13 Best Songs of the Week: Nilüfer Yanya, Destroyer, Oceanator, Kurt Vile, and More
Saturday, February 19th, 2022
13 Best Songs of the Week: Nilüfer Yanya, Destroyer, Oceanator, Kurt Vile, and More
Plus Sondre Lerche, Georgia Harmer, Widowspeak, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks
Feb 18, 2022
By Mark Redfern (with Joey Arnone)
Welcome to the seventh Songs of the Week of 2022. We were very indecisive this week, there were too many songs we liked and had trouble narrowing it down to only 10. So this week we have an expanded Top 13.
In the last week we posted interviews with Shamir, Sea Power, and Metronomy.
In the last week we also reviewed a bunch of albums.
Don’t forget to pick up our new double print issue, our 20th Anniversary Issue (which is out now) and to preorder our first album, the 20th anniversary compilation Covers of Covers. Also check out our Top 100 Albums of 2021 list and our Top 130 Songs of 2021 list.
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. Nilüfer Yanya: “anotherlife”
Nilüfer Yanya is releasing her sophomore album, PAINLESS, on March 4 via ATO. On Wednesday, she shared the album’s third single, “anotherlife,” via a video for it featuring Yanya on holiday in Sri Lanka. Her sister, Molly Daniel, directed the video. Yanya just has a unique vibe all her own, no one quite sounds like her, which is a rare quality these days.
Yanya had this to say about “anotherlife” in a press release: “At the core of the song it’s just about being OK with things and accepting that this is where you are at. However, the ‘I’ll do anything’ line hints at a desperation of wanting to let that be known.”
Yanya is one of the artists on the cover of our 20th Anniversary print issue.
View Yanya’s upcoming tour dates here.
Previously Yanya shared PAINLESS’ lead single “stabilise,” which was #2 on our Songs of the Week list and also landed on our Top 130 Songs of 2021. Then she shared the album’s second single, “midnight sun,” via a visualizer video for it featuring Yanya in pink angel wings. “Midnight sun” was also #2 on our Songs of the Week list.
Yanya’s debut album, Miss Universe, came out in 2019 via ATO. In 2020 she shared the EP Feeling Lucky?
PAINLESS was recorded in a basement studio in Stoke Newington and Riverfish Music in Penzance. For the sessions Yanya worked with Miss Universe collaborator and producer Wilma Archer, DEEK Recordings founder Bullion, Big Thief producer Andrew Sarlo, and musician Jazzi Bobbi.
“It’s a record about emotion,” Yanya says in a press release. “I think it’s more open about that in a way that Miss Universe wasn’t because there’s so many cloaks and sleeves with the concept I built around it.”
This time, she says: “I’m not as scared to admit my feelings.” By Mark Redfern
2. Destroyer: “Eat the Wine, Drink the Bread”
Destroyer (the project of Dan Bejar) is releasing a new album, LABYRINTHITIS, on March 25 via Merge. On Monday, he shared the album’s second single, “Eat the Wine, Drink the Bread,” which is led by a bit of a disco beat. Destroyer is another one-of-a-kind artist, in part down to his very recognizable voice. But with LABYRINTHITIS he seems to be pushing his music in fresh directions.
A press release describes the song like this: “Restless and slightly irreverent, ‘Eat the Wine, Drink the Bread’ gallops along, fueled by Joshua Wells’ percussion and John Collins’ drum programming. ‘Been meaning to wear my hair like this for ages … I mean down, down, all the way down,’ Bejar coos, his anticipation bolstered by the driving bass and guitar beneath him. Yet even with this newfound release, he remains disillusioned with where he heads, his melancholy matched by a somber piano.”
Previously Destroyer shared the first single from LABYRINTHITIS, “Tintoretto, It’s for You,” via an atmospheric video for it. “Tintoretto, It’s for You” was #2 on our Songs of the Week list.
