12 Best Songs of the Week: The WAEVE, Björk, The Big Moon, Marlon Williams, and More | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Saturday, September 24th, 2022  

12 Best Songs of the Week: The WAEVE, Björk, The Big Moon, Marlon Williams, and More

Plus Phoenix and Ezra Koenig, girlpuppy, Beth Orton, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks

Sep 09, 2022
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Welcome to the 34th Songs of the Week of 2022. Yesterday the world lost an historical icon. Regardless of your thoughts on the Royal Family, there’s no question that Queen Elizabeth II had a massive impact on the last 70 years of world history.

In the last week or so we posted interviews with October Drift, Aubrey Haddard, and Roxy Music.

In the last week we reviewed a bunch of albums.

Covers of Covers, our first album, came out at the beginning of March on CD and digitally via American Laundromat. You can stream it here. You can also buy it directly from American Laundromat, via Bandcamp, or on Amazon.

Don’t forget to pick up our double print issue, our 20th Anniversary Issue (which is out now).

To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last week, we have picked the 12 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 WAEVE: “Can I Call You”

On Tuesday, The WAEVE—a new duo consisting of Rose Elinor Dougall and Blur guitarist Graham Coxon—announced their self-titled debut album and shared a new song from it, “Can I Call You,” via a video for it. The WAEVE is due out February 3, 2023 via Transgressive. David J East directed the black & white video for “Can I Call You.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

“Can I Call You” starts as a moody piano-backed Dougall ballad, before exploding into a Krautrock groove almost two minutes in. Then Coxon’s saxophone takes over and both Coxon and Dougall sing overtop of each other, repeating the same impassioned lyrics through to the song’s conclusion.

James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, Florence & The Machine, Foals, HAIM) produced The WAEVE, which was recorded earlier this year. Dougall and Coxon started trading messages during lockdown, around Christmas 2020, and the project grew from there.

Many of the tracks feature Coxon on saxophone, one of the first instruments he picked up when he initially became a musician. Reference points for the album in the press release include: Sandy Denny, John & Beverly Martyn, Kevin Ayers, and Van der Graaf Generator.

The press release describes the band’s sound in more detail: “A liquid meeting of musical minds and talents. A powerful elixir of cinematic British folk-rock, post-punk, organic songwriting and freefall jamming. The WAEVE strikes that magical English folk-rock alchemy of earth and ether. Heaviness and weightlessness. Darkness and light.”

The project was announced in April and in May they shared their debut single, “Something Pretty,” which made it to #1 on our Songs of the Week list and actually isn’t featured on the album. Previously they also shared a trailer for the band.

The WAEVE have announced a show in London at Lafayette on March 27, 2023.

Dougall is one of the artists on the cover of our special 20th Anniversary print issue, where you can read an exclusive interview with her.

In 2021, Dougall collaborated with Wesley Gonzalez for a new song, “Greater Expectations,” which was one of our Songs of the Week.

Dougall released her last solo album, A New Illusion, in April 2019 via Vermillion (it was our Album of the Week and one of our Top 100 Albums of 2019). In November 2019 she has shared a new song, “How Long,” a non-album track Dougall said was the last song to be shared from the A New Illusion sessions. “How Long” was one of our Songs of the Week.

Read our interview with Dougall on A New Illusion.

Also read our interview with Dougall on her all-time favorite album.

Plus read our review of A New Illusion.

A New Illusion was Dougall’s third album and the follow-up to 2017’s acclaimed Stelluar (which was one of our Top 100 Albums of 2017). Read our 2017 interview with Rose Elinor Dougall on Stelluar. She was also previously in The Pipettes and in Mark Ronson’s band.

Coxon’s last solo album was 2012’s A+E, but he’s kept busy with soundtrack work, including releasing two albums of songs and score from the acclaimed TV show The End of the F***ing World and his 2021 score to the comic book Superstate. By Mark Redfern

2. Björk: “Atopos”

Björk is releasing a new album, Fossora, on September 30. On Monday, she shared the album’s first single, “Atopos,” via a weird and wonderful video for the new song. Viðar Logi directed the video, which features the Icelandic singer in two different elaborate outfits as she performs with a bass clarinet sextet and a DJ.

