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Essential Listening: This week's best new music

@TylerGolsen

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.

Well, we finally hit it: perhaps the best week for new music so far in 2022. The albums that were set to drop this week were hotly anticipated, but even we here at Far Out couldn’t have counted on just how great it all was.

First among equals are Wet Leg, the Isle of Wight newcomers who have unequivocally landed the title of The World’s Hottest New Rock Band. With a massive run of great singles, late-night appearances, and ravel-reviewed live shows, the hype machine was at a fever pitch by the time the band dropped their self-titled full-length debut. Suffice to say, it was worth the wait, and it currently sits as both our Album of the Week and an early candidate for Album of the Year.

But Wet Leg weren’t alone in their triumph. Father John Misty got his own victory lap thanks to the lush and surprisingly moving Chloë and the Next 20th Century. Jack White got weird in the most wonderful way on his first of two albums slated for a 2022 release, Fear of the Dawn. Lucius also got their kicks in on the sporadically sweet Second Nature.

Over on the singles front, solid entries from the likes of The Smile, Floating Points, Sunflower Bean, The Subways, and Teenage Fanclub made this week truly one of the best new music weeks in quite a while.

However, 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, April 2nd – April 8th:

Horsegirl – ‘World of Pots and Pans’

American indie rockers Horsegirl have dropped the latest preview of their upcoming debut album Versions of Modern Performance with the new single ‘World of Pots and Pans’. Landing somewhere between the eerie tones of shoegaze, the aggressive experimentation of Fugazi, and the fuzzy indie-rock of Dinosaur Jr., the song is littered with references to some of the young band’s most notable influences.

After their wonderfully scuzzy first two singles from the album, ‘Billy’ and ‘Anti-glory’, ‘World of Pots and Pans’ is a step towards slightly more melodic, perhaps even slightly more accessible material from the trio. Not that they ever had a problem with hooks in the past, but the vocal lines and harmonies are a little bit more upfront in the mix this time around without sacrificing any of the power or purposeful iciness that is starting to define the Horsegirl sound.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – ‘My Echo’

Melbourne indie group Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have shared their latest single, ‘My Echo’. The new track previews the forthcoming album, Endless Rooms. Following the new album’s first two singles, ‘The Way It Shatters’ and ‘Tidal River’, ‘My Echo’ comes with upbeat guitar-driven candour which juxtaposes with the melancholic lyrics.

While much of their previous music has tended to have some sort of narrative, the band has asserted that Endless Rooms is “almost an anti-concept album”. ‘My Echo’ is a testament to the band’s collaborative spirit and live power, showing them “doing what we do best: chasing down songs in a room together.”

Hovvdy – ‘Town’

A fusion of American Football-esque midwestern emo and the Alex G type of lo-fi indie, new Texas duo Havvdy impress on their latest single, ‘Town’. Featuring luscious production and an earworm of a vocal melody, for those of you that haven’t heard it, I suggest you plug in immediately. 

It seems as if the more mellow acoustic guitar-driven type of lo-fi hasn’t totally had its day yet, with bands such as Hovvdy and caroline emerging from out of nowhere, wrapping us up in their warm sounds. Interestingly though, Hovvdy have actually been around since 2014, but it’s only in the past year that they’ve started to gain the attention they deserve.

SOAK – ‘Purgatory’

Northern Irish singer-songwriter project SOAK has released a new single, ‘Purgatory’, the second to kick off the new upcoming album If I Never Know You Like This Again. Admittedly, it can be difficult to charge such a specific meaning into an album, let alone a song.

However, ‘Purgatory’ pulls through, both in terms of musicality and lyrics. The forlorn, filmic sound of the melody anchored with a vintage-inspired bassline makes this song sound as if it could signal the roll of the credits in an indie movie. Something tells me that even if every meaning of the song wasn’t made clear, simply listening to it could bring that feeling across easily.

Melody’s Echo Chamber – ‘Alma’

Melody’s Echo Chamber has released the third single from her forthcoming album Emotional Eternal. Entitled ‘Alma’, the track combines the swooning and atmospheric elements of Serge Gainsbourg with the psychedelia of her early years. 

The song invites you in, wrapping you up in the warmth of the orchestral movements and the production. The track could have quite easily been a film score, with flecks of Italian film soundtracks of the ’60s. If Ennio Morricone and Jonny Greenwood ever collaborated, I’d wager it would have sounded something like ‘Alma’ in what is a testament to the genius of Melody’s Echo Chamber. 

Interpol – ‘Toni’

Interpol, the masters of moody indie, are back with another anthem that will at first perturb and then beguile like the come-hither of the creepy abandoned house on the edges of town to rabblerousing youngsters. ‘Toni’ is moonlit and mildly menacing but it builds towards an adrenalised fracas free from any musical malaise. It’s Halloween heist music, and being the only occupants of that unique pigeonhole gets a big thumbs up in itself. 

That has also been the inherent beauty to Interpol’s music over the years. On the surface, the dark, brooding atmosphere is an almost overwhelming wallop to the sense. However, beneath the darkness, there are layers that keep on giving. ‘Toni’ is no different, offering flashes of revealing wordplay and the likes as you delve into its pitch-black waters.

Porridge Radio – ‘The Rip’

Brighton indie group Porridge Radio have released their brand new single, ‘The Rip’. Inspired by Deftones and Charli XCX, the new track comes as the second preview taken from the group’s upcoming third studio album, Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky. ‘The Rip’ follows the single ‘Back To The Radio’, which was released back in February.

The new track brings a feeling of looming heartache while the intriguing lyrics sound at once familiar yet so unique. Margolin’s vocals raise neck hairs as she cries out in desperation. Meanwhile, the track builds in intensity with colliding lead and rhythm guitar tracks that take care not to overstep the line. This latest single comes as a considered addition to what promises to be an exceedingly satisfying album.

Maggie Rogers – ‘That’s Where I Am’

American singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers has dropped the lead single from her sophomore album Surrender. Entitled, ‘That’s Where I Am’, think Lorde, if her music had more of a punch. The song kicks off with just Rogers’ voice before the rest of the music bursts through the mix after about a minute, instantly pulling in the listener. It’s everything you want from a modern pop song: it’s catchy, evokes an emotional response, and is dynamic in every sense of the word. 

Rogers’ vocals are stellar, and the attitude she espouses harks back to the ’90s when the likes of Shania Twain and Sheryl Crow were at the top of their game. Cut from the same cloth as the aforementioned icons, Rogers is quickly making a name for herself as one of the most refreshing artists out there at the minute. There are flecks of Haim and The Black Keys within the track, and you’re guaranteed to have it on repeat.