnone

6. Amber Arcades: “Just Like Me”

On Tuesday, Amber Arcades, the project of Dutch musician Annelotte de Graaf, announced the release of a new album, Barefoot on Diamond Road, which will be out on February 10, 2023 via Fire. She also shared a new album single, “Just Like Me.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

In a press release, de Graaf elaborates on the new single: “I wrote this song when I had just moved to Amsterdam, right before the lockdown. It was a sequence of extremes; we lived dead center, at first we couldn’t go out of the house without being in a huge crowd of people, then overnight it felt like an apocalyptic ghost town. The song is about the tension between togetherness and being alone that comes with living in an urban environment. The need for both but then often not being quite satisfied with either.”

Regarding the album, she adds: “This record really reveals parts of me and my relationship with being a musician and making music. It’s like a reckoning, more in the moment, realizing how important it is to do things for the right reasons and how that can change your process into one that embraces what exists, including yourself.

“I worked with Ben Greenberg who also produced my first record. I kept track of him over the last couple of years. He’s been working on a lot of film music, and these songs felt quite filmic. I wanted that big atmosphere, that’s why I approached him. I had this idea of a harp, a cello, classical instruments. To be honest, I was just kind of bored with guitar music.”

De Graaf released her previous album, European Heartbreak, in 2018 via Heavenly.

Read our 2016 interview with Amber Arcades and our 2016 Artist Survey interview with her. By Joey Arnone

7. Alice Bowman: “Soon”

Last week, Swedish singer/songwriter Alice Boman shared a video for her new single, “Soon.” Her new album, The Space Between, came out last Friday via [PIAS]. Boman also announced a headlining 2023 tour. View the tour dates here.

In a press release, Boman states: “This is one of the first songs that I wrote for this album and it’s also my favorite one. It’s about not keeping things inside, because eventually you will explode. I think we all need some kind of output or someone to talk to—somewhere to channel our thoughts or feelings. I remember clearly where and when it came to me and I still love that first voice memo of it.

“Then me, Patrik Berger and Nisse Törnquist played through the song one day in the studio—before even having decided the details of how and where to record the album—and we recorded it just to be able to look at the structure of the song. That session felt so special that we decided to use that recording for the album, with a few additions like a brass riff by Ben Babbitt. I really love how it turned out.”

Boman previously shared the album tracks “Feels Like a Dream,” a collaboration with Perfume Genius which was also one of our Songs of the Week, and “Where To Put the Pain,” again one of our Songs of the Week. By Joey Arnone

8. John Cale: “STORY OF BLOOD” (Feat. Weyes Blood)

Last week, former Velvet Underground member John Cale announced the release of his first new album in a decade, MERCY, which will be out on January 20, 2023 via Double Six/Domino. He also shared a video for a new album single, the Weyes Blood collaboration “STORY OF BLOOD.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

In a press release, Cale states: “I’d been listening to Weyes Blood’s latest record and remembered Natalie’s puritanical vocals. I thought if I could get her to come and sing with me on the ‘Swing your soul’ section, and a few other harmonies, it would be beautiful. What I got from her was something else! Once I understood the versatility in her voice, it was as if I’d written the song with her in mind all along. Her range and fearless approach to tonality was an unexpected surprise. There’s even a little passage in there where she’s a dead-ringer for Nico.”

MERCY also features musical contributions from Animal Collective, Sylvan Esso, Laurel Halo, Tei Shi, and Actress. Cale previously shared the album track “NIGHT CRAWLING.” By Joey Arnone

9. koleżanka: “Canals of Our City”

Last week, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, guitarist, and producer koleżanka (aka Kristina Moore) shared a self-directed video for their new single “Canals of Our City.”

Moore states in a press release: “This is a song inspired by a memory. It’s about the first person I ever fell in love with, of our joy being debaucherous punks finding trouble in the west side where he lived, and of a tragedy that transformed him and our relationship in an irreparable way.”

Moore’s latest album, Place Is, came out in 2020 via Bar/None. By Joey Arnone

10. Glen Hansard: “Take Heart” (Feat. Marketa Irglova and Ukrainian Action)

Last week, Glen Hansard shared a video for his new single, “Take Heart.” It is a collaboration with Marketa Irglova and three Ukrainian refugees named Anna, Alex, and Olena.