LABYRINTHITIS is the follow-up to 2020’s Have We Met. It was written mainly in 2020 and recorded in spring 2021. Bejar once again worked with regular collaborator John Collins, this time under lockdown conditions, with Bejar in Vancouver and Collins on the nearby remote Galiano Island. The Destroyer band then came in to flesh out some of the songs prior to mixing. The Books, Art of Noise, New Order, and disco are all cited as reference points in a press release announcing the album.
View Destroyer’s upcoming tour dates here.
Read our interview with Destroyer on Have We Met. By Mark Redfern
3. Oceanator: “Bad Brain Daze” (Feat. Jeff Rosenstock)
On Wednesday, Oceanator (aka Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter/guitarist Elise Okusami) announced a new album, Nothing’s Ever Fine, and shared a new song from it, “Bad Brain Daze,” via a video that also features a cameo from Jeff Rosenstock (who plays saxophone on the song). Okusami co-produced the album with Bartees Strange and her brother and longtime bandmate Mike Okusami. Nothing’s Ever Fine is due out April 8 via Polyvinyl. Chris Farren directed the “Bad Brain Daze” video, which combines live action and animation. View the album’s cover art and tracklist, as well as Oceanator’s upcoming tour dates, here.
Nothing’s Ever Fine is Oceanator’s sophomore album, the follow-up to her debut album, Things I Never Said, which initially came out in August 2020 via her own Plastic Miracles label and then was reissued physically in February 2021 by Polyvinyl. It was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2020.
Nothing’s Ever Fine was recorded at Falls Church, VA’s 38 North and at Mike Okusami’s space in Maryland, with the parts recorded separately as overdubs, rather than live. Most of the album’s tracks feature drums from longtime Oceanator collaborator Andrew Whitehurst.
Oceanator and Jeff Rosenstock are labelmates and toured together in 2021, which is how he ended up on “Bad Brain Daze.” Of touring with Rosenstock, Okusami says: “It felt like going on tour with a bunch of friends. It felt cool to know that even as shows get bigger, we could still have a little community.”
Chris Farren had this to say about directing the “Bad Brain Daze” video: “When Elise asked me to direct a music video for her, I thought ‘I don’t know how to do that!,’ but I said ‘Yes! I know how to do that!’ and quietly panicked for the next three weeks. Luckily ‘how make music video’ yields tons of YouTube results. The video we came up with is a fantastical little day-in-the-life tale about anxiety, productivity, dread, and being horrifically ripped in half by cartoon animals.”
Oceanator is featured on our Covers of Covers album, for which she covered Elliott Smith’s “The Biggest Lie.” It’s due out March 4 via American Laundromat. You can preorder Covers of Covers here from American Laundromat and here from Bandcamp.
Read our interview with Oceanator about Things I Never Said. By Mark Redfern
4. Kurt Vile: “Like Exploding Stones”
On Tuesday, Kurt Vile announced the release of a new album, (watch my moves), which will be out on April 15 via Verve, his first for the label. Vile also shared a video for the album’s lead single, the seven-minute-plus “Like Exploding Stones,” and announced a set of U.S. and European tour dates. View the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as the full list of tour dates, here.
Vile’s new album was mainly recorded at OKV Central, his home studio in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. In a press release, he states: “When Waylon Jennings became an outlaw country artist, he liked to record at Hillbilly Central, which was Tompall Glaser’s studio. OKV Central is my version of that in Mount Airy. I’ve come into my own here, and at the same time I’m getting back to my home-recording roots.”
The album was produced by Vile alongside longtime collaborator Rob Schnapf. It features contributions from Vile’s band The Violators and James Stewart, along with appearances by Chastity Belt, Cate Le Bon, Stella Mozgawa, and Sarah Jones.
Vile adds, regarding the album: “It’s about songwriting. It’s about lyrics. It’s about being the master of all domains in the music. I’m always thinking about catchy music, even though it’s fried, or sizzled, out. It’s my own version of a classic thing—it’s moving forward and backward at the same time.”
