The 10 Best New Songs

Featuring Bartees Strange, Wet Leg, Sharon Van Etten and more

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 Thursday we can swing it, we take stock of the previous seven days’ best tracks, delivering a weekly playlist of our favorites while keeping Fridays free to focus on new albums. Check out this week’s best new songs below.

Bartees Strange: “Heavy Heart

Rising star Bartees Strange has signed to 4AD and released his first new single on the London-based label, “Heavy Heart,” with a music video directed by Missy Dabice of Mannequin Pussy. A press release refers to the new track as Strange’s “first hint of new music in two years,” suggesting that the follow-up to his 2020 breakout debut album Live Forever is on its way. Co-produced by Strange himself with Chris Connors, “Heavy Heart” is a sleek guitar-rock track that finds Strange grappling with conflicting feelings, recalling his “reasons for heavy hearts” only to realize, “Then I remember I rely too much upon / My heavy heart.” Propulsive drums, chugging guitars and even celebratory horns lend the track an irrepressible energy, as if buoying Strange’s lyrical efforts to consign his pain to the past. —Scott Russell

Belle and Sebastian: “Unnecessary Drama

Indie legends Belle and Sebastian have announced their ninth studio album, and their first in seven years, A Bit of Previous (out May 6 via Matador). As a preview of what we can expect from the record, they’ve shared lead single “Unnecessary Drama,” along with a music video for the track directed by Kasparas Vidunas and Eric J. Liddle. “Unnecessary Drama” is about “a young person experimenting in being a human again after a forced hiatus,” frontman Stuart Murdoch explains in a statement. “The person is weighing up whether or not it’s worth the mess! Still, you dip your toe in and it becomes delicious, and you get too much of it. Between trouble and nothing, we still choose the trouble.” The track sees the band revel in the sheer, delirious joy that radiates from pop music at its best, lyrically embracing all that life has to throw at them as time keeps slipping away: “Every awkward fumble should be framed / Strange days / Poison characters / My particular haze.” —Elise Soutar

Le Pain: “Is That How You Want Me to Feel?”

Los Angeles-based quartet Le Pain released their debut single “Troisième Groupe” last summer, follow-up “Obvious to You” in the fall, and “Is That How You Want Me to Feel?” just this week—and all three times have been the charm. The band, led by Atlanta sisters Madeline and Olivia Babuka Black, alongside producer/multi-instrumentalist Scott Rosenthal and bassist Alan Everhart, make supremely dreamy pop that feels timeless, bridging the gap between the Stereolabs of yesterday and Alvvays(es?) of today. Their latest track is built on Everhart’s busy bassline, uptempo percussion and dreamy guitars and synths. Meanwhile, the Black sisters intertwine their voices, lamenting the feelings of romantic mistreatment—“A frame without a canvas / Is that how you want me to feel?” they sing, sounding more hurt than accusatory. The track ends with a glimmer of hope, however distant, but by then, its beauty has already made you feel the opposite way its narrators do. Le Pain’s self-produced debut collection can’t come soon enough. —Scott Russell

Mallrat: “Teeth”

Mallrat, who is gearing up to release her debut album Butterfly Blue in May, is introducing fans to a new side of her artistry. Latest single “Teeth” finds the Australian musician stepping away from the infectious sweetness of her earlier indie-pop work, digging into grungier territory. Her lush, whispery vocals glide over fuzzy drum machines and minimal guitars. Mallrat explores lo-fi in all of its iterations, and “Teeth,” alongside previous Memphis rap-inspired single “Your Love,” signal that her experimentation is far from over. —Jade Gomez

PENDANT: “Static Dream

Leading up to the April 8 release of his forthcoming album Harp (via Saddle Creek), Los Angeles musician Chris Adams, aka PENDANT, has shared another new single, “Static Dream.” Following the album’s first two singles, “Blood Rite” and “Thorn,” the latter of which was just named one of our favorite songs of February, this third track arrives with a Trainspotting and Terminator 2-inspired video directed by Ramez Silyan (Lil Peep, The Neighbourhood). Pulling from ‘90s house and rave music, as well as the shoegaze that dominated most of PENDANT’s 2019 debut album Through a Coil, “Static Dream” takes a less aggressive approach than Harp’s prior two singles, but still hits on the emotional intensity Adams has his sights set on. Crawling through a dark dreamscape of electronic pop to match his surreal lyrics, the track captures the feeling of something slipping through your fingers. “I feel my eyes grow heavy / Counting back until another begins / I saw it all until I saw nothing / Through another static dream,” Adams sings, putting a refreshing spin on the cliché of waking up and realizing it was all a dream. —Elise Soutar

