12 Greatest Songs of the Week: Westerman, Alex Lahey, Little Dragon, Trendy Lady, and Extra

12 Greatest Songs of the Week: Westerman, Alex Lahey, Little Dragon, Trendy Lady, and Extra

Plus Unusual Ranger, Lightning Mud, Excessive Pulp, Sen Morimoto, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Different Notable New Tracks

Might 05, 2023

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Welcome to the sixteenth Songs of the Week of 2023. There weren’t any tracks this week that screamed, “That is the perfect tune of the week!” However nonetheless there was loads to love.

Keep in mind that we lately introduced our new print situation, Problem 71 with Weyes Blood and Black Belt Eagle Scout on the covers.

Previously week or so we posted interviews with Tanlines, actor Anna Camp, Braids, Julia Jacklin, Duran Duran, and others.

Within the final week we reviewed some albums.

That can assist you type by means of the multitude of recent songs launched within the final week, we have now picked the 12 finest the final week needed to supply, adopted by some honorable mentions. Take a look at the complete checklist beneath.

1. Westerman: “A Lens Turning”

Westerman (full identify Will Westerman) launched a brand new album, An Inbuilt Fault, at present by way of Partisan. On Tuesday he shared the album’s fourth single, “A Lens Turning,” by way of a music video. Edwin Burdis directed and animated the video.

Learn our new evaluate of An Inbuilt Fault right here.

Beforehand Westerman shared the album’s lead single, “CSI: Petralona.” Then he shared the album’s third single, “Take,” by way of a music video. “Take” was one in every of our Songs of the Week. An Inbuilt Fault contains “Idol; RE-run,” a brand new single Westerman shared final yr.

An Inbuilt Fault is Westerman’s second album. His debut album, Your Hero is Not Lifeless, got here out in 2020 by way of Partisan, and made it to #23 on our High 100 Albums of 2020 checklist.

For An Inbuilt Fault, Westerman labored with James Krivchenia of Huge Thief, who co-produced the album with him by way of recordings in Los Angeles that constructed on demos Westerman recorded in Italy.

Take a look at our interview with Westerman, which initially appeared in Problem 67 of our print situation.

2. Alex Lahey: “The Sky is Melting”

Australian singer/songwriter Alex Lahey is releasing a brand new album, The Reply Is All the time Sure, on Might 19 by way of Liberation. Yesterday she shared one other tune from it, “The Sky is Melting,” by way of a lyric video.

“I went to the desert and did a bunch of edibles and wrote a tune about it,” Lahey says of the tune in a press launch. “Positively not the primary particular person on the planet to do it. However perhaps it’s the primary tune to reference each Michael Bolton and an unnamed verified AirBnB host in the identical verse.”

When The Reply Is All the time Sure was introduced, Lahey shared its lead single, “Good Time,” by way of a music video. “Good Time” was one in every of our Songs of the Week. Then 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. “They Wouldn’t Let Me In” was #1 on Songs of the Week checklist.

The album additionally contains 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 in every of our Songs of the Week. In November 2022 she shared “Shit Talkin’,” which was additionally one in every of our Songs of the Week.

Lahey had this to say in regards to the album in a earlier press launch: “Residing in a world that wasn’t made for you makes you fairly robust and adaptive, and you discover the enjoyable in it. It additionally makes you understand how absurd every part is. With this document, 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 All the time 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. “But it surely was additionally at a degree the place I used to be like, ‘If I try this once more, I form of know what it’s gonna sound like’ and I don’t suppose I’m inquisitive about that proper now.”

Of the album’s title, Lahey added: “I really feel like should you’re saying sure and also you’re exploring, you’re at all times transferring. That’s the a part of life that I’m in proper now. I simply don’t wanna cease.”

The Reply Is All the time 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 Manner” 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 in every of our Songs of the Week. Neither tune is on The Reply Is All the time 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.”

Learn our 2017 interview with Alex Lahey.

