Saturday, December 4th, 2021
10 Best Songs of the Last Two Weeks: Wet Leg, Yard Act, The Divine Comedy, Trentemøller, and More
Plus The Soundcarriers, Boy Harsher, Tears for Fears, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks
Dec 03, 2021
By Mark Redfern (with Joey Arnone)
Welcome to the 45th Songs of the Week of 2021. We didn’t do a Songs of the Week last week because of Thanksgiving, so this week’s list includes songs from the last two weeks. Even taking into account two weeks worth of songs, the pickings were a little slim. We came up with 10 we liked.
In the last week we also reviewed a bunch of albums.
To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last two weeks, we have picked the 10 best the last two weeks had to offer, along with highlighting other notable new tracks shared in the last 14 days. Check out the full list below.
1. Wet Leg: “Too Late Now”
On Monday, British duo Wet Leg (Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers) announced the release of their self-titled debut album, which will be out on April 8, 2022 via Domino. The duo also shared two new songs, “Too Late Now” and “Oh No,” with an accompanying music video for “Too Late Now.” “Too Late Now” makes our main Songs of the Week list, while “Oh No” is an honorable mention below. North American tour dates were also announced for March 2022. Check out the full list of tour dates and the album’s tracklist and cover art here.
Teasdale explains “Too Late Now” in a press release: “It is about sleepwalking into adulthood. I never imagined that my adult life would look the way it does and I guess this song reflects on some of the pressures and pulls of life. Sometimes I get really inside my head and everything can feel very overwhelming. I think this song is about accepting that life can feel a bit shit from time to time. Maybe don’t indulge that thought too much though. Just take some time for yourself. Take a breath. Have a bath. It might make you feel a bit better.”
She adds, regarding the album: “I wanted to write fun songs, I didn’t want to indulge sad feelings too much, I wanted to write stuff that’s fun to listen to and fun to play. But then, the sad seeps through, as well. Wet Leg was originally just supposed to be funny. As a woman, there’s so much put on you, in that your only value is how pretty or cool you look. But we want to be goofy and a little bit rude. We want to write songs that people can dance to. And we want people to have a good time, even if that might not be possible all of the time.”
Read our interview with Wet Leg on “Chaise Longue.” By Joey Arnone
2. Yard Act: “Payday”
Last week, English rock group Yard Act shared a video for their new song “Payday.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming studio album, The Overload, which will be out on January 7, 2022 via Island/Zen F.C.
Frontman James Smith elaborates on the new song in a press release: “‘Payday’ was one of the few tracks on the record we had to rebuild completely in the studio because the first demo was recorded on my computer and the hard drive corrupted. We spent about TWO hours trying to figure out that stupid keyboard part I’d put on it and couldn’t remember how to play. It was boring but worth it. It’s about gentrification, class fetish and how the human brain is so powerful that with enough time and processing power combined it will be able to justify, defend and/or continue to commit the actions of any human being it controls.”
He adds, regarding the video: “We wanted to do something less location and narrative based for this video, so an infinity white studio served as the perfect purgatory for an anti capitalist anthem funded by a major record label. It was great to get Kayleigh from ‘The Overload’ car boot shoot back with her friends, and they choreographed a brilliant dance routine for it themselves, which really brings the video to life. It’s also nice to finally be able to explain all the lettuces that kept cropping up in the previous videos.”
3. The Divine Comedy: “The Best Mistakes”
Last week, The Divine Comedy, the orchestral-pop project of Northern Irish singer/songwriter/composer Neil Hannon, shared a video for his new song “The Best Mistakes.” The video, directed by Raphaël Neal, alludes to the artworks of many different singles and albums from across Hannon’s career. It is the latest release from his forthcoming greatest hits album, Charmed Life – The Best of the Divine Comedy, which will be out on February 4.
“I began writing ‘The Best Mistakes’ around 2007/8,” states Hannon in a press release. “I got stuck after the first chorus and put it to one side. It wasn’t until I was putting together this compilation that the concept of ‘my best mistakes’ suddenly made sense. Success and failure are two sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other.”