In a tweet, Björk wrote that the song “is a good intro .... kinda like Fossora’s passport. Sonically a heavy bottom-ended bass world we have 6 bass clarinets, punchy sub drilling, nesting and digging us into the ground.”

Previously Björk shared the album’s cover art and tracklist.

In a previous Instagram statement alongside the album’s announcement, Björk wrote:

“each album always starts with a feeling
that I try to shape into sound
this time around
the feeling was landing
( after my last album Utopia which was all island in the clouds element air and no bass )
on the earth and digging my feet into the ground”

Björk also recently announced the release of a new podcast, entitled Björk: Sonic Symbolism, which will premiere on September 30 via Mailchimp Presents and Talkhouse. By Mark Redfern

3. The Big Moon: “Trouble”

On Tuesday, The Big Moon shared a video for their new single, “Trouble.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming album, Here Is Everything, which will be out on October 14 via Fiction.

The band’s Juliette Jackson states in a press release: “‘Trouble’ is about remembering walking over the railway bridge to the hospital to give birth. This is a bridge I cross every day, but somehow in my memory on that day it’s like a bridge over a canyon in a Technicolor Wizard of Oz jungle landscape. Like giant leaves and blurry edges and oversaturated colors. But it’s just a pissy graffiti-covered South London pedestrian bridge. And it’s about learning that memories aren’t always right, and you don’t have to hang on to them and be traumatized by them forever.

“I’ve since realized that this song has been more than a song to me, it’s been healing. Birth is traumatic, however you do it, and for me the early months of motherhood were even more traumatizing. No one tells you how difficult breastfeeding is! It’s almost like, by making that experience sound like joy and then playing it again and again with my best friends, I’ve found a way of reframing my memory of that period. You can forget, you can remember it differently, you can heal, you can live.” By Joey Arnone

4. Marlon Williams: “Don’t Go Back”

New Zealand singer/songwriter/guitarist Marlon Williams released a new album, My Boy, today via Dead Oceans. On Tuesday, he shared its fifth and final pre-release single, “Don’t Go Back,” via an amusing self-directed video for the new song. View his upcoming tour dates here.

Williams had this to say about the video in a press release: “It closely follows the narrative of the song, best summed up in the hackneyed old adage ‘nothing good happens after midnight.’ I play a sort of furry guardian angel (inspired very loosely by Frank the Rabbit from Donnie Darko), who leans on his young charge to turn away from the debauched scene of a house party and head back home. The young man heads in anyways and checks it out before pretty promptly deciding to heed the advice and get the hell out of dodge.”

Williams also had this to say about the song: “There are a lot of New Romantic influences in ‘Don’t Go Back.’ I love the songwriting and over-the-topness of bands like Duran Duran. I was too young to have a sense of it the first time around, but at least to the modern ear there’s a silliness to the pathos in that music that definitely had an influence on the tone of the record.”

In May Williams shared the album’s title track (also its opening track), “My Boy,” via an amusing video. “My Boy” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then in June he shared the album’s second single, “Thinking of Nina,” a song inspired by the Cold War spy drama The Americans. It was shared via a film noir-esque video and was also one of our Songs of the Week. Then Williams shared the album’s third single, “River Rival,” also one of our Songs of the Week, as well as its fourth single, “Easy Does It,” again placing on Songs of the Week.

Williams opted not to record My Boy with his long-time backing band The Yarra Benders. Instead he demoed half the album with Mark ‘Merk’ Perkins. Then he worked with producer Tom Healy (Tiny Ruins, The Chills) at Neil Finn’s Roundhead studios in Auckland in late 2020. There he worked with LA-based drummer Paul Taylor (Feist), bassist Cass Basil (Ladyhawke, Tiny Ruins), and Healy on guitars and synths. There were also appearances from Delaney Davidson and Elroy Finn (on drums and percussion). Dave Kahn is the only member of The Yarra Benders to play on the album.

“Having new personalities in the room allowed me to escape myself,” said Williams in a previous press release. “When everyone’s still working out each other’s roles, there’s an unsettling and exciting tendency to go off in different directions…. It happened naturally. I was listening to more steely, New Romantic stuff, like Duran Duran, John Grant, Perfume Genius, the Bee Gees. All those things fed into the machine.”

