The 10 Best New Songs (Jan. 26, 2023)

Featuring Nickel Creek, Joseph, AJJ and More

Music Lists Best New Songs
The 10 Best New Songs (Jan. 26, 2023)

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 seven best new songs, plus three from last week, below.

AJJ: “Disposable Everything”
“Disposable Everything,” the title track off Phoenix folk punk outfit AJJ’s newest record, is another touchstone in the band’s contemplative reflection of humanity. Lead vocalist Sean Bonnette is getting more personal here than ever, as he considers the weight of a dying world in the context of his own family and of his own past and present. “Lately I’ve been digging through the garbage with my son / My mother called it mudlarking, we did it all for fun / Two humans living in a place that hates humanity / Disposable family, disposable dignity,” Bonnette exclaims. At one time, AJJ wrote songs that elicited complicated satire that straddled the thin line between heroic and venomous. 16 years removed from their debut People Who Can Eat People Are the Luckiest People In the World the band has begun settling down. That doesn’t mean they are no longer examining the POVs of America’s underbelly. In fact, it’s quintessentially the opposite, as Bonnette and company are now probing the world with themselves placed firmly in the mix. How do their voices cluster amongst many others? Does any of this matter beyond our own collective neighborhoods of love and destruction? On “Disposable Everything,” AJJ doesn’t quite have the answer yet, but yet they still dare to understand how they might begin employing beauty within the irreversible muck. —Matt Mitchell

Blondshell: “Joiner”
To accompany her self-titled debut record out in April, Sabrina Teitelbaum, aka Blondshell, has released her new single “Joiner,” a tender, soaring paean of glittering acoustic wonder. “Joiner” is hypnotic, with hooks that stick with you for the long haul. What makes Teitelbaum’s work so compelling is how she is able to inject such poignant, specific imagery atop arrangements fluttering with such a recognizable alchemy and groove. “You’ve been running around L.A. with trash / Sleeping in bars with a gun in your bag / Asking, ‘Can I be someone else?’” she sings with the grandeur of a seasoned veteran who’s mastered a perfect verse. It’s clear that Teitelbaum is fixing to be a powerhouse in indie rock, and, if “Joiner” is any indication, the trajectory of Blondshell knows no ceiling. —Matt Mitchell

Dylan Earl: “Buddy”
Freshly signed to Fayetteville, Arkansas “Y’allternative” label Gar Hole Records, country troubadour Dylan Earl is set to release his third full-length LP, I Saw the Arkansas. To commemorate the announcement, he’s given listeners “Buddy,” a mirage of brotherhood and the romance of carrying memories across towns, crowds and long drives that’ll remedy homesickness. There is a battalion of trailblazers churning out socially conscious country tunes in the South. Though his sound is akin to Randy Travis and Conway Twitty, Earl’s songwriting has an edge to it that is hard to replicate. There’s a beautiful chaos balanced by the metronome that is Earl’s portrait of an America untouched by contemporary pop country. In turn, “Buddy” is a raucous honkytonk joint that’s lived a thousand lives yet still dares to find new highways to ramble across. With baritones that skate across octaves like a familiar voice spilling from truck stereos, Earl is a torchbearer among the swamps of a country underground that is meteorically, emphatically and lovingly rising to the surface. —Matt Mitchell

Joseph: “Nervous System”
Joseph began their musical journey playing ethereal folk, but have gradually strayed from their dreamy rural sound. In their latest single, “Nervous System,” off their upcoming album The Sun, the trio of sisters Natalie Schepman, Meegan Closner and Allison Closner head in a much more pop direction. The band calls out their own experiences with anxiety—hard lessons learned through relationships—and personal growth. It’s a classic pop song with strumming acoustics, a steady kick and sparkly electric guitar hooks. The chorus brings the most energy to the track with the sisters singing, “No it’s not selfish if you save yourself. Don’t feed the paranoia, that won’t help. It’s in your head and it’s under your skin.” —Rayne Antrim

