Sunday, April 17th, 2022
10 Best Songs of the Week: Jockstrap, Phoebe Bridgers, Tess Parks, Wild Pink, and More
Plus Tim Burgess, Faye Webster, TRAAMS, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks
Apr 15, 2022
By Mark Redfern (with Joey Arnone)
Welcome to the fifteenth Songs of the Week of 2022. This week our new favorite band, Wet Leg, hit #1 on the British album charts with their debut album. It was a solid week for new tracks, but none that screamed #1 Song of the Week, so this week’s order should be considered less strict than some weeks.
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 10 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. Jockstrap: “Concrete Over Water”
On Monday, London-based duo Jockstrap (Georgia Ellery and Taylor Skye) shared a video for their new single, “Concrete Over Water.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming debut album, which has yet to be announced officially. View a list of the duo’s upcoming tour dates here.
Ellery states in a press release: “‘Concrete Over Water’ was written on a summer’s night in 2019 in a flat in Farringdon which was above a pub, and above a train line. The place hummed when the trains went under. The video was born out of the celestial themes in the song. Eddie and I created the characters (Moongirl, Voyager, Magma Boy, etc.) to explore the feelings of wonder, inspiration and the search for answers, to reflect what the song represents to me.”
Skye adds: “I can’t quite remember producing ‘Concrete Over Water.’ I was living in my auntie’s attic at the time and it was extremely hot. Georgia sent me the demo fully written, then I sent her the song fully produced. That was it.”
Last November, the duo shared the song “50/50.” Their most recent music project was the EP Beavercore, which came out in 2020 via Warp. By Joey Arnone
2. Phoebe Bridgers: “Sidelines”
At midnight last night Eastern time, Phoebe Bridgers shared a new song, “Sidelines.” It was written for the new Hulu show, Conversations with Friends, which is an adaptation of the 2017 novel by Irish author Sally Rooney. A press release says it will be Bridgers’ only original new song released in 2022. View her upcoming tour dates here.
Bridgers, who’s a fan of Rooney’s work, wrote the song with her bandmate and collaborator Marshall Vore, as well as Ruby Rain Henley. Conversations with Friends is due to premiere on May 15. “Sidelines” is out now via Dead Oceans.
3. Tess Parks: “Do You Pray?”
Tess Parks is releasing a new album, And Those Who Were Seen Dancing, on May 20 via Fuzz Club. On Wednesday, she shared the album’s third single, “Do You Pray?,” via a video for it. Gsus López directed the video, which simply features dancer Mark Wagner spinning around to the song.
Parks had this to say about the song in a press release: “My friend Annie just asked me one day out of the blue, ‘Do you pray?’, and I thought, ‘Wow, yes I love that and yes I do, every day.’ The song is a mix of two traditionals: ‘My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean’ and ‘When the Saints Go Marching In.’ This is one of a few songs on the album where my dad can be heard playing my grand-fathers old piano.”
Of the video, Parks adds: “Mark Wagner is seen whirling like a dervish, a sacred dance derived from the ancient Sufi practice, ritual and meditation of the ‘Sema.’ The dance is trance and euphoria-inducing and offers a sense of connectedness and expansiveness among many other virtues. I have been a fan of Mark Wagner for years now. I can’t even remember how I came across him, but I would always watch his videos and be absolutely mesmerized.
“I messaged him late last year and asked him to dance in this video and I said he could choose wherever he wanted to in the whole world to film it. Our correspondence was no more than a few e-mails back and forth, not even a phone call. He sent me this video and I was actually speechless. Not only had I been unaware that he was based in London, but we had shot outtakes for the 2018 album cover with Anton [Newcombe] at the exact location that he had chosen. Mysticism at its finest!”
Parks previously shared the album’s first single, “Happy Birthday Forever,” via a video for the song (which was one of our Songs of the Week). Then the album’s second single, the wonderfully titled “Brexit at Tiffany’s,” also made our Songs of the Week list.
“In my mind, this album is like hopscotch,” Parks said of the album in a previous press release: “These songs were pieced together over time in London, Toronto and Los Angeles with friends and family between August 2019 and March 2021. So many other versions of these songs exist. The recording and final completion of this album took over two years and wow—the lesson I have learned the most is that words are spells. If I didn’t know it before, I know it now for sure. I only want to put good out into the universe.”
