The 10 Best New Songs

Music Lists Best New Songs
The 10 Best New Songs

At Paste Music, we’re listening to so many new tunes on any given day, we barely have any time to listen to each other. Nevertheless, every week we can swing it, we take stock of the previous seven days’ best tracks, delivering a weekly playlist of our favorites. Check out this week’s best new songs below.

Alex G: “Runner

Alex G (Alex Giannascoli) follows up the buzz his ominous single, “Blessing,” brought last month with his new release, “Runner.” Giannascoli also announced his ninth studio album God Save the Animals, which will be out Sept. 23 via Domino. In line with the religious imagery across the previous singles, Giannascoli notes that the divine appears in many of the tracks on his forthcoming album. Instead of appearing as a concrete religious entity, God is a generalized sense of faith that serves as a guiding light for many of his characters, often in fraught situations. Heaven sent, “Runner” has a glow bestowed by angels, further accentuated by the crystal-clear recording quality. The single sports a clean guitar tone and meandering percussion as Giannascoli praises the people he looks up to, “Who don’t judge for what I say, but judge me for what I do.” —Samantha Sullivan


Night owls are truly winning. After Beyoncé announced her forthcoming album RENAISSANCE (July 29, Parkwood) last week, the R&B icon has shared the first single. “BREAK MY SOUL” centers around a sample of Big Freedia’s 2014 bounce hit “Explode” and the Stonebridge remix of Robin S. house hit “Show Me Love.” Beyoncé further explores her ties to Black, gay communities and their music. The singer channels the golden era of diva house, characterized by the recognizable four-on-the-floor rhythm and soulful vocal samples. As Big Freedia echoes in the background to “release ya anger, release ya mind,” Beyoncé’s mezzo-soprano breaks down the door to powerfully assert, “I’m takin’ my new salvation / And I’ma build my own foundation.” It’s a fitting first look at the aptly titled RENAISSANCE, and Beyoncé shows an undeniable vigor as she approaches a new era. “Bey is back and I’m sleepin’ real good at night,” she croons, and you don’t doubt that she’s telling the truth for even a second. —Jade Gomez

Chat Pile: “Why

Oklahoma City’s Chat Pile are the perfect people to expose the dark, seedy underbelly of American life. Following their scathing single “Slaughterhouse,” which we named one of the best songs of May, Chat Pile offer up another gritty single ahead of their forthcoming album God’s Country (July 29, The Flenser). If “Slaughterhouse” stared into the face of God and spit in it, “Why” shoves his face to be confronted with the human condition. Frontman Raygun Busch desperately wails, “Why do people have to live outside?” as the chugging guitars erect a wall of sound between him and his hope to change such a pervasive issue as houselessness. A chilling tornado siren rages on with the biting riffs, forcing those complacent to reckon with the vulnerability of those left in the margins. —Jade Gomez

Cheekface: “Pledge Drive”

Now more than ever, laughing and crying are just two sides of the same coin, and Los Angeles trio Cheekface’s piggy bank is chock-full. “Pledge Drive” is the band’s latest combination of sharp power-pop/post-punk instrumentation and verbose speak-singing, with frontman Greg Katz interrogating “what it means to say the right thing if others think you’re virtue signaling, especially if you’re worried they might be a little right,” as he explains in a statement. Inspired by Television, the track finds Katz and Mandy Tannen interlocking both their vocals and their instruments (guitar and bass, respectively) over Mark “Echo” Edwards’ punchy, tambourine-accented beat. “If woke dudes must die, I’ll go first,” Katz volunteers, only to offer the deceptively wise reminder, “I don’t know anything / You don’t know anything.” He’s right, particularly when it comes to a follow-up to Cheekface’s acclaimed 2021 album Emphatically No., but here’s hoping we all wise up before it’s too late. —Scott Russell

The Mars Volta: “Blacklight Shine

The Mars Volta have returned with “Blacklight Shine,” their first new single in over a decade. The duo composed of guitarist/composer Omar Rodríguez-López and singer/lyricist Cedric Bixler-Zavala announced their comeback Tuesday along with a short film and a run of tour dates, which will kick off in September. Instead of simply releasing their single, The Mars Volta wanted to create an immersive experience for listeners. On June 19, an inexplicable cube appeared in Grand Park in Los Angeles. The band would later reveal that it was “L’YTOME HODORXÍ TELESTERION,” an audio-visual art installation they created to celebrate the end of their hiatus. Inside the cube, visitors embarked on a multi-sensory journey to outer space, where they heard “Blacklight Shine” for the first time. The band intended to provoke self-reflection as fans drifted through the cosmos, finally returning to Earth and their innermost selves. “Blacklight Shine” encapsulates the idea of “a wave of rolling blackouts washing memories onto shore, a heartbeat that still remembers everything,” Bixler-Zavala says of the lyrics. The meditative single seems to sway, and resembles the ebb and flow of the tides. The Caribbean rhythms and off-kilter percussion add an island flair reiterated in the short film that features people dancing at a seaside drum circle. —Samantha Sullivan