3. Little Dragon: “Kenneth”

On Wednesday, Swedish electro-pop band Little Dragon introduced a brand new album, Slugs of Love, and shared a brand new tune from it, “Kenneth,” by way of an animated music video. Slugs of Love is due out July 7 by way of Ninja Tune and options Damon Albarn on one tune. Limitless Time Solely directed the “Kenneth” video. Take a look at the album’s tracklist and canopy art work right here.

Little Dragon shared the album’s title monitor, “Slugs of Love,” in April by way of a music video. “Slugs of Love” was one in every of our Songs of the Week.

A press launch says “Kenneth” is “a soulful, lo-fi tribute to a childhood good friend.” The band collectively add: “It’s about friendship and love, and the filth of getting caught in bitterness and taking the fallacious flip mentally.”

Little Dragon is Erik Bodin (drums and percussion), Fredrik Wallin (bass), Håkan Wirenstarnd (keyboards), and Yukimi Nagano (vocals). Slugs of Love was recorded of their studio in Gothenburg. In addition to Albarn, the album options Atlanta rapper JID on one tune.

The band collectively had this to say in regards to the album: “We’ve been exploring other ways to collaborate and talk. Dissolving patterns and making new ones. Nurturing our potential to curiously press down keys, to bang—generally laborious generally gently—on various things, strumming strings, recording sounds and investigating the bounds for the way a lot or little a sound could be tweaked… Collectively we have now developed, replayed, danced to, cried, and laughed to this music because it has developed forwards, backwards, sideways and throughout, however now lastly as a whole masterpiece… This seems like our best work but. We’re very proud.”

Slugs of Love follows 2022’s Opening the Door EP, which featured the songs “Frisco” and “Keep,” and 2021’s Drifting Out EP, each launched by way of Ninja Tune. The band’s most up-to-date album, New Me, Similar Us, got here out in 2021, additionally by way of Ninja Tune. Afterward, they launched a brand new model of the album’s “The Different Lover” that includes Moses Sumney, and it was one in every of our Songs of the Week.

4. Trendy Lady: “Achtung”

This week, new London-based post-punk band Trendy Lady shared a brand new tune, “Achtung.” The only is out now by way of Finish of the Highway Data, an offshoot of the Finish of the Highway music competition within the UK. Take a look at the band’s upcoming tour dates right here.

Trendy Lady options frontperson and guitarist Sophie Harris, in addition to Juan Brint-Gutierrez (on bass), David Denyer (on percussion, violin, synth, and samples), and Adam Blackhurst (on drums). Oli Barton-Wooden (Porridge Radio, Nilüfer Yanya, Obongjayer) produced and blended “Achtung,” which was mastered by Jason Mitchell (PJ Harvey, Dry Cleansing, Aldous Harding). It follows the band’s debut EP, 2021’s Canines Preventing In My Dream, and their 2022 single “Ford.”

Harris had this to say in regards to the tune in a press launch: “‘Achtung’ was a tune that I wrote across the bassline after I didn’t have some other devices round, which once we developed as a band targeted on attempting to construct a form of pressure and launch inside the music. Lyrically it’s a little bit of a stream of consciousness about recollections of childhood.

“After I was at school I used to dwell not far away from a good friend who I had an actual crush on. His dad and mom have been German, and his dad scared me. If we have been in his room and had the window open, we may hear his neighbor taking part in hymns on the piano. His dad additionally used to return in and shout at us if we have been doing issues we weren’t alleged to, which was usually.

“The tune is made up of snapshots of pictures of going spherical to that home as there have been lots of feelings flying spherical. It undoubtedly jogs my memory of a extra harmless time.”

Trendy Lady made our 23 for 2023 checklist.

5. Unusual Ranger: “She’s on Hearth”

This week, New York Metropolis by way of Philadelphia quartet Unusual Ranger introduced a brand new album, Pure Music, and shared a brand new tune from it, “She’s on Hearth,” by way of a music video. Pure Music is due out July 21 by way of Hearth Speak. Take a look at the album’s tracklist and canopy art work, in addition to the band’s upcoming tour dates, right here.

