The 10 Best New Songs

Between the rise of the Delta variant and Bob Odenkirk’s health scare, this has been a real rollercoaster of a week. At least music is there for us through peak and valley alike: The past seven days have seen more than their share of must-hears, from Grouper’s gorgeous first offering since 2018 and the latest art-pop jam from Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay’s LUMP project to Isaiah Rashad’s final The House Is Burning single and yet another heater from Turnstile. Take your mind off the bad times and appreciate the good tunes below.

Black Marble: “Somewhere”

Synth-pop artist Chris Stewart has announced his latest album as Black Marble, Fast Idol, coming Oct. 22 on Sacred Bones Records ahead of the artist’s fall U.K. and U.S. tour dates. Lead single and album opener “Somewhere” is out now alongside a video that will make you glad to be alive. “Somewhere” opens with a big, blustery drum track, cranking up the positive energy right out of the gate. Stewart’s hooky synth-pop typically has a dark-wave haze to it, but this song is punchy and bright from the beginning, with multi-layered synths each gleaming in their own distinct shades as the singer conjures images of a faraway oasis, where all life’s struggles are little more than distant memories. “Well I heard this all somewhere, but I don’t recall / Everybody’s running around to get over on them all,” Stewart sings, his vocal overdubs later creating a cascade of pure melody as his keys sparkle. —Scott Russell

Grouper: “Unclean mind”

Since the mid-2000s, Liz Harris has channeled her talent for crafting often hard to describe music that floats between ambient, psychedelic and folk into her project, Grouper. Tuesday (July 27), she announced the follow-up to her 2018 album Grid of Points, simply titled Shade. Alongside the announcement arrived single “Unclean Mind,” which finds Harris’s inimitably airy and hushed voice melting into her acoustic guitar strumming, with harmonies that feel almost like they’re glowing around the whole thing. Immensely lush and immersive, the track carries with it the almost ethereal quality that makes Grouper’s music consistently hit like an emotional sledgehammer. —Jason Friedman

Gustaf: “Book”

Brooklyn art-punk troupe Gustaf have made some strong waves despite releasing very little music, owing in no small part to their robust, electric, post-punk-inspired sound that recalls at times ESG or Lizzy Mercier Descloux. On new single “Book,” the latest ahead of their debut album for Royal Mountain Records, Audio Drag For Ego Slobs, the group sound like they’ve spent years perfecting the genre, delivering an energetic and captivating blend of Lydia Gammill’s frantic vocals, groovy bass and tight drums. “Book” feels simultaneously new and classic, boasting a songwriting maturity that only builds hype for the band’s forthcoming full-length. —Jason Friedman

Isaiah Rashad: “Runnin’” ft. ScHoolboy Q

Isaiah Rashad is going to own the summer, and he’s finally offering up official versions of the leaks that have sustained his fans for many summers past. His latest single “Runnin’” features an impressive cast of characters: his TDE labelmate ScHoolboy Q, star producer Kenny Beats and electronic duo Mount Kimbie. The two rappers ruminate on the excitement and the labor that goes into street life and running from the law. It’s a hazy, hypnotic track that captures the indifference towards routine, painting the melancholic landscapes that recur throughout Rashad’s artistry. —Jade Gomez

LUMP: “Gamma Ray”

LUMP, the brilliant collaboration between singer/songwriter Laura Marling and experimental electronic musician Mike Lindsay, has rolled out some spectacular singles ahead of their sophomore album Animal (July 30, Partisan/Chrysalis). The title track was one of our best new songs of the week back in May. With only a few days until the July 30 release of their forthcoming album, the duo shared the psych-inspired single “Gamma Ray” on Tuesday. Marling’s monotone delivery of the song’s nonsensical lyrics overlay Lindsay’s sparse percussion palette which gives the song a sterile, static feel. On the duo’s Instagram, they opened their album announcement with, “LUMP is the product of Mike Lindsay and Laura Marling.” “Gamma Ray” is a result of that objective, turning nonsense and minimalist musical forms into a palatable product to be consumed, as Lindsay subtly manipulates his technology at hand to create an uncanny valley feeling. —Jade Gomez

