17 Best Songs of the Last Two Weeks: The Smile, M. Ward and First Aid Kit, Slowdive, and More | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024  

17 Best Songs of the Last Two Weeks: The Smile, M. Ward and First Aid Kit, Slowdive, and More

Plus Faye Webster, Sigur Rós, Palehound, Strange Ranger, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Jun 23, 2023 Bookmark and Share


Welcome to the 22nd Songs of the Week of 2023. We didn’t do a Songs of the Week last week because I was out of town last Thursday to this Monday in Washington, DC, covering Awesome Con. So, this week’s Songs of the Week is supersized and incorporates tracks from the last two weeks.

In the past two weeks or so we posted interviews with Lanterns on the Lake’s Hazel Wilde, Ben Folds, Geese, Chappaqua Wrestling, Monster Magnet, John Slattery, and others.

In the last two weeks 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 two weeks, we have picked the best the last 14 days had to offer, followed by some honorable mentions. Check out the full list below.

1. The Smile: “Bending Hectic”

On Tuesday, The Smile (Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, and Sons of Kemet’s Tom Skinner) released a new song, the eight-minute “Bending Hectic,” via XL. The band have also embarked on their summer tour. Check out the cover artwork and upcoming tour dates here.

This is The Smile’s first new music in 2023, following their 2022 debut A Light For Attracting Attention, which made our top 100 Albums of 2022. “Bending Hectic” was produced by Sam Petts-Davies with string by the London Contemporary Orchestra. The song was first debuted by The Smile during their Montreux Jazz Festival appearance in 2022.

The Smile previously released a vinyl only EP of Europe: Live Recordings 2022. By Kat Ramkumar

2. M. Ward: “Too Young to Die” (Feat. First Aid Kit)

M. Ward released his new album, Supernatural Thing, today via ANTI-. On Tuesday, he shared its third and final pre-release single, “Too Young to Die,” which features Swedish sister duo First Aid Kit (Klara and Johanna Söderberg) and was shared via a music video. Holly Andres directed the video, which features Ward as a late night security guard who watches footage of First Aid Kit and another version of Ward perform the song on different split screens. Check out Ward’s upcoming tour dates here.

“First Aid Kit are sisters from Stockholm, and when they open their mouths, something amazing happens,” Ward says in a press release. “It was a great thrill to go to Stockholm and record a few songs there. The sound from blood-related harmony singers is impossible to get any other way—The Everly Brothers, The Delmores, The Louvins, The Carters, The Söderbergs—all have the same kind of feeling in their vocals.”

First Aid Kit released a new album, Palomino, in 2022 via Columbia. Read our interview with the band about the album here.

Previously Ward shared Supernatural Thing’s first single, title track “Supernatural Thing,” via an animated music video. Then he shared its second single, “New Kerrang,” which features Scott McMicken of Dr. Dog and was one of our Songs of the Week.

Supernatural Thing also features Jim James, Neko Case, Shovels & Rope, and Kelly Pratt. It includes two covers: “I Can’t Give Everything Away” from David Bowie’s final album Blackstar, and a live rendition of Daniel Johnston’s “Story of an Artist.” Ward previously covered Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” on his acclaimed third album, 2003’s breakthrough release Transfiguration of Vincent. “Bowie and Johnston are constant sources of inspiration for me, have been for I don’t know how many years,” Ward said in a previous press release. By Mark Redfern

3. Slowdive: “kisses”

This Tuesday, Legendary ’90s shoegazers Slowdive announced a new album, everything is alive, and shared its first single, “kisses,” via a music video. They also announced a North American tour, as well as shows in the UK. Everything is alive is the band’s first new album in six years and is due out September 1 via Dead Oceans. Noel Paul directed the “kisses” video. Here, check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork, as well as the tour dates.

Slowdive’s line-up remains Neil Halstead (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Christian Savill (guitar), Nick Chaplin (bass), Rachel Goswell (vocals), and Simon Scott (drums, electronics).

Halstead had this to say about “kisses” and the album as a whole in a press release: “It wouldn’t feel right to make a really dark record right now. The album is quite eclectic emotionally, but it does feel hopeful.”

