12 Best Songs of the Week: Beach House, Nilüfer Yanya, Gang of Youths, Mitski, and More

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12 Best Songs of the Week: Beach House, Nilüfer Yanya, Gang of Youths, Mitski, and More
Plus Jarvis Cocker, C Duncan, Yumi Zouma, Pom Pom Squad, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Nov 12, 2021

By Mark Redfern (with Joey Arnone)


Welcome to the 43rd Songs of the Week of 2021. It was a packed week for new songs. There were lots of big album announcements (Jack White even announced two new albums, although he didn’t share any new songs from either of them). And Under the Radar favorite Beach House put out four new songs! So the best we could narrow it down to this week was a Top 12.

In the last week we posted interviews with Lael Neale, Thurston Moore, Type Two Error, and Julien Baker, along with a Self Portrait feature with Bedouine.

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 week, we have picked the 12 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. Beach House: “Once Twice Melody”

On Tuesday, Beach House announced the release of their new studio album, Once Twice Melody, which will be out in full on February 18, 2022 via Sub Pop. At midnight on the following day, the duo shared the first four songs from the album: the title track, “Superstar,” “Pink Funeral,” and “Through Me.” It was the title track that made it to the top spot, but another two of the four songs are in our Honorable Mentions, and the other one, also a great song, is included in the list of other notable tracks released this week. Some fans seemed to gravitate most to “Superstar,” but “Once Twice Melody,” which has a bit of a Broadcast vibe, was the most unique of the four tracks.

The album will be released in chapters leading up to its release date. The second chapter, which encompasses tracks 5-8, is due out on December 8.

Once Twice Melody is the first album to be produced entirely by the duo. The production features use of a live string ensemble (another first for them) and arrangements by Dave Campbell. The album was predominantly mixed by Alan Moulder, with additional mixing courtesy of Caesar Edmunds, Trevor Spencer, and Dave Fridmann.

Beach House’s previous album, 7, came out back in 2018 via Sub Pop.

Read our exclusive 2018 interview with Beach House on 7. By Joey Arnone

2. Nilüfer Yanya: “Stabilise”

On Tuesday, Nilüfer Yanya announced the release of a new album, PAINLESS, which will be out on March 4, 2022 via ATO. Yanya also shared a video for its lead single, “Stabilise.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

Yanya elaborates on the concept behind the new song and video in a press release: “I was really thinking about your surroundings and how much they influence or change your perception of things. A lot of the city is just grey and concrete, there’s no escape. The video plays on the central theme in the song of no one coming to save you ever. It’s set in the depths of reality in everyday life where we are the only ones truly capable of salvaging or losing ourselves. Nothing is out there—both a depressing and reassuring statement (depending on how you look at it). Sometimes you have to dress up as a spy or a rock star and just hope for the best.”

Yanya’s debut album, Miss Universe, came out in 2019 via ATO. Last year she shared the EP Feeling Lucky? By Joey Arnone

3. Gang of Youths: “tend the garden”

On Wednesday, Australian indie rock band Gang of Youths announced the release of their third studio album, angel in realtime., which will be out on February 25, 2022 via Warner. The band also announced a 2022 North American tour, and shared a new song from the upcoming album titled “tend the garden.” View the full list of tour dates, along with the album’s tracklist and cover art, here.

The band state in a press release: “The album is about the life and legacy of Dave Le’aupepe’s father, indigenous identity, death, grief and God. And also the Angel, Islington.”

Frontman Dave Le’aupepe adds: “My dad was a gifted and passionate gardener. It’s where he funneled a lot of his energy and sensitivity, and despite our humble surroundings, we were always surrounded by beauty. The journey he made from Samoa to New Zealand to Australia was a difficult and inspiring one, but also fraught with mistakes, regret and terrible choices. I like to think he was building something beautiful, and pondering what life had given him in spite of his mistakes and concealment. We never knew his story until after he died, so this is the most poetic interpretation of his affinity for gardening that I could think of. I hope the record stands as a monument to the man my father was and remains long after I’m gone myself. He deserved it.”

Angel in realtime. was primarily recorded at the band’s home studio in London. It features a plethora of samples from English composer David Fanshawe’s recordings of indigenous music from the Polynesian islands, as well as the wider South Pacific. A group of Pasifika and Māori vocalists and instrumentalists are also featured on the album.

Last month, the band shared the album track “the man himself,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. Their most recent music project, their total serene EP, came out earlier this year via Warner. By Joey Arnone

4. Mitksi: “The Only Heartbreaker”

On Tuesday, Mitski announced a new album, Laurel Hell, and shared a new song from it, “The Only Heartbreaker,” via a video for the single. Laurel Hell is due out February 4 via Dead Oceans. Maegan Houang and Jeff Desom directed the video for “The Only Heartbreaker.” Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

Laurel Hell is the follow-up to 2018’s Be the Cowboy. It features “Working for the Knife,” a new song Mitski shared in October via a dramatic video. “Working for the Knife” made it to #1 on our Songs of the Week list.

Many of the songs on Laurel Hell were written during or before 2018. The album was finally finished being mixed in May 2021. Mitski’s longtime producer Patrick Hyland worked with her on the album throughout the pandemic and it’s the longest she has ever worked on an album. Over the course of its creation, Mitski says in a press release that the album evolved “to be more uptempo and dance-y. I needed to create something that was also a pep talk.”

Of the lyrical themes on the album, Mitski says: “I needed love songs about real relationships that are not power struggles to be won or lost. I needed songs that could help me forgive both others and myself. I make mistakes all the time. I don’t want to put on a front where I’m a role model, but I’m also not a bad person. I needed to create this space mostly for myself where I sat in that gray area.”

“The Only Heartbreaker” was co-written with Dan Wilson of ’90s rockers Semisonic (of “Closing Time” fame). Mitski says it depicts “the person always messing up in the relationship, the designated Bad Guy who gets the blame. It could simply be about that, but I also wanted to depict something sadder beneath the surface, that maybe the reason you’re always the one making mistakes is because you’re the only one trying.”

For “The Only Heartbreaker” video, Mitski was filmed entirely in front of a green screen for the first time.

Co-director Maegan Houang had this to say about the video: “The worst pain I’ve experienced is when I’ve fully understood the pain I’ve caused another. It’s one of the hardest parts of being human, that no matter our intentions, we’ll inevitably do something hurtful to our fellow man, if not someone we love. In this case, the harm Mitski enacts in the video is to the world. It’s unstoppable and destructive, but worst of all, she doesn’t even want it to happen. She’s a stand-in for humanity as we collectively do so little to save ourselves and our planet.”

Be the Cowboy was #2 on our Top 100 Albums of 2018 list and landed her on the cover of our print magazine.

Read our 2019 cover story interview with Mitski on Be the Cowboy.

Read our review of Be the Cowboy.

Read our review of Puberty 2. By Mark Redfern

5. Riton Presents Gucci Soundsystem: “Let’s Stick Around” (Feat. Jarvis Cocker)

Yesterday, Jarvis Cocker announced the release of a new memoir, Good Pop, Bad Pop, which will be out on May 26, 2022. Cocker also landed a guest feature on the new climate change anthem, “Let’s Stick Around,” by Riton Presents Gucci Soundsystem—its release coincides with the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, which just so happens to reach its conclusion today.

The product description for the Pulp frontman’s new memoir is as follows: “From a Gold Star polycotton shirt to a pack of Wrigley’s Extra, from his teenage attempts to write songs to the Sexy Laughs Fantastic Dirty Joke Book, this is the hard evidence of Jarvis’s unique life, Pulp, 20th century pop culture, the good times and the mistakes he’d rather forget. And this accumulated debris of a lifetime reveals his creative process—writing and musicianship, performance and ambition, style and stagecraft.”

Last month, Cocker released Les Chanson D’Ennui Tip-Top, a companion album to Wes Anderson’s most recent film, The French Dispatch.

Cocker’s other band, JARV IS…, released their debut album Beyond the Pale last year via Rough Trade. It was featured on our Top 100 Albums of 2020 list.

Read our interview with Jarvis Cocker on Beyond the Pale. By Joey Arnone

6. C Duncan: “Alluvium”

On Tuesday, Scotland’s C Duncan (aka Chris Duncan) shared a new song, “Alluvium,” via a lyric video for it. It is said to be the first taste of a new album, which will come out next year on Bella Union. Details of the album are still forthcoming.

Duncan had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Alluvium’ is all about change, from the tiniest things to the largest. And it’s about surrendering to this, accepting these changes and moving forward.”

UK fans can catch Duncan performing in London on Saturday, December 11 at Union Chapel, as part of Bella Union’s Winter Wonderland concert alongside labelmates Deep Throat Choir and Laura Groves.

C Duncan’s last album, Health, came out in 2019 via FatCat. Health followed 2015’s Mercury Prize-nominated debut, Architect, and 2016’s Twilight Zone-inspired sophomore album, The Midnight Sun.

Read our 2019 My Firsts interview with C Duncan.

Also read our positive review of Health.

Read C Duncan’s article for us on his favorite Twilight Zone episodes.

Read our interview with C Duncan on Architect. By Mark Redfern

7. Yumi Zouma: “Mona Lisa”

Yesterday, New Zealand indie-pop group Yumi Zouma shared a video for their new song “Mona Lisa.” The self-directed video stars frontwoman Christie Simpson and was filmed in Lyttleton, New Zealand.

“‘Mona Lisa’ came to us gradually over a long period of time—so its story has changed and shifted, developing new relevance with each new phase of our lives,” states Simpson in a press release. “It’s a song that ruminates on conflicting, shifting uncertainty—of wanting someone that maybe you can’t have—of uncertain boundaries, of confusing interactions, misunderstanding, yearning. Trying to forget an obsession—or shifting between losing all hope and giving in to the obsession—lured back by the excitement and promise—the moments of feeling so alive. The terror and joy of a big crush.

“And so we wanted the video to feel like a mirror to all those emotions along the passage of time—except in isolation. A year stuck inside (as we have been), alone with the big feelings, the big highs, and the low lows—dancing around your bedroom, losing it a little bit. Moving in, making it yours, moving out again. The strange phase we’ve been existing in, trying to thrive in (occasionally succeeding, but often not). The joy, the sadness, the conflict, the chaos—without ever really leaving your bedroom.”

In September, the band shared the song “Give it Hell.” Their most recent album, Truth or Consequences, came out last year via Polyvinyl, and was featured on our Top 100 Albums of 2020 list.

Read our COVID-19 Quarantine Artist Check-In interview with the band’s Charlie Ryder.

Last March, we posted our My Firsts interview with the band, which can be read here.

Read our 2017 interview with Yumi Zouma on their second album Willowbank. By Joey Arnone

8. Pom Pom Squad: “Until It Stops”

On Wednesday, Pom Pom Squad (Brooklyn-based four piece led by Mia Berrin) shared their new single “Until It Stops,” a collaboration with illuminati hotties (aka Sarah Tudzin). It is one of the latest singles to be released from Spotify’s Fresh Finds program, which pairs songwriters and producers together to create original songs recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York.

Berrin speaks about the new song in a press release: “‘Until it Stops’ is my version of a drinking song. I’m not much of a partier but I’m in my early ’20s, so whenever I turn down an invite to go out, I go through an internal dialogue wondering if I’m missing my youth. Then, when I actually do go out, I get uncomfortable and then I drink too much and put my foot in my mouth and go home with all my makeup under my eyes. At the time I wrote this I was thinking about those super sugary club songs of the 2000s that always seemed to mention dancing and death in the same line—there is this strange morbid connection between partying and mortality.”

Tudzin adds: “Working with Pom Pom Squad is such a pleasure—Mia is so full of fantastic ideas that all point toward building a cohesive universe. Her art & self-expression are unparalleled—when it’s time to hit the studio we have all the time in the world to play with production and recording tricks to best execute her vision.”

Pom Pom Squad’s debut album, Death of a Cheerleader, came out in June via City Slang. In an episode of our Why Not Both podcast a few months later, we spoke to Berrin. Listen here.

Last month, the most recent illuminati hotties album, Let Me Do One More, came out via Snack Shack Tracks/Hopeless. Read our interview with Tudzin on the album. By Joey Arnone

9. Ovlov: “Eat More”

On Wednesday, rock band Ovlov shared a new single titled “Eat More.” It is the final single release from their forthcoming third studio album, Buds, which will be out next Friday (Nov. 19) via Exploding in Sound.

“‘Eat More’ is about that last person I fell in love with, and I wrote it once I realized I had fallen in love,” explains frontman Steve Hartlett in a press release. “They did not feel the same at the time, however. Thus it being so needy, lyrically. One of my favorite guitar parts I’ve ever written, though!”

The band’s previous album, Tru, came out in 2018 via Exploding in Sound. By Joey Arnone

10. Let’s Eat Grandma: “Two Ribbons”

Yesterday, British duo Let’s Eat Grandma (Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth) announced a new album, Two Ribbons, and shared its title track, “Two Ribbons,” via a video for the reflective single. Two Ribbons is due out April 8, 2022 via Transgressive. El Hardwick directed the partially black & white “Two Ribbons” video. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

Two Ribbons includes “Hall of Mirrors,” a new song the duo shared in September via a video. “Hall of Mirrors” made it to #1 on our Songs of the Week list.

A press release says “Two Ribbons,” which is the album’s final track, “contains reflections from Hollingworth on how she and Walton are still bound together through their compassion for each other, tight as ever, though slightly frayed and world-worn.”

Hollingworth explains in more detail: “‘Two Ribbons’ is a song I wrote to, and about, two of the closest people in my life, and how my relationships with them shifted over time through loss and life changes. It touches on the isolating experience of grieving, our powerlessness in the face of death, and the visceral emotions of grief.”

Two Ribbons is the band’s third album and the follow-up to 2018’s acclaimed I’m All Ears and their 2016 debut, I, Gemini. As with I’m All Ears, for Two Ribbons Let’s Eat Grandma once again worked with producer David Wrench (The xx, Frank Ocean, Caribou).

Read our 2018 interview with Let’s Eat Grandma on I’m All Ears. By Mark Redfern

11. caroline: “IWR”

On Tuesday, London-based eight piece caroline announced the release of their self-titled debut album, which will be out on February 25, 2022 via Rough Trade. The group also shared a video for a new song from the album, “IWR.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

Caroline’s lineup doesn’t include anyone named Caroline, but it does feature Jasper Llewellyn (acoustic guitar, cello, drums, vocals), Mike O’Malley (electric guitar, vocals), Casper Hughes (electric guitar, vocals), Oliver Hamilton (violin), Magdalena McLean (violin), Freddy Wordsworth (trumpet, bass), Alex McKenzie (clarinet, flute, saxophone), and Hugh Aynsley (drums, percussion). The band might appeal to fans of Grizzly Bear, The Microphones, Young Jesus, and Fleet Foxes.

O’Malley had this to say about “IWR” in a press release: “Jasper was sending a lot of home-recorded nylon guitar and singing ideas, and one just stuck because it was just a really beautiful vocal melody. We had an initial guitar-based idea, then we decided that on a certain chord this wall of violins should come in.”

Previously shared tracks from the upcoming album are “Dark blue” and “Skydiving onto the library roof.” By Joey Arnone

12. Makthaverskan: “Lova”

On Wednesday, Swedish post-punk band Makthaverskan shared a new single, “Lova.” It is the final single to be released from their fourth studio album För Allting, which came out today via Run For Cover.

Upon announcing the new album in September, the band shared the song “This Time” (which was one of our Songs of the Week). Last month, they shared the song “Closer.”

The band’s most recent album, III, came out in 2017 via Luxury/Run For Cover. By Joey Arnone

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 12.

Band of Horses: “Crutch”

Courtney Barnett: “If I Don’t Hear From You Tonight”

Beach House: “Pink Funeral” and “Superstar”

Jenny Hval: “Jupiter”

Night Moves: “Fallacy Actually”

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:

Arca: “Electra Rex”

Beach Fossils: “Sleep Apnea (Piano)”

Beach House: “Through Me”

Bellows: “Rancher’s Pride” and “McNally Jackson”

Beyoncé: “Be Alive”

Kate Bollinger: “Yards / Gardens”

Bonobo: “Otomo” (feat. O’Flynn)

Bill Callahan & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy: “Kidnapped by Neptune” (Scout Niblett Cover) (Feat. Hamerkop)

Camp Cope: “Blue”

Clams Casino: “Water Theme 2”

Claud: “Tommy”

Lucy Dacus: “Thumbs Again”

Dashboard Confessional: “Here’s to Moving On”

Doss: “Cherry” (Feat. Cecilia Gault)

Drug Church: “Million Miles of Fun” and “Detective Lieutenant”

Cy Dune: “Don’t Waste My Time”

Empath: “Diamond Eyelids”

fanclubwallet: “That I Won’t Do”

Sam Fermin and Wild Pink: “You Live My Dream”

Maia Friedman: “Where the Rocks Are”

Alyssa Gengos: “Gothenburg English”

José González: “Tjomme (DJ Koze Remix)”

Hot Water Music: “Killing Time”

Devonté Hynes: “Passing”

Jasmyn: “Find the Light”

Chris Lake and NPC (aka Grimes): “A Drug From God”

Avril Lavigne: “Bite Me”

Lo Moon: “Dream Never Dies”

Johnny Marr: “Tenement Time” and “Sensory Street”

Moor Mother: “AFRO PICK EVE” (Feat. Beans)

Murkage Dave: “Awful Things” (Feat. Caroline Polachek)

Nell & The Flaming Lips: “The Ship Song” (Nick Cave Cover)

Night Palace: “Nightshade”

Nightlands: “Hymn to Me”

NNAMDÏ: “Backseat”

Pinegrove: “Alaska”

Pip Blom: “I Know I’m Not Easy to Like”

Placebo: “Surrounded By Spies”

Poppy Ackroyd: “Murmurations”

Potty Mouth: “Not Going Anywhere”

Proper.: “Red White, & Blue”

PUP: “Waiting” and “Kill Something”

Rosalía: “LA FAMA” (Feat. The Weeknd)

Tallies: “No Dreams of Fayres”

Trick Gum: “So Bored I Wanna Die”

Vundabar: “Devil for the Fire”

Classic Song of the Week:

Spoon: “The Way We Get By”

Spoon are releasing their 10th studio album, Lucifer on the Sofa, early next year, but 2022 will also mark the 20th anniversary of the band’s fourth album, 2002’s Kill the Moonlight. So here’s its main single, “The Way We Get By,” which makes me think of the early days of Under the Radar (Spoon were interviewed in our very first print issue for 2001’s Girls Can Tell).

By Mark Redfern

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