13 Best Songs of the Week: Angel Olsen, Kiwi Jr., Soccer Mommy, Horsegirl, and More
Plus Sinead O’Brien, Sun’s Signature, Cola, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks
May 20, 2022
Welcome to the 20th Songs of the Week of 2022. It was a mixed week for new tracks, but there were still some good ones worth crowing about and we settled on a Top 13.
In the last week we posted interviews with The War on Drugs, Jonathan Higgs of Everything Everything, and SOAK.
In the last week we also reviewed a bunch of albums.
Covers of Covers, our first album, came out at the beginning of March on CD and digitally via American Laundromat. You can stream it here. You can also buy it directly from American Laundromat, via Bandcamp, or on Amazon.
Don’t forget to pick up our new double print issue, our 20th Anniversary Issue (which is out now).
To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last week, we have picked the 13 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.
1. Angel Olsen: “Through the Fires”
On Wednesday, Angel Olsen shared a lyric video for her new single, “Through the Fires.” It is the latest release from her forthcoming album, Big Time, which will be out on June 3 via Jagjaguwar.
In a press release, Olsen states: “‘Through the Fires’ is the centerpiece statement of this record. It’s a song I wrote to remind myself that this life is temporary, the past is not something to dwell on, that it’s important to keep moving, keep searching for the people that are also searching, and to notice the moments that are lighter and bigger than whatever trouble I’ve encountered.”
Upon announcement of the new album in March, Olsen shared the song “All the Good Times,” which was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. She later shared the album’s title track, which was also one of our Songs of the Week. A short film co-directed by Olsen alongside Kimberly Stuckwisch will premiere one day before the album release date.
Last year, Olsen shared the song “Like I Used To” with Sharon Van Etten. It was #3 on our Top 130 Songs of 2021 list. By Joey Arnone
2. Kiwi Jr.: “Night Vision”
On Wednesday, Toronto-based band Kiwi Jr. announced the release of their third studio album, Chopper, which will be out on August 12 via Sub Pop. They also shared a video for the album’s lead single, “Night Vision.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.
Frontman Jeremy Gaudet states in a press release: “Before ‘Night Vision’ was 100% written, just the basic idea of it existing as a Kiwi Jr. song inspired us and set the tone for the record. A lot of the images in the lyrics are of teenagers driving around, trying to make plans, sharing the aux, putting their parents’ car in the ditch, etc. But the idea at the center of the song is that of working up the nerve to make a big decision. Like a boxer getting pumped up before a fight.”
The band’s previous album, Cooler Returns, came out last year via Sub Pop. By Joey Arnone
3. Soccer Mommy: “Bones”
On Wednesday, Soccer Mommy (aka Sophie Allison) shared a video for her new single, “Bones.” It is the latest release from her forthcoming album, Sometimes, Forever, which will be out on June 24 via Loma Vista. Allison also announced a string of U.S. tour dates. View the full list of tour dates here.
“‘Bones’ is a song about struggling with the parts of yourself that you don’t like in a relationship,” Allison explains in a press release. “It’s about wanting to become better for someone and feeling like you’re standing in your own way.”
Upon announcement of the new album in March, Allison shared “Shotgun,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. She later shared the song “Unholy Affliction.” Her most recent album, color theory, came out in 2020 via Loma Vista. By Joey Arnone
4. Horsegirl: “Dirtbag Transformation (Still Dirty)”
Chicago-based rock trio Horsegirl are releasing their debut album, Versions of Modern Performance, on June 3 via Matador. On Tuesday, they shared a new single from it, “Dirtbag Transformation (Still Dirty),” via a video that features the band performing the song in an elementary school theater. View the band’s upcoming tour dates here.
Horsegirl is Penelope Lowenstein (guitar, vocals), Nora Cheng (guitar, vocals), and Gigi Reece (drums). The video was filmed at the elementary school Lowenstein attended.