Of the themes on My Boy, Williams said: “There’s a lot of male shapes on the record. Growing up an only child, I had to outsource my brothers and build a world around me. So while masculinity is a big theme, it’s really subsumed by broader explorations of vitality, and the social and cultural value placed on legacy.”

Williams’ last full-length was his sophomore album, Make Way For Love, released back in February 2018 via Dead Oceans. In 2019 he released his first official live album, Live at Auckland Town Hall.

Williams has also been acting of late, appearing in the Netflix DC Comics TV adaptation Sweet Tooth, as well as acting in the films The True History of the Kelly Gang, Lone Wolf, and The Beautiful Lie. Williams also appeared in the hit Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga musical romance A Star Is Born, playing himself as a younger star tapped to lead a Roy Orbison tribute at the Grammys instead of Cooper’s somewhat aging rocker Jackson Maine.

“I’ve always explored different character elements in my music,” said Williams. “And I think the more I get into acting, the more tricks I’m learning about representation and presentation. I’m trying to make my worlds feed into each other as much as possible. To get braver and bolder with exploring shifting contexts and new ways of doing things.”

Read our 2017 interview with Marlon Williams on Make Way For Love.

Read our 2016 interview with Marlon Williams. By Mark Redfern

5. girlpuppy: “Destroyer”

On Tuesday, girlpuppy (aka Becca Harvey) shared a video for her new single, “Destroyer.” It is the latest release from her forthcoming debut album, When I’m Alone, which will be out on October 28 via Royal Mountain.

“I wrote this song in Philadelphia after reading the novel Daisy Jones and The Six,” Harvey explains in a press release. “There’s one part of the book where the character Billy Dunne considers kissing a woman outside of his marriage. He acknowledges that if he decided to make that one small decision it would ruin everything else about his life. I consider this kind of thing ‘The Destroyer,’ the one thing you do that could ruin everything else. It’s a song about me also having that opportunity, but deciding against it. It was the first song that producer Sam Acchione and I felt really solid about. (In fact, it’s the song that made me know that Sam would be the perfect producer for When I’m Alone.)”

Upon announcement of the new album, girlpuppy shared the song “Wish,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. She later shared the album track “I Want To Be There.”

Girlpuppy’s debut EP, Swan, came out last year via Royal Mountain. By Joey Arnone

6. Beth Orton: “Fractals” (Feat. Alabaster dePlume)

On Wednesday, Beth Orton shared a new song, “Fractals,” which features saxophone by Alabaster dePlume. It is the latest release from Orton’s forthcoming album, Weather Alive, which will be out on September 23 via Partisan.

In a press release, Orton states: “The track is a beautiful example of the nature of collaboration, where people come in as they are. You’re hearing the first take. I would never have been able to conjure that music without these musicians.”

Upon announcement of the album in May, Orton shared the album’s title track, “Weather Alive,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. She later shared the songs “Forever Young,” also one of our Songs of the Week, and “Friday Night,” another one of our Songs of the Week. By Joey Arnone

7. Bibio: “Off Goes the Light”

Yesterday, Bibio (aka Stephen Wilkinson) announced the release of a new album, BIB10, which will be out on October 21 via Warp. He also shared a lyric video for the album’s lead single, “Off Goes the Light.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

Wilkinson elaborates on the new album in a press release: “My influences for studio production mostly come from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s where the craft was very different—getting a more polished sound, without ironing the humanity out of it, was part of the ethos.

“I became more obsessed than ever with guitars in the last few years, particularly vintage guitars. This album is an ode to guitar in a very different way, with the guitars more like building blocks of a larger structure, and the subtle variations and differences with each guitar’s tone and color make the album more nuanced. I don’t think of it as a guitar album per se, but I feel the foundation to all of the tracks is guitar.

“I think as 10 is such a milestone album, I wanted it to be more of a party album. It also has its dreamy and melancholy moments, but there’s a lot of fun and playfulness in this album. I hope people get up and dance to some of these songs.”

