The 10 Best New Songs

Featuring Lucy Dacus, Cautious Clay, Gaspard Augé of Justice and more

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The 10 Best New Songs

Don’t get lost in today’s new albums just yet: Right under your nose is a treasure trove of great songs from the last seven days, including previews of much-anticipated releases from indie-rock singer/songwriter Lucy Dacus and rising indie-pop/R&B star Cautious Clay, the debut solo single from Justice’s Gaspard Augé, and the first track from the act now known as Ducks Ltd. (formerly Ducks Unlimited). Scroll on for our favorite 10 tunes of the past week.

Ade: “Another Weekend”

Ade harkens back to a tried-and-true trope of infectious grooves with nihilistic undertones. “Another Weekend,” off his forthcoming debut Midnight Pizza, features a drum kick that burrows deep into your mind, thumping like a heartbeat on the dance floor. The vinyl crackles and fuzzy vocals pull you back under the covers as he sings about finally settling into the groove of being locked inside. Ade is the friend to tell you that there’s already food at home, and he’ll eat it if you won’t. —Jade Gomez

Cautious Clay: “Karma & Friends”

Deadpan Love, the debut album of singer/songwriter Cautious Clay, has been slated for a June 25 release via The Orchard. Along with the announcement comes the fourth single from the album, “Karma & Friends,” alongside a quirky new video. The video features a down-on-his-luck Cautious rising to financial heights with a mountain of debt to follow, eventually humbling him, though that journey is not without its fur coats and wild pets. The track’s dynamic songwriting and R&B-tinged indie-pop have become staples of the multi-hyphenate’s unique sound, making him one of the most sought-after collaborators around. —Jade Gomez

Desperate Journalist: “Fault”

The first single from London rock quartet Desperate Journalist’s forthcoming fourth album Maximum Sorrow!, out July 2 on Fierce Panda Records, “Fault” combines gothic synth atmospherics with post-punk muscle. Simon Drowner’s show-stealing bassline will give you secondhand hand cramps, generating urgent propulsion as Jo Bevan’s gripping vocal performance evokes loneliness and helplessness: “And those teenage hang-ups are hard to beat / When your closet is piled up with defeat,” she cries in the bridge, reasoning in the choruses, “If it’s no one’s fault / then it’s everyone’s fault.” A dark, bewitching shredder, “Fault” is a tantalizing first taste of the follow-up to 2019’s In Search of the Miraculous. —Scott Russell

Ducks Ltd.: “As Big As All Outside”

Ducks Ltd., formerly known as Ducks Unlimited, announced their signing to Washington, D.C. label Carpark Records Tuesday. The Toronto band honored the occasion with the release of a new single, “As Big As All Outside.” The music video for “As Big As All Outside” is a collage of grainy footage. The intercuts of a beach scene help bring out the song’s summery quality, with breezy guitars and a touch of strings giving the track an easygoing vibe even as the band lyrically wring their hands while battling a growing sense of dread. The song features a contribution from Twist’s Laura Hermiston, and will be featured on a reissue of their debut EP Get Bleak. The original release of Get Bleak earned Ducks Ltd. a spot on Paste’s ranking of 2019’s best EPs. The reissue will feature the EP’s beloved original four tracks, as well as three new additions. The band said of “As Big As All Outside” in a statement: “Over the last several years I don’t think I was alone in the sense of decline that seemed to be hanging over a lot of day to day existence, and on my bad days I can really let that feeling permeate everything. I’m consistently awed by all of the little things that can pull me out of it though. [...] In spite of everything the world is capable of being very good and fun sometimes.” —Carli Scolforo

Gaspard Augé: “Force Majeure”

Best known as half of Parisian electronic powerhouse duo Justice, Gaspard Augé previewed his debut solo album Escapades (due sometime in 2021) on Thursday morning with lead single “Force Majeure,” a prog-tronica jam that lives up to its title’s English translation: “superior strength.” Big, bright synth stabs lead the way, undergirded by a buzzsaw-like low bass grind, and warped tom hits and cymbal crashes. There’s an irresistible bombast to the song, but also a wild restlessness, as if Pandora’s box just flew open and an act of pure electronic maximalism burst out, moving in many different directions at once. Augé unifies it all under an umbrella of neon melody, straddling the past and future of dance music. —Scott Russell

