The 10 Best New Songs

Featuring shame, Tkay Maidza, Tennis and more

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The 10 Best New Songs

At Paste Music, we’re listening to so many new tunes on any given day, we barely have any time to listen to each other. Nevertheless, every week we can swing it, we take stock of the previous seven days’ best tracks, delivering a weekly playlist of our favorites. Check out this week’s best new songs below.

Andy Shauf: ”Wasted on You”

With a flutter of gentle piano notes and strings, Andy Shauf has released “Wasted on You,” the first single off his newly announced album Norm. Out Feb. 10, 2023, on ANTI-, this LP seems to bring a slight change in style for the musician, as he reworks the gentle folk and pop harmonies he is known for, bringing hints of jazz into the mix. Hearing the singer’s familiar subdued timbre on this latest track instantly infuses you with the comfort and warmth of familiarity, while the musical arrangements push his boundaries with a dancing lightness. But in typical Shauf style, not everything is quite as it appears, as the repeating lyrics hold a heavier side to them. “Was all my love wasted on you?” he asks himself over and over again, trying to get to the root of an issue he can’t quite understand. The piano tinkles pleasantly over the track, but begins to take on the feeling of falling, rather than a pleasant melodic anchor. He starts the song by asking, “What happens when they die?,” a query that at first sounds lightly curious, but increasingly takes on the hard metal edge of anxiety—after all, this is Shauf we’re talking about. It opens up the mystery of the album, one that we’ll have to wait until February to fully begin dissecting. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

Black Belt Eagle Scout: ”My Blood Runs Through This Land”

With her racing new track, “My Blood Runs Through This Land,” Black Belt Eagle Scout, aka Katherine Paul, determinedly and assuredly runs alongside you, announcing her new album. The Land, The Water, The Sky, out Feb. 10, 2023, on Saddle Creek, is an album of homecoming for Paul. In 2020, she returned from Portland to her homelands in the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, finding comfort in coming back to the place that generations of ancestors before her had known as home. This is the storyline connecting the 12 songs on the album, drawing them together as she was drawn together by her community. It is certainly not a straightforward, cushy homecoming—she struggles with the harm and violence inflicted by colonialism, a heaviness that won’t leave. But she also embraces the connection to herself that she finds through engaging with her environment, touching the earth and rocks and knowing they support her every step. “My Blood Runs Through This Land” contrasts the soft dreamy wideness of “Don’t Give Up,” released a few weeks prior and also featured on this new album. The fuzzy guitars creating the bed of the song make everything find its point of grounding, with the drums launching near the end to drive home the intensity of the experience. It’s impossible not to surrender yourself to the fullness of the song; in the instinctual feel of this piece, Paul shows the depth of her connection to her surroundings. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

Fruit Bats: “Waking Up in Los Angeles”

Long-beloved indie-folk act Fruit Bats have released yet another sweet gem whose mellowness perfectly complements the city it sings of. The tune takes its time, as you would on a slow, sunny morning, using a simple arrangement to keep you in the setting. When vocalist Eric D. Johnson sings, “Well, we all want a home—metaphorical or real / Some place to make us feel whole,” you feel assured that he will find what’s he’s looking for. But the laid-back color of the song contrasts the lyrics, which hold a far more complex meaning—as he comments, “This is a sad song masquerading as a happy one. Or maybe vice versa? This might be the first song I’ve written where the first verse is a disclaimer—and, yes, I am talking to YOU with this one. This is about spiritual homes, the geography of the heart, and waking up in a weird, hard world where the birds still sing.” There is an acknowledgement that nothing good can exist without something bad, or maybe nothing bad can exist without some sort of goodness. In this very comfortable-sounding song, Fruit Bats desperately try to find comfort in that turbulent notion. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

Jenny Hval: “Buffy”

We’ve all dreamed of it, but Jenny Hval has finally done it: she wrote a song about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. “Buffy,” her latest track, is synth-y goodness that feels warm rather than slick. It began with her improvising on the synth, adding some on-the-fly lyrics about the superhero, beginning, “This is why I love her.” The song echoes darkly and openly, with Hval’s reedy, lovely voice cutting strangely and assuredly through it all. Hval comments, “Buffy is not a song about a slayer, a superhero, or feminist icon. If anything, it’s a song about hope, but in an understated and episodic way. Because to me, hope is more hopeful when it is presented in a subtle way.” And the song is certainly subtle; it doesn’t quite hide from you, but asks you to work a bit to become part of its mysterious world. The work is well worth it—the world revealed is not quite one of the supernatural, but does allow you to dreamily detach from your everyday, at least for a few minutes. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

O.: “OGO”

“OGO,” the thunderous debut single from O., came naturally to the South London duo. Saxophonist Joseph Henwood and drummer Tash Keary wrote the song during a soundcheck in Oslo, Norway, while on tour supporting black midi. “It had hit minus 5 outside, so we started jamming something fast to try and keep our hands warm,” Henwood recalls. Produced and released by Dan Carey’s Speedy Wunderground, the feverish instrumental moves mountains using only Henwood’s horn and Keary’s drums—O. and Carey distort the former almost beyond recognition, blowing it out to the point that it sounds like a massive, arena-ready electric guitar while Keary’s wrist-spraining cymbal hits become equally bombastic. Like two human hands casting a monstrous shadow puppet on the wall, there’s far more to O. than meets the eye. —Scott Russell

