XSRadio
by on April 14, 2019
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Welcome to Songs of the Week. 

1. Black Belt Eagle Scout: "Loss & Relax" 

Black Belt Eagle Scout is the project of Portland-based Katherine Paul, an indigenous queer musician who grew up in a small Indian reservation, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, and whose debut album, Mother of My Children, came out last September via Saddle Creek. This week she shared a video for a brand new song, "Loss & Relax." The song will be released as a 7-inch on April 26 via Saddle Creek, with the B-side being "Half Colored Hair." The song starts somewhat subdued, before building to louder guitars and drums midway through. Angel Two Bulls directed the video, which was filmed on the lands of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and Samish Indian Nation.

A press release says that "Loss & Relax" is "an ode to Paul's ancestors, past, present, and future, and informed by the experience of traveling home. It was first written in Anacortes following the recording of 2018's Mother of My Children when Paul was particularly full of emotion and pride. The song was held off Mother of My Children for further exploration and continued to evolve as it was performed live by various members of Paul's band."

Paul had this to say about the song in the press release: "As I was writing the guitar line, I kept seeing the water of the Salish Sea and the local ferries drifting people in and out of place. Ferries are such a beautiful part of my childhood and served as a major form of transportation. Thinking about my home and how canoes have turned into ferries is a sad, but also beautiful thought. Nowadays with Canoe Journeys, canoes are alongside ferries, roaming our waters to lands, sharing customs and culture. That is what I think about now when I listen to the fully recorded version of the song. I see a strong and fierce community of my people continuing to thrive in whatever comes our way. That is how I feel about myself, a survivor and thriver of this land, a water protector, a womxn, the future."

 

2. Hayden Thorpe: "Love Crimes"

This week Hayden Thorpe, formerly the singer for British art-rockers Wild Beasts, announced his debut solo album, Diviner, and has shared a new song from it, "Love Crimes," via a video for the track. Diviner is due out May 24 via Domino. Back in February Thorpe shared the album's title track, "Diviner," via a video. 

In 2017 Wild Beasts announced their breakup in a typed up statement, signed by the band and posted to Instagram. That was followed by a final EP, Punk Drunk and Trembling, three farewell concerts in February 2018, and a final album, February 2018's live in the studio release Last Night All My Dreams Came True (which featured new interpretations of songs from across their catalogue).

Diviner was written in California, Cornwall, and at Thorpe's home in London. Alexandra Liveris directed the "Love Crimes" video.

A press release describes the album as such: "Diviner is a deeply emotional album: lyrically generous in its candid tone and self-awareness, the melodies resonant with sense memory. The album feels like a startling departure from Thorpe's previous work with Wild Beasts and also unlike anything else being made at the moment."

Thorpe had this to say about the album in a press release: "My adulthood was based on a certain belief system, a band, a family. When it shifted entirely, I had a ghost I had to find a new haunt for.... I believe in the medicinal properties of songs. I believe in their healing properties, Songs defy time, they don't erode or denature, they come with you and reform anew in your mind as and when you need them.... I broke up with myself. So this is a break-up album, but not about a relationship. It's a break-up from a past self, it's a breakup from the old idea of yourself and therefore every relationship, of all kinds, that you've ever had."

Thorpe had this to say about the album's title track in a previous press release: "'Diviner' became the first song and the divining rod for what was going to be next. There are, if we can wait for them, rare days of alignment. 'Diviner' was written on such a day, my birthday of all days. The curtains were drawn for a while, I went inside. To say I'm delighted to see daylight would be an understatement."

3. Aldous Harding: "Fixture Picture"

New Zealand singer/songwriter Aldous Harding is releasing a new album, Designer, on April 26 via 4AD. Previously she shared a strange video for its first single, "Barrel" (which was one of our Songs of the Week). This week she shared another song from the album, opening track "Fixture Picture," also via a video for the song. Harding co-directed the striking video with Jack Whiteley, which was filmed on the Cliffs of Dover in England and features Harding dressed in bright red, while her all-male backing band are all clad in black, sometimes with their faces covered.

Designer is the follow-up to 2017's Party. As with that album, John Parish produces again. The album also features Huw Evans (H. Hawkline), Stephen Black (Sweet Baboo), drummer Gwion Llewelyn, and violinist Clare Mactaggart.

4. Tame Impala: "Borderline"

Last month Tame Impala (aka Kevin Parker) released a new song, "Patience," which was one of our Songs of the Week. This week he shared another brand new song, the house music-infused "Borderline." As with "Patience," he performed the song on Saturday Night Live last month. Now we're getting to hear the studio version. There's no word on a new album, but it's likely that both songs will be featured on an upcoming full-length. The single is out now via Interscope.

 

5. Amason: "You Don't Have to Call Me"

This week Sweden's Amason shared a new song, the slow-burner "You Don't Have to Call Me." It's the first single from their upcoming new album, which a press release says is due out this August. They have also done a P3 Session (a Norwegian radio program on NRK P3) where they perform "You Don't Have to Call Me" and "Ålen," with the latter song morphing into a cover of Kendrick Lamar and SZA's "All the Stars," from the Black Panther soundtrack. 

Amason's excellent debut album, Sky City, came out back in January 2015 on Fairfax Recordings/INGRID. Amason's members also play in other notable Swedish bands and are Pontus Winnberg (Miike Snow), Gustav Ejstes (Dungen), Petter Winnberg (Little Majorette), Amanda Bergman (Hajen, Idiot Wind), and Nils Törnqvist (Little Majorette).

Bergman had this to say about "You Don't Have to Call Me" in a press release: "Some songs take forever to complete. Seems like they're sliding, indefinitely. Be it in and out of the 'finished' folder or in and out of your head. Changed and rearranged forever until it's dead and dried out. This song is an example of the opposite. Bread, butter, cheese, eat. No nervous afterthoughts. We're nothing but proud."

 

6. Wand: "Rio Grande"

Los Angeles-based psych-rockers Wand are releasing a new album, Laughing Matter, on April 19 via Drag City. This week they shared another song from the album, "Rio Grande," via a video for the song. The band's singer/guitarist Cory Hanson directed the video, which is made up of footage shot over time.

Previously Wand shared a video for Laughing Matter's first single, "Scarecrow," which was our #1 Song of the Week. Then they shared another song from the album, "Thin Air," which was also one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared another song from the album, "Walkie Talkie," via a video for the song.

Laughing Matter is the follow-up to 2017's Plum and is the band's fifth full-length. The band consists of Sofia Arreguin (keys, vocals), Cory Hanson (guitar, vocals), Robert Cody (guitar), Lee Landey (bass), and Evan Burrows (drums).  

A previous press release described the album as such: "Laughing Matter is a record about love in a time of terror; it calls you down from panic room labyrinths, to work the deep tissue of unraveling trauma we all carry so dear. The 15 songs on this record face their energy outward, to take with you through a common world that can't suffer its human abusers much longer. Laughing Matter encourages you to shake hands with your old demons, to lay your pathologies to rest, to hold your spirit close, and let your body do what's next." 

7. Clinic: "Laughing Cavalier"

Liverpool post-punks Clinic are releasing their first new album in seven years, Wheeltappers and Shunters, on May 10th via their longtime label Domino. Previously they shared a video for its first single, "Rubber Bullets,"which was one of our Songs of the Week. This week they shared another song from the album, opening track "Laughing Cavalier," also via a Joseph May-directed animated video.

Singer Ade Blackburn sings in the song: "All the fun of the fair/Lap it up without a care...All the fun of the fair/Are you really all still there?"

Blackburn had this to say about the song and those lyrics in a press release: "One of my favorite things is those contradictions. Having the rug pulled from under you. I think that's exciting - where you think you've got the measure of something but then that shifts. It's not just about the double meaning with a line, it's also about the way it's sung. You can interpret something in the opposite way just from the delivery."

The band's last album was 2012's Free Reign. "We'd released albums like clockwork every two years, so it seemed natural to have a break," explained Blackburn in a  previous press release about the long gap between albums. "It allowed everyone to do some quite oddball stuff, away from Clinic. I think we all wanted a bit more freedom."

Wheeltappers and Shunters' album title is inspired by a 1970s British variety show The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club, which was hosted by Bernard Manning and according to the press release "recreated the smoky, boozy atmosphere of Northern working men's clubs for a sofa-bound audience."