She added: “I really felt discouraged to complete this album. I stopped listening to music for honestly about a year altogether and turned to painting instead. I really had to convince myself again that it’s important to just share whatever good we can—having the faith in ourselves to know that our lights can shine on and on through other people and for other people. The thought of anyone not sharing their art or being shy of anything they create seems like a real tragedy to me. Even if it’s not perfect, you’re capturing a moment.” By Mark Redfern
4. Wild Pink: “Q. Degraw”
“This song is about my experiences with some health problems and how an extremely stressful situation can sharpen your focus on what’s important in life,” states frontman John Ross in a press release. “It’s also about how that stress can sometimes cause you to dissociate from yourself.”
Wild Pink’s most recent album, A Billion Little Lights, came out in February 2021 via Royal Mountain. It featured the song “Pacific City,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. Last June, they shared an EP, 3 Songs. In December, the band shared the song “Florida.” By Joey Arnone
5. Tim Burgess: “Here Comes the Weekend”
Yesterday, Tim Burgess of The Charlatans shared a video for his new song, “Here Comes the Weekend.” It is the first release from Burgess’ forthcoming solo album, which is expected to come out later this year via Bella Union/[PIAS]. Kevin Godley of the 1970s/1980s British musical duo Godley & Creme (and formerly of 10cc) directed the video. He’s also a longtime music video director, having worked with The Charlatans before, as well as Blur, U2, Sting, Paul McCartney, Fine Young Cannibals, Elbow, and more.
“The idea was very much about two people who were distanced and wanted to connect but were finding it really difficult because of mobile phone signals and rain and time differences and jet lag,” states Burgess in a press release. “And I always knew the album should start with ‘Here Comes the Weekend.’ It’s a simple song, and it’s a feeling more than anything.”
Director Godley adds: “This idea, about physical separation versus virtual connection, had Tim, Rose, and Dan delivering impeccable performances throughout a pretty physical day, spent bending real people and live projections into a film that seems to blur the lines between joy and anxiety. Not that we set out to achieve anything that specific, but the improvisational nature of the shoot allowed it to emerge. Nor did it do any harm having an artist and song this bloody good to apply the idea to. Big thanks to Tim and everyone for the opportunity.”
Last September, Burgess released the book The Listening Party, written about his Twitter listening parties.
Check out our interview with Burgess about his Twitter listening parties, along with our COVID-19 Quarantine Artist Check-In interview with him from 2020. By Joey Arnone
6. Faye Webster: “Car Therapy”
On Wednesday, Atlanta-based singer/songwriter Faye Webster announced the release of a new EP, Car Therapy Sessions, which will be out on April 29 via Secretly Canadian. Webster also shared a new song from the EP, “Car Therapy.” View the EP’s tracklist and cover art here.
In a press release, Webster states: “The recording experience was beautiful, I was truly fighting tears. I think I had actually even cried listening to the demos. I was put in a position where I could see the conductor as well as the producer, which I needed because I honestly couldn’t pick up on my cues sometimes even though I wrote the songs. I was so distracted in how beautiful the orchestra sounded I would forget to sing sometimes.”
I Know I’m Funny haha was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2021. It features the songs “Better Distractions,” “In a Good Way,” “Cheers” (one of our Songs of the Week), “I Know I’m Funny haha,” and “A Dream With a Baseball Player.” By Joey Arnone
7. TRAAMS: “The Light at Night” (Feat. Joe Casey of Protomartyr)
On Wednesday, British post-rock band TRAAMS announced a new album, personal best, and shared a new song from it, “The Light at Night,” which features Joe Casey of Protomartyr and was shared via a video directed by Lee Kiernan of IDLES and Charlotte Gosch. Personal best is due out July 22 via FatCat. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as the band’s upcoming tour dates, here.
TRAAMS are Stu Hopkins (vocals, guitar), Leigh Padley (bass, vocals), and Adam Stock (drums, synths).