The band collectively had this to say about the new song in a press release: “The three of us filmed the ‘Dirtbag Transformation (Still Dirty)’ video over one day in Penelope’s elementary school. The video provides a small look into our Chicago youth scene—it includes members of bands like Lifeguard, Friko, Dwaal Troupe, and Post Office Winter all grouped into oddball bands with weird gimmicks. We always have the best time making our videos with our friends in spaces we feel connected to. All of our friends showed up with various assortments of clothing and props, like wooden spoons, a bowling shirt collection, and an accordion. We wanted to harness the strangeness of everything that was brought to us, and wanted to showcase all of the people and bands that mean so much to us.”
Last year, Horsegirl shared the album track “Billy,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. When the album was announced in March, Horsegirl shared its next single, “Anti-glory,” via a video for it. “Anti-glory” was also one of our Songs of the Week. Then in April the band shared the album’s “World of Pots and Pans,” via a lyric video that features the band presenting the lyrics on an overhead projector. “World of Pots and Pans” was once again one of our Songs of the Week.
Versions of Modern Performance was recorded at Electrical Audio in Chicago with producer John Agnello. The band explained in a previous press release: “It’s our debut bare-bones album in a Chicago institution with a producer who we feel really respected what we were trying to do.” By Mark Redfern
5. Sinead O’Brien: “Multitudes”
On Tuesday, Ireland’s Sinead O’Brien shared a new single, “Multitudes.” It is the latest release from her forthcoming debut album, Time Bend and Break the Bower, which will be out on June 10 via Chess Club.
“‘Multitudes’—the word itself was the first choice. It is not neat, it describes loose ends, open ends. Working with opposing forces and contradictions,” explains O’Brien in a press release. “An interrogation into the obstacles which pervade our daily lives; it’s a song about desire and creativity.
“The album title Time Bend and Break The Bower, from this song ‘Multitudes,’ came into my head and made its demands, an idea that pressed on me throughout the record. It has a very active role. The clock symbol is enlarged, it looms like a moon over my activity watching, counting me down to zero. Dripping with self sabotage and the feeling of being chased; it pulls and pushes against the verses which talk of ‘Multitudes’; the things that faithfully come back—the images, the words, creativity. It is creativity itself. That’s what I’m talking about.”
Upon announcement of the new album in February, O’Brien shared the song “Holy Country.” She later shared the album track “There Are Good Times Coming.”
Last year, O’Brien shared the song “Kid Stuff.” A year prior, she released the EP Drowning in Blessings. By Joey Arnone
6. Sun’s Signature: “Underwater”
Sun’s Signature, a new project from Elizabeth Fraser (formerly of Cocteau Twins) and her partner Damon Reece, are releasing their self-titled debut EP on June 18 via Partisan. On Tuesday, they shared its second single, “Underwater,” via a lyric video. The song was originally released in 2000 as a limited-edition single, but since it got it’s official full-on digital release this week, we’re counting it as a new song (of sorts).
Previously they shared the EP’s first single, “Golden Air,” which was also Fraser’s first original music in 13 years. “Golden Air” was one of our Songs of the Week.
The EP was unofficially announced in February and is due out on Record Store Day, with a digital release to follow sometime in July. The EP features two songs that Fraser performed at the 2012 Meltdown Festival, “Golden Air” and “Make Lovely the Day.”
In 2016, Fraser and Reece composed the score for the British TV series The Nightmare Worlds of H.G. Wells. Fraser’s most recent solo release was the 2009 single “Moses.” In 2020, she was featured on the Jónsi song “Cannibal,” which was one of our Songs of the Week.
Reece has been the longtime drummer in Massive Attack, who Fraser has also collaborated with. He was previously a member of Spiritualized and Lupine Howl (an offshoot of Spiritualized), as well as Echo and the Bunnymen. He also recorded and performed with Baxter Dury, Goldfrapp, The Flies, Butch Vig’s 5 Billion in Diamond, and more.
The songs on Sun’s Signature have been in the works for over two decades, since the breakup of Cocteau Twins in 1997. By Mark Redfern
7. Cola: “Fulton Park”
On Monday, Cola (a newly-formed band consisting of ex-Ought members Tim Darcy and Ben Stidworthy alongside U.S. Girls drummer Evan Cartwright) shared a video for their new single, “Fulton Park.” It was the final pre-release single from their new album, Deep In View, which is out today via Fire Talk.