Pearla: “With”

Pearla (aka Nicole Rodriguez) returns to our “Best New Songs” list, singing a melancholic yet loving waltz to sadness and loneliness. It’s easy to picture her at a bandstand as her ghosts all dance alone. This track, the fifth of a string of excellent singles, leading up to her album Oh Glistening Onion, The Nighttime Is Coming’s release on Feb. 10, once again holds a gentle, glowing promise. “All the lights are left on and I’m trying to receive you but / I’m only beautiful when I’m alone,” she sings. This intense honesty seems to be the kind that you can only afford when you think yourself to be alone, writing a love letter in your room to someone who will never read it. The sweet timbre of her voice doesn’t lose its slight notes of hope, and the swaying of the bass and guitar make you believe this could be a band that comes together only when Rodriguez dreams. But in fact, someone has captured this intimate moment, and done listeners a huge favor. Throughout the course of the song, she sings of beginning to believe in her own endless love for the world, but it’s hard to tell whether she quite believes herself. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

shame: “Fingers of Steel”

South London rockers shame have announced their third album, Food for Worms, coming Feb. 24, 2023, on Dead Oceans. Lead single and album opener “Fingers of Steel” is out now alongside a music video. Shame frontman Charlie Steen describes the band’s Drunk Tank Pink follow-up as “the Lamborghini of shame records,” while a press release says the album, produced by Flood (Nick Cave, U2, PJ Harvey), “marks a sonic departure from anything they’ve done before, and—for the first time—the band are not delving inwards, but seeking to capture the world around them.” On “Fingers of Steel,” Steen and company pair this new perspective with a fresh sense of purpose and restraint. The brute force post-punk of their 2018 debut Songs of Praise is gone, replaced by more clear-eyed precision and complex instrumentation. A distant piano is soon joined by staccato guitar and backing vocals, as Steen observes an avatar of our modern plight: Alone, indoors, days devoid of meaningful connection, chasing fake validation online—always wanting, never fulfilled. “Well, this time you feel that you’ve been found / But when you look there’s no one around,” shame sing in unison, their singalong punctuated with spidery riffs. Looming synths cast a shadow over the song halfway in, like the sun going down at the end of an already-dark day. An explosive solo races like an anxious mind, shortly before the song drifts to an abrupt end. —Scott Russell

Tennis: “One Night with the Valet”

Husband-wife indie-pop duo Tennis have announced their sixth album, Pollen, coming Feb. 10, 2023, via the band’s own Mutually Detrimental label. “One Night with the Valet,” produced and recorded by Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore in their home studio in Denver, Colorado, is our first preview of their follow-up to 2020’s Swimmer. “One Night with the Valet” is as fleeting as its title suggests, flashing past in under two minutes. Over mid-tempo percussion, throbbing bass and interconnected keys, Moore sings about staring down a desire far bigger than herself: “Finding myself tempted by the face of love / Really fear that I could never get enough.” Her voice is as ethereal as the images she conjures (“We’re riding high up watching over silent things / Like pearls scattered at our feet”), and before you know it, both have disappeared. —Scott Russell

Tkay Maidza: “Nights in December”

The holidays are a romantic time, all about wishes coming true and cozying up with the ones we love. With “Nights in December,” Tkay Maidza embraced that state of mind, setting out “to make a song that captures the feeling of a new relationship but using wintertime in New York as the inspiration.” By zooming in on the specific emotions and images of this time of year, she transcends the season’s cliches and creates something more long-lasting. Over bouncy synths and bass (and only the occasional jingle bell), Maidza sings, “I hope it’s gonna last forever,” leaving the rest of the year’s realities behind in favor of something far more dreamy and idyllic. —Scott Russell

Weyes Blood: “God Turn Me Into a Flower”

Just a couple days before the much-anticipated release of Weyes Blood’s (aka Natalie Mering) forthcoming album, And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow, Mering released yet another song that somehow immediately finds its seat in the center of your heart. On “God Turn Me Into A Flower,” her third single from this album, Mering emerges from a synth-laden darkness, with gentle, drawn-out tones that trail off into the sky. It feels like you’re stepping into a world of her design, with all different bird calls emerging at the end of the track, immersing you in an imaginary, breathless universe. The artist truly steps up to the daunting task of having her voice be the main attraction of the track. Some synth and strings join her, but for the most part, it is her singing twisting throughout the open space created, at some times deeply sorrowful, at others at peace with it all. The way the birds chime in at the end leaves the track feeling like a call to freedom, full of hope even as Mering repeats, “Oh God, turn me into a flower.” Coming from the cathedral-esque quiet of the beginning, it truly does feel like a prayer. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski