10 Best Songs of the Week: The Weather Station, Saintseneca, Adrian Younge, Flock of Dimes, and More | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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10 Best Songs of the Week: The Weather Station, Saintseneca, Adrian Younge, Flock of Dimes, and More

Plus New Madrid, Du Blonde, Indigo Sparke, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Feb 05, 2021 Low Hummer Bookmark and Share

Welcome to the fourth Songs of the Week of 2021. It was a fairly low-key week, news wise, although crackpot Q-Anon believing Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was removed from her committee assignments, thanks in part to 11 Republicans who crossed the aisle and voted with Democrats, and the Senate passed a budget resolution early this morning that paved the way for President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief package to be passed without any votes from Republicans.

In music news this week, a Vanity Fair article detailed abuse allegations against Marilyn Manson by actress Evan Rachel Wood and four other women, which led to Manson (real name Brian Warner) being dropped by his record label (Loma Vista) and cut out of two TV series (American Gods and Creepshow) he was going to be a guest actor on.

We also lost a Hollywood acting legend this week, Christopher Plummer, who died at 91 after a stellar career that included The Sound of Music, winning an Oscar for Beginners, and playing a Shakespeare-quoting Klingon general in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; as well as roles in The Man Who Would Be King, Somewhere in Time, 12 Monkeys, All the Money in the World, Knives Out, and many other films.

It was a somewhat chill week for new songs, but we heard enough we liked to put together the below list of favorites.

In the last week we posted interviews with Loma, Dehd, Maxband, Hanif Abdurraqib, and I LIKE TRAINS.

In the last week we also reviewed a bunch of albums.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, then be sure to dive into our Top 100 Albums of 2020 list.

To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last week, we have picked the 10 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. The Weather Station: “Parking Lot”

The Weather Station (the project of Toronto-based singer/songwriter Tamara Linderman) released a new album, Ignorance, today via Fat Possum. You can stream the whole thing here. Also, today we posted our review of Ignorance and you can read that here.

On Tuesday Linderman shared one last pre-release song from the album, “Parking Lot,” via a video for the track. Linderman co-directed the video with Adam Crosby and it finds her walking across a barren winter field as she sings the song (which ends with a soaring string part).

Linderman had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Parking Lot’ is my strange gentle disco song about a humble encounter with a bird and being tired and being in love, and being heartbroken in ways I didn’t quite yet understand. I don’t fully know how everything connects in this song other than it obviously does. I wanted to make the recording very passionate and beautiful while also being very muscular while also being very gentle, and so I did.”

Ignorance includes “Robber,” a new song The Weather Station shared in October via a self-directed video for it in her directorial debut. “Robber,” an atmospheric horn- and string-backed track, was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. When the album was announced in November, Linderman shared its second single, “Tried to Tell You,” via a self-directed video for the track (which was also one of our Songs of the Week). Then she shared another song from it, “Atlantic,” via a self-directed video for the track (which again made our Songs of the Week list).

Ignorance is the follow-up to The Weather Station’s acclaimed self-titled and self-produced fourth album, released in 2017 by Paradise of Bachelors.

In a previous press release, Linderman said the album was built on rhythm. “I saw how the less emotion there was in the rhythm, the more room there was for emotion in the rest of the music, the more freedom I had vocally,” she says.

Linderman, who plays guitar and piano on the album, was aided in this cause by drummer Kieran Adams (DIANA), bassist Ben Whiteley, percussionist Philippe Melanson (Bernice), saxophonist Brodie West (The Ex), flutist Ryan Driver (Eric Chenaux), keyboardist Johnny Spence (Tegan and Sara), and guitarist Christine Bougie (Bahamas). Linderman co-produced Ignorance with Marcus Paquin, who also mixed the album.