"It's been a pisstake thing between us for quite a few years," Blackburn explained. "Whenever we'd talk about a song sounding too 'cabaret' or too nice, we'd say, 'That's a bit Wheeltappers and Shunters.'"

Wheeltappers and Shunters looks back on the culture 1970s era Blackburn and "his collaborator-in-chief" Jonathan Hartley grew up in. "It's a satirical take on British culture - high and low," Blackburn said. "It fascinates me that people look back on the 1970s as the glory days. It's emerged that there was a darker, more perverse side to that time. When you look back on it now it was quite clearly there in mainstream culture."

The previous press release set the scene for Wheeltappers and Shunters: "The Great Britain that Clinic are evoking is not that ancient, bucolic past of village green cricket, half a mild and hanky-waving Morris Dancers that many seem so determined that the country should return to, but a rather more sleazy past. Clinic's reverie is for a time when Blackpool was the pleasure capital of the kingdom and the public was kept entertained by traveling circuses and the dirty glamour of the funfair; tacky end of the pier merriment and enforced fun at Butlins; when bell-ringing town criers bellowed their nonsensical broadsides into the ether."

The album was recorded last year at Hartley's Liverpool studio. Then Dilip Harris (King Krule, Sons of Kemet, Mount Kimbie) mixed the album. "We thought it felt right to make a fun, dancefloor album in these dark and conservative times," said Blackburn 

8. Jeff Tweedy: "Family Ghost"

Wilco's Jeff Tweedy released a new solo album, WARM, last November via dBpm. This week he announced a new companion album WARMER, and shared a video for its first single, "Family Ghost." WARMER is due out tomorrow via dBpm as a Record Store Day exclusive, limited to 5,000 vinyl copies worldwide. 

WARMER was recorded in Tweedy's studio in Chicago, The Loft, at the same time as WARM.

Tweedy had this to say about the album in a press release: "At some point I separated the songs from the WARM/WARMER session into two records with individual character, but still tried to keep the overall tone and texture of the combined session consistent. In a lot of ways these two records could have been released as a double LP. WARMER means as much to me as WARM and might just as easily have been released as the first record of the pair."

 

9. Mark Ronson: "Late Night Feelings" (Feat. Lykke Li)

This week Mark Ronson shared a new song, "Late Night Feelings," that features the guest vocals of Lykke Li. The song will be featured on Ronson's upcoming new album, also titled Late Night Feelings, which is due out June 21. It's said to be Ronson's album of "sad bangers" and will also feature "Nothing Breaks Like a Heart," a collaboration with Miley Cyrus that was released last November. Late Night Feelings is set to also feature King Princess, Alicia Keys, Camila Cabello, and YEBBA.

Ronson's last album was 2015's massively successful Uptown Special, which featured the Bruno Mars collaboration "Uptown Funk," one of the best selling singles of all time (its video currently has 3.5 million views on YouTube). Since then Ronson also teamed up with Diplo to form Silk City, who released four singles last year, with "Electricity" (feat. Dua Lipa) becoming a hit.

Sweden's Lykke Li released her last album, so sad so sexy, back in June 2018 via RCA.

 

10. Charly Bliss: "Hard to Believe"

Charly Bliss are releasing a new album, Young Enough, on May 10 via Barsuk. This week they shared another new song from the album, '90s alt-rock blast "Hard to Believe," via a video for it. Henry Kaplan directed the video that plays homage to A Perfect Circle's "Judith."

Frontwoman Eva Hendricks had this to say about the song and video in a press release: "'Hard To Believe' is a song about being addicted to a bad relationship, and the endless cycle of trying and failing to end one. We shot the video on 35mm film over two days with our close friend Henry Kaplan 24 hours after returning from SXSW. Henry did a spectacular job of incorporating each of our personalities into this video, as well as providing a slightly fantastical, but ultimately realistic portrayal of a typical band practice. While we're running songs, each band-member usually has their own inner-monologue running of either things they're distracted by, or things they'd rather be doing. This video feels extremely 'us' and I don't think we could have made it with anyone else."