PUP: “Matilda”

Described by the band as “not just the next PUP record, but the *most* PUP record,” the expectations for PUP’s fourth album THE UNRAVELING OF PUPTHEBAND are high, especially due to the quality tracks we’ve heard from the album so far, “Waiting; and “Robot Writes a Love Song; The latest preview of the album is not about a person, as you might expect, but rather lead singer Stefan Babcock’s favorite guitar named Matilda, which was a gift from a friend but eventually became so worn down that he reluctantly stopped playing it. Written from the subject’s perspective with justified venom and one-liners thrown faster than you can catch them (“George and his lover, they gently weep / But I don’t even get to breathe”), “Matilda” is a rush of catharsis, approaching operatic levels of heartbreak and redemption. Not bad for an inanimate object. —Elise Soutar

Sharon Van Etten: “Used to It

Sharon Van Etten is back with another new single and video, her second of 2022. “Used to It” follows the early-February release of “Porta,” and has us eagerly anticipating a follow-up to 2019’s terrific Remind Me Tomorrow. If “Porta” was a jab in the nose, “Used to It” is the hook you don’t see coming until it’s laid you out. Minimal percussion throbs like an irregular heartbeat, synths billow like smoke clouds, and Van Etten’s icy vocals float above it all, her fragmented lyrics evoking “haunted” memories and ruefully asking the song’s subject, “Are you used to it / Pouring out your life?” —Scott Russell

They Hate Change: “From The Floor

Tampa Bay production/rap duo They Hate Change have announced their debut album on Jagjaguwar, Finally, New, due out on May 13. On lead single “From the Floor,” Dre and Vonne team up with fellow Floridian DJ GAY-Z, combining U.K. drum and bass breakbeats, Miami bass pulse, Dirty South mixtape raps, and glitchy psych atmospherics as only they can. “Gulf Coast, we don’t give a fuck ‘bout your say-so,” Vonne raps, summing up both the duo’s sonic boldness and pride of place in a single lyric. —Scott Russell

Wet Leg: “Angelica

One of the most buzzed-about acts in indie rock right now, English duo Wet Leg, are back with another preview of their much-anticipated, self-titled debut album, due out April 8 on Domino. “Angelica” arrived on Monday alongside a self-directed music video, shot on Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers’ native Isle of Wight. Wet Leg titled their latest after Teasdale’s oldest friend, and recorded “Angelica” in Chambers’ living room with bandmate Joshua Mobaraki. The song is a sunny psych-rock track with punchy percussion and vocal hooks to spare, and its lyrics about a fun and free-spirited friend have strange shadows playing around their edges: “She brought lasagna to the party” later becomes “She brought a ray gun to the party / Angelica obliterated everybody,” and the narrator struggles with the urge to withdraw from everyone around her, even in the best of times. —Scott Russell

Young Guv: “Take Up All My Time”

Former Fucked Up guitarist Ben Cook began releasing dream-pop music under the alias Young Guv in 2015, and decided to revive the project once again after a Covid-related tour cancellation that left him in the middle of the New Mexican desert. In the face of existential dread and armed with a battered sense of hope, Cook made not one, but two albums, GUV III and IV. “Take Up All My Time” is pulled from the first part of the double album (out March 11), delivering a lovely, shimmering slice of jangle-pop that sees Cook trying to chase away the clouds that come with the supposed end times, with the power of love on his side. “Another year lookin’ down at my shoes / I watch everyone dance / But all I see is you,” he sings before the track closes with a gorgeous passage of guitar melodies that sound like sunshine to the ear, making way for clearer skies ahead. —Elise Soutar

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