In a press release, Hansard states: “This song is a single flower placed at the foot of all this devastation, a candle lit among the millions placed helplessly at the doors of embassies or left burning in windows; it’s a prayer sent up into the great cloud of goodwill that circles the globe. It’s a thing that didn’t exist and now it does, an offering, thanks to Patti, Alex, Anna, Olena and Markéta, who heard it as I was working on it and joined in to make it stronger. This is for them, and to all those who lost or are missing loved ones on every side of this brutal war.”

In 2019, Hansard released the album This Wild Willing via ANTI-. He discussed the album with us in an interview upon its release. By Joey Arnone

11. Dutch Uncles: “True Entertainment”

On Monday, British art-pop quartet Dutch Uncles announced the release of their sixth album, True Entertainment, which will be out on March 10, 2023 via Memphis Industries. They also shared a video for the album’s title track and announced a U.K. tour for 2023. Nick Middleton directed the video. View the album’s tracklist and cover art and a full list of tour dates here.

Vocalist Duncan Wallis elaborates on the video in a press release: “I know too well myself the mountainous task these poor sods have, and the mental gymnastics required to envision it being remotely successful, so in a way, this pays tribute to the craft. I was determined to fashion a goatee beard for the shoot, to separate myself from the character—it is a character. But I was mortified to see myself in the gold suit, immediately understanding Elvis’ pain.”

Director Middleton adds: “When I was researching Elvis’ gold suit, I found that he actually really hated it and only wore it two or three times. I think the idea of a job that’s meant to bring joy to people’s hearts being really tiring—and sometimes even hateful—really intriguing. I think people can relate to that.”

Dutch Uncles’ previous album, Big Balloon, came out in 2017 via Memphis Industries. By Joey Arnone

And here’s the album version of the song, with less live-sounding vocals:

12. U.S. Girls: “Bless This Mess”

On Tuesday, U.S. Girls (aka Meghan Remy) shared a video for her new single “Bless This Mess.” Remy and artist Evan Gordon directed the video.

Elaborating on the video in a press release, Remy states: “Before camera phones, the family camcorder was often the mirror tool used to capture selfie-like performances of teenage daydreams and insecurities. Recently I unearthed a VHS tape housing footage of my 1998 self singing on top of my favorite songs of the day, along with my 2000 self publicly performing music for the first time, plus various other blush-worthy self-portraits. I decided to air out this acutely personal footage. My meta music video vision: 1998 self singing a song that 2020 self wrote.”

Gordon adds: “I buckled down and painstakingly dragged the eight-minute clip over each word of the song, forwards and then backwards, splitting off any partial or direct match. Beyond my expectations, I was able to find multiple matches for each phrase. From here, I worked on stitching the clips together to make complete phrases, selecting from my list of matches much like making a comp of vocal takes. This video is a realfake. It’s naturally authentic while being transparently fake. Its intent is not to deceive or convince, but rather to induce reflection and remembrance.”

In July, Remy shared the single “So Typically Now.”

Remy’s most recent album, Heavy Light, came out in 2020 via 4AD. Read our interview with Remy on the album here. By Joey Arnone

13. Destroyer: “Somnambulist Blues” (Feat. Sandro Perri)

Last week, Destroyer (the project of Dan Bejar) shared a new song, “Somnambulist Blues,” which features Sandro Perri and is out now via Mexican Summer’s Looking Glass series. Bejar also shared a Spotify playlist of songs which have inspired the new single. Listen to the playlist here.

In a press release, Bejar states: “I come back to Sandro’s music as something to sing to at the crossroads moments of my life in music. There is something about the landscape Sandro lays out—it’s a world in which things become imminently singable. A lotta room to roam, and all of it good.”

Destroyer’s latest album, LABYRINTHITIS, came out in March via Merge. Read our interview with Destroyer on the album here. By Joey Arnone

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 13.

Arctic Monkeys: “I Ain’t Quite Where I Think I Am”

First Aid Kit: “A Feeling That Never Came”

The Go! Team: “Look Away, Look Away” (Feat. Star Feminine Band)

Nick Hakim: “Feeling Myself”

Lime Garden: “Bitter”

Quasi: “Queen of Ears”

Dave Rowntree: “HK”

The Soft Pink Truth: “La Joie Devant La Mort” (Feat. Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart)

The Tubs: “Sniveller”

Eaves Wilder: “I Stole Your Jumper”

James Yorkston, Nina Persson & The Secondhand Orchestra: “Hold Out For Love”

Here’s a handy Spotify playlist featuring the Top 16 in order, followed by all the honorable mentions:

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