Paul had this to say about directing the video: “If this video evokes emotion, it’s largely due to our excellent cast. In particular Charlie and Claudia, two courageous and beautiful souls who threw themselves into their roles and set a tone of fearless vulnerability.”

Everything is alive is the band’s fifth album and the follow-up to 2017’s self-titled album, which was their first full-length album in 22 years and first since the band reformed. It was #4 on our Top 100 Albums of 2017 list.

The new album is dedicated to Goswell’s mother and Scott’s father, as they both died in 2020. “There were some profound shifts for some of us personally,” Goswell says.

The record began with Halstead acting as writer and producer, working from home, and he initially saw the album as a “more minimal electronic record,” but once the rest of the band got involved it became more aligned with their signature shoegaze/dream-pop sound.

“As a band, when we’re all happy with it, that tends to be the stronger material. We’ve always come from slightly different directions, and the best bits are where we all meet in the middle,” Halstead says.

Goswell adds: “Slowdive is very much the sum of its parts. Something unquantifiable happens when the five of us come together in a room.”

The album was recorded over the course of several years, starting in 2020 at Courtyard Studio, where the band have recorded before, but also in various other places. Shawn Everett (The War On Drugs, Alvvays, SZA) mixed the album in 2022.

Read our review of Slowdive.

Read our interview with Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell about the making of the album. By Mark Redfern

4. Faye Webster: “But Not Kiss”

On Tuesday, Atlanta-born indie singer Faye Webster returned to the music scene after a two-year hiatus with a music video for her new song, “But Not Kiss.” Webster also announced a major North American headlining tour in the fall. The video, directed by Kyle Ng of Brain Dead, was filmed at LA’s Bob Baker Marionette Theatre. Check out upcoming tour dates here.

Webster, who’s now working towards a full-length album, says in a press release that “But Not Kiss” “says a lot about what’s coming.” This single, featuring illustrious piano hooks interlaced with Webster’s dainty voice, blossoms into a maximal arrangement. Of the song Webster says: “I think it could be a really romantic song or a really anti-romantic song. It’s something I’ve looked for but struggled to find in other love songs, for them to describe this conflict or contradiction.”

Webster’s last release was her Car Therapy Sessions EP which was released in 2021, showcasing grand orchestral ensembles. Her last album was 2021’s I Know I’m Funny haha.

Read our 2021 interview with Faye Webster on I Know I’m Funny haha. By Kat Ramkumar

5. Sigur Rós: “Blóðberg”

Last Thursday, Iceland’s Sigur Rós announced that their previously teased new album would be titled ÁTTA and was due out last Friday (you can stream the whole thing here). The album includes “Blóðberg,” a new song the band shared last Monday via a music video, before announcing the album.

Johan Renck directed the video for “Blóðberg.” He also directed the aclaimed HBO miniseries Chernobyl, as well as music videos for Madonna, Robyn, and Beyoncé. In a press release he had this to say: “I feel as nihilistic as one could regarding the future. We are powerless against our own stupidities. Some aspects of this came to merge with my impressions of the themes of ‘Blóðberg.’ The music becoming a score to my own miserable thoughts, giving them beauty as only music can.”

A physical release for ÁTTA will follow on September 1 via BMG.

ÁTTA is the band’s first album in a decade and sees the return of multi-instrumentalist Kjartan Sveinsson, who left the band in 2012, but has since rejoined. The band’s lineup also features frontman Jónsi and bassist Georg Holm. The album features the London Contemporary Orchestra, as conducted by Robert Ames (both the Orchestra and Ames will be part of the band’s European tour dates, with Ames conducting the Wordless Music Orchestra on their North America tour).

ÁTTA was partially recorded at the iconic Abbey Road Studios in London, as well as at the band’s Sundlaugin studio in Iceland and at various studios in America. Paul Corley mixed and co-produced the song with the band. Longtime Icelandic collaborators Brassgat í bala performed brass on the album.

