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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.

Album of the Week this week was a no-brainer: if you haven’t taken a dive into Alex Cameron’s intoxicating and wicked Oxy Music, drop what you’re doing and carve out 30 minutes for a wildly fun ride. I was contemplating making all eight songs in this playlist from that album, but luckily we have a metric ton of great music from the week.

Phoebe Bridgers gifted us with a lo-fi rendering of Billie Eilish’s ‘When the Party’s Over’ while Horsegirl landed a solid lead single for their upcoming debut Versions of Modern Performance. Solid tracks from the likes of Malady, Alexisonfire, and Florence and the Machine also made this a solid week for new singles.

But only eight songs can crack this list. Here are the best new songs from the week, compiled into The Far Out Playlist.

The best new songs of the week, March 5th – March 11th:

Spiritualized – ‘The Mainline Song’

Spiritualized has released the new track ‘The Mainline Song’. The energetic new number comes as the third single from the upcoming album Everything Was Beautiful. The new album has been mainly inspired by J. Spaceman’s (Jason Pierce) experience of the various Covid-19 lockdowns. The frontman said: “I felt like I’d been in training for this my whole life”.

Just like all the best Spiritualized material, ‘The Mainline Song’ is spaced out and damn catchy, combining spooky atmospherics with anthemic indie rock. Full of twinkling keyboards and kazoos, ‘The Mainline Song’ is the perfect escape for anyone still living in lockdown.

Pete Doherty and Frédéric Lo – ‘The Epidemiologist’

With charmingly churlish poetry Pete Doherty is back with a stunningly sweet ode to hope as Frédéric Lo provides a felicitously flowery score for the thrillingly smiling anthem ‘The Epidemiologist’. Defying current weather patterns, the song forecasts a spring that we could all do with feeling.

Following on from two similarly stirring releases from the record, ‘The Epidemiologist’ wades through the rubble in search for gems and in the process, the score and sonnet alike offer up a sunny patch of spring-like escapism as Doherty croons in his classically unique manner about how “ships that are sunken can still hold treasure”. There seems to be a vital necessity to the track and the album so far that implies Doherty’s next chapter may be as good as any that have gone before. 

Aldous Harding – ‘Fever’

Aldous Harding is quickly seeming like the sort of artist who could even miraculously add a sense of spiritual atmosphere to a daytime TV drama. As a modern master of the ethereal echo chamber of music borne from a wandering muse, she has whisked up gems that never fail to stir. 

Her latest single ‘Fever’ is a spiritual boon of the toe-tapping variety. Suitably it comes with an air of springtime and disavows the darker edges of her oeuvre to show that she can also illuminate the stage with a smile as well as a stern sermon of solemnity. The track bounces in a simple piano refrain and offers up a slew of refreshing flourishes that come along gladly like ice lollies on a sunny day. 

Jenny Hval – ‘Freedom’

Norwegian musician, producer, and novelist Jenny Hval has shared a brand new single from her upcoming album Classic Objects. ‘Freedom’ is the perfect example of Hval’s ability to transform even the simplest musical ideas into something complex and profound. If this new offering is anything to go by, Classic Objects, out Friday, March 11th, looks set to be one of Hval’s most tender and accessible works to date. 

Hval has always been incredibly nimble, traversing the line between left-field experimentation and pop songcraft with ease. Classic Objects is no exception. Blending adventurous sound pallets with harmonically-grounded chord progressions and crystal-clear choruses, the album is perhaps the closest Hval has ever come to releasing a traditional pop record.

Father John Misty – ‘Goodbye Mr. Blue’

Lusher than a fresh satin nightgown and more reminiscently sweet than the dream of those little marshmallows in a bowl of the now-defunct Pokémon cereal you wolfed down in your sugary youth, Father John Misty has offered up the purest single yet from his forthcoming album, or maybe even any of his records for that matter.

With a stripped-back guitar plucking sound that almost ventures towards bluegrass, the swaying songwriter seems to be at his most nakedly vulnerable with the new track ‘Goodbye Mr. Blue’. However, far from raw and ragged, this approach finds him serving up some pillow-propped dreaminess that has you longing for fields of green and a bit of wholesome escapism.

Gruff Rhys – ‘People Are Pissed’

Super Furry Animals songwriter Gruff Rhys has just released his first music of 2022 with ‘People Are Pissed’. The new single follows on from his 2021 album Seeking New Gods, which reached the UK top ten. The single was released on Wednesday, March 9th, and it was issued on the flipside of ‘Arogldarth’, as the two tracks hold a running time of 7:48 and 8:15 respectively.

Rhys says the song pivots in a different direction shortly afterwards, but this is more of a reflection of his writing process than it is a part of his writing trajectory. The singer feels that the incumbent Prime Minister has failed to live up to the responsibilities of his duties. Rhys isn’t the first artist to criticise the Prime Minister.

Oliver Sims – ‘Romance with a Memory’

Oliver Sim of The xx has released his debut solo single, ‘Romance With A Memory’, alongside a startlingly unnerving new music video. Blending innate danceability with a strangely sinister vocal delivery, the brilliance of this new offering lies in its many juxtapositions.

‘Romance With A Memory’ opens with the bit-crushed drum samples and arpeggiated synths that fans of Jamie xx will be more than familiar with. However, these soon slide away to reveal Slim’s crooning vocals levitating above tight snares and house-infused piano arrangements.

The Black Keys – ‘Wild Child’

American rock duo The Black Keys have released their new song, ‘Wild Child’. The first single from the band’s upcoming album Dropout Boogie is an incredibly funky number with an earworm of a riff and chorus to boot and makes a strong claim for being their best release since the days of El Camino back in 2011. Understandably, the hot new single has got fans excited for the new record, which is set for release on May 13th. 

The band, made up of frontman and guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney, wrote the new album entirely in the studio, and the majority of the album is first takes in what is a testament to their position as veterans of the game. After the band had strung the “initial” ideas for the album together, the band invited a host of legends to help them bring the album to life. These include ZZ Top icon Billy Gibbons, Greg Cartwright and Angelo Petraglia. Cartwright and Petraglia can be heard on the swaggering ‘Wild Child’.