Director Raphaël Neal adds: “It was Neil’s idea to have moments from his career projected onto him. Going through 30 years of imagery was really moving—so rich in colors, costumes, stories. We were witnessing an artist’s journey. The song is about looking behind with kindness, remembering the highs and the lows, but also pays tribute to being at peace with the present. As Neil says in the lyrics, ‘if I had to choose between then and now I’d choose now.’”
Regarding going on tour again, Hannon states: “I am so looking forward to playing live again. The last couple of years have been a reminder of how much it means to me personally. It really is my favorite thing. And it seems fitting that we’ll be coming back with a greatest hits set. You know, in case everyone’s forgotten who I am and what we do!”
Read our interview with Hannon from last year, where he reflects on the past 30 years of his career. By Joey Arnone
4. Trentemøller: “Dead or Alive”
On Monday, Danish electronic producer Trentemøller (aka Anders Trentemøller) shared a video for his new single “Dead or Alive.” It is the latest release from his forthcoming sixth studio album, Memoria, which will be out on February 11, 2022 via In My Room.
Memoria is the follow-up to 2019’s Obverse, which featured Rachel Goswell of Slowdive and Jenny Lee Linberg (aka jennylee) of Warpaint. Memoria features Lisbet Fritze, who performs all vocals on the album.
Also read our 2016 interview with Trentemøller. By Joey Arnone
5. The Soundcarriers: “Waves”
Last week, The Soundcarriers announced the release of their first album in eight years, Wilds. It will be out on January 21, 2022 via the band’s own Phosphonic Label. They have shared the album’s opening track, “Waves.” View the album’s cover art and tracklist here.
“We’ve always done things our own way and without any outside pressure,” states band member Adam Cann in a press release. “Making music like this keeps things fresh, you always lose something and gain something as you go along but I think of it as just another chapter.”
Band member Paul Isherwood adds: “A lot of the tracks started with a feel or groove. Then building it into a more concise arranged piece. We were conscious that we didn’t want the recording to sound too over-polished so although a lot of the tracks were quite painstaking in how they evolved we wanted the actual recording to be quite raw and not be reliant on cutting things up or overly editing things. We wanted it to sound natural rather than perfect.” By Joey Arnone
6. Boy Harsher: “Give Me a Reason”
On Wednesday, Northampton-based electronic duo Boy Harsher (Jae Matthews and Augustus Muller) shared a new single, “Give Me a Reason.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming album, The Runner (Original Soundtrack), which will be out on January 21, 2022 via Nude Club/City Slang.
Matthews states in a press release: “With ‘Give Me a Reason,’ we wanted to write something that encapsulates that feeling of yearning—the way we feel when we catch eyes from across the room. Our music can be flirty and crushable, and it’s fun to play with that.”
7. Shout Out Louds: “High as a Kite”
Today, Sweden’s Shout Out Louds shared their new single, “High as a Kite.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming sixth studio album, House, which will be out on February 18, 2022 via Bud Fox/Integral/[PIAS].
Frontman Adam Olenius elaborates on the new song in a press release, stating: “‘High as a Kite’ is a hazy dream walk down a familiar street. Tripping on self-doubt, the melancholy joy of being alive, and the threshold of that pub where no one knows your name.”
The band previously shared the song “As Far Away As Possible” from the upcoming album. Their previous studio album, Ease My Mind, came out in 2017 via Merge. By Joey Arnone
8. Tears for Fears: “No Small Thing”
Yesterday, Tears for Fears (seminal New Wave duo of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith) shared a video for their new single “No Small Thing.” It is the second single to be released from their forthcoming album, The Tipping Point, which is out on February 25, 2022 via Concord.
Orzabal states in a press release: “In early 2020, Curt and I sat down together with just a couple of acoustic guitars. The first time in decades. We needed a meeting of minds, a coming together psychically. We were literally going back to the drawing board looking for some depth, heart and soul with which to complete our album. Curt came up with this simple folk/country riff, a little bit Dylan, a little bit Johnny Cash, and then we were off. It was the complete opposite of what we had been trying to do for many years—searching for the elusive, modern hit single. We felt suddenly unencumbered, free if you like, no longer worrying about the market, about success, but drawing on influences from our childhoods. It was at this point that the whole album started opening up. ‘No Small Thing’ was the key, the thing that turned a red light green.”
