Deftones are back in shape with their atmospheric and heavy newest single 'Genesis'; Aimee Mann covered Leonard Cohen’s ‘Avalanche’ for HBO’s true-crime docu-series 'I’ll Be Gone In The Dark', it's a changed song, richer, sang differently; Jamila Woods' 'Sula' is accompanied by an erotic video with the singer as the star of it; another "different" cover - Lykke Li plays Gloria Gaynor's disco anthem 'I Will Survive' as a haunting piano ballad.

Still Corners

Arcade Fire's Will Butler released 'Bethlehem', full of anger and energy, plenty of food in the video also; Still Corners' 'The Last Exit' is a big sounding simple folk-rock song; Tino Contreras is 96-year-old Mexican jazz veteran releasing an album full of new songs, 'El Sacrificio' is the promising teaser; pop-industrials Health released a haunting 'Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0'; Suuns combine noise and dance on 'Pray'; melodic doom metallers Fires in the Distance released their new album this week, 'Reflections in the Ice' is the stand-out track from it.

Girls and pregnant boys
September 16, 2020

Best new songs today: Sufjan Stevens, Amanda Ong, Slowthai...

Sufjan Stevens says 'Sugar' is "about the desire for goodness and purity", and the hypnotics quality of the song makes a case for it; Amanda Ong is a singer-songwriter on the rise, her beautiful voice promises a lot - 'Leave Me Alone'; it's hardly a new song, but Brandi Carlile's version on 'Mad World' sang from the bottom of her lungs ads a new dimension to it; Slowthai's 'Feel Away' is, well, different - it's gentle and mellow, with a video of James Blake singing from rapper's uterus!; Death Valley Girls sing for love and joy on 'Under the Spell of Joy'; Small Bills is a new project, made of rapper Elucid and producer the Lasso, their first single 'Safehouse' goes from afro-beat to funk, from discomfort and uncertainty.

Krystle Warren

Nothing released 'Say Less', powerful, pounding shoe-gaze new single; new Flaming Lips album is made for people wanting some more of psychedelia light, but 'Assassins of Youth' is a stand-out song in any cosmos; singer-songwriter Krystle Warren made a powerful statement about the struggle for Black equality with a cover of Kermit the Frog's 'Bein’ Green'; Off The Meds may eventually take some wrong steps along the way, but for now they're playing good, slightly dark club music - 'Karlaplan'; (fellow Swedes) Dark Tranquility play what they know best on 'Phantom Days' - melodic death metal; Delta Spirit released a new album, with a happy Americana 'It Ain't Easy' as a stand-out song.

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Janelle Monáe shared her rich new song 'Turntables', taken from the upcoming documentary 'All In: The Fight For Democracy'; Knucks dropped his jazzy grime song 'Thames'; Painted Shield is a no-supergroup, made of Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard and Matt Chamberlain (former PJ), folk singer Mason Jennings and singer Brittany Davis, their new song 'I Am Your Country' is psychedelic, big, and dark; Eartheater's 'Volcano' is ethereal and calm; 'Letting Me Down' is a lovely song with a lovely video of the singer Margo Price dancing through ruins; Jesse Kivel just put some simple bass and a few guitar sounds in 'William'; the title says it all in Rodrigo y Gabriela's 'Electric Soul'.

Nadine Khouri

Arab Strap are back with new music, their first in 15 years, a funny little song called 'The Turning Of Our Bones'; Bette Smith dropped soul-heavy rocker 'I'm a Sinner', about her relationship with her mother; Thurston Moore dropped a 12-minute dreamer 'Siren'; Killer Be Killed supergroup - featuring Troy Sanders (Mastodon), Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan), Max Cavalera (Soulfly), and Ben Koller (Converge) - dropped a catchy metal song 'Deconstructing Self-Destruction'; Hey Colossus colab with Mark Lanegan 'The Mirror' is slow and not really loud, still it's powerful; Nadine Khouri grew up in 'Beirut' and said that 'To Sleep' was written as "a lullaby from a war zone"; Anohni dropped a political song 'R.N.C. 2020'.

Samia

Triptych' is a single from the debut album by New York singer-songwriter Samia; Black Thought, Pusha T, Killer Mike shared an uplifting soul hip-hop single 'Good Morning'; 'The Death of Us' is a classic Lamb of God ripper from 'Bill & Ted' soundtrack; jazz but-I-really-like-hip-hop pianist Robert Glasper is back with a smooth song 'Better Then I Imagined' featuring H.E.R. and Meshell Ndegeocello; post-punk band Joanie covered Solange's 'Cranes in the Sky' "because it was such an important song for Black women"; Clipping go dark and industrial with 'Say the Name'.

