10 Greatest Songs of the Week: Alex Lahey, boygenius, Jess Williamson, Hand Habits, and Extra
Plus The Beths, Jenny Lewis, Lightning Mud, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Different Notable New Tracks
Mar 31, 2023
Welcome to the twelfth Songs of the Week of 2023. The pickings have been a bit of slimmer this week, however we discovered sufficient singles (and one album monitor) to provide you with a stable High 10.
Within the final week we reviewed some albums.
Keep in mind that our present print situation, the My Favourite Film Subject, is out now.
That can assist you type by the multitude of contemporary songs launched within the final week, we’ve picked the ten finest the final week needed to provide, adopted by some honorable mentions. Take a look at the total checklist under.
1. Alex Lahey: “They Wouldn’t Let Me In”
Australian singer/songwriter Alex Lahey is releasing a brand new album, The Reply Is At all times Sure, on Might 19 by way of Liberation. Yesterday she shared one other tune from it, “They Wouldn’t Let Me In,” by way of an amusing music video that includes Lahey working in a furnishings retailer. Lahey co-directed the video with Claire Giuffre.
In “They Wouldn’t Let Me In,” over a propulsive bass-heavy beat Lahey particulars all of the locations she felt unwelcome as a queer teenager. “I couldn’t get into the bar or the church or the backseat of your mom’s automotive/The membership or the bus or the band the place nobody performs guitar/The dance at your faculty or the change rooms on the swimming pool/The haunted home down the road that every one these folks died in,” she sings, earlier than the refrain of, “They wouldn’t let me in/Why don’t you let me in.”
You might argue that Lahey wouldn’t be an efficient vampire if nobody will welcome her in. However the tune is extra severe than all that, as she explains in a press launch.
“After watching the good TV sequence Heartstopper, I spent a number of time desirous about my very own experiences rising up as a queer teenager,” Lahey says. “Though I used to be extraordinarily fortunate that almost all of my expertise was full of pleasure, acceptance and love, it wasn’t all the time clean crusing. This tune is impressed by these harder moments—not being allowed to attend my highschool girlfriend’s faculty formal, being excluded from typical romantic rites of passage, moments of isolation and feeling like I couldn’t relate to anybody round me. ‘They Wouldn’t Let Me In’ is by far probably the most direct tune I’ve ever written about this time.”
When The Reply Is At all times Sure was introduced, Lahey shared its lead single, “Good Time,” by way of a music video. “Good Time” was one among our Songs of the Week. The album additionally consists of two 2022 singles. In August 2022 Lahey shared the brand new tune, “Congratulations,” by way of a video the place she married herself. “Congratulations” was one among our Songs of the Week. In November 2022 she shared “Shit Talkin’,” which was additionally one among our Songs of the Week.
Lahey had this to say in regards to the album in a earlier press launch: “Dwelling in a world that wasn’t made for you makes you fairly sturdy and adaptive, and you discover the enjoyable in it. It additionally makes you understand how absurd every thing is. With this report, I needed to get bizarre as a result of the world is bizarre, and it’s even weirder once you understand you don’t match into it on a regular basis.”
The Reply Is At all times Sure is the primary time Lahey has labored with outdoors producers and songwriters. Jacknife Lee (U2, Taylor Swift) co-wrote and co-produced “Good Time,” for instance.
“I’ve made two data doing all of it on my own and now I’ve proved to myself that I can do it,” Lahey mentioned. “However it was additionally at some extent the place I used to be like, ‘If I do this once more, I form of know what it’s gonna sound like’ and I don’t suppose I’m eager about that proper now.”
Of the album’s title, Lahey added: “I really feel like in case you’re saying sure and also you’re exploring, you’re all the time shifting. That’s the a part of life that I’m in proper now. I simply don’t wanna cease.”
The Reply Is At all times Sure is Lahey’s third album and the follow-up to 2019’s The Better of Luck Membership.
In 2021, Lahey shared the tune “On My Approach” from the animated Netflix movie The Mitchells vs. the Machines, and it nabbed a spot on our Songs of the Week checklist. That was adopted by one other new tune, “Spike the Punch,” shared in October 2021 and in addition one among our Songs of the Week. Neither tune is on The Reply Is At all times Sure.
Lahey was additionally one of many artists on our twentieth anniversary Covers of Covers album, the place she coated St. Vincent’s “New York.”
2. boygenius: “Cool About It”
Boygenius, the supergroup that includes Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, and Phoebe Bridgers, launched their debut full-length album, the report, in the present day by way of Interscope and in addition shared an accompanying quick movie directed by actor/director Kristen Stewart merely titled the movie. Each stream the album and watch the movie right here.
There have been a number of the report album tracks not launched as pre-release singles that we thought-about for this week’s Songs of the Week, however settled on “Cool About It.” It options such devastating lyrics as “I can stroll you dwelling and observe technique appearing/I’ll faux being with you doesn’t really feel like drowning/Telling you it’s good to see how good you’re doing although we all know it isn’t true.” The tune was debuted dwell in March on the Tibet Home Profit.
We additionally actually appreciated album nearer “Letter to An Previous Poet” (which makes the honorable mentions checklist) and “Revolution 0.”
This week the band additionally introduced some upcoming tour dates. Examine these out right here2.
When the report was introduced in January, boygenius shared three new songs from it: “$20,” “Emily I’m Sorry,” and “True Blue.” “$20” made our Songs of the Week checklist. Then they shared the album’s fourth single, “Not Robust Sufficient,” by way of a music video. “Not Robust Sufficient” was additionally one among our Songs of the Week.
Then they introduced some North American tour dates for this summer time. A slew of openers are unfold throughout the tour, relying on the date, together with Carly Rae Jepsen, Damaged Social Scene, Bartees Unusual, Claud, and Illuminati Hotties.
Boygenius fashioned in 2018 and launched their self-titled debut EP the identical yr by way of Matador. The trio self-produced the report, which was recorded at Shangri-la Studios in Malibu, California. In June 2020, per week after she launched her acclaimed sophomore album Punisher, Bridgers despatched the demo for “Emily I’m Sorry” to Baker and Dacus and requested if boygenius might report music once more. Baker then created a Google Drive folder referred to as “dare I say it?” and the three songwriters started including potential songs to it. Then in any case three have been vaccinated, the trio received collectively in particular person in April 2021 to actually start writing the album. The band then recorded the report at Shangri-la in January 2022 over the course of a month, working for 10 hours day-after-day.
Dacus’ newest album, Residence Video, got here out in 2021 by way of Matador (stream it right here). It was excessive up on our High 100 Albums of 2021 checklist. In 2021, we posted our in-depth Beneath the Radar Podcast interview with Dacus on the album (take heed to it right here). Additionally learn our 2021 Protest Subject interview with Dacus.
Baker’s final album, Little Oblivions, additionally got here out in 2021 by way of Matador and was additionally one among our High 100 Albums of 2021. Learn our Protest Subject interview with Baker, the place she discusses the album, right here. Additionally take heed to our Beneath the Radar podcast interview with Baker right here.
Learn our 2019 cowl story interview with boygenius.
Learn our 2017 cowl story interview with Julien Baker.
3. Jess Williamson: “Hunter”
On Tuesday, Texas-born/Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Jess Williamson introduced a brand new album, Time Ain’t Unintentional, and shared its first single, “Hunter,” by way of a music video. She’s additionally introduced some spring tour dates. Time Ain’t Unintentional is due out June 9 by way of Mexican Summer season. Rocco Rivetti directed the “Hunter” video. Take a look at the album’s tracklist and canopy paintings, in addition to her upcoming tour dates, right here.
“Should you’ve been ghosted, in case you’ve chased after an unavailable particular person, in case you’ve been given crumbs once you want a full meal, ‘Hunter’ is a tune for you,” Williamson says of the brand new single, in a press launch. “I wrote it throughout a time once I was heartbroken over a breakup and experimenting with relationship in Los Angeles. That period felt like being thrown to the wolves, however it helped me to see myself and what I actually needed extra clearly. This tune is an anthem for the true lovers on the market, anybody who’s looking for the true factor.”
Time Ain’t Unintentional is the follow-up to 2020’s Sorceress, though final yr Williamson teamed up with Waxahatchee (aka Katie Crutchfield) to kind Plains and the duo launched their debut album below that title, I Walked With You A Methods, by way of ANTI-.
The brand new album was partially impressed by a breakup initially of the pandemic and her makes an attempt at relationship once more after an extended relationship. Williamson labored with Brad Cook dinner (who’d produced the Plains album), recording in Durham, North Carolina. “I stored pondering, ‘My voice feels completely different now—it’s been liberated,” Williamson says of the recording classes.
4. Hand Habits: “One thing Flawed”
On Monday, Hand Habits (aka Meg Duffy, who makes use of they/them pronouns) introduced a brand new EP (or mini-album), Sugar the Bruise, and shared its first single, “One thing Flawed.” They’ve additionally introduced some new summer time tour dates. Sugar the Bruise is due out June 16 by way of Fats Possum. Take a look at the EP’s tracklist and canopy paintings, in addition to the tour dates, right here.
Duffy taught a month-long songwriting class in the summertime of 2021 and that helped encourage the brand new assortment of songs. Duffy labored with Luke Temple (Right here We Go Magic, Artwork Feynman) and Philip Weinrobe (Adrienne Lenker, Cass McCombs) on Sugar the Bruise.
Duffy had this to say about Sugar the Bruise in a press launch:
“Music, for me, has all the time been a spoonful of honey easing the intermittent and inescapable bitterness of the human expertise. It’s been a thick sweetness in my loneliest moments. In my earliest reminiscences of enjoying music, whether or not alone or in a bunch, the sensation of being related to a higher power past rationalization is the one which shines by. I’ve been deeply dedicated to the trail of conjuring this elusive but poignant feeling by enjoying guitar, by making songs and sounds and sharing them with others. Earlier than I began writing songs with verses and choruses, improvising was primarily how I discovered myself in musical settings. It’s nonetheless a shiny beacon of my method to songwriting and composition. Sonny Rollins mentioned that improvisation is about forgetting, not remembering. That when one’s thoughts goes clean, the concepts that come are from an untraceable supply. I discover that the songs I really feel probably the most related to return from this source-from the voidal area of the unknown. There’s something euphoric to me about coming into this void with intention, with different folks, in a studio setting. The will to vanish inside a tune or a melody or a groove or sudden dissonance is what retains me all the time listening, all the time looking out. I consider this need is inextricable from the chance of ‘failure’ or making ‘errors.’
“In August of 2021 I used to be requested to show a month-long class on songwriting at Faculty of Tune. It was each inspiring and terrifying. I hesitated to think about myself a Songwriter, regardless of having launched three data, not to mention sufficient to show others easy methods to do it my manner. In making ready for this course I examined my very own method with an in depth eye (at occasions too shut for consolation). I noticed how very important improvisation and collaboration are to me; in life and in songwriting. I used to be requested to design writing prompts, and though this was not usually how I might write left to my very own units, I discovered it to be a beautiful method to get the wheels of inspiration turning. I additionally cherished how particular it was to see all of those different musicians, some new, some contemporaries, rising to the event and following themselves into the unknown.
“For Sugar the Bruise, I had no plan aside from to let my thoughts go clean, and lean into the playful aspect of issues. To giggle a bit of, to loosen up, to shift the main target off of my very own expertise a bit. What if singing didn’t imply dredging up the abyss? After all, at baseline I’m pulled in direction of nourishing the unfolding of reminiscence into one thing stunning, one thing archetypal/common, and sharing it with you. And like all good muses, it’s straightforward to undertaking no matter narrative you might be carrying onto them.
“The report was co-produced by my expensive pal Luke Temple (Right here We Go Magic, Artwork Feynman). We had labored collectively earlier than on two of my songs and I felt impressed by the open plan, current second, open method to manufacturing Luke has. As a power over-planner, this received me out of my consolation zone of feigned management. I beloved what we made and the way I felt throughout these classes, the doubt and worry being equal characters to the euphoria and pleasure. I believe belief was the herald to transcendence. I used to be interested in exploring this further- making one thing out of nothing, with even much less of an thought what could be birthed from the void. Alongside engineer/producer Jeremy Harris and introduced over the end line with extra manufacturing, arranging, and mixing by beloved collaborator Phillip Weinrobe, this report turned out nothing like I’d imagined it could.
“So I hope you get pleasure from this assortment of songs. I like to think about them akin to a novella or quick movie. My want is that these songs present a mirror to those that can’t discover their very own methods to clarify the knots of twisted feelings all of us take care of.
“I give you a bit of sugar to the bruise of being born. A little bit sugar to the bruise of existence.”
Final September Hand Habits shared two new singles: “Best Weapon,” which featured Nick Sanborn and Amelia Meath of Sylvan Esso on backing vocals, and “Beneath the Water,” which had Meath on lead vocals. Each singles have been launched as a part of Psychic Hotline’s Singles Collection.