Hólm had this to say about ÁTTA in a press release: “This record sounds like a Sigur Rós album, but it’s more introverted than before. It’s very expansive with this sound of strings, but it looks within more than outside.”

Jónsi adds: “When we do this, we always talk about each album as if it might be the last. We’re always thinking about climate change, doom-scrolling and going to hell. The world felt a bit bleak making this album, but maybe there is hope. When there is darkness, there is light.”

Sveinsson also says: “We wanted to allow ourselves to be a bit dramatic and go far with these arrangements. The world needs that right now. It’s hard to describe, but for me everything is always open to interpretation. People can think and feel how they want.”

Back in March, when the tour dates were announced, the band teased the release of a new album to come out this month, but no details were announced at the time.

Sigur Rós’ last studio album was 2013’s Kveikur, although last year they put out a 20th anniversary reissue of their 2002 album (). In 2020, the band’s Jónsi released his first solo album in 10 years, Shiver. Read our interview with him about the album. By Mark Redfern

6. Palehound: “Independence Day”

Palehound (aka El Kempner) is releasing a new album, Eye on the Bat, on July 14 via Polyvinyl. Yesterday, Kempner shared the album’s third single, “Independence Day,” via a music video. Brittany Reeber directed the video. Find Palehound’s upcoming tour dates here.

Kempner (who uses they/them pronouns) had this to say about the new single in a press release: “The ending of a relationship that spanned the majority of my 20s illuminated a forked road that daunted me. In the aftermath of our breakup, I found myself dwelling on what that other life would have been like and who I would have become had we chosen differently, or even if circumstance or tragedy had chosen for us.”

Palehound previously shared the album’s first single, “The Clutch,” via a music video. “The Clutch” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared the album’s second single, “My Evil,” via a lyric video that pays homage to the opening titles of the classic HBO TV series The Sopranos. “My Evil” was #1 on our Songs of the Week list.

Eye on the Bat is the follow-up to 2019’s Black Friday, although in 2021 Kempner teamed up with Melina Duterte of Jay Som to form Bachelor and release their debut album, Doomin’ Sun, via Polyvinyl.

Eye on the Bat was recorded across 2022 at Flying Cloud Recordings in the Catskills, with recording done in various brief sessions. Kempner co-produced the album with Sam Owens (Big Thief, Cass McCombs) and also worked with multi-instrumentalist Larz Brogan, a longtime Palehound collaborator.

Summing up the new album in a previous press release, Kempner said: “It’s about me, but it’s also about me in relation to others. After hiding for so long—staying inside and hiding your life and hiding yourself from the world—I was ready. I think I flipped.”

Check out our COVID-19 Quarantine Artist Check-In interview with Palehound from 2020.

Check out our 2021 interview with Bachelor.

Check out our My Favorite Album interview with Palehound. By Mark Redfern

7. Strange Ranger: “Way Out”

New York City via Philadelphia quartet Strange Ranger are releasing a new album, Pure Music, on July 21 via Fire Talk. Last week, the band shared its third single, “Way Out.” Check out the band’s upcoming tour dates here.

Strange Ranger is Isaac Eiger, Fiona Woodman, Nathan Tucker, and Fred Nixon. “Way Out” features a saxophone solo from Tucker and is inspired by Talk Talk.

Bandleader Eiger had this say about the song in a press release: “I wrote this one while going through my memories of being a teenager in Montana and then it got all biblical for some reason. We produced it at the house in the woods and I remember feeling extremely alert, almost manic working on it late at night. At the time, we thought of it as a sort of condensed Talk Talk song, but I’m not sure if it ended up that way.”

Pure Music includes “Rain So Hard,” a new song the band shared in March. Then when the album was announced in May, the band shared its second single, “She’s on Fire,” via a music video. “She’s on Fire” was one of our Songs of the Week.

Pure Music is the follow-up to 2019’s Remembering the Rockets album and 2021’s No Light in Heaven mixtape. The album was written while Eiger and Woodman were breaking up and was recorded in a cabin in Upstate New York during a blizzard.

“With a few exceptions, I can’t tell whose production ideas were whose, when I listen back to it,” said Nixon in a previous press release. “We were literally trapped in this cabin, manically working at all hours, and the energy was crazy, in a fun way.”

“Music makes us transcend the feeling of being alienated from or trapped by the world,” Woodman added. “I want the experience of listening to Pure Music to be euphoric.” By Mark Redfern

8. Coach Party: “Born Leader”

Last Week, British four-piece Coach Party released their latest track, “Born Leader,” off of their upcoming debut album Killjoy. This LP is due out September 8 via Chess Club. Here, check out Killjoy’s tracklist and cover artwork, as well as the band’s upcoming tour dates, including some shows opening for Queens of the Stone Age.

When crafting “Born Leader,” the band drew inspiration from the turmoil caused by outward confidence and inward self doubt. Of the song, Guy Page (drummer and producer) says in a press release: “Sitting between two of our more thrashy tracks on the album, this song more calmly confronts how we can overthink the way others might view ourselves as a person, a friend, a partner, a public figure or whatever, and to let those thoughts influence who you think you should be, or encourage you to hide your true self to keep up a facade which likely only exists in your own head. But the truth is that those superficial efforts aren’t going to be what anyone really loves about you; it just feeds your own self doubt.”

The band previously shared two other songs from Killjoy—”All I Wanna Do Is Hate” and “Micro Aggression.”

Coach Party’s “FLAG (Feel Like A Girl)” was also featured on our Songs of the Week. By Kat Ramkumar

9. Hand Habits: “The Bust of Nefertiti”

Hand Habits (aka Meg Duffy, who uses they/them pronouns) released a new EP (or mini-album), Sugar the Bruise, last Friday via Fat Possum. Last week they also shared its third and final pre-release single, “The Bust of Nefertiti.” They also announced some new tour dates this fall opening for The National. Check out all of Hand Habits’ upcoming tour dates here.

Previously Hand Habits shared Sugar the Bruise’s first single, “Something Wrong,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared its second single, “Private Life,” via a music video. “Private Life” was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Duffy taught a month-long songwriting class in the summer of 2021 and that helped inspire the new collection of songs. Duffy worked with Luke Temple (Here We Go Magic, Art Feynman) and Philip Weinrobe (Adrienne Lenker, Cass McCombs) on Sugar the Bruise.

Duffy’s most recent album, Fun House, came out in 2021 via Saddle Creek. By Mark Redfern

10. Devendra Banhart: “Twin”

Last week, Devendra Banhart announced the release of his 11th studio album, Flying Wig, and shared its first single, “Twin,” through a Matt Muir directed music video. Flying Wig, which was produced by Cate Le Bon, is due out September 22 via Mexican Summer. Banhart has also shared some fall 2023 world tour dates. Here, check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork, as well as the tour dates.

Devendra Banhart has been making music for decades and has established himself as a visual artist in tandem with his work in music. Enthralling visuals accompany his illustrious lyrics, a constant that’s evident in “Twin.”

Of the song and its video, director Matt Muir says in a press release: “When Devendra and I originally discussed the creative approach to the ‘Twin’ music video, I really responded to the idea of searching for connection. We talked about the strange comfort of knowing that other people have experienced the pain or entrapment that we may be experiencing. I wanted to explore a framework where Devendra’s character is trapped in a cycle, but still finds beauty in the execution. Stylistically, we were definitely inspired by neon-soaked 1980s neo-noir films, but we still wanted the video to feel somewhat timeless. We also left a lot of room for improvisation on the set, to make sure Devendra’s unique sense of humor was evident in the storytelling. He was such a supportive and inventive collaborator during the entire process, and I think that really shines through in the final piece.”

Flying Wig was crafted in a secluded woodland of a Topanga canyon under a friendship built upon crude haircuts and homemade tattoos between Banhart and Le Bon. “She’s the only person I wanted to make this record with,” Banhart says. “We set out to make a record sonically unlike anything I have made before—with a new creative partner at the helm. We definitely wanted a new sound, electronic yet organic and warm…we wanted to draw out and emphasize the emotional aspect of a synthesizer.”