Mini Trees: “Carrying On”

Southern California-born, Los Angeles-based solo singer/songwriter Lexi Vega has announced her debut album as Mini Trees, Always In Motion, due out Sept. 17 via Run For Cover Records. Tuesday’s (July 27) new preview of the album, “Carrying On,” follows “Spring,” which we hailed as one of the week’s best songs upon its April release. Where “Spring” was more of an intimate acoustic strummer, “Carrying On” is a forceful, riff-driven rocker; the former track overflowed with romantic feelings, while the latter is consumed by an unknowable angst. Over slickly propulsive drums and bass, Vega’s breathy vocals evoke that singular feeling so many of us became all too familiar with in quarantine: overwhelmed, yet empty, spinning out while stuck in stasis. “Patterns change in place / Colors paint my mistakes / It’s more than I can take,” Vega sings, “Now I’m hiding my face in the sheet / Hovering somewhere between / At least it brings a sense of peace.” —Scott Russell

The Ophelias: “Sacrificial Lamb”

Indie-rock group The Ophelias have always defined themselves by what sets them apart from other people. On their lively and gorgeous new single “Sacrificial Lamb,” vocalist Spencer Peppet sings honestly and vulnerable about the struggles that come with feeling alone, with biting lyrics like, “Things that make me feel better / will hurt me eventually.” These emotional reflections are bolstered by brilliant string arrangements that add texture and tension to the track, making it feel dynamic and cathartic. By the end, the phrase “sacrificial lamb” feels almost celebratory, like the band is reclaiming the unfortunate title into something singularly beautiful. —Jason Friedman

Pink Siifu: “Bussin’ (Cold)” ft. Turich Benjy

Ahead of his forthcoming album GUMBO’!, Pink Siifu channels the effortless groove of his breakout 2018 release ensley for a lo-fi, psychedelic meditation on what is and isn’t real on “Bussin’ (Cold)“. It’s just one of the many sounds Siifu channels in his expansive music career, creating and changing aliases like hats as part of his quest to create music that evades strict categorization. GUMBO’!‘s apt title presents the bustling concoction of sounds and personalities that Pink Siifu serves up, and “Bussin’ (Cold)” is just an appetizer. —Jade Gomez

Sad Park: “Nothing Ever”

For its first minute and a half, “Nothing Ever”—the lead single from Los Angeles punk trio Sad Park’s forthcoming second album It’s All Over, coming Sept. 24 on Lauren Records—is pretty straightforward: a breakneck rock track about the painful uncertainty that comes with change. “But you don’t feel like you lately, you’re always changing,” howls vocalist/guitarist Graham Steele, evoking the feeling of being a kid and reaching for your parent in a crowd, only to find you’re yanking a stranger’s sleeve instead. But about halfway through, the track transforms: An instrumental breakdown offers some room to breathe, then steadily gains momentum, pulling in spidery riffage, atmospheric chimes and backing vocalizations and an exhilarating guitar chug. By the time the song returns to “normal,” it’s moving with the speed and force of a freight train—proof that change can be disorienting, but also breathtaking. —Scott Russell

Turnstile: “BLACKOUT”

So far, this has been Turnstile’s summer with the release of their surprise EP TURNSTILE LOVE CONNECTION, quickly followed by a billboard announcing their forthcoming album Glow On (Aug. 27, Roadrunner Records) alongside a spectacular single, “Alien Love Call,” featuring Blood Orange. Wednesday (July 28), the band shared their latest single “Blackout,” only a month shy of their highly anticipated follow-up to 2018’s Time & Space. “Blackout” is a faithful return to the Baltimore band’s hardcore roots, with frontman Brendan Yates’ soaring vocals colliding with explosive guitars accented with power-pop riffs that beg to be replayed. After a false end, the band reconvenes into a hair-raising breakdown that older fans are sure to love. The accompanying animated music video is a hazy dream sequence of silhouettes materializing out of shapes. —Jade Gomez

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