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Essential Listening: This week's best new music


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.

We’ve seen a three-horse race for Album of the Week. Beach Bunny doubled down on their catchy love songs and awesome pop-punk power with their sophomore LP Emotional Creature, while Jack White made a major return to form on Entering Heaven Alive. Ultimately, though, it was Jamie T who ran with the top honour with his retrospective and reflective The Theory of Whatever.

It was a relatively sparse week for new singles, so we’re going to include some of our favourite covers and newly-released classics in this week’s Essential Listening. The Far Out Playlist isn’t just for new contemporary music – there’s always room for a bunch of curveballs.

Still, only eight songs can find their way onto this list. Here are the best new songs from the week, compiled into The Far Out Playlist.

This week’s best new music: July 17th – July 23rd

GZGZ – ‘Over You’ (ft. Elle Wade & LT Wade)

With the mercury rocketing GZGZ, LT Wade, and Elle Wade welcome you to plunge into the tranquil pool of reminiscence with the breezy new single ‘Over You’. The track whisks up the same chill escapist thrill as the ice cream van jingle, but like a tonne of feathers, there is a weight to the bliss adding substance to the instrumental swirl. 

The seamless density of this otherwise floaty beat came from the fruits of time spent in development. The track began when GZGZ was on tour with Chet Faker’s band. Wrapped up in music on the road, GZGZ would while away the hours working on beats and loops. In time, something close to the luminous odyssey of ‘Over You’ was spawned, but not before delays allowed it to blossom further. 

Lou Reed – ‘Heroin’ (1965 demo)

Earlier this year, a new reissue of Lou Reed material entitled Words and Music, May 1965, was announced. The material on the new LP will be sourced from a demo tape that Reed mailed to himself in the mid-1960s and never opened. Today, we’re hearing a brand new track from the upcoming album with what is now the earliest known version of ‘Heroin’.

Reed chuckles to himself as he introduces the song, making sure to note that the music and lyrics are his own. With just an acoustic guitar and his voice, Reed sings an early, more delicately folky version of the song. Even though it’s more stripped back and straightforward by necessity, most of the pieces of the final track are in place, including the increasing speed and intensity that gives the song its unnerving memorability.

Cass McCombs – ‘Karaoke’

American singer-songwriter Cass McCombs has dropped the latest preview for his upcoming LP Heartmind with the sprightly new track ‘Karaoke’.

With a jaunty bongo beat backing him up, McCombs sounds peppier and brighter than he ever has before. But don’t let that fool you – ‘Karaoke’ is a slightly disconcerting analysis of what’s real and what’s just regurgitated fakeness. “Is it all some kind of pantomime? / Playing the role of romantic?” McCombs questions as his upbeat rhythms blithely keep pounding away.

Julia Jacklin – ‘Love, Try Not To Let Go’

Riding high on the anticipation for her upcoming third studio album Pre Please, Australian singer-songwriter extraordinaire Julia Jacklin has dropped a brand new track, ‘Love, Try Not To Let Go’.

Light as air and hypnotic in its arrangement, ‘Love, Try Not To Let Go’ feels like a warm sonic hug, even when things start to get a bit more hectic as the tornado of a chorus comes sweeping in. That hug is directed inward as Jacklin addresses herself and her desire to stay on the straight and narrow throughout the song.

Titus Andronicus – ‘(I’m) Screwed)’

American indie rockers Titus Andronicus have returned to announce their seventh studio album, The Will to Love. The LP will be the band’s first since An Obelisk was released back in 2019. According to the band, the new album will be influenced by the high-octane arena rock of The Who, Def Leppard, and 1980s-era Bruce Springsteen.

To kick off the album cycle, the band have dropped their first preview single with (‘I’m) Screwed’. Combining pop punk pick slides and gutter punk vocals with cheery harmonies and indefatigable energy, ‘(I’m) Screwed’ is a wonderfully infectious way to get audiences excited for new material.

Lucy Dacus – ‘Believe’ (Cher cover)

The legend of Cher was long established before 1998. By that point in time, the husky singer already had four number one hits in the US (one with Sonny Bono and three as a solo artist), a number of television shows, a string of successful films, and even an Acadamy Award for her performance in Moonstruck. Now, she also has a cover from fan Lucy Dacus to add to that list.

Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of cover versions of ‘Believe’ floating around the world of music. Everyone from current Queen singer Adam Lambert to jokey pop punkers Me First and the Gimme Gimmes have recorded their takes on the track. Dacus’ version is stripped down and emotional, giving the song its necessary bittersweet edge.

Beach Bunny – ‘Weeds’

Beach Bunny just missed out on grabbing Album of the Week, but hopefully, their placement on here is a halfway decent consolation prize. Anyway, ‘Weeds’ is a punchy and punky track that fits in perfectly within the band’s sound.

It’s rare to hear a group be so confident in their own style on just their second album, but Beach Bunny have successfully embraced the early 2000s pop punk of Fall Out Boy and Paramore while updating those riffs for the modern day. You can hear traces of other bands, but Beach Bunny now officially sound like Beach Bunny without any caveats or asterisks.

Lauran Hibberd – ‘That Was A Joke’

British power pop singer-songwriter Lauran Hibberd has dropped a brand new single from her upcoming debut LP Garageband Superstar with the bratty throwback tune ‘That Was A Joke’.

Kicking off with the immediate love-it or hate-it line “I wear Long Johns / Now you’re long gone”, Hibberd decides to make it her civic duty to toe the line between mindless stupidity and loose, goofy fun. Your first reaction may or may not be visceral, but according to Hibberd, that’s all intentional.