“Ben and I had a flow writing this record where we would send each other demos every Friday,” states frontman Tim Darcy in an interview with FADER. “It was a really motivating way to write, as I would spend the week working on something but then get the bonus of hearing what Ben had written when I sent him my track. I heard ‘Fulton Park’ and was immediately excited to work on vocals for it. It’s such an interesting instrumental. These lush almost psychedelic guitars in the intro and chorus are paired with this really stripped down almost honky tonk verse. It conjured in my mind this kind of old west imagery. I suppose looking back on the lyrics now, that same kind of juxtaposition is present. Similar to ‘Landers,’ it takes a look at the natural world and then the odd, magical, sometimes empty things that humans do on that landscape.”
After the announcement of Ought’s breakup, Cola shared their first single, “Blank Curtain.” Upon announcement of the new album, they shared the track “So Excited.” They later shared the song “Degree.” By Joey Arnone
8. IAN SWEET: “FIGHT”
On Wednesday, IAN SWEET (the project of Jilian Medford) shared a video for her new single, “FIGHT.” It is the latest release from her forthcoming EP, Star Stuff, whose release date has yet to be announced.
Medford elaborates on the track in a press release: “Spending everyday with someone, doing everything together, not knowing if the world was going to end. Leaning on someone with such heaviness, putting our entire weight and being onto each other because it’s all we had. The song plays into both the monotony of the relationship and the catastrophe that I went through after it ended. I felt so content in the relationship but then my entire world fell apart when it ended and I didn’t know how to pick myself back up and move forward.”
Lucy Sandler, who directed the song’s video, adds: “I can only describe making ‘FIGHT’ as a true celebration, a giant family affair. By the end of the day all our friends became friends, the bar owners were taking shots with everyone, and Jilian got to crowd surf which made me tear up because she was so happy. I just wanted to capture the rawness and excited vulnerability that comes with a karaoke performance.”
Last year, Medford released her third studio album as IAN SWEET, Show Me How You Disappear, via Polyvinyl. It featured the songs “Dumb Driver” (which was one of our Songs of the Week), “Power,” “Sing Till I Cry” and “Drink the Lake” (another one of our Songs of the Week).
Check out our COVID-19 Quarantine Artist Check In with Medford.
Last year, Medford also shared the song “f*ckthat,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. By Joey Arnone
9. Liss Featuring Nilüfer Yanya: “Boys In Movies”
On Wednesday, Danish band Liss shared a new single, “Boys in Movies,” featuring Nilüfer Yanya. It is the latest release from their forthcoming debut album, I Guess Nothing Will Be The Same, which will be out on June 10 via Escho/In Real Life.
In a press release, the band reflect on frontman Søren Holm, who tragically passed away last year: “Søren constantly sought out new music and always shared his discoveries with everyone around him. He was never afraid to reach out to those people who inspired him. ‘Boys in Movies’ is a track that has had several different identities. It found its direction when we shared it with Nilüfer Yanya, who helped us highlight the energy and gave the song a whole new dimension.” By Joey Arnone
10. Jessie Buckley and Bernard Butler: “For All Our Days That Tear The Heart”
Acclaimed actress Jessie Buckley (I’m Thinking of Ending Things, The Lost Daughter) and ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler are releasing an album, For All Our Days That Tear The Heart, on June 17 via EMI. Today they shared the album’s third single, atmospheric and lush title track “For All Our Days That Tear The Heart” via a black & white video that features various faces looking at the camera, including Buckley and Butler. The song shows off Buckley’s impressive vocal range and has song Anna Calvi vibes. Harvey Pearson directed the video.
Previously the duo shared the album’s dramatic first single, “The Eagle & The Dove,” via a video. “The Eagle & The Dove” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared the album’s second single, the jazzy ballad “Seven Red Rose Tattoos,” via a black & white video.
In a previous press release, the duo collectively stated: “The album should be discovered by the world as if they have tripped across a box of photographs in the back of their closet they didn’t know was there.”