Milly: “Nullify

We’ve had our eye (or rather, ear) on Milly for a couple of years now, and are excited to report the Los Angeles band, now a duo, have announced their debut album. The details of Eternal Ring, coming Sept. 30 on Dangerbird Records (Grandaddy, Swervedriver), arrive alongside the music video for lead single “Nullify,” our second preview of the album after last month’s release of opener “Illuminate.” Milly’s principal songwriter Brendan Dyer and his closest collaborator, bassist Yarden Erez, produced “Nullify” alongside Corey Coffman (Gleemer) in L.A., delivering a characteristically dreamy slowcore song with unexpected flashes of outright emo. Over a wash of whammied chords and a steady arpeggiated riff, Dyer’s vocals consider the costs of emotional labor—he laments, “It’s humbling on the losing end,” but tries to be the bigger person as the song builds to its climax, delivering a standout vocal performance as he repeats, “I would try to soothe your sky.” —Scott Russell

Narrow Head: “T.W.I.N.”

If there was one band I left South by Southwest 2022 impressed by, it was Texas natives Narrow Head, whose blend of hazy post-hardcore and ‘90s alt-rock hooks was years ahead of its time. Jacob Duarte and company dedicate “T.W.I.N.” (short for “The way is narrow”), their first new music since the 2020 release of their Run for Cover debut album 12th House Rock, to “our Texas family and the people we cherish who are no longer with us.” Narrow Head grapple with irrevocable loss over a driving, heavy shoegaze instrumental, an entire arsenal of distorted guitars surrounding Duarte’s vulnerable vocals. As the band conjure guitar-rock nirvana, Duarte imagines the hereafter before returning his focus to the road ahead: “You’ve left us now / Are you finally home? / Now I’m alone on this path / The way is narrow for now.” Even when haunted by tragedy, Narrow Head make beautiful music—“T.W.I.N.” is a deep pool of shadow that can symbolize either emptiness or peace, depending on your perspective. —Scott Russell

Rachika Nayar feat. Maria BC: “Heaven Come Crashing”

Brooklyn-based musician Rachika Nayar makes music that tantalizes and challenges the senses. In collaboration with magnetic singer Maria BC, the two combine for the euphoric title track of Nayar’s forthcoming album Heaven Come Crashing. Maria BC’s serene vocals creep alongside a slow build of guitars and synths that hiss and purr. Nayar captures the intense rise with skittish drum-and-bass percussion and electronic squeals, mimicking the exhilarating feeling of ego death and freedom. —Jade Gomez

Stella Donnelly: “Flood”

Stella Donnelly dips into the little home movies and innocent adventures of youth on her latest single, “Flood.” The title track from her forthcoming album, out Aug. 26 via Secretly Canadian, it’s a whimsical yet reserved indicator of her new direction. While Donnelly penned the song in lockdown during the desolate peak of winter in Melbourne, “Flood” brings comforting warmth and childlike optimism. As she witnessed her friends dip into their own versions of depression at different times, Donnelly refused to drown in the deluge of devastation she was faced with. Waiting for the dawn to break and the metaphorical flood to recede, she has a fragile hope akin to Ariadne’s string—a tentative faith that blossoms into a guiding force. —Samantha Sullivan

Strange Ranger: “Raver Explanation

On June 22, the New York-based band Strange Ranger announced they have officially signed to Fire Talk. To celebrate, they reissued and expanded their 2021 mixtape, No Light in Heaven, which is streaming now and will be available on vinyl Oct. 21. Along with the news of their signing, the band released a new song, “Raver Explanation.” A previously unreleased bonus track from No Light in Heaven, “Raver Explanation” sees the band at their most abstract and experimental. Fiona Woodman’s pitched-up vocals add an ethereal touch to the lustrous, synth-oriented arrangement. The somber gleam of the drum machine and her fixation with heaven add to the disconnect the song centers on, eventually leading to her being reassured, “This is real / This is real.” On “Raver Explanation,” Strange Ranger tap into a reality-adjacent realm, a glitch in the hologram or a break in the simulation, and the mechanical sheen the electronic elements bring makes the song feel like an AI fever dream. —Samantha Sullivan

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