9 Best Songs of the Week: Water From Your Eyes, LUMP, Silk Sonic, Koleżanka, and More | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, September 16th, 2021  

9 Best Songs of the Week: Water From Your Eyes, LUMP, Silk Sonic, Koleżanka, and More

Plus Dry Cleaning, Amyl and the Sniffers, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Jul 30, 2021
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Welcome to the 29th Songs of the Week of 2021. It was a light week for great new tracks, but we came up with nine we really liked.

In the last week we posted interviews with Anika, Tunng, LUMP, and Yola.

In the last week we also reviewed a bunch of albums.

Don’t forget that in April we announced our new print issue. The issue features Japanese Breakfast and HAIM on the two covers and is another edition of The Protest Issue, which examines the intersection of music and politics and features musicians photographed with protest signs of their own making. It follows Protest Issues we also published in 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016.

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

Note: We are taking a week off from Songs of the Week next week, as I’ll be away on a much needed vacation. We should be back with Songs of the Week on August 13 with a super-sized edition covering two weeks worth of songs.

1. Water From Your Eyes: “Track Five”

New York-based duo Water From Your Eyes are releasing a new album, Structure, on August 27 via Wharf Cat, their first album for the label. On Wednesday they shared its third single, “Track Five,” which is actually track six on the album. The propulsive song was shared via a self-directed video.

Water From Your Eyes are Nate Amos and Rachel Brown.

Brown had this to say about the new song in a press release: “I get really lost in this song when we perform it. It’s so easy to get lost in. Someone once said it’s like dancing through the fallout of a nuclear power plant. I think they were on to something. This song is also a bittersweet one. I think this whole album might be bittersweet. I remember writing this song right after someone in my life left. For me, this song always feels like watching someone walk away as you realize the mental image of the last time they looked in your direction has already faded.

“To me, the song is both melancholy and out of control. I felt that the video needed to have an abandoned industrial feeling to convey the pining for what has been lost in sharp contrast with a chaotic chromatic dance party that digs into the welcomed apathy of letting everything go. We shot it at an abandoned building out behind JFK that I had seen from the highway on my way to Far Rockaway the week before, by the old Red Hook grain terminal, and in the hallway of my apartment. It was a real fun time hanging out and creating with some of my best friends and also I learned that there are lizards by JFK which is a very exciting development for me.”

Previously Water From Your Eyes shared the album’s first single, ““Quotations,”” which was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared the album’s second single, the dreamy horn-backed love song “When You’re Around,” which references the band’s name in the lyrics and has a Beach Boys vibe. “When You’re Around” was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Structure is influenced by Scott Walker’s Climate of Hunter and the works of painter Mark Rothko. A previous press release said that “it’s a concept album that pokes fun of the idea of concept albums, exploring high-minded ideas while subverting them and applying a hyper-focused eye for detail in the service of a series of clever misdirections.”

The duo’s last album was 2019’s Somebody Else’s Song.

2. LUMP: “Gamma Ray”

LUMP (aka Laura Marling and Tunng’s Mike Lindsay) have released a new album, Animal, today via Partisan/Chrysalis. On Tuesday they shared the album’s fourth single, “Gamma Ray,” via a video featuring the band’s big colorful LUMP creature.

In a press release Lindsay had this to say about the song: “There’s this part from the second half where you hear a voice, and in my mind that was the LUMP creature speaking to us saying ‘Excuse me, I don’t think we’ve been introduced’, and then it does this kind of ‘Ahhh!’ sound, that’s LUMP going through my Eventide H949 Harmonizer. I think that’s how you say ‘LUMP’ in LUMP language. Laura also uses the word ‘gawped,’ which is brilliant.”

Marling adds: “The lyrics are all just nonsense writing, but I always had in my mind a story I’d heard about my dad’s cousin dying. He died very young, he committed suicide sadly, obviously long before I was born. He was incredibly good looking and everyone loved him, and when they tolled the bell at his funeral two of my dad’s sisters fainted. They were so overcome. ‘Gawping’ comes from French singer Georges Brassens, who did a really weird song called ‘Brave Margot,’ and in the translation there is something about the men ‘gawping.’”