Banhart, donned in a blue Issey Miyake dress for most of the songwriting, created a record inspired by a Kobayashi Issa poem that reads:

“This dewdrop world-

Is a dewdrop world,

And yet,

And yet…”

“I’ve never read a more concise and clear illustration of hope,” explains Banhart. “It just sweeps me away by the breadth of its scope, as lonely as we might feel at our saddest, angriest, most desperate, most frustrated, most hopeless, most heartbroken moments, we have all felt that. The ‘and yet , and yet’ is our ability to face despair with hope, to keep on failing and loving. It’s about transmuting despair into gratitude, wounds into forgiveness, grief into praise.”

With this newfound optimism, Banhart brought the record to life with Nicole Lawrence (pedal steel and guitar), Todd Dahlhoff (bass), Greg Rogove (drums), and Euan Hinshelwood (saxophone). The mixing and engineering were done by Samur Khouja and Heba Kadry. By Kat Ramkumar

11. Eaves Wilder: “Better Together”

Last week, rising British musician Eaves Wilder shared a new song, “Better Together,” via Secretly Canadian. This is her first new music since the release of her debut EP, Hookey, released back in March. Wilder will also be making appearances at Glastonbury Festival and Secret Garden Party. Check out her upcoming tour dates here.

“Better Together” was inspired by an interview she watched with Pharrell where he stated that “songs should be an argument.” In the song, Wilder hops between the perspectives of two people, one who is skeptical of life and one who is trying to convince them otherwise.

Of the song, Wilder says in a press release: “I became a relationship skeptic after the relationship that inspired my song ‘I Stole Your Jumper.’ I’m not gonna cut myself in two to be your other half was how I viewed them.”

Wilder has been recording, producing, and releasing her own music since the age of 16. After she signed to Secretly Canadian, she released Hookey along with some accompanying music videos. Wilder made our 23 for 2023 list and previously we wrote about her singles “I Stole Your Jumper” and “Morning Rain.”

Read our review of Hookey. By Kat Ramkumar

12. Vinyl Williams: “Love Is a Sound”

Last week, neo-psychedelic artist Vinyl Williams announced the release of his seventh studio album, Aeterna, and shared its latest single “Love Is a Sound.” Aeterna is due out August 4 via Harmony. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover artwork here.

Williams draws inspiration from names such as Love, Brian Wilson, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Curt Bottcher, and Burt Bacharach, to create vivid music that is half song and half psychedelic journey.

Read our review of Williams’ Azure (Requiem Pour Un Twister). By Kat Ramkumar

13. Killer Mike: “Scientists & Engineers” (Feat. Future, Andre 3000, Eryn Allen Kane)

Killer Mike of Run the Jewels released a new solo album, simply titled MICHAEL, last Friday via Loma Vista. Last week he also shared another song from the album, “Scientists & Engineers,” which features Future, Andre 3000, and Eryn Allen Kane. At the same time he also revealed who’s featured on the rest of the album. Find out more here, followed by Killer Mike’s upcoming tour dates.

Previously, “Don’t Let the Devil,” which features his Run the Jewels bandmate EL-P and thankugoodsir, was shared in April. It was one of our Songs of the Week. Then he shared the album’s next single, “Motherless,” via a music video, as well as an interconnected video for “Don’t Let the Devil.” Last year Killer Mike shared the new song “RUN,” a collaboration with Young Thug with a video features an opening monologue by Dave Chappelle. “RUN” is featured on MICHAEL.

A previous press release said MICHAEL is “his most autobiographical and independent album to date.” Killer Mike added: “RTJ is the X-Men, this is my Logan.”

Killer Mike’s last solo album was 2012’s R.A.P. Music. Run the Jewels’ most recent album, RTJ4, came out in 2020 via Jewel Runners/BMG. By Mark Redfern

14. CHAI: “PARA PARA”

Last week, Japanese pop four-piece, CHAI, announced the release of their new self-titled album and shared its latest single, “PARA PARA.” CHAI is due out September 22 via Sub Pop. A Jennifer Juniper Stadford-directed music video for “PARA PARA” was also shared. The band also announced a handful of fall North American tour dates in support of the new record. Here, check out the new album’s tracklist and cover artwork, as well as the upcoming tour dates.

