A good day to listen
January 17, 2021

Great new songs today: John Grant, Dessa, Ghetts...

John Grant

John Grant's 'The Only Baby' is long, angry, and - awesome!; Kikagaku Moyo release a fun psychedelia song 'Elevation Jam' from their new live album; Ghetts gets help from Stormzy for his new groovy track 'Skengman'; rapper Dessa stands against "global powers who stand to profit by stoking our basest vanities and appetites" on 'Rome'; French actress Isabelle Adjani covered Elvis Costello's 'Revolution #49'.

Focus on the evidently good
January 16, 2021

Best new songs today: Foo Fighters, CARM, Jane Birkin...

Nice-guys Foo Fighters share a song 'Waiting on a War' which Dave Grohl wrote for his daughter who "deserves a future"; German indie The Notwist announce their first new album in seven years with mighty electronica 'Al Sur' song featuring Argentinian Juana Molina; The Antlers' 'Solstice' is like a soft and warm pillow, a song about change; CARM announced his first album with a nice-y 'Song of Trouble' featuring Sufjan Stevens; Vince Staples and Pusha T shared their 'White Tiger' soundtrack contribution 'Jungle Mantra' which sounds... just what the title suggests; Jane Birkin is dramatic and charming on 'Les jeux interdits'; ASTRYD delves into "humanity reckoning with the outcome of its actions" on 'Blind Summit'.

Ian Sweet / Facebook

LNZNDRF share members of Beirut and National, and sound like none - on 'Brace Yourself' they take a turn toward synth-pop; yet another supergroup, SOM, shares members of Caspian, Junius, and Constants, plays post rock-meets-shoegaze on 'Awake // Sedate'; producer Bicep shares India-influenced, ambient and pretty 'Sundial'; singer-songwriter Ian Sweet shares her sweet new song 'Drink the Lake'; Hazing Over changed their lineup, name, and sound - to math-metal, on 'Jock'.

DÆMON combines his intense lyricism with industrial hip-hop production by Endgame, a style the duo describes as “cybernetic warfare melodies”, for their new songs 'Eye Teeth', the Fact reports. The video is equally on that level - director Brandon Tauszik captures both artists in a guerilla trip through a sprawling hardware store.

Mogwai have shared a beautiful, positive new song ‘Ritchie Sacramento’ dedicated to the late Silver Jews'/Purple Mountains' frontman David Berman and all the musician friends that they’ve lost over the years. The band goes from post-rock to pop-rock on this song, and it's one of the rarer to feature vocals. The track’s video was created by director Sam Wiehl, who “created a whole first person multi level computer game for the song, which then formed the animations and narratives for the video” (watch it below). The song will come out on the band's new album ‘As The Love Continues’, recorded during lockdown but, as Mogwai's frontman Stuart Braithwaite explained NME, it's a "positive" and "warm" record.

Rhye shared a video for his latest single, a mellow funk-soul song 'Come In Closer'. Rhye says the song explores how "as relationships deepen and you invite someone into your world, your life, your home, layers of appreciation, vulnerability, and patience reveal themselves”, while the video shows two little girls having outdoor adventures with a couple of kittens. So, just some simple beauty.

Sarah Neufeld

Sarah Neufeld of Arcade Fire has released a new song with her Bell Orchestre project - a post-rock-meats-classical music 'V: Movement'; Ivonne Van Cleef shared 'Paracao Street', ambient lo-fi psychedelia; The Weather Station released a melancholic yet uplifting 'Atlantic'; Virgil Abloh has shared a minimal yet grand collaboration with serpentwithfeet 'Delicate Limbs'; Oxymorrons put a new twist on rap-rock with 'Green Vision'; Aesop Rock and Homeboy Sandman shared an MF Doom tribute song 'Ask Anyone'; Dreamwell shared some hard-hitting screamo with 'Sayaka'.

Steve Earle

Madlib is joined by Four Tet on the uplifting track 'Hopprock'; a sad story - after Justin Townes Earle died last year, his father Steve Earle recorded an album of his son's songs, and one of his own, 'Last Words', about their last conversation they had the night the younger Americana singer-songwriter died of an accidental overdose; emo-hardcore band Holy Figures released an EP about drugs, with songs named after women, melodic and powerful 'Lucille' stands out among them; Open Mike Eagle recorded a freestyle after hearing about MF Doom's passing, titled simply 'for DOOM'.