Also, on Wednesday we posted our review of the album (read it here) and yesterday we ran our exclusive interview with LUMP about the album (read that here).

Previously LUMP shared a video for the album’s title track, “Animal.” “Animal” was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. Then they shared the album’s second single, “Climb Every Wall,” via a playful video for it (the song also made our Songs of the Week list). Then they shared “We Cannot Resist,” via a video for the song (which again was #1 on our Songs of the Week list).

Animal follows the band’s self-titled debut album, LUMP, which came out in 2018 via Dead Oceans.

“LUMP is so the repository for so many things that I’ve had in my mind and just don’t fit anywhere in that way,” said Marling in a previous press release. “They don’t have to totally make narrative sense, but weirdly they end up making narrative sense in some way.”

Marling’s last album, the acclaimed Song For Our Daughter, came out last year via Partisan/Chrysalis. Tunng also released a new album, DEAD CLUB, last year via Full Time Hobby. Marling was working on both Song For Our Daughter and the LUMP album at the same time.

“It became a very different thing about escaping a persona that has become a burden to me in some way. It was like putting on a superhero costume,” she said, adding that sometimes it feels as if she might be “edging Laura Marling off a cliff as much as I can and putting LUMP in the center.”

Animal was recorded at Lindsay’s home studio in Margate, Kent. A big feature of the sessions was his Eventide H949 Harmonizer, which is the same pitch-shifter David Bowie used on Low. In order to make sure her lyrics were more spontaneous, Marling would show up at the studio without hearing Lindsay’s music ahead of time.

“There’s a little bit of a theme of hedonism on the album, of desires running wild,” said Lindsay. “We created LUMP as a sort of persona and an idea and a creature. Through LUMP we find our inner animal, and through that animal we travel into a parallel universe.”

Read our 2018 interview with LUMP.

Marling and Lindsay met when Marling supported Neil Young at a London show in June 2016 and they discovered that they were mutual fans of each other’s work. The collaboration grew from there.

3. Silk Sonic: “Skate”

Silk Sonic are Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak (aka California musician/producer Brandon Paak Anderson) and early this morning they shared a new song “Skate,” via a video for it. It’s another irresistible slice of smooth retro soul. It’s incredibly cheesy, opening with the lines: “In a room full of dimes/You would be a hundred dollars/If bein’ fine was a crime girl/They’d lock your lil’ fine ass up in a tower.” But it’s also hard to argue with such a joyous song.

Mars and Florent Déchard directed the video, which was co-directed by Philippe Tayag and features the duo playing drums and singing songs while women roller skate around them.

“Skate” follows their debut single together, “Leave the Door Open,” which was shared in March and was also one of our Songs of the Week. Both songs are promised to be on their forthcoming debut album, An Evening With Silk Sonic, which doesn’t have a release date yet. The legendary Bootsy Collins came up with the name Silk Sonic and is featured on the album.

4. Koleżanka: “A Mouthful”

Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, guitarist, and producer koleżanka (aka Kristina Moore) has released a new album, Place Is, today via Bar/None, her debut for the label. On Monday she shared another song from it, “A Mouthful,” the album’s final pre-release single.

“This one describes a general apathy and isolation while coming off the high of a tour and finally settling into a new city,” explains Moore in a press release. “Working as a server and falling into the classic New York industry habit of spending most of my earned money in bars. I often like to sit in a bar alone with my thoughts, but inevitably find myself warding off some weird dude who thinks my being alone is an invitation. The second verse is about a particular event. I was working at a toxic place where we were forced into doubles all weekend. On an incredibly stressful night, the owner lost it and threw a chef’s knife into the dish pit, and it ricocheted off and almost went through my skull. I didn’t have time to eat all day, and felt so helpless that I ended up drinking myself into oblivion that night on an empty stomach and had to be carried down the stairs of my building from the roof.”

Previously koleżanka shared Place Is singles “Vegan Sushi” and “7th St/7th Ave” (which was one of our Songs of the Week). They were followed by “In a Meeting,” shared via a video for it and also one of our Songs of the Week.