Unusual Ranger is Isaac Eiger, Fiona Woodman, Nathan Tucker, and Fred Nixon. Pure Music is the follow-up to 2019’s Remembering the Rockets album and 2021’s No Gentle in Heaven mixtape. The album was written whereas Eiger and Woodman have been breaking apart and was recorded in a cabin in Upstate New York throughout a blizzard.

“With a couple of exceptions, I can’t inform whose manufacturing concepts have been whose, after I hear again to it,” says Nixon in a press launch. “We have been actually trapped on this cabin, manically working in any respect hours, and the vitality was loopy, in a enjoyable manner.”

“Music makes us transcend the sensation of being alienated from or trapped by the world,” Woodman provides. “I need the expertise of listening to Pure Music to be euphoric.”

Of the inspiration behind “She’s on Hearth,” Eiger says: “While you’re younger, it seems like life has a form of arc to it and up forward sooner or later, there’s some level the place all of your experiences converge and this fog of confusion will carry and you’ll have arrived, That is undoubtedly not true and more and more, music is the steadying hand I lean on when searching for which means. It supplies a spiritualism that feels absent from a lot of life and I need to be as near that feeling as potential.”

“She’s on Hearth” has a little bit of an ’80s vibe firstly earlier than it embraces ’90s shoegaze (a press launch cites My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless). The press launch additionally mentions disco, home, and experimental pop as reference factors for Pure Music. The album contains “Rain So Exhausting,” a brand new tune the band shared in March.

6. Lightning Mud: “Completely different Conflict”

Lightning Mud (Amber Webber and Joshua Wells) are releasing a brand new album, Nostalgic Killer, on June 9 by way of Western Vinyl. On Monday they shared its second single, “Completely different Conflict,” by way of a lyric video. Additionally they introduced some June tour dates in British Columbia, Canada, which you’ll take a look at right here.

Nostalgic Killer is the follow-up to 2019’s Spectre. That very same yr, Webber and Wells the actual life romantic couple, broke up, however vowed to maintain the band going.

In a press launch Webber says she wrote the tune in mild of their breakup. “I wrote this tune realizing love had died regardless of our greatest efforts to revive it. It’s a tune about defeat, give up and acceptance, evaluating like to conflict. Josh ran with this sense and created an environment of plodding pressure, slowly constructing to an epic orchestral crescendo, then giving method to a lonely spaciousness.”

Beforehand Lightning Mud shared the album’s first single, “Run,” by way of a music video. “Run” was one in every of our Songs of the Week.

The album was recorded in residence studios in Vancouver (Webber) and Chicago (Wells). The duo carried out nearly every part themselves, “save for a couple of 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.

7. Excessive Pulp: “(If You Don’t Depart) The Metropolis Will Kill You” (Feat. Daedelus)

This week, Los Angeles-based experimental jazz collective Excessive Pulp introduced a brand new album, Days within the Desert, and shared a brand new tune from it, “(If You Don’t Depart) The Metropolis Will Kill You,” which options Daedelus and was shared by way of a music video. Days within the Desert is due out July 28 by way of ANTI-. Take a look at the album’s tracklist and canopy art work, in addition to the band’s upcoming tour dates, right here.

“The phrase jazz goes to comply with our band round endlessly, which is okay, we love jazz, we’re impressed by jazz,” group founder and drummer Bobby Granfelt says in a press launch. “However our influences are a lot wider than that.”

The press launch says that though they could be influenced by the basic Gil Evans-Miles Davis jazz collaborations within the Nineteen Fifties, Excessive Pulp have additionally been impressed by ’90s indie-rock similar to Stereolab’s Dots and Loops and Tortoise’s TNT.

“We embraced extra imperfections when it comes to our executions, however in consequence our compositions bought stronger, extra strong,” alto saxophonist Andy Morrill says. “The album began to get easier. And in addition a bit of extra human.”

