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.
Self-reflection and accountability is one of the hardest, most admirable things to do. For The 1975’s Matty Healy, he attempts to wipe the slate clean on their newest single “Part of the Band,” their first official material since 2020’s Notes on a Conditional Form. The peculiar track deviates from the band’s standard pop and indie repertoire, instead leaning on creaky violins and folksy guitars as Healy bares it all on the song. He reflects on his “best life … way before the paying penance and verbal propellants” prior to being “cancelled” on social media after he was accused of using George Floyd’s murder to promote his song in 2020. Much like the musical version of a YouTube apology, The 1975 strip back on the glitz and glam, the makeup and the stage lights for an uncomfortable and honest clean slate. —Jade Gomez
After a five-year wait that felt at least twice that long, beloved dream-pop quintet Alvvays have finally announced their third album, out Oct. 7 on Polyvinyl. First single and album opener “Pharmacist” might as well be the Big Bang, exploding outward to form the beginnings of a new era of Alvvays. Molly Rankin’s porcelain vocal melodies cut through avalanches of whammied guitar distortion, recounting a run-in at a pharmacy over Sheridan Riley’s insistent jangle-pop percussion. Radiant synths give way to a quicksilver guitar solo, like a comet slicing across a sky full of stars. At just over two minutes long, the dynamic and detailed track doesn’t just beg repeat listens—it demands them. —Scott Russell
Los Angeles-based duo Brijean, featuring vocalist/percussionist Brijean Murphy (Toro y Moi, Poolside) and multi-instrumentalist/producer Doug Stuart, have shared a third single ahead of their new nine-track EP Angelo, coming Aug. 5 on Ghostly International. Through “Caldwell’s Way,” Brijean open a musical door to “a part of my life that I knew couldn’t come back,” says Murphy in a statement. Over technicolor organ, watery synths, and delicate bass and drum machine, Murphy looks back on the invaluable friendships that made the Bay home, personifying the place as she croons, “I really miss the way / the way that you would often hold me / I’m only miles away / Maybe I’m just feeling lonely,” then vocalizes wordlessly, as if lost in her emotions. Brijean keep the mellow instrumental interesting without counteracting its melancholy, peppering in keyboard and bass flourishes, lush strings and even birdcalls from their former neighborhood. It’s a rosy, tender tribute to better days that insists you sway to it. —Scott Russell
Crack Cloud get in touch with their primal side on their latest single, “Tough Baby.” The title track from their forthcoming album, out Sept. 16 via Meat Machine and their own Crack Cloud Media Studios in North America, is an avant-garde gem that features the band posing as cavemen in the music video. The Vancouver collective switch up vocalists throughout the track, mirroring the theme of constant evolution that appears again in the music video. The ever-shifting song structure makes the song feel like a Choose Your Own Adventure book—there are a million possibilities as to how the song will unfold, and it’s impossible to anticipate their next move. With winding guitars and primitive percussion as the foundation for their sprawling art-rock, Crack Cloud search for enlightenment and achieve it. —Samantha Sullivan
Julien Baker invites listeners into her most intimate state on her new single, “Guthrie.” Over delicate finger-plucked acoustics, Baker strips away any distractions to create a bare-bones confessional that is gentle, yet urgent. She constructs a quiet space for not only reflection, but also reconciliation with calling on God and getting sent to voicemail. Her hushed vocals have a meticulous sense of grief, and an emptiness that is so all-encompassing, you can feel the pang in your chest. Softly admitting, “I’m catching a ride now to get on the first flight / You told me it scares you, the way that I was tonight,” you can’t help but hold your breath and hope she finds the salvation she’s so desperately searching for. —Samantha Sullivan
In the lead single from her second solo album House Without a View (Sept. 23, Get Better Records), Lande Hekt depicts daydreaming as a vital act of resistance. Born into modern capitalism’s rigged game, the Bristol-based singer/songwriter and Muncie Girls frontperson opts not to play at all: “I’d rather escape and live in a queer space fantasy and be brave,” she says in a statement accompanying the song. There’s no accusing Hekt of naivete—“I’m not that fuckin’ stupid,” she insists, acknowledging day-to-day realit only to double down on her longing to transcend it. The song’s strummy jangle-pop takes on an otherworldly glow befitting Hekt’s imagination in its choruses, a shoegaze-y blur underscoring the heartwarming voyage she envisions. “Gay Space Cadets” is a song for anyone who’s ever felt fed up with our imperfect world and poured their whole heart into manifesting a better one. —Scott Russell
The Chicago-based trio Lifeguard create something familiar, yet fresh on their new single, “I know I know.” The first release from their forthcoming EP Crowd Can Talk, out on Aug. 5, the song flexes their art-minded guitar-rock without being overshadowed by nostalgia. Sporting an obvious ‘90s influence, guitarist and singer Kai Slater swathes blistering riffs in fuzz-drenched bliss. A deluge of feedback and writhing percussion, it’s a torrent of sound that will leave you breathless in the best way. —Samantha Sullivan