In his review of Ignorance, our critic Ben Jardine writes: “The record explores themes of dark vs. light, of right vs. wrong, of our collective unknown future, of the fragility of our planet’s climate—all bundled into a contemplative collection of 10 songs. The word ‘Ignorance’ in this sense, it should be pointed out, is not to be taken for its negative face value. Instead, Lindeman weaves hope, deep thought, and care into considering our ignorance—not as a detriment, but as an opportunity to improve our future.”

Read the whole review here.

2. Saintseneca: “All You’ve Got Is Everyone”

Columbus based folk-punk artist Saintseneca (aka Zac Little) returned to the scene this week with his latest single, “All You’ve Got Is Everyone.” The song is out now via ANTI-.

Ringing in the New Year, Little sings: “Here’s to hoping Auld Lang Syne/Will keep old anxieties gone.” This track has a moderate tempo, accompanied by Little’s longing vocals and dreamscape guitar synth that blends harmoniously to create a story of ardent longing. Written during the pandemic and in the midst of a global lockdown, Little wrote the track to embody a hug—something that is not attainable at the current moment.

Little had this to say about the song in a press release: “I wanted to write a Christmas song, but it didn’t feel right this time, so I thought about old new years and made a Valentine. I miss everyone, and I figure a song is kind of like a little tent. A place in space and time—you can pack it up and take it with you, get it out when you need it, and I like to imagine being together inside.”

“All You’ve Got Is Everyone” is Saintseneca’s first single since 2019 and it features less folk and more lo-fi drum/bass that sounds something like a new beginning. Saintseneca’s last album was 2018’s Pillar of Na, which was produced by Mike Mogis. By Emma Goad

Read our 2018 interview with Saintseneca.

3. Adrian Younge: “The American Negro”

On Tuesday Adrian Younge announced a new multimedia project to coincide with Black History Month, which will encompass an album, podcast, and short film. The album, entitled The American Negro, will be released on February 26 via Jazz is Dead. Younge has also shared the title track and lead single in conjunction with the announcement. The song features The Linear Labs Orchestra, as well as guest vocals by Loren Oden, Chester Gregory, and Sam Harmonix. Check out the tracklist and cover art for the album here. The cover art might be disturbing for some readersit is a recreation of “Lynching Postcards” that were popular in America in the early 1900s.

Younge’s podcast, entitled Invisible Blackness with Adrian Younge, will comprise four episodes and feature guest appearances by Chuck D, Ladybug Mecca, Kenyon Harrold, Michael Jai White, among others. It made its Amazon Music-exclusive debut on February 4. The accompanying short film, entitled T.A.N., was written, edited, directed, and scored by Younge, and it will be available on Amazon Prime Video as well as the Amazon Music app later this month.

Younge states in a press release: The American Negro is the most important creative accomplishment of my life. This project dissects the chemistry behind blind racism, using music as the medium to restore dignity and self-worth to my people. It should be evident that any examination of black music is an examination of the relationship between black and white America. This relationship has shaped the cultural evolution of the world and its negative roots run deep into our psyche.” By Joey Arnone

4. Flock of Dimes: “Two”

On Wednesday Flock of Dimes (the solo project of Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner) shared a video for her new single “Two.” The release coincides with an announcement by Wasner that her forthcoming album Roses will be out on April 2 via Sub Pop. Lola B. Pierson and Cricket Arrison directed the video for “Two.” Check out the cover art and tracklist for Head of Roses here.

Directors Pierson and Arrison speak about the “Two” video in a press release: “The world of the video shows two humans during three consecutive days. One human lives her life from morning to night, the other from night to morning. In the middle of the day they meet and the next day begins. By exploring dichotomies (natural/artificial, day/night, everyday/majestic) the work points to the pain caused by categorization and the joy of unification.”