Gojira: “Into the Storm”

French heavy-metal shredders Gojira have never shied away from the political, becoming well-known for their lyrics tackling issues of spirituality and environmentalism. “Into the Storm” is a much-needed revolutionary anthem, with twists and turns that will capture the attention of even the most hesitant of listeners. The train-like clangs and chugging guitars hit like crushing blows, providing the swift kick we all need to get up and fight back. —Jade Gomez

Lucy Dacus: “Hot & Heavy”

It’s official, folks: New Lucy Dacus is on the way. The Richmond, Virginia singer/songwriter and boygenius member announced one of Paste’s most-anticipated 2021 albums Tuesday, detailing Home Video (June 25, Matador Records) and sharing the music video for its lead single, “Hot & Heavy,” which she performed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that night. “Hot & Heavy” begins as memories often do, quiet and indistinct, with only Lucy Dacus’ voice over gentle mellotron: “Being back here makes me hot in the face / Hot blood in my pulsing veins / Heavy memories weighing on my brain / Hot and heavy in the basement of your parents’ place,” she sings, focusing her mixed, yet visceral emotions on a specific person from her past, and acknowledging, “Try to walk away but I come back to the start.” There’s something about her home that’s always with her, like the blood in her veins, and it’s as if the song—jangly guitars, percussion pounding like a nervous teen’s heart—swells along with Dacus’ emotions, intensifying as she continues to dwell on it. Between this and “Thumbs,” the fan-favorite track Dacus released last month, it would appear she has another knockout album on the way. —Scott Russell

Native Sun: “Jesus”

Native Sun’s dark, shredding rock ‘n’ roll on “Jesus” is an all-consuming wall of noise. From the opening line (“His name is Jesus but he’s going to hell”), the Brooklyn band wrestle with their uncertainties towards faith against a clamor of twisted guitars and unexpected piano embellishments. The dynamic track ebbs and flows between rebellious explosions of sound and laid-back stoner rock. The music video for “Jesus,” directed by Alec Castillo, leans into the song’s twisted dystopian tendencies for truly eerie shots that are hard to look away from. Between the new visualizer and the raw energy supplied by Native Sun in their latest single, fans have plenty to look forward to ahead of the band’s sold-out gig at The Sultan Room later this month. —Carli Scolforo

Orla Gartland: “Zombie!”

Dublin-raised, London-based singer Orla Gartland delivered a fresh and driving single Tuesday in “Zombie!” The song is her second release of the year, following “More Like You,” and the third single ahead of her currently untitled debut album, which is due later this year. “Zombie!” is gripping right out of the gate, with a peppy clap beat backing the chant, “When all of your body’s burning up / When all of your body’s burning up / You live like a zombie, turn it off.” While the song has all of the energizing, mood-boosting qualities of a musical cup of coffee, the lyrics find Gartland airing out her frustrations with the side effects of toxic masculinity. The track’s overwhelming sense of fun begs the subject to shake out the oppressive tendency to bury his emotions, created by society’s view of how a man should and shouldn’t act. Gartland elaborated on the song’s lyrics in a statement: “‘Zombie!’ is about repressing emotions until one day they burst out of you all at once. Specifically it’s about a very common, very male kind of repression I witnessed in a boy I loved once—I could see that he felt things but there was a barrier stopping him from expressing them. I hated that for him, it made me so angry at the societal pressures that led him to that place. For me living ‘like a zombie’ became a metaphor for this way of living; someone so seemingly unemotional on the surface they barely seem alive. I scream my head off in the outro of the song and that scream is meant to feel like a huge release, like the moment you let it all out.” —Carli Scolforo

Polo G: “RAPSTAR”

Polo G is only 22 years old, and the Chicago native is taking music by storm with his effortless voice and the boyish charm that shines through his slick storytelling. “RAPSTAR” is a painful account of the weight one has to bear as an icon, both in and out of one’s community. Over 808s and the plucky ukulele loop provided by Einer Bankz, he croons about dealing with overzealous fans and the mental toll that the spotlight has on such a young artist. It’s a testament to his talent as a lyricist, which will only improve as Polo continues to grow. —Jade Gomez