Musical and creative impresario Will Coloan has made an AfroBeat remix of Stevie Wonder's 1976 song 'Black Man' that recollects many accomplishments from black men of all hues. In the accompanying Coloan features dozens of contemporary black men of distinction - Barack Obama, Denzel Washington, Jay-Z, Kobe Bryant, and many, many more (the video lists them all).

Pine Barons released a catchy indie rock 'Sputter'; RZA and Ghostface Killah are in classic Wu-Tang mood with 'Fighting for Equality'; some big careers started off with covers - new hardcore strength Gulch might be on that same path with 'Sin in my Heart'; Open Mike Eagle went groovy-jazzy in 'Bucciarati'; Thou and Emma Ruth Rundle released melodic doom goth 'Ancestral Recall'; Mina Tindle, Kate Stables, Emma Broughton, Melissa Laveaux re-sang Nina Simone's '22nd Century'; Carcass are back with a metal banger 'The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue', their first new song in 7 years.

Rufus Wainwright

Jónsi shared a collaboration with Liz Fraser, and 'Cannibal' sound just like that - Sigur Ros meets Cocteau Twins; Nas is back in shape - 'Ultra Black' is sharp and entertaining and juicy; Emiliano Melis released a melodic ambient electronic tape loop composition; Black Noi$e shared a hip-hop banger '1999'; The Killers shared a disco-rock ‘Dying Breed’, with their "most romantic lyric ever"; First Aid Kit shared a cover of Willie Nelson's ‘On The Road Again’, with proceeds going to Crew Nation; GNOD & João Pais Filipe shared live video for ambient and hypnotic 'Terra'; Melvins' Buzz Osborne released acoustic-horror song 'I'm Glad I Could Help Out'; Rufus Wainwright's new song is called 'Devils & Angels (Hatred)' but it's full of life; The Flaming Lips shared their new acoustic psychedelia called 'Will You Return / When You Come Down'; Bobby Sessions dropped militant/protest rap 'Fight'; a great little thing by Paul De Jong - he wrote a poem 'This Poem Will Fade and Die', 97-year old musician and educator Catherine Luening read it, he then set it to music (piano), and made a video featuring Luening in her Manhattan apartment listening to the track for the first time.

Black Pumas

Black Pumas released a version of 'Confines' performed with a string quartet; Billie Eilish released her new song 'My Future', a bluesy pop with a very studio Ghibli video; Mastodon's dramatic 'Fallen Torches' features Scott Kelly of Neurosis; Jorja Smith shared an instant soul classic 'By Any Means'; Toni Cornell, daughter of Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, did a lovely thing covering 'Black' by Pearl Jam; Greg Puciato of Dillinger Escape Plan shared 'Roach Hiss', a noise-metal song featuring Converge drummer Ben Koller; pop folk singer Matt Berry announced his new album with single 'Take a Bow'; Jyoti dropped a warm jazz-soul hybrid 'Mama, You Can Bet'.

Clara Luciani and Alex Kapranos

A great combo - Doves made a song 'Carousels', forwarded it to The Comet Is Coming to remix it, turned out atmospheric, groovy, jazzy; Kudela made a great video for the stunning Katie Gately song 'Flow'; JPEGMAFIA shared new song 'Living Single', a kinda experimental trap; the "garage-rock Serge Gainsbourg" Liminanas dropped 'Calentita'; Tricky has a new singer, Marta, and a new clubby trip 'Thinking of'; Alex Kapranos and Clara Luciani covered 'Summer Wine', a perfect summer song, of course; dark rock collective Crippled Black Phoenix features a handful of guests on catchy 'Cry of Love'; Mike Huguenor released a tender blues 'Evening Light Seen Through a Window'.

Jaga Jazzist

Journalist turned musician Sylvie Simmons released a sweet little song 'Sweet California'; Jaga Jazzist released a sci-fi psycho electro-blues 'Tomita' with a great video; another seemingly strange song, 'Us (How Sweet It Was)', alter-baroque pop by Ricky Reed, Jim James & Duendita; some classic soul by Danielle Ponder and Karate Boogaloo in 'Look Around'; Deathcave's 'The Road' features three vocalists - singers of Botch, Holy Grove, and Black Breath; the last one is wild: the name - Godcaster, the song title - 'All The Feral Girls In The Universe', the video - literally wild, and the sonic side of the song - psycho garage rock.