Wasner adds: “‘Two’ is about trying to find a kind of balance between independence and interdependence, and the multitudes within ourselves. It’s about trying to reconcile the desire to maintain a sense of personal autonomy and freedom with the need to connect deeply with others. And it’s about struggling to feel at home in a body, and learning how to accept that the projection of self that you show to others will always be incomplete. I made this video with an incredible team of generous and talented people, including some very dear old friends. I think what we made captures the spirit of the song perfectlythe sense of delight and wonder at the absurd beauty of everyday life, and the true moments of spontaneous joy that can erupt in those rare moments when you catch a glimpse of yourself the way others see you.”

Head of Roses was produced by Nick Sanborn (Sylvan Esso) and Wasner.

Wasner’s most recent project as Flock of Dimes was the EP Like So Much Desire, which came out last year on Sub Pop. Her last album as Flock of Dimes, her debut full-length under that name, was If You See Me, Say Yes, which came out in 2016 via Partisan.

Wye Oak also released a new EP, No Horizon, last year, via Merge. Their last album, The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs, came out in 2018 via Merge. By Joey Arnone

5. New Madrid: “It’s Ok (2 Cry)”

On Thursday New Madrid announced a new self-titled album, subsequently releasing its lead single “It’s Ok (2 Cry).” Their new album, produced by Drew Vandenberg (Futurebirds, Bambara, Faye Webster), will be out on April 30 via Lemonade.

Frontman Phil McGill states in a press release regarding the song: “It’s okay to not be okay. It’s important to appreciate the small things that make us happy as much as the big ones. Uncertainty is certain. Feelings usually pass, fade, grow, and change. Love yourself and make time for yourself. Make time for the ones you love. Trust the mystery.”

The band’s most recent album, magnetkingmagnetqueen, came out in 2016 on New West. By Joey Arnone

6. Du Blonde: “I’m Glad That We Broke Up” (Feat. Ezra Furman)

This week Du Blonde (aka Beth Jeans Houghton) shared a new song, “I’m Glad That We Broke Up,” which features Ezra Furman. The song will be featured on Houghton’s upcoming album as Du Blonde, Homecoming, which releases on April 2 via Moshi Moshi.

The collaboration with Furman was described by Houghton on Twitter as “our take on a ’60s girl group/glam rock explosion.” She adds: “I feel like Ezra and I have been traveling towards a duet for years and we finally got our shit together. The track is about breaking up, regretting it, and getting back together.”

Houghton’s previous album under the Du Blonde moniker, Lung Bread for Daddy, came out in 2019 on Moshi Moshi. Last year, Furman shared the official soundtrack for the Netflix show Sex Education, along with a video for the song “Every Feeling.”

Check out our interview with Furman in episode two of our official podcast’s first season. By Joey Arnone

7. Low Hummer: “Never Enough”

Hull, England-based New Wave/post-punk outfit Low Hummer released a new single, “Never Enough,” on Thursday. Signed to Leeds label Dance To The Radio; “Never Enough” is the first snapshot of their eagerly awaited (and yet to be announced) debut album and conjures shades of The Cure’s doomed romance and the shimmering beauty of Cocteau Twins as they continue to explore themes of identity and isolation.

Filmed at Flamborough Head, the rocky beach found close to their Humberside home city, and the beautifully snowclad Mam Tor; the accompanying video sees the band members freezing their bits off as they search for a connection on the icy hillsides or whilst staring out to the turbulent North Sea.

Speaking of their new single, guitarist/singer Dan Mawer explains that “Never Enough” is about culture-bound syndrome, and how certain illnesses or conditions can be tied to a specific region. “These are a combination of psychiatric and somatic symptoms, recognized only within a specific society or culture,” he says. “Transmission of the disease is determined by cultural reinforcement and person to person interaction…. The subject helped me pull together lines along with my own notes on ageing, self-doubt and the idea of cultural isolation. It all sounds very depressing but I hope there’s still lots of light in the lines, such as when Aimee [Duncan, lead singer] suggests the idea of reframing the situations you find yourself in when you’re struggling.” By Jimi Arundell

8. Indigo Sparke: “Colourblind”

On Thursday Australian artist Indigo Sparke shared a video for a new song titled “Colourblind,” which is the latest single from her upcoming album, echo, out February 19 on Sacred Bones. The video, which is heavily inspired by the 1984 Wim Wenders film Paris, Texas, was co-directed by Sparke and cinematographer Monica Buscarino.

