15 Best Songs of the Week: Crack Cloud, Hot Chip, The 1975, Alvvays, and More | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, April 19th, 2024  

15 Best Songs of the Week: Crack Cloud, Hot Chip, The 1975, Alvvays, and More

Plus Viagra Boys, Band Spectra and The Anchoress, Margaret Glaspy, Men I Trust, and a Wrap-up of the Last Two Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Jul 08, 2022
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Welcome to the 26th Songs of the Week of 2022. We didn’t do a Songs of the Week last week as pickings were slim in the run up to the long July 4th weekend, so this week’s list covers songs from the last two weeks. Thus we have a supersized Top 15. The list includes two pro-choice songs.

In the last two weeks we posted interviews with Kamasi Washington and Magdalena Bay.

In the last two weeks we also reviewed a bunch of albums.

Also this week we launched season 3 of our Under the Radar with Celine Teo-Blockey podcast with a new interview with Warpaint. Listen here.

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 15 best the last two weeks had to offer, along with highlighting other notable new tracks shared in the last 14 days. Check out the full list below.

1. Crack Cloud: “Tough Baby”

On Wednesday, Vancouver collective Crack Cloud shared a video for their new single, “Tough Baby.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming album of the same name, which will be out on September 16 via Meat Machine and Crack Cloud Media Studio.

In a press release, Crack Cloud states: “Our body of work has been largely informed by some of the darker chapters in our lives; we’ve taken a moment to examine beyond that in ‘Tough Baby.’ The potency of the imagination, the magic and mystery of our world and its history from an adolescent gaze. We wanted to fall in love with our craft again by recalling the mysticism of our youth.”

Upon announcement of the new album in May, Crack Cloud shared the song “Please Yourself,” which was also #1 on our Songs of the Week list. By Joey Arnone

2. Hot Chip: “Eleanor”

Hot Chip are releasing a new album, Freakout/Release, on August 19 via Domino. Yesterday, they shared its second single, “Eleanor.” View the band’s upcoming tour dates here.

Frontman Alexis Taylor says of the song: “It’s about the world smashing into you, waves crashing into you, all-encompassing pain, and how you have to walk through it. The verses are about separation when families are divided against their will. It’s about strong friends. It’s also about Samuel Beckett giving Andre The Giant lifts to school, and about how Beckett must have learned a lot from Andre’s wisdom.”

Previously Hot Chip shared the album’s first single, “Down,” via a video for it. “Down” was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Hot Chip features Owen Clarke, Al Doyle, Joe Goddard, Felix Martin, and Alexis Taylor. Freakout/Release is the follow-up to 2019’s A Bath Full of Ecstasy. It was recorded at the band’s own Relax & Enjoy Studio in East London, which Doyle had put together before the pandemic and during COVID-19’s first year. The sound of the album was inspired by the band’s cover of Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage,” which they often perform live. “The idea of being out of control is always there in dance music, in a positive sense,” said Doyle, in a previous press release, of the cover’s influence on the album.

“By the time we were able to be back together, we were turning on a tap and having a lot of ideas being poured out quite quickly,” added Taylor.

Goddard said current times influenced the album’s lyrics. “We were living through a period where it was very easy to feel like people were losing control of their lives in different ways,” he explained. “There’s a darkness that runs through a lot of those tracks.”

The album features Canadian rapper Cadence Weapon on “The Evil That Men Do,” British DJ and musician Lou Hayter on “Hard to Be Funky,” and production duo Soulwax on the album’s title track.

In 2020, Hot Chip teamed up with Jarvis Cocker for the new song “Straight to the Morning,” which was #1 on our Songs of the Week list but isn’t featured on the new album. They also shared a Dillon Francis remix of the song. In 2021, Goddard teamed up with New York City based singer/songwriter Amy Douglas as HARD FEELINGS and they released their self-titled debut album in November via Domino. Last year Hot Chip also produced Girl Ray’s “Give Me Your Love” single and this March Ibibio Sound Machine released a new Hot Chip-produced album, Electricity. By Mark Redfern

3. The 1975: “Part of the Band”

Today, The 1975 officially announced the release of a new album, Being Funny in a Foreign Language. They also shared a video for a new single from the album, “Part of the Band,” which was co-produced by Jack Antonoff and features backing vocals from Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast. It has a bit of a Bon Iver vibe. View the album’s cover art and tracklist here.