Butler was a guitarist in Suede for the band’s first two albums. He was also a part of the musical duo McAlmont & Butler alongside singer David McAlmont and has released two solo albums. Butler has also produced albums by several other artists. By Mark Redfern
11. SOAK: “swear jar”
SOAK (Northern Ireland singer/songwriter Bridie Monds-Watson) released a new album, If I Never Know You Like This Again, today via Rough Trade. On Tuesday, Monds-Watson (who uses they/them pronouns) shared the album’s third single, “swear jar,” via a video for it. They also shared a live video of them performing the song acoustically in a parking garage.
The song is about the breakdown of a relationship and the ensuing depression. Monds-Watson explains in a press release: “I felt so disconnected from myself and life that I was starting to question if I’d ever truly been present or if I’d always been on autopilot.”
When the album was announced, SOAK shared the album’s first single, “last july,” via a video. Then they shared the album’s second single, “purgatory,” via a video for it. “Purgatory” was one of our Songs of the Week.
If I Never Know You Like This Again is the follow-up to Monds-Watson’s sophomore album, 2019’s Grim Town. Read our review of Grim Town here.
Today we posted our new The End interview with SOAK.
Also read our My Firsts interview and 2015 interview with SOAK. By Mark Redfern
12. Ty Segall: “Saturday, Pt. 2”
Ty Segall is releasing a new album, “Hello, Hi”, on July 22 via Drag City. On Monday, he shared its second single, “Saturday Pt. 2,” which features a saxophone solo from bandmate Mikal Cronin.
A press release describes the song more fully: “‘Saturday Pt. 2’ concludes a mini-suite that forms the penultimate movement of “Hello, Hi”. Fuzz-free guitars roll forth, ringing with consonance and humble purpose. Ty’s reassuring murmur leads the way until Mikal Cronin’s elegant saxophone throws open the windows, losing joy, hysteria and all the other simple pains and pleasures that have sat behind closed doors for so long. It’s a slow-roiling escape-anthem, finally sighting what’s been missing and wished-upon for what seems like forever: the time we find to play, the magical expanse of Saturday.”
Previously Segall shared the album’s title track, “Hello, Hi.”
A previous press release describes the album in greater detail: ““Hello, Hi” is expansively rendered by Ty, mostly by himself, at home. The isolation suits the songs: you’re only ever as ‘at home’ as you are with yourself in the mirror. Ty’s acoustic and electric guitars and vocal harmonies layer self upon self, forming a spiny backbone for the album. Textures at once gentle and dissonant root the songs as they make their move: melodic arcs convulsing in doubt and bliss and rage. Released from the endless gridlock into open space, these spirits pass on through.”
In February, Segall released the soundtrack to the Matt Yoka documentary Whirlybird, his first ever feature film score, via Drag City. Its single, “Story of the Century,” was one of our Songs of the Week. Last August, Segall surprise released the album Harmonizer via Drag City. By Mark Redfern
13. Diana Ross and Tame Impala: “Turn Up the Sunshine”
Yesterday, Diana Ross and Tame Impala shared their new collaborative single “Turn Up the Sunshine.” It is to be featured on the soundtrack to the upcoming film, Minions: The Rise of Gru, which will be out on July 1 via Decca. The song may not have much to say, but it’s a pleasing blast of pure retro fun.
The official soundtrack for Minions: The Rise of Gru was produced by Jack Antonoff, and will contain a variety of artists covering 1970s classics, featuring covers from Phoebe Bridgers, Weyes Blood, Caroline Polachek, Brittany Howard, Bleachers, and more. By Joey Arnone
These songs almost made the Top 13.
