Saturday, May 28th, 2022
11 Best Songs of the Week: Suede, Katy J Pearson, Tallies, Why Bonnie, and More
Plus Shearwater, Chelsea Rose, Just Mustard, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks
May 27, 2022
By Mark Redfern (with Joey Arnone and Caleb Campbell)
Welcome to the 21st Songs of the Week of 2022. It was terrible week for those who follow the news, fueled by the truly awful mass shooting at the elementary school in Texas. And once again the usual gun control debates came up and once again nothing will probably happen. After all, it’s been 10 years since the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting and no progress has been made. Also Depeche Mode’s Andrew Fletcher and actor Ray Liotta (Goodfellas, Something Wild) both surprisingly died yesterday, even though they were both only in their 60s. So it was a bit hard to focus on new music. Still, there were a lot of strong tracks this week and we settled on a Top 11, with plenty of honorable mentions.
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. Suede: “She Still Leads Me On”
On Monday, Suede announced a new album, Autofiction, and shared its first single, “She Still Leads Me On.” Autofiction is due out September 16 via BMG. Later that day, the band debuted “She Still Leads Me On” live in Belgium at Brussels’ Cirque Royal. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art here.
The Britpop originators and survivors legally have to go by the name The London Suede in America, thanks to an American jazz singer also named Suede. Longtime collaborator Ed Buller, who has produced many of the band’s albums, including their first three, produced Autofiction. The album is the follow-up to 2018’s The Blue Hour.
Suede—Brett Anderson (vocals), Mat Osman (bass), Simon Gilbert (drums), Richard Oakes (guitars), and Neil Codling (keyboards)—began the album in a rehearsal studio in the Kings Cross area of London.
“Autofiction is our punk record,” Anderson says in a press release. “No whistles and bells. Just the five of us in a room with all the glitches and fuck-ups revealed; the band themselves exposed in all their primal mess.”
“Autofiction has a natural freshness, it’s where we want to be,” Anderson adds.
“When we were rehearsing and writing this record it was this sheer, physical rush,” says Osman. “That thing where you’re hanging on for dear life.”
“She Still Leads Me On” is about Anderson’s mother and the lyrics to Autofiction as a whole were fueled by Anderson’s two acclaimed autobiographies, 2018’s Coal Black Mornings and 2019’s Afternoons with the Blinds Drawn.
Suede initially broke-up in 2003 following the release of their poorly received fifth album, 2002’s A New Morning. They reformed in 2010 and made a full on comeback in 2013 with the release of Bloodsports, which was their first new album in over a decade and was very well-received by critics. That was followed by 2016’s Night Thoughts and 2018’s The Blue Hour. This makes Autofiction the band’s fourth album since reforming and ninth album overall (not counting 1997’s two-disc B-sides collection Sci-Fi Lullabies).
Read our 2013 interview with Suede’s Brett Anderson on Bloodsports.
In 2019 we reflected on the 25th anniversary of Suede’s second album, Dog Man Star, and you read that retrospective here. By Mark Redfern
2. Katy J Pearson: “Alligator”
On Wednesday, Katy J Pearson shared a video for her new song “Alligator.” The video features a cameo from Paul McGann, who played the Eighth Doctor in the 1996 Doctor Who film. He appears in an homage to the café scene from the 1987 film Withnail & I, which he starred in. It also features an appearance from Tom Gould of the band Pottery. “Alligator” is the latest release from Pearson’s forthcoming album, Sound of the Morning, which will be out on July 8 via Heavenly.
In a press release, Pearson states: “I wrote this track with Dan Carey at his Streatham studio. The day we did so I was having the worst morning ever; I was really stressed as I had a £500 electric bill that I had to pay. I burst into tears at the studio and from that feeling, the song just surfaced from all my anxieties. The lyrics are quite literal and were born from the idea of dissociation when experiencing anxiety.
“The chorus note ‘it felt just like a dream, and it keeps on happening’ refers to when you are really stressed, things just don’t seem real. There is this juxtaposition between the lyrics and the soaring chorus which is quite euphoric—it’s quite tongue in cheek and I like that about it. Dan played the bass on this track and Yuri from the band Honeyglaze played drums which really gives the track some gusto!”