Open Mike Eagle

Norwegian pop singer Annie has shared drum'n'bass-y club banger 'The Bomb'; Open Mike Eagle says he made 'Neighborhood Protection Spell (Lana Del Biden Nem)' as a "spell to ward off subtle social attacks at Blackness”; LCD Soundsystem’s Tyler Pope built his new EP around a single drum pattern, restricting his hardware to one drum machine and one keyboard as a means of finding inspiration from limitations, 'Nur weil ich kann' is an example of that; Tobi is a Gogol Bordello and Dälek collaborator, with her 'Can't Control Me' going more to the clubby side; even Rolling Stones have a new song - bluesy-rock 'Scarlet' features Jimmy Page and late bass great Rick Grech, it was recorded in 1974 as Led Zeppelin were leaving the same studio; Avalanches have released two new songs - 'Wherever You Go' with contributions by Jamie xx, Neneh Cherry, Mick Jones of The Clash, and CLYPSO, while 'Reflecting Light' includes a cameo from Sananda Maitreya and a Vashti Bunyan sample.

Lupe Fiasco

Powerful new Lupe Fiasco song 'Shoes' was written from the perspective of the sneakers Ahmaud Arbery was wearing when he was murdered; Richard Barone's cover of Willie Nile’s 'Streets of New York' is just a warm love song to the city; Mastodon-At the Drive-in-QOTSA supergroup Gone Is Gone released psych-spacey rawk 'Everything Is Wonderfall', Shamir released 'I Wonder' from his self-titled album, out later this year.

Zen Mother

Moses Sumney released 'Monumental', his interpretation of 'Olympic Hymn', accompanied by a stunning black and white video starring and directed by Sumney, featuring the musician singing the song on a pedestal like a marble statue come to life; Idles make a slight turn - release s tense psych-ballad 'A Hymn'; free jazz collective Standing On The Corner shared ‘G-E-T-O-U-T!! The Ghetto’ featuring a seven-year-old vocalist Annalise Chanel Renee Williams; Kanye West, again, has a good song - 'Donda', dedicated to his mother; King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard shared a ballad 'Honey'; 'Order' by Zen Mother is just some mighty electro industrial; Helena Deland's 'Lylz' is about the "aching forever-after of female friendship"; Arcade Fire's Will Butler released his new, solo, uplifting song 'Surrender'; Makaya McCraven's 'Strangers in the City' is groovy and tribal jazz.

Eddy Lee Rider

'Expected to Fly' by Eddy Lee Rider is a big-rock song about losing a friend; Illuminati Hotties' awesome titled 'Will I Get Canceled If I Write a Song Called, 'If You Were a Man You'd Be So Cancelled' is a minute-and-something noise-rock and punk attitude blast; Michael Kiwanuka's dance song? - yes, when remixed by Bonobo; Mexico City's Mint Field go shoegaze psychedelia on 'Contingencia'; an average Kid Cudi and an awesome Eminem on their collaboration 'The Adventures Of Moon Man & Slim Shady'; it's more of the old stuff, but it's still great celebratory & happy Sufjan Stevens in 'My Rajneesh'; Kaytranada doesn't go wrong with his dance-pop - 'Look Easy'; Calabashed is a sort-of jazz-supergroup delivering smooth soul-jazz in 'Ode To Jazzman John Clarke'; Bettye LaVette remade songs by mighty women, one of these is timeless and powerful 'One More Song'; Avenue Beat don't appreciate this year particularly, but 'F2020' is huge on TikTok; Pallbearer go trad-doom on 'Forgotten Days'; 'Midnight Watch' by Burt Bacharach and Daniel Tashian is, well, just lovely; Greg Puciato formerly of Dilling Escape Plan is back with post-hardcore sludge combo - 'Do You Need Me To Remind You'.

Terrell Hines / Vince Staples

Terrell Hines has released a remix of 'Get Up', from his forthcoming debut mixtape 'Portal One: The Mixtape', with Terrell Hines as a guest. The song starts with a quiet acoustic guitar loop, it builds production and tempo until it reaches its forceful, heart-racing peak. Lyrically, it's a diatribe against the ills of racist capitalism.

The Hanging Stars

Idles released a powerful remix of Sex Swing's 'Passover', minimalist and atmospheric, a new song; 'A New Kind of Sky' is timeless psych-folk by the Hanging Stars; Rider Shafique and The Bug collaborate on dark industrial hip-hop 'Burn'; Porridge Radio find a different angle to themselves on Lala Lala collaboration 'Good For You'; industrial trap meets grindcore on Luma's 'Lionsblood', it sounds strange and it is strange; Manonmars' 'Pidgeon' is psychedelic hip hop gem; Monte's 'Mirla' is the sound of bird dying.