Moore was born in Phoenix. The project also features percussionist/multi-instrumentalist Ark Calkins.

BarNoneRecords · A Mouthful

5. Dry Cleaning: “Tony Speaks”

On Wednesday London-based post-punk band Dry Cleaning shared two new songs, “Bug Eggs” and “Tony Speaks.” The double A-side single follows their debut album, New Long Leg, released in April via 4AD and the songs were recorded during the same sessions for the album and previously appeared as bonus tracks on the extended Japanese version of the album. We almost couldn’t decide which one we liked best, but appreciated the energy and message of “Tony Speaks” so we went with that one. “Bug Eggs” is an honorable mention further below.

Singer Florence Shaw had this to say in a press release: “‘Bug Eggs’ is about the confidence that comes with age, fragility and sexual desire. The lyrics to ‘Tony Speaks!’ were written days after the Conservative party won the December 2019 UK election. I was thinking about climate change, environmental catastrophes, and political campaigning.”

Read our review of New Long Leg here.

To read our interview with the band on New Long Leg, pick up our current print issue (Issue 68).

Shaw spoke about the album in a previous press release: “The title is ambiguous; a new long leg could be an expensive present or a growth or a table repair. It’s not just sheer pent-up energy all the time in the way that the first two EPs were. I feel more confident with leaving gaps.”

The band also features Tom Dowse (guitar), Lewis Maynard (bass), and Nick Buxton (drums). John Parish produced the album, which was recorded at Rockfield Studios in the Welsh countryside.

Our writer Dom Gourlay had this to say about New Long Leg in this excerpt from his review: “The quartet make music that’s incomparable with anyone else either past or present. Sure, there are influences ranging from post-punk to psychedelic noise and everything in between, all held together by Shaw’s unmistakable, deadpan spoken delivery. Poetry in motion but of the sort that’s obtuse, disparate, insatiably engaging, and, at times, wildly amusing.”

Previously released singles from New Long Leg are “Scratchcard Lanyard” (one of our Songs of the Week), “Strong Feelings” (another one of our Songs of the Week), and “Unsmart Lady” (also on our Songs of the Week list).

In March, 4AD shared a Dry Cleaning cover of Grimes’ “Oblivion” for their compilation Bills & Aches & Blues.

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.

6. Amyl and the Sniffers: “Security”

Australian punks Amyl and the Sniffers are releasing a new album, Comfort to Me, on September 10 via ATO. On Wednesday they shared its second single, “Security,” via a video for it that features singer Amy Taylor in a graveyard. John Angus Stewart directed the video. The song is an anthem for being let inside a club or pub even though the bouncer might think you are too drunk.

Previously the band shared the album’s first single, “Guided By Angels,” via a video for it.

Comfort to Me is the band’s second album, the follow up to 2019’s self-titled debut. Nick Launay (Nick Cave, IDLES, Yeah Yeah Yeahs) mixed the album and Bernie Grundman (Prince, Michael Jackson, Dr. Dre, OutKast) mastered it. John Angus Stewart directed the “Guided by Angels” video. The band—frontwoman Amy Taylor, guitarist Dec Martens, bassist Gus Romer, and drummer Bryce Wilson—wrote the album during the pandemic while quarantining in the same house together. This allowed more time to work on the songs and refine them.

“The nihilistic, live in the moment, positivity and panel beater rock-meets-shed show punk was still there, but it was better,” says Taylor in a press release. “The whole thing was less spontaneous and more darkly considered.”

Taylor also had this to say: “The amount of time and thought I put into the lyrics for this album is completely different from the EPs, and even the first record. Half of the lyrics were written during the Australian bushfire season, when we were already wearing masks to protect ourselves from the smoke in the air. And then when the pandemic hit, our options were the same as everyone: go find a day job and work in intense conditions or sit at home and drown in introspection. I fell into the latter category. I had all this energy inside of me and nowhere to put it, because I couldn’t perform, and it had a hectic effect on my brain. My brain evolved and warped and my way of thinking about the world completely changed.