Bibio’s previous album, Sleep on the Wing, came out in 2020 via Warp. By Joey Arnone

8. Phoenix: “Tonight” (Feat. Ezra Koenig)

On Wednesday, Phoenix announced the release of their first new album in five years, Alpha Zulu, which will be out on November 4 via Loyaute/Glassnote. They also shared a video for a new single from the album, “Tonight,” featuring Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend. The video, directed by Oscar Boyson, was shot in Tokyo and Paris. View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.

Alpha Zulu was recorded at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. In a press release, the band’s Laurent “Branco” Brancowitz states: “We felt it would be a fantastic adventure to create something out of nothing in a museum. And so with the pandemic, we could live exactly this scene, to be alone in an empty museum.”

Guitarist Christian Mazzalai adds: “I was a bit afraid, when there was too much beauty around us, that to create something could be a bit hard. But it was the opposite: we couldn’t stop producing music. In these first 10 days, we wrote almost all of the album.”

Bassist Deck D’Arcy concludes: “The backstage of the museum is like a mashup. It’s very pop in a way—like how we make music.”

In June, Phoenix shared the album’s title track, “Alpha Zulu.” Their last album, Ti Amo, came out back in 2017 via Glassnote.

Read our 2017 interview with Phoenix about Ti Amo. By Joey Arnone

9. Sorry: “Key to the City”

North London band Sorry are releasing a new album, Anywhere But Here, on October 7 via Domino. On Tuesday, they shared the album’s third single, “Key to the City,” via a video for it. FLASHA directed the video. View the band’s upcoming tour dates here.

Sorry is led by Asha Lorenz and Louis O’Bryen. The lineup also features drummer Lincoln Barrett, multi-instrumentalist Campbell Baum, and Marco Pini on electronics.

Lorenz had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Key to the City’ is a song that stemmed from a very specific situation in my life but that I hope has a more universal resonance. It’s meant as a kind of tender ‘fuck you’ at the dying moment of a relationship you don’t necessarily want to end—when it’s hard to reconcile feelings of anger, jealousy, resentment etc. with the undeniable love you still have for that person. That crossover of pride and vulnerability led me to an image of a deer in the headlights. It’s about trying your hardest to retain control when you know you’re exposed emotionally, sexually, spiritually, everything. In the nude of the headlights, in the nude of someone’s love…. The song came together after the original recording session and stemmed from Louis experimenting with new tunings to give us a bit of a push. This one has a Nick Drake feel. We wanted it to sound cinematic and lonely.”

Anywhere But Here was produced by O’Bryen and Lorenz, along with Adrian Utley of Portishead and Ali Chant.

Back in April, the band shared the album track “There’s So Many People That Want To Be Loved.” It was one of our Songs of the Week. When the album was announced in July, Sorry shared the song “Let the Lights On,” which was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Last year, Sorry shared the EP Twixtustwain. Their debut album, 925, came out in 2020 on Domino, and made it to #35 on our Top 100 Albums of 2020 list.

Read our interview with the band. By Mark Redfern

10. GIFT: “Feather”

On Wednesday, Brooklyn-based psych-rock quintet GIFT shared a video for their new single, “Feather.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming album, Momentary Presence, which will be out on October 14 via Dedstrange.

“This is one of the most personal songs on the record,” states the band’s TJ Freda in a press release. “One night I connected with a loved one in a dream, except I was in their mind. I was standing right in front of them and kept trying to call to them but the world in this dream was too loud and noisy. They couldn’t see or hear me. ‘Feather’ is about trying to help someone who can’t be helped, but in the end you accept them for who they are and love them no matter what.”

Upon announcement of the new album, GIFT shared the single “Gumball Garden,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. By Joey Arnone

11. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard: “Ice V”

Melbourne-based psych-rock group King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have a reputation for being prolific and they are building on that by announcing three new albums, all due out next month. They also shared a 10-minute long new song, “Ice V,” on Wednesday via a video. That song is the first single from Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms and Lava, the first album, which is due out October 7. Laminated Denim follows on October 12 and then Changes comes out October 28. All are being released via the band’s own KGLW label. View the tracklists and cover art for all three albums, as well as their upcoming tour dates, here.

For Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms and Lava, the band didn’t write any songs prior to entering the studio.

“All we had prepared as we walked into the studio were these seven song titles,” says the band’s Stu Mackenzie. “I have a list on my phone of hundreds of possible song titles. I’ll never use most of them, but they’re words and phrases I feel could be digested into King Gizzard-world.”

Mackenzie picked out seven titles from that list, ones that he felt “had a vibe.” A press release says he “then attached a beats-per-minute value to each one. Each song would also follow one of the seven modes of the major scale: Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian.”

The band then recorded over the course of seven days, producing four-to-five hours of jams. “Naturally, each day’s jams had a different flavor, because each day was in a different scale and a different BPM,” Mackenzie says. “We’d walk into the studio, set everything up, get a rough tempo going and just jam. No preconceived ideas at all, no concepts, no songs. We’d jam for maybe 45 minutes, and then all swap instruments and start again.”

At the end of each day Mackenzie would take those jams and assemble them into songs, from which the band would oversdub additional instrumentation and then write lyrics as a group. “We had an editable Google Sheet that we were all working on,” says Mackenzie. “Most of the guys in the band wrote a lot of the lyrics, and it was my job to arrange it all and piece it together.”

Laminated Denim, meanwhile, simply features two 15-minute long tracks. “Laminated Denim is an anagram of Made In Timeland,” says Mackenzie, referring to Made In Timeland, a vinyl-only album the band released back in March.

Changes is actually an album King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have been working on for several years, first intending to release it in 2017, a year in which the band released five albums. “We really have been tinkering with it since then,” Mackenzie says.

“Every song is built around this one chord progression—every track is like a variation on a theme,” Mackenzie continues. “But I don’t know if we had the musical vocabulary yet to complete the idea at that time. We recorded some of it then, including the version of ‘Exploding Suns’ that’s on the finished album. But when the sessions were over, it just never felt done. It was like this idea that was in our heads, but we just couldn’t reach. We just didn’t know yet how to do what we wanted to do.”

The frontman adds: “It’s not necessarily our most complex record, but every little piece and each sound you hear has been thought about a lot.”

The first letter of each song title on Changes spells out the album’s title.

The band’s most recent album, Omnium Gatherum, came out back in April 2022 via KGLW. The one before that, Butterfly 3000, came out in June 2021 via KGLW. By Mark Redfern

12. Hans Pucket: “No Drama”

On Wednesday, New Zealand four piece Hans Pucket shared a video for their new single, “No Drama.” It is the latest release from their forthcoming album of the same name, which will be out on November 4 via Carpark.

The band’s Oliver Devlin states in a press release: “This song is about social anxiety, and being surrounded by very unhappy people on the internet. Sometimes, of course, very rightfully hurt people are dealing with their experiences of injustice, inequality or trauma. I think part of the song is being overwhelmed by all of this, the desire to bury my head in the sand and the fear of who I could become if I did switch off from it all.

“We originally attempted it a bit slower, but it was Callum Devlin who suggested this could be our ‘Voulez Vous.’ During pre-production I played this song to Liz Stokes [of The Beths] and she suggested overlaying the bridge onto the chorus at the end—a move Jon called ‘classic Liz.’

“This song also features our largest contingent of guest musicians on the album. ‘Horns Pucket’ (our four piece horn section arranged by Callum Passells) and ‘Hans Pluckit’ (string quartet, arranged and conducted by Benjamin Sinclair) bring some high production value to this track.”

Upon announcement of the album in August, they shared the single “My Brain Is a Vacant Space,” which was one of our Songs of the Week. By Joey Arnone

Honorable Mentions:

These songs almost made the Top 12.

The Bad Plus: “Not Even Close to Far Off”

The Comet Is Coming: “TECHNICOLOUR”

Djo: “Half Life”

Dry Cleaning: “Gary Ashby”

Brian Eno: “We Let It In”

Lambchop: “Little Black Boxes”

Laveda: “Surprise”

Smut: “After Silver Leaves”

Winter: “good” (Feat. SASAMI)

Here’s a handy Spotify playlist featuring the Top 10 in order, followed by all the honorable mentions:

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