The 1975’s previous album, Notes On a Conditional Form, came out in 2020 via Dirty Hit/Interscope. By Joey Arnone

4. Alvvays: “Pharmacist”

On Wednesday, Toronto-based indie-pop band Alvvays announced the release of their third studio album, Blue Rev, which will be out on October 7 via Polyvinyl. They also shared the album’s lead single, “Pharmacist,” a two-minute shoegaze blast. View the album’s tracklist/cover art and full list of the band’s upcoming tour dates here.

Blue Rev was recorded in October 2021 and mixed by Shawn Everett. The band’s previous album, Antisocialites, came out in 2017.

Read our interview with Alvvays about Antisocialites.

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

Read our review of Antisocialites.

Read our 2014 interview with Alvvays. By Joey Arnone

5. Viagra Boys: “Big Boy” (Feat. Jason Williamson of Sleaford Mods)

Swedish post-punk band Viagra Boys released a new album, Cave World, today via YEAR0001. They have also shared a video for the album track “Big Boy,” which features Jason Williamson of Sleaford Mods. Stream the new album here.

Upon announcement of the new album in April, Viagra Boys shared the song “Ain’t No Thief,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. They later shared the album track “Troglodyte,” which was also one of our Songs of the Week. Their most recent single, “Punk Rock Loser,” was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Their previous album, Welfare Jazz, came out last year via YEAR0001. By Joey Arnone

6. Band Spectra: “Human Reciprocator” (Feat. The Anchoress)

The Anchoress (aka Catherine Anne Davies) has collaborated with Band Spectra (aka Robert Manning) on the new song “Human Reciprocator,” from Manning’s forthcoming album. It was shared last week.

In a press release, Davies states: “I like to think of it as my modern day reincarnation of Genesis’ ‘Jesus He Knows Me’ (which I was obsessed with as a kid) in that I’m singing from the point of view of a pretty unsavory character.”

Davies adds that the song was “heavily inspired by an overdose on the toxic news cycle, ruminating on privilege and abuse of power in politics, deception, hypocrisy and the slow slide into a Britain steeped in poverty and a cost of living crisis while a political elite bluster and lie their way through a decade in power. Growing up with periods of my childhood relying on free school meals I am increasingly horrified at the proliferation of reliance on food banks while those in power become ever more detached from the realities of the working classes. ‘Human Reciprocator’ is a reflection on the current state of affairs.”

“Band Spectra began as a therapeutic endeavor following a passing recommendation by a neuropsychologist to use music as an aid to try to combat a decline in my health as a result of Multiple Sclerosis,” adds Manning. “Recognizing the frustrating lack of visibility and significant barriers faced by disabled musicians within the music industry and with the help of Arts Council funding, I made an album of remote collaborations during a challenging period of shielding, with the intention of celebrating and raising awareness of disability and diversity.

“‘Human Reciprocator,’ the first song written for the album, started as a primitive idea: a 909 motorik beat; a driving Moog bassline and Leo Abraham’s cacophonous experimental guitar saw the tentative beginnings of what (18 months later) translated into the perfect hostile foundation for Catherine’s powerful and veracious political lyrics.”

The Anchoress’ most recent album, The Art of Losing, came out last year via Kscope. View our interview with Davies on the album here. By Joey Arnone

7. Margaret Glaspy: “My Body My Choice”

On Wednesday, Margaret Glaspy shared a new song, “My Body My Choice.” As its title suggests, it is a pro-choice song. A portion of proceeds from the single will go toward The Brigid Alliance, a referral-based service that provides travel, food, lodging, child are, and other logistical support for people seeking abortions.

In a press release, Glaspy states: “‘My Body My Choice’ is a song of protest. Taking away resources from people who need abortions only leaves them with unsafe alternatives, and no one should be forced to experience that. It is absolutely necessary for any person who can give birth to consent to their own pregnancy. It feels absurd that we are still fighting this fight, but here we are. It’s your body, so it should be your choice.”

Glaspy’s most recent album, Devotion, came out in 2020 via ATO. Earlier this year, she released the single “Love is Real.” By Joey Arnone

8. Men I Trust: “Hard to Let Go”

Last week, Canadian band Men I Trust shared their first new single of 2022, “Hard to Let Go.” The jazzy track brings to mind New Zealand’s Connan Mockasin.