“Having to deal with a lot of authority during 2020 and realising my lack of power made me feel both more self destructive and more self disciplined, more nihilistic and more depressed and more resentful, which ultimately fuelled me with a kind of relentless motivation. I became a temporary monster. I partied more, but I also exercised heaps, read books and ate veggies. I was like an egg going into boiling water when this started, gooey and weak but with a hard surface. I came out even harder. I’m still soft on the inside, but in a different way.”

In conclusion, Taylor says: “People will use other bands as a sonic reference to make it more digestible and journalists will make it seem more pretentious and considered than it really is, but in the end this album is just us—raw self expression, defiant energy, unapologetic vulnerability.”

Back in January, Taylor collaborated with English electronic punk duo, Sleaford Mods (Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn), singing on “Nudge It” on their latest album, Spare Ribs.

7. Madi Diaz: “Resentment”

Nashville-based singer Madi Diaz is releasing a new album, History of a Feeling, on August 27 via ANTI-. On Wednesday she shared another song from it, the soulful and stripped back “Resentment,” which has a bit of a HAIM vibe, via a video for it that features her in a junkyard. She has also announced some tour dates. $ECK directed the video, which was filmed at the Four Lane Auto Salvage in Nashville.

“It felt completely and strangely cathartic walking around ruin and wreckage in the salvage yard making the ‘Resentment’ video,” says Diaz in a press release. “It was somehow representative of all the feelings I’ve let sit and rot and rust, probably becoming more hazardous with time and neglect. It was almost a kind of joyful act smashing up cars like maybe I was crushing and compounding my own resentments. Basically it’s cheap therapy and I highly recommend it. I loved making this video and I think Seck has such a beautiful eye…somehow he made poetry out of something pretty brutal.”

Diaz has already shared three other songs from History of a Feeling: February’s “Man in Me,” March’s “New Person, Old Place,” and May’s “Nervous.” When the album was announced she shared a video for another new song, “Woman In My Heart,” which was one of our Songs of the Week.

Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Bon Iver) co-produced the album with Diaz.

Diaz had this to say about the album in a previous press release: “The bulk of this music came from dealing with a kind of tsunami clash of compassion, both for my former partner while she was discovering a deeper part of her gender identity long hidden, and my own raw heartache over having lost the partner I knew. I felt so torn through the middle because half of me wanted to hold this person through such a major life event, one that is so beautiful and hard, and the other half felt lost—like I had lost myself in someone else’s story.”

8. Meatbodies: “The Hero”

Los Angeles-based rock trio Meatbodies are releasing a new album, 333, on September 3 via In the Red. This week they shared its second single, “The Hero,” via a video for it.

Casey Hanson directed the video and had this to say in a press release: “The video and song are an exercise in sarcasm. Further it’s maybe a jaded/cynical expression in regards to the good-evil duality narrative fed to us by people—idealizing machines of war, fetishizing trauma. It’s also just pretty colors and wrestling heel antics.”

Previously the band shared its first single, the bass-heavy shoegaze cut “Reach For the Sunn,” via a video for it. “Reach For the Sunn” was one of our Songs of the Week.

Meatbodies is led by Chad Ubovich, who has also performed with Fuzz and in Mikal Cronin’s backing band. After the band’s second album, 2017’s Alice, Ubovich was a bit burnt out.

“I’d been touring for eight years straight with all these bands, and just couldn’t do it anymore,” he says in a press release. “There was also a feeling in the air that everything was changing, politically. Things just didn’t feel right, and I went down a dark path.”

But eventually Ubovich found his way back to Meatbodies, alongside drummer Dylan Fujioka, and a new album was finished by late 2019. But then COVID-19 hit, putting its release on hold. In lockdown, Ubovich revisited some demos he and Fujioka had recorded in 2018 that he says “sounded gross, like a scary Magical Mystery Tour.” Enamored by the demos’ “deliriously disordered” nature, Ubovich turned those into Meatbodies’ third album instead.

9. Saint Etienne: “Pond House”

On Tuesday, British indie-pop trio Saint Etienne announced a new album, I’ve Been Trying to Tell You, that is accompanied by a film. They also shared its first single, “Pond House,” via a video. The album and film are about “optimism, youth, and the late ’90s.” I’ve Been Trying to Tell You is due out September 10 via Heavenly. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as the band’s upcoming tour dates and info on some film screenings and a trailer for the film, here.