Duffy’s most up-to-date album, Enjoyable Home, got here out in 2021 by way of Saddle Creek.
5. The Beths: “Watching the Credit”
This week, New Zealand four-piece The Beths shared a brand new tune, “Watching the Credit,” introduced some new tour dates, and carried out a Tiny Desk Live performance for NPR Music. Take a look at the Tiny Desk Live performance and tour dates right here.
The setlist for his or her Tiny Desk Live performance is: “Knowledgeable in a Dying Subject,” “Bounce Rope Gazers,” “Out of Sight,” and “When You Know You Know.”
When Knowledgeable in a Dying Subject was introduced late June, the band shared the tune “Silence is Golden,” which was one among our Songs of the Week. They later shared the title monitor, “Knowledgeable in a Dying Subject,” additionally one among our Songs of the Week. Then they shared one other single, “Knees Deep,” by way of a music video (it was once more one among our Songs of the Week).
Decide up our present print situation (My Favourite Film) to learn our The Finish interview with The Beths’ lead singer Elizabeth Stokes.
6. Jenny Lewis: “Psychos”
On Wednesday, Jenny Lewis introduced a brand new album, Pleasure’All, and shared a brand new tune from it, “Psychos,” by way of a lyric video. Pleasure’All is due out June 9 by way of Blue Be aware/Capitol. Take a look at the album’s tracklist and canopy paintings, in addition to Lewis’ upcoming tour dates, right here.
Pleasure’All options her 2021 single “Pet and a Truck,” which she lately shared a video for and was one among our Songs of the Week. It’s her fifth solo album, her first for Blue Be aware and Capitol, and first since shifting to Nashville (beforehand she was based mostly in Los Angeles).
“I began writing a few of these songs on the highway, pre-pandemic,” Lewis explains in a press launch, “after which put them apart because the world shut down, after which from my dwelling in Nashville in early 2021, I joined a week-long digital songwriting workshop with a handful of fantastic artists, hosted by Beck. The problem was to put in writing one tune day-after-day for seven days, with tips from Beck. The rules can be prompts like ‘write a tune with 1-4-5 chord development,’ ‘write a tune with solely cliches,’ or ‘write in free kind fashion.’ The primary tune I submitted to the group was ‘Pet and a Truck.’”
Lewis labored on the brand new album with producer Dave Cobb (John Prine, Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell) and it was recorded at RCA’s Studio A in Nashville.
“Dave works quick and we lower the majority of the report along with his unimaginable home band (Nate Smith, Brian Allen and Cobb on guitar, and myself on acoustic guitar and vocals) dwell on the ground in a few weeks,” Lewis explains. “Jess Wolfe got here again to the studio to offer background vocals on the report after which Greg Leisz and Jon Brion added pedal metal, B-Bender guitar and Chamberlin, respectively, again in L.A..”
Nashville singer/songwriter Skeeter Davis influenced Pleasure’All and on the album cowl Lewis wears one among Davis’ former outfits, found at Black Shag Classic in Nashville by common Lewis collaborator Bobbi Wealthy.
“I needed to riff on the basic Nashville album cowl, with the tune titles on the entrance,” says Lewis. “The duvet photograph is a reference to a Skeeter Davis report and I’m carrying her costume!”
Lewis’ final solo album, On the Line, got here out in 2019 by way of Warner. She collaborated with rapper Serengeti a number of occasions in 2020 on the songs “Unblu,” “Vroom Vroom,” “Fool,” and “GLTR.”
7. Lightning Mud: “Run”
This week, Lightning Mud (Amber Webber and Joshua Wells) introduced a brand new album, Nostalgic Killer, and shared its first single, “Run,” by way of a music video. Nostalgic Killer is due out June 9 by way of Western Vinyl. Tyler McLeod co-directed the video. Take a look at the album’s tracklist and canopy paintings right here.
Webber had this to say in regards to the new single in a press launch: “‘Run’ is in regards to the willpower to maintain shifting ahead and loving laborious. To convey this, I highlighted my favourite facets of the town of Vancouver, with a few of my favourite people as characters (Juliana Moore, Joshua Anderson, Adrian Mciness, Chris Haslam). I selected to make use of rats as a result of Vancouver’s received a particular kinda grit to it that I believe a metropolis rat embodies completely. With the chugging motion of the tune, rats on skateboards have been a no brainer—plus it’s so enjoyable! Very like the emotions I felt on the time of writing the tune, I used to be misplaced, with little religion left. Just like the rat, estranged from her pack and compelled to journey on her personal. Much like my very own story, with the assistance of a brand new friendship, the misplaced rat is reunited and reconciled along with her previous world.”
