The 10 Best New Songs

Featuring Bartees Strange, Viagra Boys, The Smile 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 Thursday we can swing it, we take stock of the previous seven days’ best tracks, delivering a weekly playlist of our favorites while keeping Fridays free to focus on new albums. Check out this week’s best new songs below.

Bartees Strange: “Cosigns

After breaking out in a big way with his acclaimed 2020 debut Live Forever, Bartees Strange (born Bartees Leon Cox, Jr.) is back with a new album, Farm to Table, coming June 17 on 4AD. “Where [...] Live Forever introduced the experiences and places that shaped Bartees (Flagey Brussels, Mustang Oklahoma), Farm to Table zeros in on the people—specifically his family—and those closest to him on his journey so far,” a press release explains. The new album is said to reckon with Strange’s ascent to indie-rock stardom, looking back on where he came from as he keeps moving onward and upward. You can read Farm to Table’s title as tying into that: He’s been working tirelessly to sow, and now it’s time for him to reap—and feast. That’s cause for celebration, which is where “Cosigns” comes in: The track is a victory lap, set to the kind of stylistic alchemy Strange has made his name on. But it’s also unlike anything he’s released so far, combining electro-pop stomp with an Auto-Tuned hip-hop vocal, synths burbling as Strange shouts out the likes of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, Courtney Barnett and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. Backed by bass pluck, drum machine and spidery guitars, Strange warns, “I’m a thief, when things get big / Look, I’mma steal your fans,” then calls back to Live Forever as he boasts, “On Gomorrah I got cosigns, this advance gon’ ice my teeth / I pull up from 40 feet, at the Beacon for a week / With the Mossblerd pointed at you, bet I know y’all heard of me.” The track soon shifts into propulsive rock mode, crescendoing as Strange recites a poem he wrote in his early 20s: “How to be full, it’s the hardest to know / I keep consuming, I can’t give it up / Hungry as ever, it’s never enough / It’s never enough.” —Scott Russell

Fontaines D.C. “Roman Holiday”

If you couldn’t tell from the way every Skinty Fia single up to this point has made it onto our lists of best songs for the past three months (“Jackie Down the Line” for January, “I Love You” for February, “Skinty Fia” for March), we’re pretty excited for Fontaines D.C.’s third full-length album, which arrives tomorrow (April 22). Fourth single “Roman Holiday” keeps the killer streak alive with more than a hint of shoegaze influence, letting a wash of hazy, echoing guitars carry enough weight to let Grian Chatten’s vocal float above them. The lyrics keep with the record’s theme of reckoning with the band’s Irish identity, describing the feeling of London isolation and attempts to stick together with fellow Dublin transplants to create their own band of outsiders: “If the talk’s getting cold, we’ll be chancing none / Well, you know what I’m saying, our day will come.” Though it maintains the atmospheric darkness that every single so far has shared, it also follows its predecessors’ pattern of tackling a distinct musical style that lets it stand on its own. If the four songs we’ve heard are any indication, Skinty Fia is likely to be Fontaines D.C.’s most eclectic (and certainly most beautiful) album to date. —Elise Soutar

Hot Chip: “Down

English synth-pop heroes Hot Chip have been on a steady grind for over two decades. 2019’s A Bath Full of Ecstasy arrived right before the world shut down, offering a comforting soundtrack to isolation. It’s only right that as the world opens up for live music, Hot Chip announces their forthcoming album Freakout/Release (Aug. 19, Domino). Freakout/Release was written and recorded in the band’s new East London studio, created by Al Doyle to foster the full-band sound that permeates throughout the whole album. Because of this new space, it marks the first time Hot Chip has worked on a record together at the same time. It also was the band’s first reunion since their pre-pandemic tour in support of A Bath Full of Ecstasy. That rejuvenated sense of unity is heard in the album’s first single, opening track “Down.” It’s a moody romp with buzzing guitars and booty-shaking drums. Hints of funk shine through the clear garage-rock influences, giving listeners a true overarching view of East London’s influential and colorful music scene. Centered around an addictive sample of Universal Togetherness Band’s “More Than Enough” that Joe Goddard had looped, “Down” is Hot Chip at some of their finest and most focused. —Jade Gomez

Jane Inc: “Human Being”

Carlyn Bezic set out on a mission to create “a disco-inflected, danceable meditation on the permeable boundaries between our interior and exterior worlds,” in her own words, when creating her sophomore album as Jane Inc., Faster Than I Can Take. As promised, both singles we’ve heard so far, “Contortionists” and “2120,” have grappled with the state of the world and our relationship with the rest of the human race when we’ve all been separated for so long, but the darkness is always set to heavy bass intertwined with a shimmery disco beat. “Human Being” comes from the same place on both fronts, describing the excitement of getting ready to go out and how momentous such a basic action feels after being trapped inside for so long. “Remembering / A distant feeling / Of being noticed / Of being seen,” she sings, yearning to be trapped in a crowded room again as a pulsing whirlwind of electro-pop synths soundtracks her journey back to the dance floor. —Elise Soutar

