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Music

Essential Listening: This week's best new music

@TylerGolsen

Another chilly November week is in the books, and another slate of brand new music has dropped on our heads.

Of course, nothing was going to realistically compete with the mammoth release of Adele’s fourth studio album, 30. The LP that is causing vinyl shortages around the world is also pretty damn good, giving the world peak Adele just when we all needed it the most. It’s not terribly ambitious, but it delivers everything that we all could want from an Adele divorce album and then some.

But Adele doesn’t have a monopoly on new music this week. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss released their sequel to the Grammy-dominating Raising Sand in the form of the tepid reunion LP Raise the Roof, while Elbow brought some comforting and heartwarming indie rock to the masses with their new album Flying Dream 1.

On the singles path, we’ve started the holiday season started early (suck it, Mariah!) with Spoon releasing their cover of The Beatles’ ‘Christmas Time (Is Here Again)’. Eddie Vedder announced a return to his dormant solo career with Earthlings and its first single, the perfectly all right ‘The Haves’. M.I.A. released a new song as an NFT, while Vlure and Life duke it out for Post-Punk supremacy with their respective new singles.

Unfortunately none of those made it to The Far Out Playlist (well, except Adele. We haven’t totally lost our minds). But mostly there has been a great crop of upstart bands and stalwart Far Out favourites to flesh out the week of new music. Here are some of the best new songs of the week.

The Week’s Best New Music:

Alex Cameron – ‘Sara Jo’

Australian soul-pop troubadour Alex Cameron makes a welcome return with the first new music since 2019’s fantastic LP Miami Memory on the new single ‘Sara Jo’.

Fitting right in Cameron’s sweet spot between indie rock and disco-funk, ‘Sara Jo’ sets the stage for Cameron to give us the new album we’ve been patiently waiting for. Never leave us again, Alex.

Dama Scout – ‘Dan Dan Bub’

UK art-rockers Dama Scout, can alternate between experimental, melodic, and even quite scary, but their latest single ‘Dan Dan Bub’ is a relatively peaceful affair, lying somewhere between the funky tootling of acid jazz and the blissful ambience of bedroom pop.

This song has everything you could ever want: a hypnotic groove, calming synth pads, a lo-fi fade-out/fade-in fake out, and even saxophone! Now that’s some top-notch arrangement. ‘Dan Dan Bub’ is actually closer to Black Midi on Xanax than anything else, but it’s quite alluring all the same.

Cate Le Bon – ‘Moderation’

Welsh folk-pop singer Cate Le Bon has a voice that just radiates out of the speakers and into your heart. That’s pretty cheesy, but I honestly can’t think of a better way to describe it. 

It’s just calming, like a nice warm bath in audio form. Even when she’s singing about the struggles that come with bettering yourself, like on her latest single ‘Moderation’, it all feels well within the realm of possibility. It is anxiety-reducing and works wonders to put a racing mind at ease.

Horsegirl – ‘Billy’

Chicago upstarts Horsegirl bring the noise as they drop their latest single, ‘Billy’. As the song continues to barrel towards its conclusion, the band ramp up the intensity, getting faster and faster until they practically explode into a distortion-filled finale.

For a three-minute noise-rock anthem, ‘Billy’ has a surprising amount of dynamics and fluidity to it. Mixing Nick Drake with Dinosaur Jr., Horsegirl prove that guitar rock is alive and well with the youth of America.

Leon Bridges – ‘Summer Rain’ ft. Jazmine Sullivan

Leon Bridges recently dropped the deluxe edition of his wonderful third LP Gold-Diggers Sound. On it, he’s included a new duet with Jasmine Sullivan, ‘Summer Rain’, that manages to avoid cliche.

Bridges pushes his sound towards something he can call his own, a goal he has been moving towards since his debut and which seems to have finally been achieved. It all feels like the product of an artist on the cusp of something truly unique.

Big Thief – ‘Time Escaping’

American indie rockers Big Thief are set to make their return with their sprawling upcoming fifth studio album, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You. ‘Time Escaping’ is far more clamorous and dense than the mostly stripped back acoustic folk songs that have been previewed from the album so far, but it’s a sure sign that Big Thief are feeling experimental for their upcoming release.

The band never disappoint, and ‘Time Escaping’ is just another addition to a killer catalogue of songs.

Adele – ‘All Night Parking’

All right, fine, some Adele for you lot. Just as a Friday treat.

Everyone in the world is likely listening to 30 right at this very second, and I’ll use this section to highlight ‘All Night Parking’, the primo R&B cut from the album. Even though ‘Cry Your Heart Out’, ‘Oh My God’, and ‘Can I Get It’ is the album’s best three-song run, and ‘Easy On Me’ is classic Adele, ‘All Night Long’ pairs the singer’s jazzy proclivities with modern-day hip hop beats.

It’s the album’s most successful leap of faith, and it helps elevate 30 above being the predictable Adele album we might have been expecting from her.