The band’s most recent album, Untourable Album, came out last year. By Joey Arnone

9. Sudan Archives: “NBPQ (Topless)”

Last week, Sudan Archives shared a new song, “NBPQ (Topless).” It is the latest release from her newly-announced second studio album, Natural Brown Prom Queen.

In a press release, Sudan Archives states that the new song is “about my insecurities that I have being a brown skin Black female in the world and how to navigate through that while facing American beauty standards. It’s a song of redemption and freedom.”

“NBPQ (Topless)” was written and produced by Sudan Archives, Simon on the Moon, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, and Ben Dickey. By Joey Arnone

10. Easy Life: “OTT” (Feat. BENEE)

On Tuesday, Easy Life shared a video for their new single “OTT,” which features New Zealand artist BENEE. It is the latest release from the British band’s upcoming album, Maybe In Another Life…, which will be out on August 12 via Geffen.

The band state in a press release: “Like most things Easy Life, there is still that element of optimism: that perhaps with enough care and attention, something can be done. BENEE crushed it—her voice is like water and she’s a real queen of melody.”

Upon announcement of the new album in June, the band shared a video for their single “Dear Miss Holloway,” which features Kevin Abstract. By Joey Arnone

11. Superorganism: “Into the Sun” (Feat. Stephen Malkmus)

Last week, Superorganism shared a video for their new single, “Into the Sun,” featuring Gen Hoshino, Stephen Malkmus, and Pi Ja Ma. It is the latest release from the band’s forthcoming album, World Wide Pop, which will be out on July 15 via Domino.

In a press release, the band states: “The whole record is all about combining different worlds and scales, so it was a real thrill to be able to mix Gen into a track with Malkmus and Pi Ja Ma. It’s a carefree song, somewhat about being in your own bubble, so bringing those French, American, and Japanese artists into that world reconnects the SuperO universe with these other bubbles—a bit of a multiverse! It all came together super naturally, a cute little lovebug song moment.

“The video for ‘Into The Sun’ stemmed from the lyric about being a fruit fly, watching the world go by, whilst nature and time flow by around you. We liked the idea that the seed planted by one person can grow into a tree that is enjoyed by another, and that the fruit of that tree provides the seed of the next. Gen Hoshino as a fly buzzing around cracks me up too.”

Upon announcement of the new album, the band shared the song “Teenager,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. They later shared “It’s Raining,” which was also one of our Songs of the Week. In April, they shared the album track “crushed.zip,” also one of our Songs of the Week. Their previous album single release was “On & On.”

The band’s self-titled debut album came out in 2018 via Domino. Read our interview with the band on the album. By Joey Arnone

12. Maya Hawke: “Thérèse”

Last week, singer/actress Maya Hawke announced a new album, MOSS, and shared its first single, “Thérèse.” MOSS is due out September 23 via Mom + Pop. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as her upcoming tour dates, including some opening for Faye Webster, here.

As an actress, Hawke is probably best known for playing Robin Buckley in the hit Netflix show Stranger Things, although she’s got some big film projects in the works, including Wes Anderson’s next movie, Asteroid City, and Maestro, a 2023 biopic on composer Leonard Bernstein directed by Bradley Cooper (who stars as Bernstein, with Hawke playing his daughter, Jamie Bernstein). Hawke’s real life parents are actors Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman. As a musician, Hawke’s debut album was 2021’s Blush, making MOSS her sophomore effort.

MOSS was announced via an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, which you can watch here. Hawke made the album in collaboration with Benjamin Lazar Davis, Christian Lee Hutson, and Will Graefe. A press release says the album “serves as Hawke’s meditation on rebirth and acceptance.” It will also be available as a deluxe box set designed by Hawke.

“This record is called MOSS because I’ve been gathering a lot in the last few years,” Hawke says about the album in the press release. “Sitting still and collecting a green blanket of memories and feelings. Making this record was me trying to get up and shake it off and look at all of it. It was the first step in untangling myself and really trying to look at the rock under the moss.”

Of “Thérèse,” Hawke adds: “Thérèse is inspired by a painting but about feeling hemmed in and stuck. Stuck as the version of yourself that someone else created.” By Mark Redfern

13. Metric: “False Dichotomy”

Metric released a new album, Formentera, today. They have also shared a video for a track from the album, “False Dichotomy.” Stream the new album here.