Lykke Li: “HIGHWAY TO YOUR HEART

Swedish singer Lykke Li’s aspirations have only gotten grander since her 2008 debut Youth Novels. Her fifth album, Eyeye, is intended to be an immersive visual album. Each visual released thus far has been loops of short clips that will eventually come together to tell a larger story. Another piece of the puzzle was unearthed April 20 with the release of “Highway To Your Heart.” Li’s distinct vocal quality evokes a precious childlike innocence, making her lyrics dig deeper into the soul. “Highway To Your Heart” expands with layered vocals that swell with the atmosphere, eventually revealing more surprises like siren-like falsettos that go in and out of focus and poppy synths. The accompanying visual builds upon the album trailer, which also featured a couple. It hints at tragedy, with the couple getting into a fiery car crash. —Jade Gomez

Momma: “Speeding 72”

As summer approaches, so does the new album from rising rock act Momma, Household Name (July 1, Polyvinyl Record Co.), and its latest single “Speeding 72” figures to soundtrack plenty of joyrides in the months to come. Vocalists and guitarists Etta Friedman and Allegra Weingarten co-wrote the track with guitarist Aron Kobayashi Ritch, building the song around its revved-up opening riff. “Speeding 72” overflows with the sounds of youthful escape, the simpler days when blissful freedom was always just a gas pedal stomp and volume knob twist away. But there’s also a subtle wistfulness to it all, as Momma name-check Pavement’s “Gold Soundz’’ and acknowledge, “Speeding 72 / We’re faster getting nowhere,” in the song’s propulsive choruses. “We wanted it to be the sort of summertime anthem that you can turn on during a drive to impress your crush,” the band say of the song in a statement—they hit that mark with ease, delivering the kind of rocker that you’ll yearn for even as you keep it on repeat. —Scott Russell

Soccer Mommy: “Unholy Affliction”

When Sophie Allison announced that Daniel Lopatin of Oneohtrix Point Never had produced the latest Soccer Mommy album, Sometimes, Forever, no one really knew what to expect, especially since excellent lead single “Shotgun,” one of our favorite songs to come out last month, stuck closely to what we’re used to hearing from her. However, Lopatin’s fingerprints are all over the glitchy, dark “Unholy Affliction,” unearthing a whole other side of Soccer Mommy we’ve yet to dig up. Pulling cues from industrial and trip-hop, and throwing grungy guitars and concussive jazz percussion into the mix, the track steers Allison’s sonic love affair with the mid-90s in a much weirder direction. “I taste it on my tongue / It’s all in my bones / And in my blood / So carve me up / And let the colors run,” she sings on the chorus before shifting back to the drowsier verses, letting her kaleidoscopic vision seep into each section like the lyrics describe. —Elise Soutar

The Smile: “Free in the Knowledge”

The Smile is a musical recipe for success, composed of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood alongside Sons of Kemet’s Tom Skinner. They’re one of the better pandemic gifts, and after an eventful 2021 which saw their inception, festival appearances and more, they are finally gearing up to release an album. A Light For Attracting Attention (May 13, XL Recordings) was revealed alongside the official release of “Free in the Knowledge,” which has been performed before by the group. The Radiohead comparisons are inevitable, and the song’s slow acoustic build will turn some heads and tickle some ears. Yorke’s folky croon paints a portrait of nihilism, pointing toward a crumbling world. Producer Nigel Godrich adds in his signature string arrangements, paddling the song into a heart-wrenching momentum. It’s an exercise in restraint, and each member pulls back the curtain a bit more while still leaving enough surprise for one of the most-anticipated albums of 2022. —Jade Gomez

Viagra Boys: “Ain’t No Thief”

Swedish post-punkers Viagra Boys are perfectly unhinged. Clearly they have a lot to say, and a little over a year on since their sophomore album Welfare Jazz, they’ve returned with a list of demands for their forthcoming album Cave World (July 18, YEAR0001). First single “Ain’t No Thief” is a ripper, armed with equal parts wit and ridiculous humor. It tells a simple story: being accused of stealing a jacket. It opens with an infectious, unrelenting rhythm that plows through the song as shrieking guitars and distorted vocals thrash around. Frontman Sebastian Murphy delivers the central line, “I ain’t no thief! We just happen to have the same stuff,” with a vengeance, and it earns a slight chuckle. —Jade Gomez

Zola Jesus: “Desire

Singer/songwriter Nika Roza Danilova (aka Zola Jesus) launched the rollout for her first album in five years, Arkhon (out May 20 on Sacred Bones), back in March with the immense lead single “Lost.” Now, she’s followed that track up with its complete antithesis, the minimal and cathartic “Desire.” The song arrives with a black-and-white video of the artist performing the track directed by A.F. Cortes. Where “Lost” seemed set on building a monument to grief, towering over darkness expressed in the lyrics, “Desire” operates in the space Danilova leaves behind, working with the bare essentials to let her voice convey those same feelings of loss on its own. Despite the song’s minimal lyrics and sparse instrumentation, each word that comes out of her mouth carries weight, down the multitude of ways she sings, whispers and howls the title word at various points in the song. It stands as one of the most harrowing, emotionally compelling things she’s ever released, as well as a testament to stripping bells and whistles back in order to squeeze the maximum amount of impact out of a song like this. —Elise Soutar