Vile’s most recent album, Bottle It In, came out in 2018 on Matador.
Read our interview with Vile on Bottle It In. By Joey Arnone
5. Sondre Lerche: “Avatars of Love”
On Monday, Norwegian-born/American-based singer/songwriter Sondre Lerche shared an animated video for his new song “Avatars of Love” (which, like Vile’s, is also over seven minutes long). It is the latest release from his forthcoming album of the same name, which will be out on April 1 via PLZ/InGrooves. “Avatars of Love” name-checks albums and songs by Taylor Swift, Drake, William Basinski, Glenn-Copeland, Groove Armada, Joni Mitchell, Blake Mills, Britney Spears, Frank Sinatra, James Blake, Blake Mills, Fiona Apple, King Krule, and more.
In a press release, Lerche states: “I had scribbled the title ‘Avatars of Love’ in my notebook when I started writing the songs for this album, but the title track itself didn’t materialize until the end of the whole process. On an excursion up north to the Lofoten Islands in Norway to start work on a new book, I instead ended up spending the whole week writing ‘Avatars.’ I thought I was done with the album, but this song kept coming.
“It was meant to be a small, compact song, but when I started fooling around with some of the albums, songs, and artists that had been meaningful to my recent state of mind, its scope expanded. What started as a joke in my head about [Taylor Swift’s] folklore vs. evermore, and the anniversary of Joni Mitchell’s ultimate freedom vs. love travelogue, Blue, ended as this musical rant that changed the way I saw the song.
“All these songs, albums and artists that had helped articulate what I was feeling, before I was able to put it into my own songs. It felt like a meditation on all the themes of the album, like the centerpiece all my songs were missing. And it was clear what the album would be called.”
Back in October, Lerche shared the 10-minute album track “Dead of the Night,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. He later shared “Turns Out I’m Sentimental After All” alongside “Cut” upon the album’s announcement last month. “Cut” was also one of our Songs of the Week. His most recent album, Patience, came out in 2020 via PLZ.
Lerche is among the artists featured on our Covers of Covers album, which will be out on March 4 via American Laundromat. By Joey Arnone
6. Georgia Harmer: “All in My Mind”
On Tuesday, Georgia Harmer announced the release of her debut album, Stay in Touch, which will be out on April 22 via Arts & Crafts. Harmer has also shared a self-directed video for the album’s lead single, “All in My Mind.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.
“‘All in My Mind’ is about being gaslighted,” states Harmer in a press release. “I wrote it during a long period of emotional manipulation that made me question my own reality. I had enough sad songs and I just wanted to rock out.”
She adds, regarding the video: “I wanted to lean into the melodrama of the subject. Something bigger than a person needed to be the source of my paranoia. The house and the lights are what ultimately drive me to run away, but it’s the boys in the basement who were messing with my head all along. This is the first song I wrote for my album, and begins a long journey of self-growth through my deep entanglements with the feelings of others.” By Joey Arnone
7. Widowspeak: “The Jacket”
On Wednesday, folk-rock band Widowspeak shared a video for their latest single, “The Jacket.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming album of the same name, which will be out on March 11 via Captured Tracks.
“‘The Jacket’ is about things we choose, dress up in and adopt as symbols of who we are,” the band state in a press release. “Things that become objects loaded with meaning until we eventually lose or discard them, grow out of them. It’s a literal jacket in the song, and in the context of the storyline represents all the cliches (imagined and real) of being in a band, rock and roll, youth, projecting ‘cool’ (or thinking you do), and believing in the power of symbols and costume to help find and define your true self.
“Eventually you move on from the moment, and the sorts of places and experiences and relationships tied to that time, when the jacket was your favorite thing in the world and felt like a part of you. It’s hard to let go. But you notice you aren’t that person anymore. The jacket, and everything it represented, was left behind somewhere along the way.”