Upon announcement of the album in April, the band shared the album track “All Comes Crashing,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. They later shared “What Feels Like Eternity,” which topped our Songs of the Week list. Their previous album, Art of Doubt, came out in 2018 via MMI/Crystal Math Music. By Joey Arnone

14. Margo Price: “Fight to Make It” (Feat. Mavis Staples and Adia Victoria)

Today, alt-country singer Margo Price shared a new pro-choice song, “Fight To Make It,” which features Mavis Staples and Adia Victoria. All Bandcamp proceeds from the song will benefit NOISE FOR NOW, a national initiative that enables artists to connect with and financially support grassroots organizations who support abortion access.

In a press release, Price states: “Every day I see more of our rights stripped away in America. The right to reproductive health in this country has become a luxury for the wealthy. The United States has a higher maternal death rate than any other developed country. Black women in particular experience maternal mortality at a rate two to three times higher than white women. Tennessee now has stricter abortion laws than the Taliban. This should not be a political issue, or a religious issue, this is a human rights issue.

“When we stand together and sing together we are stronger. Massive thanks to my friend Adia Victoria for joining me and our mutual hero, the legendary Mavis Staples for adding the wisdom and strength of her voice. Her art and activism have long inspired me and I’m grateful for her contribution to the song.”

Last year we did a photo shoot with Price and her husband, fellow artist Jeremy Ivey, for our Protest Issue. By Joey Arnone

15. of Montreal: “Blab Sabbath Lathe of Maiden”

Yesterday, of Montreal, the project of Kevin Barnes, shared an animated video for their new single, “Blab Sabbath Lathe of Maiden.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming album, Freewave Lucifer f<ck f^ck f>ck, which will be out on July 29 via Polyvinyl.

Barnes states in a press release: “There is an unhappy family whose surname is America, Liberals are Parent 1 and Conservatives are Parent 2, the citizens of the country are the children trapped inside of their parents’ toxic and loveless marriage. The inimical family dynamic is traumatizing the children and warping their brains worse and worse with every passing day. Some of the children feel closer to Parent 1, while others feel closer to Parent 2, this creates a hostile and violent divide within the family. The parents cannot recall why they ever got married in the first place and have grown so far apart ideologically, spiritually, emotionally…that they’ve begun to truly hate each other. They desperately need to get divorced but their lives are so deeply intertwined that it seems impossible. So life goes on and nothing is done to slow their tragic path towards familial annihilation.”

Upon announcement of the album in June, Barnes shared the track “Marijuana’s a Working Woman,” which was one of our Songs of the Week.

Of Montreal’s previous album, UR FUN, came out in 2020 via Polyvinyl. By Joey Arnone

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 15.

The Bad Plus: “Sun Wall”

Julien Baker: “Guthrie”

Broken Bells: “We’re Not in Orbit Yet…”

CHAI and Superorganism: “Hero Journey”

Daphni: “Cloudy”

Dungen: “Nattens Sista Strimma Ljus”

Florist: “Feathers”

Heaven For Real: “Do Your Worst”

Momma: “Motorbike”

Voxtrot: “Fifteen Minutes”

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

(Note: The Margo Price song is not on Spotify and thus not on the playlist.)

Other notable new tracks in the last two weeks include:

a-ha: “I’m In”

The A’s: “Wedding Dress”

Baby Queen: “Nobody Really Cares”

Andy Bell: “Light Flight” (Pentangle Cover)

The Big Pink: “Love Spins On Its Axis”

Blondie: “I Love You Honey, Give Me a Beer”

Brijean: “Caldwell’s Way”

The Cult: “Give Me Mercy”

Danny Elfman and Iggy Pop: “Kick Me”

Gallops: “Boolean Who?”

Valerie June: “Godspeed” (Frank Ocean Cover)

Killer Mike: “Run” (Feat. Young Thug and Dave Chappelle)

Lapsley: “32 Floors”

Manic Street Preachers: “Borderline” (Madonna Cover)

The Mars Volta: “Graveyard Love”

Mitski: “Love Me More (Clark Remix)”

No Age: “Andy Helping Andy”

Dave Rowntree: “London Bridge”

Ty Segall: “Don’t Lie” (The Mantles Cover)

She & Him: “Don’t Worry Baby” (The Beach Boys Cover)

Oliver Sim: “GMT”

Sufjan Stevens: “Fourth of July (April Base Version)” and “Fourth of July (Dumbo Version)”

Yard Act and Elton John: “100% Endurance”

Wet Leg: “Too Late Now (Soulwax Remix)”

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