In a press release, Hopkins had this to say about the new single: “On ‘The Light at Night, we were very lucky to get to work with Joe Casey of Protomartyr. It goes without saying that we’re all massive fans of his band, we were lucky enough to tour together a few years ago and became friends. After trying and failing to lay down a verse I was happy with I tried my luck and messaged Joe. Like a true pro he had the takes recorded and back to us in a flash, he loves a deadline apparently.”
Casey had this to add: “Last year, like many people, I was doing absolutely nothing and desperately wanted to do anything. Luckily for me, that anything arrived in the form of a TRAAMS tune. Asking Stu for a little guidance after an initial ‘do whatever you want’ he explicated on the song’s origins and suggested I ‘rant like a televangelist.’ Stu must be a keen student of my output. Anyway, I trundled out to Ypsilanti to Derek Stanton’s new home studio and dutifully laid down some primo ranting and yawps. What am I going on about on this one? Beats me. And I wrote it! I’m just happy to be using my (shockingly adenoidal) voice again after such a long hiatus and being a small part of whatever TRAAMS have cooking up.”
Personal best is the band’s first full-length in seven years, since 2015’s Modern Dancing.
“I couldn’t really write, and I didn’t have the motivation to do anything musical. I’m pretty sure I didn’t pick up a guitar for two years,” Hopkins says of the long gap between albums. “I was waiting for that feeling to come back.”
In 2020, TRAAMS shared the songs “The Greyhound” (which was one of our Songs of the Week) and “Intercontinental Radio Waves” (also one of our Songs of the Week). Neither is featured on the new album and both were leftover TRAAMS songs Hopkins finished.
“They had been left as instrumental demos with no vocal takes, and to be honest they were beginning to drive me a little mad,” Hopkins explains. “I needed them finished and out of my head.”
At the end of 2019 the trio reconvened to begin work on new music and they began recording in 2020 when pandemic lockdown restrictions in the UK began to ease.
“I like the fact that it touches on old ideas and new ideas, created in this weird middle period of our lives when we were locked down and didn’t know when we’d get on stage again,” bassist Leigh Padley says. “We focused more on the writing than we had done before.”
Hopkins adds: “Lockdown heightened how much we realized we needed to do this, after so many years inactive. We realized that TRAAMS was something we all really needed.” By Mark Redfern
8. JB Dunckel: “Corporate Sunset”
On Wednesday, JB Dunckel (full name Jean-Benoît Dunckel), one half of French duo Air, announced his third solo album, Carbon, and shared its first single, “Corporate Sunset.” Carbon is due out June 24 via Prototyp Recordings. View the album’s tracklist here.
Carbon is the follow-up to 2018’s H+ and 2006’s Darkel.
“When you burn it, it doesn’t go away,” Dunckel says of the album’s title, in a press release. “It’s full of strength – diamonds are crystallized carbon. Carbon is the thing that makes you solid. It’s the most important thing in our bodies and in our lives, but we’re hardly aware of it.”
Dunckel says that “Corporate Sunset” considers how “big corporations are changing the world and what they propose could be paradise. That song is optimistic but big tech companies are more likely to bring us hell. They’re more powerful now than any country—they’re the new kings.”
He adds about the album: “It’s all about creating waves that bring me happiness—or that reveal how I feel. It has to drag me into a dream or a sort of internal pleasure…. Music brings energy and I want them to feel this energy.” By Mark Redfern
9. Belle and Sebastian: “Young and Stupid”
Scotland’s Belle and Sebastian are releasing a new album, A Bit of Previous, on May 6 via Matador. On Wednesday, they shared its third single, “Young and Stupid,” via a lyric video featuring photos of the band as children, teenagers, and in their 20s. View the band’s upcoming tour dates here.
The band has also issued this statement from actor Jon Hamm (Mad Men, Baby Driver), which has little to do with the song or the new album, but is amusing none-the-less: “In 2015 at Bonnaroo, Belle and Sebastian invited Zach Galifianakis and me up to the stage during their set to toss gummy bears in each other’s mouths. Then Stuart [Murdoch] got into the fun and demanded a catch as well. It was dramatic, stupid, and done with style and grace. I know I can speak for Zach when I say ‘I want to thank them for their inclusion of us into their show.’ I know the audience was simply confused, but we were absolutely delighted. Please enjoy this new album with a gummy bear of your choice, and think fondly of all of us.”