Widowspeak previously shared album tracks “Everything Is Simple” (which was one of our Songs of the Week) and “While You Wait” (also one of our Songs of the Week). Their previous album, Plum, came out in August 2020 via Captured Tracks. By Joey Arnone
8. Ibibio Sound Machine: “Protection From Evil”
English electronic Afro-funk band Ibibio Sound Machine are releasing a new Hot Chip-produced album, Electricity, on March 25 via Merge. On Tuesday, they shared its third single, the fierce and funky “Protection From Evil,” via a video for the song. The song features “a massive synth line” from Hot Chip’s Al Doyle. Tiago Di Mauro directed the video.
Di Mauro had this to say about the video in a press release: “I’ve long been a huge fan of Ibibio Sound Machine, and their Afrofuturistic techno sound has resonated deeply in my native Brazil. When Max Grunhard from the band sent me the track and explained its commentary on the duality of conflict and discourse, it was important for me to communicate this within the video, especially considering the abstract lyrics. The look was inspired by Carmen Miranda’s ‘The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat,’ but we wanted to put a contemporary spin on these mid–20th century soundstage performances and create an experience that conveys a similar sense of awe and scale but was as methodically chaotic as the track.”
Last October, the band shared the album’s title track, which was one of our Songs of the Week. Then in January when they announced the album they shared its second single, “All That You Want.” The band’s most recent album, Doko Mien, came out in 2019 via Merge.
In a previous press release, Hot Chip had this to say about working with Ibibio Sound Machine and frontwoman Eno Williams: “Prior to the sessions, we had run into Ibibio Sound Machine at festivals and loved watching them perform. There are very talented musicians throughout the band, and Eno is a massively charismatic, skilled singer. The sessions were hugely rewarding as Ibibio brought in friends and collaborators to add a wide array of different instruments—some of which were unfamiliar to us. The songs on this record are uniformly great, and we were really happy to be a part of making it.” By Mark Redfern
9. Fontaines D.C.: “I Love You”
Irish post-punk five-piece Fontaines D.C. are releasing a new album, Skinty Fia, on April 22 via Partisan. Yesterday, they shared the album’s second single, “I Love You,” via a video for the song that features frontman Grian Chatten in a church. In a press release Chatten describes it as “the first overtly political song we’ve written.” Sam Taylor directed the video.
The press release describes the themes of the song in more detail: “Written from the perspective of an Irishman abroad, the song unravels to reveal a passionate sense of self-loathing. The lyrics detail the guilt of a barroom reveler, enjoying great personal success and a sense of cultural pride, while simultaneously metabolizing deep disappointment, and swirling anger, at the current political climate as well as the country’s grimmest historical atrocities, such as the decades of tragic brutality at the Tuam Mother and Baby Home in Galway: ‘This island’s run by sharks with children’s bones stuck in their jaws.’”
Chatten adds: “It’s standing in the center of our beloved home country as a multitude of things are brought to tragic ends in an apocalyptic state of affairs. That’s how it feels to me, and what I felt when I wrote it.”
Previously Fontaines D.C. shared a video for the album’s lead single, “Jackie Down the River,” in addition to announcing a 2022 world tour.
Skinty Fia was produced by Dan Carey, who produced the band’s previous album, 2020’s A Hero’s Death.
The band’s full lineup is Carlos O’Connell (guitar), Conor Curley (guitar), Conor Deegan III (bass guitar), Grian Chatten (vocals), and Tom Coll (drums). By Mark Redfern
10. Hatchie: “Giving the World Away”
Hatchie, the dream pop project of Australian musician Harriette Pilbeam, is releasing a new album, Giving the World Away, on April 22 via Secretly Canadian. On Tuesday, she shared its third single, title track “Giving the World Away,” via a lyric video for it. “Giving the World Away” has a bit of a Madchester vibe (meaning the late ’80s/early ’90s scene in the Manchester, England area that included Happy Mondays, The Charlatans, The Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets, and others).