R.A.P. Ferreira

The Black Keys share previously unreleased instrumental song 'Black Mud Part II' from the 'Brothers' era; psychedelic screamo/metal band Portrayal of Guilt share '2020 Will Burn In Hell Forever'; 'i-38' is live funk rap by 38 Spesh; Napalm Death's Shane Embury releases an ambient industrial song 'Omisoka' with his band Dark Sky Burial; R.A.P. Ferreira shares a psychedelic new album with 'Sips of Ripple Wine (No Stemware)' included.

Viagra Boys and Amy Taylor cover John Prine's song 'In Spite of Ourselves' about the fact that there's love for anybody; Foo Fighters released 'No Son of Mine', a song Dave Grohl said was their version of David Bowie’s 'Let’s Dance'; the Stellar band consisted of Yves Tumor, Kelsey Lu, Kelly Moran & Moses Boyd shares an art-pop single 'Let All The Poisons That Lurk In The Mud Seep Out'; Bill Callahan and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy release a cover of Lou Reed’s 'Rooftop Garden' with George Xylouris.

"Years from now, when we look back at this time period... there will also be this album that has recorded the stories and names of all these ordinary women who would have otherwise been entirely forgotten" - Chinese music critic Postman tells BBC about the new album by Chinese singer Tan Weiwei. The highpoint of that album is 'Xiao Juan', a moody, excoriating diatribe against domestic violence, still considered a taboo topic for many.

Emma Ruth Rundle

Space-jazz masters The Comet Is Coming released their hybrid new single 'Imminent' featuring MC Joshua Idehen; Thou & Emma Ruth Rundle released a mighty cover of Cranberries' 'Hollywood'; screamo boys For Your Health released 'Birthday Candles in the Effigy' with a ballerina dancing to it in a sinister video; Burial, Four Tet, and Thom Yorke collaborated on two new moody songs 'Her Revolution' and 'His Rope'.

Lushlife

Switch presents his impressive flow on 'Cleopatra's Nose', with a helping voice from Killah Priest; plenty of Christmas songs, but Julia Jacklin's 'Baby Jesus Is Nobody's Baby Now' deserves a proper listen; similarly, Porridge Radio's 'The Last Time I Saw You (o Christmas)' is for those who don't really like the holidays; Lushlife delivers some spacey jazzy-rap on 'Hessdalen Lights'; Scottish folk singer James Yorkston shares a baroque pop single 'Ella Mary Leather'; Every Time I Die share their first new song in four years, a melodic metal-core 'Desperate Pleasures' with some math-core energy.

Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan, Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock, and Mark Lanegan teamed up to make a very nice cover of the Jimmy Webb country classic 'The Highwayman'. The backing band featured Foo Fighters’ Nate Mendel, members of Death Cab, The Afghan Wigs, The Walking Papers, and guitarist Ian Moore. The collaboration was part of SMooCH 2020, an annual benefit show for the Seattle Children’s Hospital. The hour-long event also featured sets from Angel Olsen, Jason Isbell, Clipping., Kim Gordon, J. Mascis, and Fred Armisen.

Dua Saleh

Dua Saleh is in-between genres on 'Angel Rock', driven by strings; Lana Del Rey covered 'Summertime', this time George Gershwin's original; Gilles Peterson's Brownswood released electro-jazzy rap 'I Know You See Me' by Kassa Overall; singer-songwriter Postdata shared 'Twin Flames'; Fana Hues presents her great voice on 'Snakes x Elephants'; Dueling Experts deliver hip-hop old school NY-style on 'Revolve Around Sciences'; Kelly Rowland goes for and - gets a pop smash with 'Hitman'; Ash Koosha explores the “hallucination of a machine” on 'Hallucinato' (30 mins).

MorMor

Canadian singer-songwriter MorMor released 'Don’t Cry', an industrial pop song; underground rap veteran Mr. Lif and producer Stu Bangas present their collaborative project Vangarde with 'Shelter in Place'; multinational group Seba Kaapstad collaborates with Sudanese/American rapper Oddisee on a strong but gentle song 'I’m Scared'; Post Truth Serum released a simple-but-great video for their song 'This Is The End'.

'Looked Over Your Shoulder' is signed by Busta Rhymes, when maybe it's more a Kendrick Lamar/Michael Jackson song (it heavily samples 'I'll Be There'); 'Happy' is Danny Elfman's first new song in 36 years, accompanied by a spooky video; 'Babylon Exists' by The Late One is an activist reggae ballad with a strong political message; yet another protest song 'New America' sees the underestimated newcomer A$AP Twelvyy getting a helping mic from Conway the Machine; Karen O and Willie Nelson covered the iconic David Bowie and Queen classic 'Under Pressure'; an awesome video of icy soundworld by Dan Holdsworth for a Patten song 'Cerulean'; R-Mean features Method Man in good form on 'Circus'; 'Evans a Gift' by Loud Tides is a smoothy jazzy song; Riz Ahmed is moody, affirming the basics on 'Once Kings'; Patrick Watson drops a soothing piano on 'Lost With You'.