Tom Morello / Dan Reynolds

"When I was a kid, someone hung a noose in my family's garage... On June 6 of this year, there was a Black Lives Matter rally and march in that same town that drew over 1,000 people" - Tom Morello explained the inspiration behind his new song 'Stand Up', which he wrote after that rally, it features Imagine Dragons singer Dan Reynolds, Shea Diamond and the Bloody Beetroots; 'Into Strangeness' by Fear of Men is tense indie rock with a touch of sax; 'Time To Walk Away' is a lovely come-back song by the underappreciated Washed Out; Sasami made a psych-folk cover of System of a Down's 'Toxicity' - to say it's cool is an understatement; 'This is What You Did' by This is the Kit is a relaxed panic attack song; piano-heavy 'River Dreams' by Beverly Glenn-Copeland is atmospheric and rich.

International song affair
June 28, 2020

Best new songs today: Sam Valdez, Flaming Lips, Gordi...

Sam Valdez

Sam Valdez released her new single, a shoegaze-folk beauty 'Clean'; Flaming Lips announced their new album with big words in a laid back song 'My Religion is You'; with Mourning [A] BLKstar everything is seemingly unusual - the name and the dark gospel genre - whereas music is actually deep and warm; Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament struggles with vivid dreams and helplessness in 'The Divine Perfume'; Anteloper play modern jazz + electronica which makes for hypnotic 'Bubble Under'; Gordi's 'Sandwiches' is an elegiac love song; an impressive line-up of Tony Allen, Shabaka Hutchings, Dele Sosimi, Tamar Osborn, Miles James, Ed ‘Tenderlonious’ Cawthorne, Afla Sackey and Antibalas on Keleketla's upbeat and harmonious 'International Love Affair'.

Anthony Garcia

Anthony Garcia melts folk-rock and classical together on 'The Wind'; 'Hard Life' by Sault is a protest song, yet a very beautiful one; The Streets has shared his latest single 'Falling Down', featuring self-proclaimed "G-folk" singer Hak Baker; Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi has released his new single 'Swill', industrial and noisy, with a strong video; Jordan Lawlor of the M83 is set to make his solo debut as J. Laser, 'Waves & Blades' is an up-beat taste from his EP; Fenne Lily's 'Alapathy' is an upbeat indie rock about starting to smoke weed as a means to switch off your brain; math-rock meets noise-rock on 'Worship House' by Sprain; 'Money' by Widowspeak deals with seeing everything in terms of value; Gordi's 'Extraordinary Love', on the other hand, is about making someone feel exceptional.

HGT

Anderson 'Paak's 'Lockdown' deals with protests, the long history of racism and unjust police killings; Kaleida announced her new album with a mighty pop single 'Other Side'; R'n'B singer Orion Sun suffered violence from the police, but responded gently with 'Mama's Baby', a victory!; Norwegian pop-singer Annie has a new synth pearl 'American Cars', cold and pretty; 'Epistrophy' comes from one of Thelonious Monk's best performances - from a high school in Palo Alto, CA in 1968, recorded by the school's janitor; acoustic version of 'Heatwave' by Mereba is tender and strong; Tee Grizzley goes fast and furious on 'Lions & Eagles', with Meek Mill borrowing a verse; 'Fight On' by the Harlem Gospel Travelers is a groovy gospel song; Derrick Hodge's 'Heartbeats' is like a jazz flying carpet; Misery Signals combine post hardcore and post-rock on 'River King'.

Braids

A fun new song 'Pelota' by the psych-trio Khruangbin; 'Dreams' by Hannas Georgas is a simple, almost cold, albeit full-hearted song produced by The National's Aaron Dessner; Braids 'Snow Angel' is elegiac and threatening, a pearl!; J Cole's 'Snow On Tha Bluff' addresses the issue of Black Lives Matter protests (supposedly he's aiming at activist and rapper NoName); Idles' new song 'Grounds' features a big beat and a big riff.

John Prine

John Prine sang "Got no future in my happiness/Though, regrets are very few/Sometimes a little tenderness/Was the best that I could do" on 'I Remember Everything', the last song he recorded before he passed away from COVID-19; JD Simo's 'One Of Those Days' is a soulful, psychedelic and amusing rock; Bettye LaVette remade Billie Holiday's iconic 'Strange Fruit' reminding us public executions of this day aren't that different from the ones from two centuries ago; bass icon Bootsy Collins released 'Stars', featuring philosopher Dr. Cornel West, drummer Steve Jordan, banjo legend Béla Fleck, and EmiSunshine & Olvido Ruiz; Pop Smoke's posthumous album is coming out in July, 'Make It Rain' sounds promising, in mainstream hip-hop terms; Woodkid's 'Pale Yellow' is a strange fruit, dramatic, cinematic, folk-ish.

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