Nostalgic Killer is the follow-up to 2019’s Spectre. That very same yr, Webber and Wells the true life romantic couple, broke up, however vowed to maintain the band going. The album was recorded in dwelling studios in Vancouver (Webber) and Chicago (Wells). The duo carried out nearly every thing themselves, “save for just a few guitar components carried out by touring band member Rob Butterfield, backing vocals by Himalayan Bear’s Ryan Beattie, and string preparations carried out by viola/violinist Meredith Bates.”
Lightning Mud was beforehand a side-project for Webber and Wells, again once they have been in Black Mountain. However in 2017 they each left the mom ship to focus solely on Lightning Mud.
8. Jessy Lanza: “Don’t Go away Me Now”
This week, Canadian digital musician Jessy Lanza shared a brand new tune, “Don’t Go away Me Now.” Winston H. Case directed the video, which was filmed in Los Angeles. Take a look at Lanza’s upcoming tour dates right here.
It’s the primary single Lanza has written and produced since shifting to Los Angeles and was impressed by her nearly getting hit by a automotive. A press launch explains in additional element: “As is usually the case with Jessy’s lyrics, they disassociate from the assured vitality of the music, as she wrote them in response to nearly being hit by a automotive when first arriving in LA. This triggered an occasion of the agoraphobia she’s felt since she was younger, and so she wrote ‘Don’t Go away Me Now’ as an act of catharsis.”
Lanza’s final album was 2020’s All of the Time, additionally launched by way of Hyperdub.
9. Clark: “Dismissive”
British digital musician and producer Clark (full title Chris Clark) is releasing a brand new album, Sus Canine, that’s been produced by Thom Yorke, on Might 26 by way of Throttle. This week he shared its third single, “Dismissive.”
Clark had this to say about “Dismissive” in a press launch: “It’s a pep speak in mumble voice to form of soften its stridency. It’s the perils of claiming ‘fuck the world I’m going at it alone.’ Radiant. Bitter. All these combined feelings enjoying out on somebody’s face.”
Beforehand Clark shared the album’s first single, “City Crank,” which was one among our Songs of the Week. Then he shared its second single, “Clutch Pearlers,” by way of a music video (it was additionally one among our Songs of the Week).
Yorke had this to say in regards to the collaboration in a earlier press launch: “Chris wrote me to say he’d began singing, in search of suggestions/recommendation or no matter, cuz it was form of new shark-infested waters for him. I’ve been into what he does for years, and I ended up being a form of backseat driver as he pieced all of the oddness of it collectively, which was fascinating…. I wasn’t shocked to find he got here at singing and phrases by one other door utterly, which to me was probably the most attention-grabbing and thrilling half. The very first thing he despatched me was him singing about being caught between two flooring and I used to be already bought. To me the way in which he approached all of it wasn’t the same old singer/songwriter guff thank god; it mirrored the way in which he approached all his composition and recording, however this time it had a human face. His face.”
Clark mentioned that his thought course of when making Sus Canine was: “What would it not sound like if The Seaside Boys took MDMA and made a rave report?”
He additionally added: “It’s a lifetime’s price of listening to songs and figuring out easy methods to make them, tuning into easy methods to customise all the opposite components to my tastes. It appears like my debut, in a manner.”
10. JFDR: “Life Man”
JFDR (aka Icelandic artist Jófríður Ákadóttir) is releasing a brand new album, Museum, on April 28 by way of Houndstooth. This week she shared a brand new tune from it, “Life Man,” by way of a music video. CLUMP Collective directed the video.
Ákadóttir had this to say about “Life Man” in a press launch: “Most of us dwell pretty hectic lives and it may be a shock when issues decelerate. The tune is about a type of moments; once you get a second to breathe and an awesome wave of existentialism hits you within the face. It’s a very good time to ask questions, as it’s all very unusual certainly.”
JFDR’s final album, New Goals, got here out in 2020 by way of Krunk.
These songs nearly made the High 10.
Annie Blackman: “Bug”
Physique Kind: “Holding On”
boygenius: “Letter to An Previous Poet”
Murray A. Lightburn: “No New Deaths Right now”
Right here’s a useful Spotify playlist that includes the High 10 so as, adopted by all of the honorable mentions: