16 Best Songs of the Week: Weyes Blood, Wild Pink, GIFT, Ladytron, and More | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, February 3rd, 2023  

16 Best Songs of the Week: Weyes Blood, Wild Pink, GIFT, Ladytron, and More

Plus Meg Baird, The Big Moon, Alvvays, Julien Chang, and a Wrap-up of the Last Two Weeks’ Other Notable New Tracks

Oct 14, 2022
Bookmark and Share


Welcome to the 37th Songs of the Week of 2022. We didn’t do a Songs of the Week last week because we’ve been too busy working on our next two print issues and we also didn’t feel like there were a lot of strong contenders last week. So this week’s list encompasses songs released in the last two weeks and is thus a supersized Top 16 list.

In the last week or so we posted interviews with Finn Jones, Automotion, Hamish Hawk, and Regressive Left.

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 16 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. Weyes Blood: “Grapevine”

Weyes Blood (aka Natalie Mering) is releasing a new album, And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow, on November 18 via Sub Pop. On Tuesday, she shared its second single, “Grapevine,” another lush gem of a song in a long line of gorgeous Weyes Blood tracks.

In a press release, Mering had this to say about the song, which is set on a stretch of California’s Interstate 5 known as Grapevine: “Technology is harvesting our attention away from each other. We all have a ‘Grapevine’ entwined around our past with unresolved wounds and pain. Being in love doesn’t necessarily mean being together. Why else do so many love songs yearn for a connection?”

Previously Weyes Blood shared the album’s first single, the wistful “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody,” which was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. Then she shared a video for “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody.”

And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow is Weyes Blood’s first album since 2019’s Titanic Rising, which was her first album for Sub Pop and was #2 on our Top 100 Albums of 2019 list. Mering co-produced the new album with Jonathan Rado, with the exception of album closer “A Given Thing,” which was produced by Mering and Rodaidh McDonald. Kenny Gilmore mixed the album at 101 Studio and Emily Lazar and Chris Allgood mastered it at The Lodge. And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow features guest appearances from Meg Duffy, Daniel Lopatin, and Mary Lattimore.

A press describes the album in more detail: “The album is her follow-up to the acclaimed Titanic Rising, the first album of three in a special trilogy. Where Titanic was an observation of doom to come, And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow is about being in the thick of it: a search for an escape hatch to liberate us from algorithms and ideological chaos (spoiler alert: the next one will be about ‘hope’).”

Mering also says: “We’re in a fully functional shit show. My heart is a glow stick that’s been cracked, lighting up my chest in an explosion of earnestness.”

Mering also released a typed and signed statement, which is here.

Read our My Favorite Album Issue interview with Weyes Blood on her all-time favorite album.

Read our 20th Anniversary Issue cover story interview with Weyes Blood.

Titanic Rising was our joint Album of the Week and you can read our rave review of it here.

Weyes Blood’s album previous to Titanic Rising was Front Row Seat to Earth, which made it all the way to #9 on our Top 100 Albums of 2016 list.

Read our interview with Weyes Blood on Front Row Seat to Earth (from our Best of 2016 Issue).

Also read our The End interview with Weyes Blood about endings and death. By Mark Redfern

2. Wild Pink: “The Grass Widow in the Glass Window” (Feat. Yasmin Williams)

On Wednesday, Wild Pink shared a new single, “The Grass Widow in the Glass Window,” featuring Yasmin Williams. It was the latest release from the band’s new album, ILYSM, which is out today via Royal Mountain.

Frontman John Ross elaborates on the new single in a press release: “This song was inspired by a huge dead hardwood tree that had golden oyster mushrooms growing all over it (thanks to Peter Silberman for the Mycology lesson). It was one of the last songs I wrote for the album and I wanted to try some new production ideas on it. It was a super fun song to flesh out in the studio and came a pretty long way from where it started as a synth arpeggiator playing the main piano part. Yasmin Williams’ guitar at the end is one of my favorite parts of the whole album.”

Stream ILYSM here and read our rave review of it here.