When making their Ryu Takahasi-produced self-titled album, CHAI returned to their roots, drawing inspiration from Japanese cultural heritage and the music that raised them. “Everything reflected in the lyrics expresses our experience as Japanese women,” Mana (vocals, keyboard) says in a press release.

“PARA PARA” pays homage to a popular two-step dance that was trending in Japan in the 1990s. Of the song Mana says: “There’s not a deep meaning to that song, it’s really just about the dance,” says Mana. “As long as you can feel the two-step, any dance is possible! Let your body just move to your dancing heart. When your body moves to the beat of your heart, you’ll realize that the world is smaller than you think, and all your problems are easier than they seem. ‘Cause two-step and music is the best way to communicate in this world. Let it start CHAI’s two-step dance music. ”

The song’s music video honors the past, present, and future of art-rock and J-pop, drawing influence from Yellow Magic Orchestra, Talking Heads and Devo.

Most of the songs on CHAI were written on the road in between shows. “It was actually a chill and relaxed process, because we were playing shows every day and were really in the music,” Mana says.

The band tapped into their Japanese identity through a more Euro-centric way, crafting songs with titles such as “MATCHA” and “KARAOKE.” Of the album, Mana says, “This is CHAI! With our self-titled album CHAI, CHAI declare that we live proudly as Japanese women. We hope this album gives everyone a little more confidence in living how they want to live. That is our ideal. If this album becomes that existence for anyone, that is the right answer in our eyes. Listen, feel. We give you our evolution, inside and out! Now come onnn, Neo-Kawaii babies. If you can’t catch up with us, you’ll never feel the Neo-Kawaii.”

The band consists of twin sisters Mana and Kana (guitar), Yuna (drums), and Yuuki (bassist, lyricist).

CHAI previously shared another song off of their upcoming album, “We the Female!” This song was featured on our Songs of the Week.

The band’s last album, WINK, came out in 2021 via Sub Pop. It was featured on our Top 100 Albums of 2021 list. Read our 2021 interview with CHAI about WINK.

In 2022, the band shared the singles “Surprise” and “My Dream.” They also collaborated with Superorganism on “Hero Journey.” By Kat Ramkumar

15. Tim Kinsella and Jenny Pulse: “Unblock Obstacles”

Last week, Tim Kinsella (of Joan of Arc) and Jenny Pulse announced the release of their debut LP together, Giddy Skelter, and shared a Sam Wagster-directed music video of its lead single, “Unblock Obstacles.” Giddy Skelter is due out September 8 via Kill Rock Stars. Check out the upcoming LP’s tracklist and cover artwork here.

The married duo, Kinsella and Pulse have spent years making art, whether it be through their separate musical acts Joan of Arc and Spa Moans, or under their own names as visual artists. Giddy Skelter draws from two of the most popular songs in rock history—“Gimme Shelter” and “Helter Skelter.” The title also alludes to the documentary about The Rolling Stones’ Altamont free concert and the Mason Family’s Helter Skelter scenario. “In my mind, it’s this period at the end of the dream, the end of the ’60s, the idea of this utopia,” Kinsella says in a press release. “Now, with lingering pandemic and its consequences, rising authoritarianism, looming climate catastrophe, these unsustainable levels of anxiety and chaos, the eras feel similarly apocalyptic.”

Of the song “Unblock Obstacles,” Kinsella says: “For the first year of its existence the song had a soulful synth feel, like one of the breezier songs from that Personal Space: Electronic Soul 1974-1984 compilation. We’ve both been fans of that album for many years. We slowly whittled away at the song’s layers, simplifying it more & more, until eventually arriving at this primal approach. It felt right, but we were intimidated by such simplicity; it actually does require some true nerve to strip away all the flashy & clever components. But we made peace with our impulse when we realized that our most impactful move for the song’s big dynamic change could be to make the simple song even simpler. We aimed to create a sense of expansion by digging deeper into the established foundation.” The song also features a cascading flute performed by Rob Fyre.