“‘Giving the World Away’ is about being gentle with yourself in the throes of depression,” says Hatchie in a press release. “We made a simple lyric video with analogue effects to let the lyrics of the song speak for themselves.”
The album includes “This Enchanted,” a new song Hatchie shared in September via a video for it. “This Enchanted” was one of our Songs of the Week and one of our Top 130 Songs of 2021. When Giving the World Away was announced Hatchie shared a new song from it, “Quicksand,” via a video for the single. “Quicksand” was #1 on our Songs of the Week list.
“Quicksand” was co-written with Dan Nigro (a GRAMMY-nominated Olivia Rodrigo collaborator) and long-time Hatchie collaborator and guitarist Joe Agius (who also releases music as RINSE).
Giving the World Away is Hatchie’s second full-length album, the follow-up to her acclaimed debut album, Keepsake, which came out via Double Double Whammy.
Jorge Elbrecht (Sky Ferreira, Japanese Breakfast, Wild Nothing) produced the album, which also features Agius and Beacch House drummer James Barone.
2018’s Sugar & Spice EP and Keepsake both announced Hatchie as one of the most exciting new shoegaze and dream-pop artists in years, but in the press release Pilbeam says she’s expanded her palette with the new album. “I’m capable of writing more than just nice dream-pop songs, and there’s more to me than just writing songs about being in love or being heartbroken—there’s a bigger picture than that,” she says. “This album really just feels like the beginning to me, and scratching the surface—and even though it’s my third release as Hatchie, I feel like I’m rebooting from scratch.”
Hatchie is featured on Under the Radar’s 20th anniversary compilation album, Covers of Covers, where she covers HAIM’s “FUBT.”
View Hatchie’s upcoming tour dates here.
Read our rave 8.5/10 review of Keepsake here.
Read our 2018 interview with Hatchie on her EP Sugar & Spice.
Read our My Favorite Album interview with Hatchie on Carole King’s Tapestry. By Mark Redfern
11. P.E.: “Tears in the Rain” (Feat. A. Savage)
On Wednesday, P.E. (featuring members of New York-based bands Pill and Eaters) shared a new single, “Tears in the Rain,” which features A. Savage of Parquet Courts. It is the latest release from their forthcoming album The Leather Lemon, due out on March 25 via Wharf Cat.
Perhaps the song references Blade Runner and the famous “tears in the rain” speech by Roy Batty (played by Rutger Hauer)? Like Oceanator’s song, “Tears in the Rain” features a great sax solo!
“The relationship with Parquet Courts and P.E. goes back a long way,” Savage states in a press release. “I put out both of the bands that combined to make P.E. (Pill and Eaters) on my label Dull Tools, and both groups Parquet Courts has toured with. Also Jonny Schenke [P.E. band member] engineered several PC records. We’re old friends. [Singer] Veronica [Torres] asked if I would be into doing a duet with her. I was pretty blown away when [Jonny] Campolo sent me the music—the rain, the long beautiful Ben Jaffe sax solo. It all sort of had this lonely noir mood to it.
“The lyrics and vocal melody came pretty quickly. Veronica and I wrote each other’s lyrics and did cold takes of them in the studio. That day was a blast, we shared a lot of laughs and the energy was great. We’ve performed it a few times together last October when PC and P.E. toured together, every night was really special. I’m really proud of this one.”
“‘Tears In The Rain’ was special to us from its inception—a live recording based around samples of Jonny Campolo at the piano and Ben Jaffe’s incredible one-take tenor saxophone performance,” adds Torres. “It was Andrew that helped us see it through in the studio, driving the troubadour style feel of the song. He and I wrote lyrics side-by-side and for one another, intensifying the surreality of the instrumental and stretching it far beyond the classic ‘call and response’ duet format. The result is the most tender song on the record, one we are all proud of for the way it has altered the perception and possibilities of the project.” By Joey Arnone
12. Tomberlin: “happy accident” (Feat. Cass McCombs)
On Wednesday, Tomberlin (the project of Sarah Beth Tomberlin) announced the release of her new album, i don’t know who needs to hear this…, which will be out on April 29 via Saddle Creek. Tomberlin also shared a video for a new album single, “happy accident,” in addition to announcing a string of upcoming tour dates. View the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as the list of tour dates, here.