Upon announcement of the new album in July, Wild Pink shared the single “ILYSM,” which was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. They later shared the album tracks “Hold My Hand,” which features Julien Baker and was one of our Songs of the Week, and “See You Better Now,” which features J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. and was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Wild Pink’s previous album, A Billion Little Lights, came out last February via Royal Mountain. By Joey Arnone

3. GIFT: “Here and Now (Time Floats By)”

Brooklyn-based psych-rock quintet GIFT released a new album, Momentary Presence, today via Dedstrange. They also shared an interactive video for the album track “Lost For You” (which can be viewed here), as well as a video for the song “Stuck In a Dream.” But it’s the album’s epic seven-minute closing track, “Here and Now (Time Floats By),” that makes the list. We’ve been a fan of the song ever since we were first sent the album a few months back and while it’s not an official single, now that the album is out we can include it on our Songs of the Week list.

Stream the album here.

Upon announcement of the new album, GIFT shared the single “Gumball Garden,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. They later shared the album tracks “Feather,” also one of our Songs of the Week, and “Share the Present.” By Joey Arnone

4. Ladytron: “City of Angels”

Today, Ladytron announced a new album, Time’s Arrow, and shared its first single, album opener “City of Angels.” Time’s Arrow is due out January 20 via Cooking Vinyl. The band have also announced some UK tour dates, with American dates to follow. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as the tour dates, here.

A press release says “City of Angels” “inverts sensuous imagery into a vision of a near future collapse of cultural memory.” Ladytron’s Daniel Hunt adds: “It’s about forgetting…how fragile it is…not about one particular place or other, but a merging of them.”

Time’s Arrow is the follow-up to 2019’s Ladytron. Since then the band have celebrated the 20th anniversary of their second album, 2002’s Light & Magic, and in 2021 the album’s “Seventeen” went viral again thanks to TikTok. In August we premiered a previously unreleased video for “Light & Magic.”

The Liverpool-formed band also features Helen Marnie, Mira Aroyo, and Reuben Wu.

Read our 2019 interview with Ladytron on their self-titled album.

Read our First Issue Revisited interview with Ladytron on their debut album, 604, from our 20th Anniversary Issue. By Mark Redfern

5. Meg Baird: “Will You Follow Me Home?”

On Tuesday, Meg Baird announced the release of a new album, Furling, which will be out on January 27, 2023 via Drag City. Baird has also shared a video for the album’s lead single, “Will You Follow Me Home?” View the album’s cover art here.

Baird’s previous album was 2018’s Ghost Forests, a collaborative album with Mary Lattimore. By Joey Arnone

6. The Big Moon: “This Love”

Last week, The Big Moon shared a new song, “This Love.” It is the latest release from their new album, Here Is Everything, which is out today via Fiction.

The band’s Juliette Jackson states in a press release: “I was shocked by the new depths of love you can find for your baby. And the love you can feel for a partner who selflessly helps you through the darkest and strangest times of your life. Someone who will literally hold a pot for you to piss in after a cesarean section.”

We previously posted Here Is Everything single “Trouble,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. By Joey Arnone

7. Alvvays: “After the Earthquake”

Toronto-based indie-pop band Alvvays released a new album, Blue Rev, last Friday via Polyvinyl. Earlier that week, they shared “After the Earthquake.” View the band’s upcoming tour dates here.

According to a press release, the song was inspired by Haruki Murakami’s 2000-released short story collection After the Quake and also references the 1980s mystery show Murder, She Wrote.

In the press release the band describes “After the Earthquake” as “a rapid fire recital of drive-thru breakdown, tectonic breakup and boyfriend in a coma brake failure.”

Blue Rev was recorded in October 2021 and mixed by Shawn Everett. When the album was announced the band shared the single “Pharmacist,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. Then in August they shared “Easy On Your Own,” which was also one of our Songs of the Week. In September Alvvays released two more singles from the album on the same day: “Belinda Says” and “Very Online Guy.” “Belinda Says” made our Songs of the Week list at #1.

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 Mark Redfern

8. Julien Chang: “Competition’s Friend”

Yesterday, Baltimore singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer Julien Chang shared a new song, “Competition’s Friend,” in addition to sharing a live video for the song. It is the latest release from his forthcoming album, The Sale, which will be out on November 4 via Transgressive.