Previously Belle and Sebastian shared A Bit of Previous’ first single, “Unnecessary Drama,” via a video for it. “Unnecessary Drama” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared its second single, “If They’re Shooting At You,” which they have dedicated to the people of Ukraine and are donating all proceeds from the song to the Red Cross. It was accompanied by a video featuring images from photographers covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “If They’re Shooting At You” was also one of our Songs of the Week.
A Bit of Previous was recorded in the band’s hometown of Glasgow after plans to record in Los Angeles in the spring of 2020 were scrapped due to the pandemic. The band self-produced the album, recording it themselves. The album features contributions from Brian McNeill, Matt Wiggins, Kevin Burleigh, and Shawn Everett. There are four different album covers for A Bit of Previous.
“We did it together, us and the city,” says Murdoch in the press release. “This record was the first ‘full’ LP recording for B&S in Glasgow since Fold Your Hands Child, 1999. We clocked in every morning, we played our songs, we wrote together, we tried new things, we took the proverbial lump of clay, and we threw it every day.”
A Bit of Previous is the band’s first proper full-length album in seven years. But in that time they have released EPs (plus an album that collected all the EPs), a soundtrack, and a live album. Their last regular album was 2015’s Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance. In late 2017 and early 2018 Belle and Sebastian released three interconnected EPs via Matador, all titled How to Solve Your Human Problems. How to Solve Your Human Problems Part 1 came out in December 2017, Part 2 came out in January 2018, and Part 3 came out in February 2018. Then all three EPs were collected in a vinyl box set and CD compilation that also came out in February 2018. In 2019 they released the soundtrack for the indie film Days of the Bagnold Summer. In 2020 they released the live album, What to Look for in Summer.
Read our interview with Belle and Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch on Days of the Bagnold Summer. By Mark Redfern
10. Jessie Buckley and Bernard Butler: “The Eagle & The Dove”
Today, acclaimed actress Jessie Buckley (I’m Thinking of Ending Things, The Lost Daughter) and ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler announced the release of an album, For All Our Days That Tear The Heart, which will be out on June 10 via EMI. They also shared a video for a song from the album, “The Eagle & The Dove.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.
In a press release, the duo state: “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 fellow English musician David McAlmont. By Joey Arnone
These songs almost made the Top 10.
fanclubwallet: “Trying To Be Nice”
Flock of Dimes: “Go With Good”
Interpol: “Something Changed”
Just Mustard: “Mirrors”
Tim Kasher: “What Are We Doing”
Tallies: “Hearts Underground”
Kurt Vile: “Flyin (like a fast train)”
Here’s a handy Spotify playlist featuring the Top 10 in order, followed by all the honorable mentions:
Other notable new tracks in the last week include:
100 gecs: “Doritos & Fritos”
Deaton Chris Anthony: “iScream” (Feat. Beabadoobee)
William Basinski and Janek Schaefer: “on reflection… (three)”
Naima Bock: “Giant Palm”
Built to Spill: “Gonna Lose”
CARM: “Hollywood South”
Ceremony: “Vanity Spawned By Fear”
Desire: “Telling Me Lies”
Drive-By Truckers: “Welcome 2 Club XIII”
Ben Folds: “It’s the Small Things, Charlie Brown”
Folk Implosion: “Don’t Give It Away” and “Had Enough”
Frontperson: “Calgary ’88”
Guided By Voices: “Alex Bell”
Georgia Harmer: “Top Down”
Tim Heidecker: “Buddy”
High Pulp: “You’ve Got To Pull It Up From the Ground” (Feat. Theo Croker)
Holy Fuck: “Ninety Five”
Alex Izenberg: “Sorrows Blue Tapestry”
Jamie xx: “LET’S DO IT AGAIN”
Jordana: “To the Ground”
La Neve: “Rough Music”
Lizzo: “About Damn Time”
Mdou Moctar: “Taliat” (Rey Sapienz Remix Feat. MC Dougis)
Monophonics: “Love You Better”
Kikagaku Moyo: “Cardboard Pile”
serpentwithfeet: “Sailors’ Superstition (Bmore Club Remix)”
Ural Thomas & The Pain: “Gimme Some Ice Cream”