Welcome back to Essential Listening, a place where we compile all the best new music of the week into the definitive tome of modern music: The Far Out Playlist.
New music abounds this week as this spring season finally brings warmer weather and slightly disappointing Lady Gaga Top Gun themes. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever managed to snag Album of the Week with their wonderful new LP Endless Rooms, but there was some stiff competition from the likes of Belle and Sebastian, PM Warson, Warpaint, and Sharon Van Etten.
There were also plenty of singles that rose above that mediocre bar Lady Gaga set this week, but only eight can find their way onto this list.
Here are the best new songs from the week, compiled into The Far Out Playlist.
The best new songs of the week, April 30th – May 6th:
The Afghan Whigs – ‘The Getaway’
Iconic American rockers The Afghan Whigs have returned with news of a new album, dropped a single, and announced a mammoth world tour all in one fell swoop. The new album, entitled How Do You Burn? is their eighth, and it is scheduled for release on September 9th via Royal Cream/BMG.
To mark the surprise news, they’ve released the brilliant new track ‘The Getaway’, which is accompanied by an equally as stellar music video, courtesy of directors Philip Harder and Patrick Pierson. The song is imbued with the spacey surrealism of ’90s heroes, Failure’s magnum opus Fantastic Planet, and fuses it with the expansive sort of orchestral scores you’d expect from latter-day Radiohead. It really is a thing of beauty, and it has us hotly anticipating the release of the new album.
Drive-By Truckers – ‘Every Single Storied Flameout’
Alternative country greats Drive-By Truckers have previewed their latest LP Welcome 2 Club XIII with the hard-hitting new single ‘Every Single Storied Flameout’. The song is a middle ground between the country-fried southern rock that the band have made their own and a lighter kind of heartland rock, not terribly unlike The Hold Steady.
Complete with horn blasts and a sprechgesang delivery from guitarist/vocalist Mike Cooley, ‘Every Single Storied Flameout’ can just simply be a rollicking good time – nothing more, and nothing less – if that’s what you want from your music. ‘Every Single Storied Flameout’ might be a rip-roaring country-rock tune, but it’s got a set of lyrics that prove why country music can still be the ideal vessel for storytelling in music.
Cola – ‘Degree’
Cola have shared a taste of what to expect from their debut LP in the form of ‘Degree’, a metrical melodic swirl of textured guitars and propulsive drums. ‘Degree’ is a constant battle between harmony and dissonance. As singer Tom Darcy’s vocals cast a monotone gauze over an algorithmic and faintly warped 4/4 pulse, layered guitars chew up fragments of melody before spitting them into new shapes.
Above this, Darcy paints a portrait of a character slipping between reality and reverie. The track is immediate and hard-hitting, which is exactly the kind of impression that a new band should be making on some of their first-impression singles.
Porridge Radio – ‘End of Last Year’
Porridge Radio have unleashed another single from their forthcoming album and it sees the Brighton band sway with an air of solemnity as things get reflective and moody in a swell of camaraderie between the band. That sense of togetherness is aptly reflected in the tune itself and the way the indie outfit seems to be gearing up for the big record release.
Poignant but pointedly purposeful, ‘End of Last Year’ is perhaps their most reflective retrospective to date and seems to look back on the journey they have been on. This is mirrored in the moody refinement of the music. That notion imbues the song with a sense of catharsis and nuance rather than a brash grab for artifice—even if the vocals do occasionally slide towards a slight affectation. Upheld by a tight and understated rhythm section that keeps the melody cutting, and wordplay that pricks the ears with originality, the song might be solemn, but it never sinks below the eye-line of interest.
Beach Bunny – ‘Karaoke’
American rock quartet Beach Bunny has returned with the latest preview of their upcoming sophomore album Emotional Creature, the guitar-heavy power-pop tune ‘Karaoke’.
It’s the band’s third offering off of Emotional Creature, with the group previously having offered up the songs ‘Oxygen’ and ‘Fire Escape’. Like those tracks, ‘Karaoke’ has plenty of sunny melodies and upbeat rhythms to keep the band floating above the clouds, even as the song’s lyrics seem to swim in a sea of doubt.
Jamie T – ‘The Old Style Raiders’
Jamie T was the Harrington clad hero of many indie kid’s youths. His first album in six years seems to triumphantly hark back to those days with his latest anthem, ‘The Old Style Raiders’, offering up an air of nostalgia and reverie.
While some cynics might wage around the term ‘legacy acts’ about the recent indie revival, there is nothing wrong with a bit of reminiscence when the time is right. The glasses Jamie T is serving his new music through are neither rose-tinted nor a pastiche of the past, but rather a send-up to youthfulness that fans will joyously relish in reclaiming.
Paul Weller And Suggs – ‘OOH DO U FINK U R’
Former Jam frontman Paul Weller has teamed up with Suggs from Madness for a new collaborative single named ‘Ooh Do U Fink U R’. The emphatic rhythm and blues track travels back to Weller and Suggs’ upbringing in Britain’s comprehensive school system in 1970s Woking and London respectively. The single has an uplifting British summertime feel to it with the added vibrance of brass instruments throughout.
The pair have been well acquainted for much of their careers over the past four decades but began discussing music and their other shared passions more regularly over the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020. ‘Ooh Do U Fink U R’ has now emerged as the fruit of an extended back and forth of demos and lyric ideas. The finished product was finally recorded at Weller’s Black Barn Studio in Surrey.
The Snuts – ‘End of the Road’ ft. Rachel Chinouriri
The Snuts have teamed with rising alternative artist Rachel Chinouriri on their uplifting new single ‘End Of The Road’. The new track is the third taste of new material since the band’s acclaimed number-one-selling debut album, W.L. The Snuts are now back in the studio working on new material for their second record.
‘End Of The Road’ was produced by Detonate and Coffee at London’s famous Abbey Road Studios and was first aired on Clara Amfo’s BBC Radio 1 show. The new song is a brazen ode to heartbreak that lyrically reflects plaintive emotion while the music brings the resolve of optimism.