Nothing

Nothing released a leaned back and mighty 'Famine Asylum'; Aquiles Navarro & Tcheser Holmes dropped a great afro-beat jazzy 'Pueblo'; Chelsea Wolfe released a creepy cover of 'In Heaven' from David Lynch's classic 1977 film 'Eraserhead'; Cass McCombs assembled a powerful front with Angel Olsen, Bob Weir, and Noam Chomsky to send a 'Don’t (Just) Vote' message; Zack de la Rocha remixed Outkast's 'Bombs Over Baghdad', adding a rock-rap riff to it; Portrayal of Guilt melt post hardcore with black metal on 'It's Already Over'.

The Staves

Newcomers Red Fiction mix metal, jazz and Eastern European folk on 'Kerberos'; gospel meets psychedelia on 'Unity (It’s Up To You)' by Badge Époque Ensemble; Nick Cave has shared his unreleased track ‘Euthanasia’, written during the 'Skeleton Tree' period; composer Olafur Arnalds and producer Bonobo team up for atmospheric gem 'Loom'; death metal meets western American music in Wayfarer's 'The Crimson Rider'; a good indie-rock song 'Good Woman' by the Staves; Chamberlain, making their first album in 20 years, released just a straight rock song 'Not Your War'.

Dis Fig

Oneohtrix Point Never pays hommage to Swiss animator Georges Schwizgebel in the video for his new synth alter-pop single, ‘Long Road Home’; Tom Morello wrote 'Marching on Ferguson' for the film 'No Justice, No Peace', marking what would have been George Floyd‘s 47th birthday; The Bug releases moody, dark and cold new song 'You' featuring Dis Fig; US pop singer Demi Lovato released a protest song 'Commander in Chief'; Daniel Pemberton released a piece of good TV music for new drama 'The Trial of the Chicago 7'; The Body released intense, heavy, dark electro song 'A Lament'.

Grayceon

Grayceon play hard-to-define-easy-to-listen-to music on 'Diablo Wind', let's just call it psych-folk post-metal; 'Bloodrush' is an intense electro-rap song with Andrew Broder, Denzel Curry, Dua Saleh, & Haleek Maul on board; Weather Station make a u-turn from folk - 'Robber' is jazzy alter-pop; James Blake releases 'Before', a cold and dancey new song, with haunting strings; an old Elton John song, 'Regimental Sgt. Zippo', very Beatles-sounding, is out now; members of Napalm Death, Converge, Megadeth, and Nasum reactivated the Blood From The Soul project - 'Debris of Dreams'; Ahya Simone takes a harpist angle to R'n'B with 'Frostbite'; new pop-folk band Thunder Dreamer present themselves with 'Of a Million'; Weird Al shares his first non-comedy song, a Portugal. The Man collaboration 'Who's Gonna Stop Me'; Bad Religion release 'What Are We Standing For' in solidarity with athletes taking a knee; Kristeen Young has taken her 2003 David Bowie collaboration 'Savior' and reimagined it as new track 'American Landfill', an unusual song with an unusual video; horn-player CARM shares a Justin Vernon pop-classical collaboration 'Land'; Americana lady Iris DeMent had a lot to say about the world today, so she made 'Going Down To Sing In Texas'; Open Mike Eagle delivers some clever punches on 'Death Parade'.

Windchimes

Windchimes melt black metal, hardcore and post-rock on 'Zetsubo//Succumb To'; Big Boi, Sleepy Brown, Killer Mike & Big Rubequite released a protest song 'We The Ones' in the vein of funk-infused southern rap; Channel Tres shows how it sounds when hip-hop and house combine on 'Skate Depot'; Stevie Nicks looks to the heavens on 'Show Them The Way'; proggy rockers Transit Method released a video for four of their recently published songs.

Divide and Dissolve

The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick is a new band playing atmospheric emo - 'We Love You So Much'; Divide and Dissolve play classical doom on 'We Are Really Worried About You'; Dizzee Rascal is in good form on 'Act Like You Know'; CocoRosie summoned together ANOHNI, Big Freedia, Brooke Candy, and Cakes da Killa on 'End of the Freak Show' in an effort to vote the American president out of the office; Bicep go natural and ambient on 'Apricots'.

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