Video director Edie Lawrence adds: “‘Alligator’ came about once we spoke about the track’s theme of paranoia, anxiety and intrusive thoughts. Panic attacks tend to mess with your perspective amongst other things, which is where the idea of placing Katy in a shrinking café of hysterical bean shoveling, age switching, glass eating customers came to me. Everything in the café was made to look as if Katy was sat in one of my miniature sets—so all food was made from latex, clay and gelatine and the counter, fridge, doors and frames were all made from cardboard. Katy was a dream to work with and completely trusted my vision throughout. I’m really excited about working with her again on future projects.”
Upon announcement of the new album in March, Pearson shared the song “Talk Over Town,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. She later shared the album track “Game of Cards,” which was also one of our Songs of the Week. By Joey Arnone
3. Tallies: “Special”
In a press release, singer Sarah Cogan states: “‘Special’ is about longing to be seen and heard by those who matter to you most. Sometimes feeling invisible is particularly painful when the indifference comes from someone whose opinion means a lot to you.”
Patina was produced by Graham Walsh and Dylan Frankland. Upon announcement of the album, the band shared the song “Hearts Underground.”
Earlier this year, the band shared the songs “Wound Up Tight” and “Heaven’s Touch.” By Joey Arnone
4. Why Bonnie: “90 in November”
Yesterday, Why Bonnie announced the release of their debut album, 90 in November, which will be out on August 19 via Keeled Scales. They also shared a video for the album’s title track, which has a Big Thief vibe. View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.
“I wanted to capture the bittersweet feeling of saying goodbye to the landscape that shaped you while still dealing with the anxieties of what lies ahead,” states lead singer Blair Howerton regarding the title track in a press release. “Nostalgia always hits with a flash of disjointed memories—like speeding down the highway or sweating in the Texas heat.”
In 2020, the band released their EP Voice Box. By Joey Arnone
5. Shearwater: “Laguna Seca”
On Tuesday, Shearwater shared a video for their new single “Laguna Seca.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming album, The Great Awakening, which will be out on June 10 via Polyborus/Secretly Distribution. The song brings to mind Portishead’s Third.
“‘Laguna Seca’ came from one of those dreams where you meet someone you know, but they aren’t themselves,” states frontman Jonathan Meiburg in a press release. “And then you realize that you’re not yourself, either.”
Upon announcement of the new album in March, the band shared the song “Xenarthran,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. They later shared the album track “Aqaba,” which was also one of our Songs of the Week. Their most recent album, Jet Plane and Oxbow, came out in 2016 via Sub Pop. By Joey Arnone
6. Chelsea Rose: “Fallin”
Over the pandemic, LA-based singer/songwriter Chelsea Rose (formerly of the indie pop group Summer Twins) has been penning her forthcoming full-length solo debut record, Truth or Consequences. Referencing sunny and buoyant strains of pop, jazz, and singer/songwriter staples, the record finds Rose navigating the realities of life as an artist in LA, with all of its accompanying heartbreaks and joys.
The full album is out June 3rd via Paul Is Dead Records, but on Tuesday, Rose shared her latest single and video from the album, “Fallin,” premiering with Under the Radar.
With “Fallin” Rose traces the sweeping rush of love and heartbreak found on the road. On the spoken word verses Rose’s lyrics tumble out in a free-form stream, crafting evocative confessions of longing and heartbreak over a looping piano meldy. Yet with the chorus the track takes flight, soaring into a fervent sunny dream, carried by soulful keys and Rose’s lilting vocal melodies.
Rose explains of the song, “I never intended to write a spoken word song, but this one just came out that way, so I went with it. ‘Fallin’ tells the story of falling in love while out on the road; it tells the story of closeness, distance, longing, and an eventual ending of falling back into loneliness. Sometimes when I’m crushed and really going through heartbreak, writing is the only way to process and heal.”
Truth or Consequences is coming June 3rd via Paul is Dead Records. By Caleb Campbell
7. Just Mustard: “Seed”
In a press release, guitarist Mete Kalyoncuoglu states: “Along with a lot of electronics and noise, I was listening to a lot of music which featured bowed string instruments. I had finished reading The Rest Is Noise by Alex Ross around the time we started writing and I was revisiting a lot of the 20th century composers that I first discovered watching Kubrick’s films, like Krzysztof Penderecki. The rising tempo strikes at the beginning of ‘Seed’ were inspired from the rising and falling xylophone in Béla Bartók’s ‘Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta’.”
Previously released songs from the new album are “I Am You” (which was one of our Songs of the Week), “Still,” and “Mirrors.” Their debut album, Wednesday, came out in 2018 via Pizza Pizza. By Joey Arnone
8. Dehd: “Window”
On Tuesday, Chicago trio Dehd shared a video for their new single, “Window.” It is the latest release from their new album, Blue Skies, which came out today via Fat Possum. They also announced a world tour in support of the album. View a full list of the band’s tour dates here. Vocalist Emily Kempf directed the video with Kevin Veselka.
Kempf states in a press release that “Window” is about “being obsessed with true love and the construct of ‘the one.’ I wrote it to address my addition to the terrible and wonderful pursuit of perfect love.”
9. Alex G: “Blessing”
On Monday, Alex G (aka Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter Alex Giannascoli) has shared a video for his new song “Blessing.” He has also announced a fall North American tour. View the full list of tour dates here.
10. Lord Huron: “Your Other Life” and “Ton Autre Vie” (Feat. Sarah Dugas)
On Wednesday, Lord Huron released the deluxe edition of their most recent album, Long Lost. It includes the song “Your Other Life” along with a French version, “Ton Autre Vie.” They have shared a technically innovative video for both songs which consists of two videos seamlessly blended together: one featuring frontman Ben Schneider performing “Your Other Life” and the other featuring vocalist Sarah Dugas performing “Ton Autre Vie.” A fader on the bottom of the screen lets the viewer control which version they are watching, and if the fader is placed in the middle, the two vocalists’ performances are merged together as if performing a duet. View the video here. Or check out both versions of the song separately below.
In a press release, Schneider states: “We recorded ‘Your Other Life’ during the sessions for Long Lost, but it didn’t end up finding a place on the album. Not because I didn’t like the way the song turned out, but because I kept hearing it in my head as sung by a woman instead of myself. Also in French….
“So we called up Sarah Dugas and recorded it that way as well, not really knowing what we’d do with it, just seeing where it went. She did an amazing job, not just with the singing but also with the translation. Listening to them side by side, I felt like the songs were made stronger by their proximity to one another. It seemed to bolster the themes of the lyrics—leading a double life, having wildly different perspectives on a situation.
“I started thinking of ways to present the songs together and had the idea of being able to switch or fade between them in real time. Almost like switching between the two lives implied in the song. I thought including a visual element would make it even stronger. A cross-fadeable, double music video sounded pretty interesting.
“We got in touch with Adam Willis who’s done some videos with us before and he had the thought of doing it as two perspectives on the same situation. Kind of a Rashomon inspired idea. So, we rented an Elk’s lodge in the valley and shot it at the bar there in a day.
“We hadn’t really thought too much about whether or not this was all possible technically. Luckily our friend Lee Martin was able to help us make it all happen.” By Joey Arnone
11. beabadoobee: “Lovesong”
“‘Lovesong’ is a song that I had bits written for since my second ever EP,” states beabadoobee in a press release. “The chorus was actually already written since Loveworm, I just didn’t have any chords to sing it with. It’s actually written in a really strange tuning that I forget. And, yeah, it’s just another sweet love song. It was one of the last songs I recorded for Beatopia.”
Previously beabadoobee shared Beatopia’s first single, “Talk,” via a video for it. “Talk” was one of our Songs of the Week. She later shared the album track “See You Soon,” which was also one of our Songs of the Week. By Joey Arnone
These songs almost made the Top 11.
Jessie Buckley and Bernard Butler: “Footnotes on the Map”
Dendrons: “Double Ending”
Sky Ferreira: “Don’t Forget”
Ganser: “People Watching”
Bruce Hornsby: “Days Ahead” (Feat. Danielle HAIM)
Martha: “Please Don’t Take Me Back”
Nightlands: “No Kiss For the Lonely”
Amanda Shires: “Hawk For the Dove”
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs: “The Sleeper”
TV Priest: “It Was Beautiful”
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:
Angel Olsen: “One Too Many Mornings” (Bob Dylan Cover)
Belief: “Art of Love”
Empress Of: “Dance for You”
Gordi: “Way I Go”
Hercules & Love Affair: “One” (Feat. ANOHNI)
M.I.A.: “The One”
Tony Molina: “The Last Time”
MUNA: “Home By Now”
Tom Odell: “Sad Anymore”
The Range: “Relegate”
Oliver Sim: “Hideous”
Superorganism: “On & On”
Yann Tiersen: “11 5 18. 1 12. 12 15 3 8”
JayWood: “Thank You”
Wynonna & Waxahatchee: “Other Side”