In a press release, Chang states: “‘Competition’s Friend’ can be seen as the soundtrack to a last ditch effort to overcome the deadlock of self-alienation: ecstasy against ambivalence. The setting is a world of resumes, interviews, internships, ‘networks’—in other words, a world of papers in which one is always examining oneself, not really as a ‘self,’ but rather as a symbolic outward-facing figure, of whose virtue and competency someone else must always still be convinced. The song tries to work through these frustrations before coming finally to a fantastic escape: in the last two minutes we reach the ecstatic heights from which such small and detailed self-scrutiny can be overcome, if not forgotten.”

Upon announcement of the new album in July, Chang shared the single “Marmalade,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. He later shared the songs “Time and Place” and “Snakebit.”

Chang’s debut album, Jules, came out in 2019 via Transgressive. By Joey Arnone

9. Dry Cleaning: “No Decent Shoes For Rain”

London-based post-punk band Dry Cleaning are releasing a new album, Stumpwork, on October 21 via 4AD. On Tuesday, they shared its fourth single, “No Decent Shoes for Rain,” via a video for it. View the band’s upcoming tour dates here.

In a press release the band’s singer Florence Shaw had this to say about the song: “‘No Decent Shoes for Rain’ is inspired by grief, grief over past relationships, grief for loved ones who have died, and all the things that come with that; loneliness, numbness, yearning, ruminating about the past.”

Upon announcement of the album in June, the band shared the single “Don’t Press Me,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared its second single, “Anna Calls From the Arctic,” also one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared its third single, “Gary Ashby,” about a family tortoise that’s gone missing in lockdown.

Stumpwork is the band’s sophomore album and the quick follow-up to their 2021-released debut album, New Long Leg (which was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2021). Dry Cleaning features Florence Shaw (vocals), Nick Buxton (drums), Tom Dowse (guitar), and Lewis Maynard (bass). The band recorded the album in rural Wales, once again working with New Long Leg producer John Parish, along with engineer Joe Jones.

Read our review of New Long Leg here.

Read our interview with Dry Cleaning on New Long Leg here.

In 2019, we interviewed them after the release of their two EPs Sweet Princess and Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks. You can check it out here. By Mark Redfern

10. Black Belt Eagle Scout: “Don’t Give Up”

On Wednesday, Black Belt Eagle Scout (aka Katherine Paul) shared a new song, “Don’t Give Up.” It is Paul’s first release of new music since 2019’s At the Party With My Brown Friends, and it is out now via Saddle Creek.

In a press release, Paul states: “Spending time with the land and on the water are ways that strengthen my connection to my ancestors and to my culture. It helps heal my spirit and is the form of self-care that helps me the most. The lyrics ‘I don’t give up’ mean staying alive. I wrote this song for me but also for my community and anyone who deals with challenging mental health issues to remind us just how much of a role our connection to the environment plays within our healing process. At the end of the song when I sing ‘the land, the water, the sky,’ I wanted to sing it like my late grandfather Alexander Paul Sr. sang in our family’s big drum group—from the heart.”

Read our interview with Black Belt Eagle Scout on her debut album, Mother of My Children, along with our 2018 politically themed interview with her.

Black Belt Eagle Scout was featured on our Covers of Covers compilation, which came out earlier this year via American Laundromat. By Joey Arnone

11. The Golden Dregs: “American Airlines”

Last week, The Golden Dregs (aka Benjamin Woods) announced the release of a new album, On Grace & Dignity, which will be out on February 10, 2023 via 4AD. Woods also shared a video for the album’s lead single, “American Airlines.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

The Golden Dregs’ previous album, Hope Is For the Hopeless, came out in 2019. By Joey Arnone

12. Sharon Van Etten: “Never Gonna Change”

Sharon Van Etten released a new album, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong, back in May via Jagjaguwar (stream it here). Last week, she announced a deluxe edition of the album and shared a new song from it, “Never Gonna Change.” The deluxe edition also includes one other previously unreleased song, “When I Die,” as well as 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.” We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong (Deluxe Edition) is due out November 11 via Jagjaguwar.

Van Etten co-produced “Never Gonna Change” with Daniel Knowles. In a press release she says the song “is about managing depression and anxiety in the midst of isolation. Coping with recurring fears throughout adulthood, acknowledging that flaws, fears and triggers can’t be overcome, they are a constant part of one’s identity to learn to be at peace with.”

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

Van Etten released no advance singles from the album, preferring that fans heard the whole thing in one straight shot. But when the album was released the album’s “Born” and “Mistakes” both made our Songs of the Week list. Then she also shared a video for “Mistakes.”