8. Sen Morimoto: “If The Reply Isn’t Love”

On Wednesday, Chicago’s Sen Morimoto shared a brand new tune, “If The Reply Isn’t Love,” by way of a music video. It’s his first single for the Metropolis Slang label in partnership along with his personal Sooper Data. It’s additionally the primary style of Morimoto’s upcoming third album (particulars of that are TBA). Morimoto co-directed the video with New Trash.

Morimoto had this to say in regards to the tune in a press launch: “Within the face of imminent local weather catastrophe, conflict and never-ending illness it’s pure to begin contemplating what is going to stay and what may need made all of it price it. I need the sound of my music to replicate that very same urgency—devices warbling and splattered over the beat, melodies tangled and contradicting. I wrote this tune in regards to the enduring energy of affection and the wrestle to hold onto that feeling when in disaster.”

Of the video, Morimoto provides: “Up till my first tour in Japan, I washed dishes for a residing. I might daydream all day at work about being a full time musician. My fantasies have been candy and naive, principally simply popular culture references glued collectively, stuff I’d seen in films and music movies. It wasn’t till I began touring full time that I spotted how lengthy the highway is from being a working musician to constructing a life in music that’s truly sustainable, which has develop into even tougher as touring proves itself to be of venture with unhealthy odds, even for extra established acts. I wrote this video idea as a form of tongue-in-cheek visualization of these mid-shift daydreams. I’m dreaming of this massive guitar solo within the sky, however even my fantasy is insecure, balancing on a rusted beam with no assist.”

The only follows Morimoto’s self-titled second album, launched in 2020.

9. Hand Habits: “Non-public Life”

Hand Habits (aka Meg Duffy, who makes use of they/them pronouns) is releasing a brand new EP (or mini-album), Sugar the Bruise, on June 16 by way of Fats Possum. On Tuesday they shared its second single, “Non-public Life,” by way of a music video. Otium directed the video, which options Duffy as a pool cleaner.

Beforehand Hand Habits shared Sugar the Bruise’s first single, “One thing Unsuitable,” which was one in every of our Songs of the Week.

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.

Final September Hand Habits shared two new singles: “Best Weapon,” which featured Nick Sanborn and Amelia Meath of Sylvan Esso on backing vocals, and “Underneath 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.

10. Lifeguard: “17-18 Lovesong”

This week, Chicago-based post-punk trio Lifeguard introduced a brand new EP assortment, Crowd Can Speak / Wearing Trenches, and shared a brand new tune from it, “17-18 Lovesong,” by way of a music video. Crowd Can Speak / Wearing Trenches collects two EPs, one beforehand launched and one unreleased, and is due out July 7 by way of Matador. Take a look at the gathering’s tracklist and canopy art work, in addition to the band’s upcoming tour dates, right here.

The band options Asher Case (bass, vocals), Isaac Lowenstein (drums, percussion), and Kai Slater (guitar, vocals). The Crowd Can Speak EP was initially launched in 2022 by the Chicago label Born Yesterday, whereas the 5 songs on the Wearing Trenches EP are new. Each have been recorded on the similar studio (Electrical Audio) and with the identical engineer (Mike Lust), however not on the similar time.

“Greater than previous data—earlier than that, earlier than something—we’re influenced by dwell exhibits and other people round us,” says Slater in a press launch.

“The inspiration comes from taking part in exhibits with individuals and having that mind-blown second of seeing some good friend play at Schubas or E-book Membership,” provides Lowenstein. “It’s occurring on these tiny little scales of seeing youngsters play dwell and [knowing] that is one thing new and attention-grabbing.”

11. Baxter Dury: “Have fun Me”

Baxter Dury is releasing a brand new album, I Thought I Was Higher Than You, on June 2 by way of Heavenly Recordings. On Tuesday he shared its third single, “Have fun Me,” by way of a music video.

Dury had this to say about “Have fun Me” in a press launch: “A stream of consciousness rant about being predictably bohemian, west London-ish and a spotlight looking for.”

Beforehand Dury shared the album’s first single, “Aylesbury Boy,” by way of a music video. “Aylesbury Boy” was one in every of our Songs of the Week. Then he shared its second single, “Leon.” Paul White produced the album.