“‘Happy accident’ is a song about relational obscurity. Trying to sort out who you are or who you were to someone,” states Tomberlin in a press release. “Is this relationship romantic or is it just sex? Do you want to spend time with me or are you just bored? Do I make my own decisions that are good for me or are my decisions predominantly based on what I think you might want or need? I was kind of walking through moments in previous relationships in my life. I wanna know why someone wants to get to know me. Do you want to know me or just your idea of me? Do I want to know you or just my idea of you?”
The new single features Cass McCombs on guitar, Felix Walworth on drums and Philip Weinrobe, who also co-produced the album, on bass.
Tomberlin previously shared the album track “idkwntht” last month. Her most recent music project was the Alex G-produced Projections EP, which came out in 2020 via Saddle Creek.
Check out our My Firsts interview with Tomberlin. By Joey Arnone
13. Young Prisms: “Self Love”
On Monday, shoegazers Young Prisms shared a video for their new single, “Self Love.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming album, Drifter, which will be out on March 25 via Fire Talk.
In a press release, vocalist Stefanie Hodapp states: “‘Self Love’ is a story of my tendencies to isolate, cut ties, and completely destroy my relationships. Something that was instilled in me since childhood. When I was 26, I found myself with a baby, no income, San Francisco expenses to pay, and a complete loss of identity. I could no longer be utterly careless and treat my life and the things in it as if it were all disposable.
“Still, I questioned my worthiness of basic essentials and continued my complacency with a low quality of life. I had to try and build something and with time I realized that the foundation of it all was my relationship with myself.”
Upon announcement of the album last month, the band shared the song “Honeydew.” By Joey Arnone
These songs almost made the Top 13.
Beach House: “Modern Love Stories”
DC Gore: “Nietzsche on the Beach”
Flock of Dimes: “Pure Love”
Future Islands: “King of Sweden”
Good Looks: “Vision Boards”
Guerilla Toss: “Famously Alive”
Sally Shapiro: “Dulcinea”
Snapped Ankles: “Barbecue in Brazil”
Here’s a handy Spotify playlist featuring the Top 13 in order, followed by all the honorable mentions:
Other notable new tracks in the last week include:
Annie Blackman: “Power”
Beach House: “Hurts to Love”
Blanck Mass: “Montana (Main Theme)”
BODEGA: “Statuette on the Console”
Quinton Brock: “There For You”
Death Cab for Cutie: “Waiting for the Sunrise” (Yoko Ono Cover)
Dehd: “Bad Love”
Madi Diaz: “New Person, Old Place (New Feelings Version)” (Feat. Courtney Marie Andrews)
Flock of Dimes: “Time”
Margaret Glaspy: “Love Is Real”
HEALTH and Lamb of God: “COLD BLOOD”
Jane Inc: “Contortionists”
Junk Drawer: “Railroad King”
Kristine Leschper: “All That You Never Wanted”
Sinead O’Brien: “Holy Country”
Phosphorescent: “I’m a Mess” (Nick Lowe Cover)
Pink Mountaintops: “Lights of the City”
Romero: “Turn It On!”
Shaylee: “Danger Decides”
Silk Sonic: “Love’s Train” (Con Funk Shun Cover)
Troye Sivan and Jay Som: “Trouble”
Snail Mail: “Adore You” (Demo)
Jon Spencer and The HITMakers: “Junk Man”
Stars: “Pretenders” and “Snowy Owl”
Tame Impala: “The Boat I Row”
TV Priest: “One Easy Thing”
Charles Watson: “Beauty Contest”
Anand Wilder: “Fever Seizure”
Yumi Zouma: “Where the Light Used to Lay”