Smith adds: “‘No Small Thing’ feels like it could have been a song from a seventies or sixties acoustic folk album with how the track starts. The fact that we felt confident enough to go from there to the end of the song to where it’s just absolute mayhem speaks to that sense of freedom, and that’s our comfort zone musically.”
Upon announcing the album’s release in October, the band shared its title track, which was also one of our Songs of the Week. They later announced a 2022 world tour in support of the album, where Garbage will be the supporting act for the North American leg. By Joey Arnone
9. Kids on a Crime Spree: “All Things Fade”
Yesterday, Kids on a Crime Spree shared a video for their new song “All Things Fade.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming album, Fall In Love Not In Line, which will be out on January 21, 2022 via Slumberland.
Last month, the band shared a video for the album track “When Can I See You Again?” By Joey Arnone
10. Cloakroom: “A Force at Play”
On Tuesday, Cloakroom announced the release of a new album, Dissolution Wave, which will be out on January 28, 2022 via Relapse. They also shared a video for the album’s lead single, “A Force at Play,” co-directed by the band alongside Colorshift. View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.
Frontman Doyle Martin speaks about the new album in a press release: “We lost a couple of close friends over the course of writing this record. Dreaming up another world felt easier to digest than the real nitty-gritty we’re immersed in every day.”
He also talks about the new song, which was written from the perspective of the album’s protagonist, an asteroid miner who writes songs by night: “The miner is talking about ‘bottling lightning beams,’ which is a new take on the old music industry term ‘lightning in a bottle,’ which can pertain to a fire ass track or a good bottle of homemade booze. As you can imagine, bottling lightning is a pretty hard thing to do.”
The band’s previous studio album, Time Well, came out in 2017 via Relapse. By Joey Arnone
These songs almost made the Top 10.
The Bug: “Treetop” (Feat. Jason Williamson)
Girl Ray: “Murder on the Dancefloor” (Sophie Ellis-Bextor Cover)
The National: “Somebody Desperate”
Saint Etienne: “Her Winter Coat”
Wet Leg: “Oh No”
Here’s a handy Spotify playlist featuring the Top 10 in order, followed by all the honorable mentions:
(Note: Girl Ray’s cover of “Murder on the Dancefloor” is not on Spotify and so not included in the playlist.)
Other notable new tracks in the last two weeks include:
Band of Horses: “In Need of Repair”
Beach Bunny: “Christmas Caller”
Black Country, New Road: “Concorde”
Bloc Party: “Traps”
Naima Bock: “30 Degrees”
Bonobo: “Shadows” (Feat. Jordan Rakei)
The Boo Radleys: “You and Me”
Boris: “Drowning by Numbers”
The Bug: “Stoat” (Feat. Jason Williamson)
Phoebe Bridgers: “Day After Tomorrow” (Tom Waits Cover)
Martin Carr: “Flames”
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis: “We Are Not Alone”
CHAI: “END (Confidence Man Remix)”
Chastity Belt: “Fake”
Cults: “Beach Ball”
Richard Dawson and Circle: “Cooksonia”
Julie Doiron: “Thought of You”
EELS: “The Magic”
Fuss: “Teriyaki Dinner (Grown Ass Man Pt. II)”
Jake Xerxes Fussell: “Breast of Glass” and “Frolic”
Kim Gordon: “Grass Jeans”
Grandaddy: “It was a Silent Night at least until Jeff Lynne arrived”
Grimes: “Player of Games”
PJ Harvey: “Let England Shake (Demo)”
Hooray For The Riff Raff: “Jupiter’s Dance”
JennyLee: “Tickles” and “Heart Tax”
Los Bitchos: “Good to Go!”
Alix Page: “Radiohead”
Thundercat: “Satellite” (Feat. Genevieve Artadi and Louis Cole)
Tycho and Ben Gibbard: “Only Love (Brijean Remix)”
Wild Pink: “Florida”
Anand Wilder: “I Don’t Want Our Love to Become Routine”
Brian Wilson and Jim James: “Right Where I Belong”
Years & Years and Galantis: “Sweet Talker”
Neil Young and Crazy Horse: “Welcome Back”