Art Moore: “Muscle Memory”
Built to Spill: “Understood”
FKJ and Toro y Moi: “A Moment of Mystery”
Everything Everything: “Jennifer”
La Luz: “Endless Afternoon”
Living Hour: “Feelings Meeting”
Rob and Jack Lahana: “Haute Saison” (Feat. Gordon Tracks aka Thomas Mars from Phoenix)
Laura Veirs: “Seaside Haiku”
Zola Jesus: “The Fall”
Here’s a handy Spotify playlist featuring the Top 12 in order, followed by all the honorable mentions:
Other notable new tracks in the last week include:
Daniel Avery: “Chaos Energy”
Naima Bock: “Toll”
Boris: “She is Burning”
Drive-By Truckers: “The Driver”
El Michels Affair: “Kahbi” (Feat. Piya Malik)
Hazel English: “All Dressed Up” (Feat. Day Wave)
fanclubwallet: “You Have Got To Be Kidding Me”
Florence + the Machine: “Search and Destroy” (The Stooges Cover)
Grace Ives: “Angel of Business”
Jordana: “Go Slow”
Erica Dawn Lyle and Vice Cooler: “Debt Collector” (Feat. Kim Gordon)
Alanis Morissette: “safety—empath in paradise”
Oneida: “I Wanna Hold Your Electric Hand”
Purity Ring: “neverend”
Rapport: “Going Nowhere”
Xenia Rubinos: “No Me Dejes Caer” (Feat. Carolina Oliveros)
She & Him: “Darlin’” (The Beach Boys Cover)
Special Interest: “(Herman’s) House”
Spielbergs: “When They Come For Me” and “Get Lost”
Spiral Stairs: “Pressure Drop”
Sylvan Esso: “Sunburn”
Adia Victoria: “In the Pines”
Classic Song of the Week:
Vangelis: “Blade Runner Blues” and “Memories of Green”
Greek musician and film composer Vangelis died this week in France at age 79, so here are two tracks from his classic soundtrack for Ridley Scott’s sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner, from 1982.
Music Video of the Week:
Yard Act: “100% Endurance” (Starring Actor David Thewlis)
English post-punk band Yard Act released their debut album, The Overload, in January via Island/Zen F.C. On Wednesday they shared a video for the album’s “100% Endurance” that stars British actor David Thewlis (Naked, the Harry Potter series, Wonder Woman, Fargo). Regular collaborator James Slater directed the black & white video, which pulls from the song’s lyrics about aliens visiting Earth, with Thewlis lip-syncing to the song and the band showing up briefly at the end.
Thewlis, who filmed in his hometown of Blackpool for the first time when making the video, joked in a press release: “I’ve told my agent I’m only doing Yard Act videos from now on, though next time on a tropical island or a big yacht.”
Yard Act frontman James Smith had this to say: “It was great shooting this video. I barely had to do anything, and I didn’t have fake facial hair glued to me head for once. I still can’t believe David got involved. I was such a fan of his work from Naked through to Fargo, and when I told James Slater he was interested in working with us he was so buzzing. A brilliant actor, and an absolute joy to watch work. Equally so, he is a thoroughly decent, down to earth person who is funny as fuck, and that goes a fair way I reckon.
“This video also stands as testament, once more, to James Slater and his vision for bringing our songs to life every time. I always knew we would revisit The Overload world one last time to bring the whole concept of the album full circle and I knew the final video would be for ‘100% Endurance’, but once the album came out and touring kicked in, I never knew when we would find the time. Finally we did, and getting all the cast of characters back together felt lovely too. We’ve met so many ace people making these videos and the more you meet them, the easier it is. Bless everyone who was on board throughout. If no one figures it out in the next five years, I’ll do a thorough breakdown of all the videos with every reference, easter egg and narrative hint we stuck in there.”
Director Slater adds: “Prior to shooting ‘100% Endurance’ I’d already been lucky enough to shoot four videos off The Overload. It’s given us the opportunity to create our own Yard Act cinematic universe, with characters and themes recurring across all the films. With this video we wanted to wrap everything up. The song asks the big question—What’s It All About?—so I thought we should have a go at answering it by revealing that the universe (well, the Yard Act universe at least) is in fact a miniature model set, kept atop a table in a man’s spare room. The man in question is David Thewlis. James and David had been chatting for a while as it turned out he was a big fan of the band. He let us know he’d be up for doing a video and thankfully liked the idea. He really bought into it all and delivered a brilliant performance, tying the whole thing together. I think he’ll go far!”
Parody Cover of the Week:
Moist Limb: “Trone Noir” (Cover of Wet Leg’s “Chaise Longue”)
We have no idea who Moist Limb are, but their disturbing and amusing cover of Wet Leg’s “Chaise Longue” is worth checking out if you’re a fan of the original hit.
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