Of the music video, director Wagester says: “This performance is a study of the contrast between real and pantomimed objects in a theatrical setting, and the shared hallucination of performer and audience. Cinematic effects occur in the filmed version to translate these heightened moments to the screen.”

“Unblock Obstacles” follows the release of their recent single “Sun Inspector.”

Read our 2018 interview with Kinsella and his Joan of Arc band member Melina Ausikaitis. By Kat Ramkumar

16. Geese: “I See Myself”

Brooklyn post-punk five-piece Geese released a new album, 3D Country, today via Partisan/Play It Again Sam. On Tuesday, they shared its fourth and final pre-release single, “I See Myself” via a music video co-directed by Geese frontman Cameron Winter (with Andy Swartz). Check out the band’s upcoming tour dates here.

Winter had this to say about “I See Myself” in a press release: “‘I See Myself’ was one of the last songs we pulled together for the album. I was inspired by my favorite Funkadelic songs, which are dead simple and have big choruses with beautiful backing vocals, so this was our version of something like that. This might be Geese’s first proper love song. Seeing your humanity reflected back in someone else is one of the most pure kinds of connections that exist, to me. But I think there’s a lyrical darkness to the song too, about wanting to save someone you love from something evil and unstoppable.”

3D Country includes “Cowboy Nudes,” a new song the band shared in January. When the album was announced in March they shared its second single, title track “3D Country,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared its third single, “Mysterious Love,” via a self-directed music video, and announced some new tour dates. “Mysterious Love” was also one of our Songs of the Week.

3D Country is the band’s sophomore album. Their debut album, Projector, was released in 2021, also via Partisan/Play It Again Sam.

Drummer Max Bassin ominously summed up the new album this way: “It feels like going to the circus and instead of having a good time, everyone is trying to kill you.”

Read our interview with Geese on Projector. By Mark Redfern

17. Beck and Phoenix: “Odyssey”

On Wednesday, Beck and Phoenix teamed up for a new song, “Odyssey.” This song shares a name with the band’s upcoming tour, coined “Summer Odyssey,” which is set to kick off on August 1. Check out upcoming tour dates here.

This three minutes and 47 seconds pop number was co-written/co-produced by both artists and mixed by Sherban Ghenea, as Beck and Phoenix’s Thomas Mars trade lead vocals on the song’s verses. Even though the essence of pop music changes with fads throughout time, Beck and Phoenix still ride out the wave of early 2010’s glittery sounds.

They’re bringing nostalgia back to the stage together, alongside other supporting artists such as Weyes Blood, Sir Chloe, Jenny Lewis, and Japanese Breakfast.

Beck’s most recent album, Hyperspace, came out in 2019 via Capitol. Read our review of it here.

Phoenix’s most recent album, Alpha Zulu, came out last November 4 via Loyaute/Glassnote. Listen to our interview with Thomas Mars about the album on the Under the Radar with Celine Teo-Blockey podcast here. By Kat Ramkumar

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 17. Woods, Picture Parlour, Lewis OfMan, Suki Waterhouse and Belle and Sebastian, and Vagabon all almost made the main list.

Allah-Las: “The Stuff”

Girl Scout: “Boy in Blue”

Peggy Gou: “(It Goes Like) Nanana”

Carly Rae Jepsen: “Shy Boy”

JJUUJJUU: “No Way In”

Lewis OfMan: “Highway” (Feat. Empress Of)

Little Dragon: “Tumbling Dice”

Picture Parlour: “Norwegian Wood”

Rip Dunes: “In Real Life”

Sparklehorse: “Evening Star Supercharger”

Vagabon: “Can I Talk My Shit?”

Suki Waterhouse and Belle and Sebastian: “Every Day’s a Lesson in Humility”

Woods: “Between the Past”

Here’s a handy Spotify playlist featuring the Top 17 in order, followed by all the honorable mentions:

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