Sparke speaks about the song and video in a press release: “I think there was a period of time when I was almost laughing at how sad I was in the space of ambiguous liminal love. If you don’t start laughing, you just cry more. Its a feeling when you are kind of sick to your stomach and anxious but excited and not knowing what the fuck is going on. The space of waiting. Waiting to know someone else’s truth, or waiting to see someone, or waiting to see what the future holds for you and that person, or waiting to see if it’s even real. Everything becomes that person, everything reminds you of that person, everything speaks that person’s name. It’s a bittersweet thing.”

Echo was co-produced by Sparke, along with Adrienne Lenker of Big Thief and Andrew Sarlo. Sparke has previously released the songs “Baby” and “Everything Everything” from the album. Back in 2016, she released her debut EP, Nightbloom.

9. RINSE: “Tamaryn (Wherever I Am)”

On Tuesday RINSE (aka Joe Agius) shared a video for his new song “Tamaryn (Wherever I Am).” The song is from his upcoming EP, Wherever I Am, which will be out on March 5. It was shared via a self-directed video.

Agius speaks about his creation of the video in a press release: “I built and painted the walls and nearly every object featured in each room (thanks to Facebook marketplace) over a couple of weeks, while the 3D animation was created by Jackson Phillips and Skye Skye. I wanted the video to encapsulate what it’s like being stuck in your own head when you’re totally infatuated with somebody. ‘Tamaryn (Wherever I Am)’ was one of the first songs I wrote and recorded as RINSE and really started the ball rolling for this project.”

He adds that his upcoming EP “serves as a sonic bedrock for what RINSE is and sounds like to me, and a place I’m excited to build upon. Each song represents a different moment of my development as a solo artist, from finding my voice to digging deeper in lyricism than I ever have before, as well as honing my own skills in recording and production.”

Back in October, Agius shared the song “Back Into Your Arms” featuring Hatchie, which made it to our Songs of the Week list. Agius is a regular collaborator with Hatchie. By Joey Arnone

10. Miss Grit: “Grow Up To”

This week Miss Grit (aka Margaret Sohn) shared a new song titled “Grow Up To.” It is featured on her new Imposter EP, which came out today.

Sohn speaks a bit about the song in a press release: “Grow up to, grow up to, grow up to is my ongoing obsession with what’s next. The lack of content with the present leads to the chaos and collapse of this song.”

Sohn previously released the two other tracks from the EP, the title track and “Dark Side of the Party.” Her last EP, Talk Talk, came out in 2019. We premiered her song “Running Slow” in April of that year. By Joey Arnone

Honorable Mentions:

These five songs almost made the Top 10.

Julien Baker: “Favor” (Feat. Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus)

Zella Day: “Holocene” (Feat. Weyes Blood)

No Joy: “Drone 6”

Skullcrusher: “Song For Nick Drake”

Juan Wauters: “Real” (Feat. Mac DeMarco)

Other notable new tracks in the last week include:

The Armed: “ALL FUTURES”

Body Language: “Start It Up”

Bully: “Dry” (PJ Harvey Cover)

Cardi B: “Up”

Cloud Nothings: “Nothing Without You”

Death From Above 1979: “One+One”

Editrix: “The History of Dance”

FINNEAS: “American Cliché”

Iceage: “The Holding Hand”

Moontype: “About You”

The Natvral: “Why Don’t You Come Out Anymore?”

Painted Shrines: “Heaven and Holy”

Palehound: “How Long”

Rostam: “These Kids We Knew”

Spirit of the Beehive: “There’s Nothing You Can’t Do”

Neil Young: “Daughters”

(Thanks to Joey Arnone for helping to put this week’s list together.)

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