We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong is the follow-up to Remind Me Tomorrow, which came out in 2019 via Jagjaguwar.

Read our in-depth interview with Sharon Van Etten on Remind Me Tomorrow and check out our exclusive photo shoot with her. By Mark Redfern

13. Plains: “Hurricane”

On Wednesday, Plains, a new duo consisting of Waxahatchee (aka Katie Crutchfield) and Jess Williamson, shared a video for their new single, “Hurricane.” Actress/comedian Aidy Bryant (Saturday Night Live) directed the video. Plains’ debut album, I Walked With You A Ways, is out today via ANTI-. Stream the album here and read our review of it here.

Crutchfield states in a press release: “I had always had a vision of Aidy’s involvement in this video that really ended with just getting her in the room. I trusted that she had the answer for the perfect way to visually accompany this song and from the jump she just deeply understood our vision, at moments better than we could have even explained it ourselves. I’m thrilled that she was so generous with her time and creative energy and I’m thrilled with how this turned out.”

“I’ve been a fan of Waxahatchee and Jess Williamson for a long time so when Katie asked if I would direct a music video for Plains I jumped at the chance,” Aidy Bryant states. “We had a talented, hardworking crew and paid homage to Loretta Lynn’s 70s TV performances. I’m also going to drive the bus for their tour, so see you on the road!”

Williamson adds: “‘Hurricane’ was the last song that was written for our record. We knew we needed one more, and when Katie brought ‘Hurricane’ to the table we both knew the album was complete. It was incredible for me to watch this song reveal itself; from the early moments of Katie playing it for me on an acoustic guitar just days before we went to make the album, and then blossoming in the studio with the band into this total banger with huge choruses. Aidy’s video is the perfect companion for this tune, and we had a blast working with her and her team to make the visual world for this one come to life.”

Upon announcement of the album in July, Plains shared its lead single, “Problem With It,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. They later shared the album track “Abilene,” also one of our Songs of the Week. By Joey Arnone

14. Goat: “Do the Dance”

Last week, Swedish experimental psych-rock band Goat shared a video for their new single, “Do the Dance.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming album, Oh Death, which will be out on October 21 via Rocket Recordings.

The band’s previous album, Requiem, came out in 2016 via Sub Pop. By Joey Arnone

15. Decius: “Show Me No Tears” (Feat. Maggie the Cat)

On Tuesday, Decius, a new group featuring Lias Saoudi of England’s Fat White Family, shared a video for their new song, “Show Me No Mercy,” featuring Maggie the Cat. It is the latest release from the group’s forthcoming album, Decius Vol. I, which will be out on November 4 via The Leaf Label.

Decius consists of Saoudi in addition to Quinn Whalley and brothers Liam and Luke May. By Joey Arnone

16. Sister Wives: “O Dŷ i Dŷ”

On Tuesday, Welsh psych-rock group Sister Wives shared two new singles: “O Dŷ i Dŷ” and “Streets at Night.” It is “O Dŷ i Dŷ” that makes our Songs of the Week list. The singles are the latest releases from their forthcoming debut album, Y Gawres, which will be out on October 28 via Libertino.

The band elaborates on “O Dŷ i Dŷ” in a press release: “The song questions whether this is a way of celebrating Welsh culture or whether this is a form of cultural appropriation. It mentions how ‘the mare runs free, let’s see where she ends up landing’ and asks for people to reflect on whether those who have resurrected her in other countries are guilty of stealing her skeleton.”By Joey Arnone

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 16.

The Arcs: “Keep On Dreamin’”

Ásgeir: “Borderland”

Bibio: “Potion”

Big Joanie: “Sainted”

Black Lips: “Lost Angel”

Drugdealer: “Pictures of You” (Feat. Kate Bollinger)

Fever Ray: “What They Call Us”

GIFT: “Share the Present”

Nick Hakim: “M1”

Hans Pucket: “Bankrupt”

Jaws of Love.: “Rainbow Baby”

Liv.e: “Ghost”

Cass McCombs + Weak Signal: “Vacation From Thought”

Sorry: “Closer”

Tindersticks: “Stars at Noon”

Turnover: “Tears of Change”

Westerman: “Idol; RE-run”

Jamila Woods: “Boundaries”

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

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.



Comments

Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published

URL

Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.