Mandy, Indiana: “Injury Detail”
For the first time since releasing in 2021, Manchester quartet Mandy, Indiana have returned with “Injury Detail,” a roaring fusion of French New Wave and experimental electronica. There’s a certain intensity afoot, though it plays out like a beat drop that doesn’t come to fruition. That is what makes “Injury Detail” so poignant, the way it is able to build tension through incomparable pacing and Valentine Caulfield’s vocals that perfectly complement the well-timed hints of shaker and cymbal. “Injury Detail” plays with the confines of what a dance song must be, as it flirts with uncluttered digital throbs and Caulfield’s confident guidance. —Matt Mitchell

Nickel Creek: “Strangers”
The members of bluegrass trio Nickel Creek were pre-teens when they first performed together in 1989. Chris Thile (mandolin), Sean Watkins (guitar) and Sara Watkins (violin) have gone on to successful musical careers together and on their own, and they’re now back with a new Nickel Creek album, Celebrants, due out March 24 on Thirty Tigers. The first single “Strangers” is about the awkward reconnection of people who’ve been apart: “It’s been too long stranger / Guess even hard times fly / And leave us speechless / In the darkness / Before the dawn.” But the musical reunion of these three maestros is anything but timid or uncomfortable. In the video, they share a mic as their instruments and voices alternately blend and shine, belying the tens of thousands of hours they’ve interwoven. It’s a joy to have the gang back together. —Josh Jackson

Yours Are the Only Ears: “Dreamer”
On 2018’s Knock Hard, Susannah Cutler, who parades under the moniker Yours Are the Only Ears, established herself as one of indie folk’s best up-and-coming songwriters. Her melodies are infectious and pair so aptly with her sharp and reflective lyrics that careen so poignantly into personal growth. Preceding her long-awaited sophomore record We Know the Sky, lead single “Dreamer” is a sun-soaked declaration of courage and hope on the close horizon. “I’ll be strong tomorrow / Tonight I’ll just sing my song / There is nothing more to talk about, I said it all along,” Cutler warbles. Nearly five years sit between Knock Hard and We Know the Sky, and it’s deftly clear that Cutler is considering the weight of healing, of delicacy and of the warmth that comes from surrounding yourself in the needed tenderness of community. “Dreamer” is airy and palpable; a prismatic whisper of folk destined to remain in our orbit ad infinitum. —Matt Mitchell

Arlo Parks: “Weightless”
British singer/songwriter Arlo Parks just announced her sophomore album My Soft Machine, set to release on May 26 on Transgressive Records and dropped its first single, “Weightless.” On it, Parks takes inspiration from her love of Radiohead and R&B to create indie-rock chord progressions, lo-fi beats, and layered vocals to support the singer’s light-angelic voice. “Weightless” tackles themes of unrequited love, self-worth, and the importance of taking care of yourself. Arlo’s light and heady tone pierce through the driving beat and rumbling bass that kicks off the song. The hook is extremely catchy, and keeps circling in your head throughout the chorus that repeats the lyrics, “Don’t wanna wait for you.” The repetition highlights the reluctant nature of leaving, but knowing what needs to be done in order to escape the weight of unrequited love. —Rayne Antrim

boygenius: “True Blue”
Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus have brought the band back together with the first full-length album from their supergroup boygenius. the record comes out March 31 on Interscope Records, and they gave us three songs this week. It was difficult to pick just one, but we have to go with “True Blue,” a song by Dacus, who takes lead vocals on the track. She said in a release, “I find comfort in knowing that I’m going to know you two a long time, and get to see the different iterations of the person you are.” And that comes through in this song: “I can’t hide from you like I hide from myself,” she sings. “I remember who I am when I’m with you / Your love is tough, your love is tried and true blue.” The care and craft of a month in the studio comes through beautifully in soaring anthem built on top of atmospheric guitar that gives weight to the sisterly love she celebrates. —Josh Jackson

Caroline Rose: “Miami”
Nearly three years after the release of Superstar, the Caroline Rose returns with a confessional honesty that’s only been glimpsed in previous works—though the cheeky humor is still there. Rose announced The Art of Forgetting, out March 24 with New West Records, with a new single, “Miami.” After an acoustic opening, the song finds a near gear with a war-like drumbeat and deep growls of an electric guitar for the chorus. Rose explains: “I’m not one to shy away from drama, and so this was a perfect opportunity to really bring out every ounce of desperation and anger and all those confusing emotions that happen after a big heartbreak.” The song ends kindly, hinting at what The Art of Forgetting means—healing. —Rayne Antrim

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