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Essential Listening: This week's best new music

As we cruise into the final month of 2021, what have we learned over the past year? Nothing? Good, because that’s exactly what I’ve learned too.

Reflection will come a little bit later as we start rolling out the Far Out Favourites from 2021 next week. We’re finalising our picks for the year’s best films, songs, albums, and more coming your way, so we’re officially capping the eligible songs this week. That’s barring any monumental last-minute additions, and we’ll still be covering all the best new songs that continue to trickle out at the end of the year.

This week saw quite a few highs and lows across the new music spectrum. Punk upstarts The Linda Lindas returned with their latest feline-related single ‘Nino’, while on the other side of the Atlantic Bloc Party returned with their first new single in six years with ‘Traps’. Those were some high points, just so we don’t have to talk about the low ebb that was Grimes’ new song ‘Player of Games’.

Unfortunately, none of those songs were able to crack our top eight this time around, with additional apologies to Phoebe Bridgers whose cover of a Tom Waits song sadly disqualified as “new music”. Miles Kane, Band of Horses, Tomi Tomaski, Bad With Phones, Yard Act, The Cribs, The KVB, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon. Man, they say that December is a down month for new music, but there’s always a ton of quality content to feast upon.

Here are some of the best songs from November 27th to December 3rd.

The Week’s Best New Music:

Orlando Weeks – ‘Bigger’

The big winner this week was handed out by our own incomparable Joe Taysom, who crowned the latest single from The Maccabees lead singer Orlando Weeks with the week’s highest score.

“The sweet sound of sepia-toned puppy love soars along upon a bassline so voluptuous that flat earthers are claiming it doesn’t exist.” I’m not afraid to admit I almost spit out my coffee on that line. That’s the good stuff, Joe. Also the good stuff? ‘Bigger’.

Wet Leg – ‘Too Late Now’

Only two hours ago I bought my ticket to Wet Leg’s upcoming appearance at the DC9 club here in Washington D.C. It’s a tiny place with a tiny stage that will undoubtedly be rocked to the ground by the duo’s ferociously funny indie rock.

Wet Leg are officially the leading candidates for Best New Artist of 2021, and don’t be surprised if you end up seeing one of their songs in our ‘Best Songs of 2021’ list.

White Lies – ‘I Don’t Want To Go To Mars’

As someone who has previously groaned about all modern post-punk bands sounding the same, White Lies are refreshingly living on their own planet. Pairing spacey synths with indie rock drive, the trio dialled it in for another killer track this week with ‘I Don’t Want Ro Go To Mars’.

With any luck, White Lies are being personally vilified by Elon Musk at this very moment, which would be the best-case scenario for a track that includes the lines: “I don’t want to go to Mars / What kind of brainwashed idiot does”.

Black Country, New Road – ‘Concorde’

Being the dumb American that I am, I’m a sucker for the backwater sounds of the banjo. There’s definitely a banjo in the arrangement for ‘Concorde’, the latest single from London art-rockers Black Country, New Road, with the horn lines that waft in among the twinkling pianos and gentle guitar strums solidifying that BC, NR are fully committed to their more pastoral side on their new album. It’s a good look, and I’m looking forward to the final product.

Chastity Belt – ‘Fake’

The return of Chastity Belt is now official and underway with the limited edition seven inch single ‘Fear / Fake’ hopefully signalling a fully fledged album is on the horizon.

Even though they’ve been away, the group’s signature mix of dream pop and indie rock has remained intact. Word to the wise, though: if you’re afraid of clowns, skip out on the accompanying video.

SPINN – ‘People Should Know Better’

I’m an avowed SPINN head (SPINNer? SPINNiac? Whatever the demonym for SPINN fans are). The Daydreaming EP was a fantastic slice of indie pop, while the band just kept cranking out quality singles all throughout the year.

In what is likely to be their final song of 2021, the Liverpool foursome takes aim at the British government over their mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit, and racism. Stick it to them, lads, and I’ll trust you because my only knowledge of British politics comes from my co-workers.

The Snuts – ‘Burn The Empire’

Wait, two anthems rallying against the British government in one week? What is it, my birthday? My peeping Tom-like gaze into the world of UK politics comes complete with two jams this week, the second courtesy of Scottish rockers The Snuts and their latest single ‘Burn The Empire’.

Maybe we can all compare notes about how much our respective governments suck on the only platform for calm and rational political discourse: Twitter.

Riton, Gucci Sounsystem, and Jarvis Cocker – ‘Let’s Stick Around’

It’s the weekend, and I want to dance! I can’t really dance, but I can gyrate in truly horrifying ways.

Thank god you’re not in the same room with me as I put on ‘Let’s Stick Around’ and forget all my troubles from the past week.