Alasdair McLellan directed the film, which premieres at the BFI (British Film Institute) in London on September 3 and is followed by a weekend of Saint Etienne film screenings and Q&As. The album was recorded remotely, a first for the band, with each member in a different location no doubt due to the pandemic. Pete Wiggs was in Hove, Sarah Cracknell was in Oxford, and Bob Stanley was in Bradford. Film and TV composer Gus Bousfield also contributed to two songs on the album.

A press release explains the album’s concept in more detail: “The album was made largely from samples and sounds drawn from the years 1997-2001, a period that was topped and tailed by Labour’s election victory and the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers. Was the optimism of that era a lost golden age, or was it a period of naïvety, delusion and folly? The collective folk memory of any period differs from the lived reality. I’ve Been Trying to Tell You is an album about memory, how it works, how it tricks you and creates a dream-like state. It also taps into the way we think of our youth, a sense of place, and where we come from.”

The band members are each also quoted in the press release.

Bob Stanley: “To me it’s about optimism, and the late ’90s, and how memory is an unreliable narrator. Pete and Gus have done a properly amazing production job. I think it sounds gorgeous.”

Sarah Cracknell: “It’s the first sample driven album we’ve made since So Tough and it’s been a really refreshing experience, such fun! It’s both dreamy and atmospheric, late summer sounds.”

Pete Wiggs: “We’ve really pulled apart and dived deep into the samples; the concept and each of our interpretations of it have made this a very special sounding album, we hope you think so too.”

Director/photographer Alasdair McLellan also had this to say about the accompanying film: “My starting point was an interpretation of my memories from the time I first started to listen to Saint Etienne’s music. Of course, it is an interpretation of what I was doing then while looking back at it now. At that time, I was a bored teenager in a village near Doncaster, South Yorkshire; it was a place where very little happened. I now look back at that time as something quite idyllic—even the boredom seems idyllic—and a big part of its soundtrack was Saint Etienne.”

Saint Etienne’s last album was 2017’s Home Counties.

Read our 2017 print magazine interview with Saint Etienne.

Read our 2017 extended Q&A with Saint Etienne.

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 9.

A Great Big Pile of Leaves: “Hit Reset”

Dry Cleaning: “Bug Eggs”

Angel Olsen: “The Safety Dance” (Men Without Hats Cover)

Other notable new tracks in the last week include:

Matt Berninger: “I’m Waiting For the Man” (The Velvet Underground Cover)

Black Marble: “Somewhere”

Bleachers: “Secret Life” (Feat. Lana Del Rey)

Boy Scouts: “That’s Life Honey”

IAN SWEET: “Yellow” (Coldplay Cover)

Ada Lea: “damn”

Liars: “From What the Never Was”

Loma: “Going Out” (Dinner Cover)

Magic Roundabout: “She’s a Waterfall”

Arlo Parks: “Too Good (Unknown Mortal Orchestra Remix)”

Porridge Radio: “New Slang” (The Shins Cover)

SASAMI: “Sorry Entertainer” (Daniel Johnston Cover)

Single Girl, Married Girl: “Hurt Her So”

Single Girl, Married Girl · Hurt Her So

Sleigh Bells: “Locust Laced”

Turnstile: “Blackout”

Special Mention:

Sarah Brand: “Red Dress”

This new song by Sarah Brand, “Red Dress,” technically came out earlier in the month, but we only just discovered it this week. The song has gone viral, with over half a million YouTube views so far, but perhaps not in the way Brand intended. Most are sharing it because her vocals are so amazingly off-key. There has been some speculation that the whole thing is intended as a joke, as Brand is an American sociology major attending the prestigious Oxford University in England. But if that’s the case, then she’s been playing the long con as older videos found on YouTube also show that she can’t really sing, including another recent single “Fantasy.” If she is being sincere with her music, then we wish her the best of luck and hope that something good comes out of all this attention, rather than it scarring her life.

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