Dury’s earlier two albums have been 2020’s The Evening Chancers and 2017’s Prince of Tears.

Learn our 2017 interview with Baxter Dury.

12. Peter Gabriel: “4 Sorts of Horses”

In the present day, Peter Gabriel shared a brand new tune, “4 Sorts of Horses.” It’s the newest single from Gabriel’s forthcoming new album, i/o, which shall be his first album of unique songs in over 20 years. The album’s precise launch date has but to be introduced.

Gabriel wrote the tune and co-produced with Richard Russell, founding father of XL Data. Gabriel had this to say in regards to the new tune in a press launch: “‘4 Sorts of Horses’ truly started on Richard Russell’s venture Every part Is Recorded. He’s a good friend (and founding father of XL Data) and he requested me to pop into his studio. I got here up with some chords, melodies and phrases on prime of a groove he was engaged on. We tried a couple of issues that didn’t altogether work and so it lay dormant for fairly some time. Then I began taking part in round with it once more and adjusted the temper and the groove and one thing else started to emerge with a greater refrain.

“There have been a variety of issues that triggered concepts for the tune because it developed, together with the Buddhist parable of the 4 Sorts of Horses, which describes other ways a scholar can method their religious observe. There may be additionally a give attention to the attention-grabbing overlap of faith and peace on the one hand and violence and terrorism on the opposite. There was additionally a beautiful movie by Hany Abu-Assad referred to as Paradise Now, which exhibits two younger males who find yourself being educated to develop into terrorists and it’s an actual perception into the place the top goes.”

The tune additionally options Brian Eno on synth, which “seemed like electrical worms to me,” says Gabriel. “As quickly as I heard one I assumed they’d make a terrific three dimensional wall paper of sound and requested Brian to create eleven extra.”

John Metcalfe does the string preparations on the tune, which options backing vocals from Gabriel’s daughter Melanie. “One other beautiful second for a dad,” he beams.

For every single from the album, Gabriel is working with a unique artist to do the quilt art work. Cornelia Parker did the 4 Sorts of Horses” single cowl art work.

Gabriel says: “This month we have now an interesting artist, Cornelia Parker, who does some extraordinary work. Once we have been initially wanting on the Artwork from Us venture, I’d seen a few of her stuff with exploding rooms and had been fascinated by that, so I’m actually pleased that she agreed to work with us on this. The photogravure strategy of William Henry Fox Talbot was an inspiration for her on this piece, and among the different glass-based pictures within the sequence. I fell in love with this explicit work – it’s referred to as ‘Snap.’”

Beforehand Gabriel shared the album’s first single, “Panopticom,” which featured Brian Eno and was one in every of our Songs of the Week. That was adopted by its second single, “The Courtroom.” Then the album’s third single was “Taking part in For Time.” The fourth single was the album’s title monitor, “i/o.”

Gabriel’s final full-length album of unique supplies was 2002’s Up, though in 2010 he launched the Scratch My Again covers album and in 2011 he launched New Blood, which featured orchestral re-recordings of songs from throughout Gabriel’s profession. Gabriel’s final full tour was 2014’s Again to Entrance Tour, which celebrated his basic 1986 album So.

The brand new tour will characteristic Gabriel’s common band-mates Tony Levin, David Rhodes, and Manu Katché and can embody songs from i/o, in addition to ones throughout his again catalogue.

Additionally learn our earlier interview between Gabriel and Arcade Hearth’s Richard Reed Parry.

Honorable Mentions:

These songs nearly made the High 12.

79.5: “Lengthy Time period Parking”

Physique Sort: “Weekend”

Califone: “ox-eye”

Bethany Cosentino: “It’s Advantageous”

Alison Goldfrapp: “Love Invention”

KNOWER: “I’m the President”

Alan Palomo: “Nudista Mundial ’89” (Feat. Mac DeMarco)

Audio system Nook Quartet: “Geronimo Blues” (Feat. Kae Tempest)

Right here’s a useful Spotify playlist that includes the High 12 so as, adopted by all of the honorable mentions:

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