 

11. Silversun Pickups: "It Doesn't Matter Why"

This week Los Angeles four-piece Silversun Pickups announced a new album, Widow's Weeds, and shared a Suzie Vlcek-directed video for its first single, the propulsive string-backed "It Doesn't Matter Why." Widow's Weeds is due out June 7 via the band's own New Machine Recordings. 

The band features lead singer Brian Aubert, bassist Nikki Monninger, drummer Christopher Guanlao, and keyboardist Joe Lester. Widow's Weeds is the band's fifth album, the follow-up to 2015's Better Nature. Garbage's Butch Vig produced the album (he's also worked with Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Sonic Youth). 

Monninger had this to say about working with Vig: "He really listens to each band member, and he puts a great value on each individual, and what they can add to the music. It was very collaborative with him. He's such an easygoing person, and he put everybody at ease."

It's been four years since the band's last album. In that time the band members faced some personal challenges. Lester's father died and Aubert decided to get sober and get treatment after finding himself in "an extremely dark place, for reasons he couldn't immediately explain."

"I didn't know how to get out of it," Aubert says in a press release. "Finally, I was just like, 'Something big has to happen.'"

On how all this affected the album, Aubert says: "The record does have a mourning vibe, but it's not sad. It's change. It's growing up and moving on and letting go of things. And it's okay to be sad about those things and mourn them. It's actually healthy to do so and take the time to do it. At the end of the day, it's going to be much better and much more fulfilling when you get through it."

Summing up Widow's Weeds, Aubert says: "This was the first album where we were open. We were exposed. I see how that can be scary to people, but for us we really thrived on that.... This album feels the most naked out of all of them."

12. Local Natives: "Tap Dancer"

Local Natives are releasing a new album, Violet Street, on April 26 via Loma Vista. This week they shared another song from the album, closing track "Tap Dancer," via a video for the track. Jonathan Chu directed the clip, which was shot in one-take and features an amazing performance by contemporary choreographer/dancer Micaela Taylor.

Previously Local Natives shared two songs from Violet Street: "Café Amarillo" (via a video) and "When Am I Gonna Lose You" via a video that starred actress Kate Mara (The MartianMegan Leavey). 

Kelcey Ayer (Local Natives' co-vocalist, pianist, and one of the band's primary songwriters) released his debut solo album under the name Jaws of Love. (the period at the end of the name is intentional), Tasha Sits Close to the Piano, in 2017 via House Arrest.

 

Honorable Mentions:

These five songs almost made the Top 10.

Crumb: "Nina"

The F16s: "Amber"

KAZU: "Salty"

Yeasayer: "Let Me Listen In On You" and "Fluttering in the Floodlights" 

Other notable new tracks in the last week include:

Kevin Abstract: "Big Wheels"

 

An Horse: "Ship of Fools" 

Courtney Barnett: "Everybody Here Hates You"

Baroness: "Seasons"

Black Mountain: "Boogie Lover"

Bleached: "Shitty Ballet"

Cave In: "All Illusion" 

Diane Coffee: "Lights Off"

French Vanilla: "All The Time"

The Garden: "Thy Mission" (Feat. Mac DeMarco)

Glen Hansard: "Brother's Keeper"

PJ Harvey: "Descending" and "The Moth" (Feat. Lily James)

Jesca Hoop: "Shoulder Charge" (Feat. Lucius)

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: "Planet B"

Steve Lacy: "N Side"

Lust for Youth: "By No Means"

J Mascis: "Don't Do Me Like That" (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Cover)

Jackie Mendoza: "Mucho Más" 

Men I Trust: "Numb"

Morrissey: "Wedding Bell Blues" (Feat. Billie Joe Armstrong) (The 5th Dimension Cover)

The Mountain Goats: "Sicilian Crest"

My Brightest Diamond: "Dorian"

Now, Now: "Enda"

Omni: "Delicacy" and "I Don't Dance"

Pelican: "Midnight and Mescaline"

Pip Blom: "Ruby"

Pottery: "The Craft"

Pure Bathing Culture: "All Night"

The Raconteurs: "Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness)" (Donovan Cover)

Sinkane: "Dépaysé"

Spencer Radcliffe & Everyone Else: "Here Comes The Snow"

J. Robbins: "Soldier On"

Truth Club: "Tethering"

 

Posted in: Music




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