The 12 Best New Songs (April 13, 2023)

Music Lists Best New Songs
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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 12 best new songs, in alphabetical order. (You can check out last week’s songs here.)

Being Dead: “Muriel’s Big Day Off”
Being Dead are the mythical, jazzed-out surf punks straight out of our greatest urban legends; as a singular machine, they’re rendered like a perfect amalgamation of King Krule, the B-52s, Parquet Courts and Devo. “Muriel’s Big Day Off” is a pastiche of vignettes showcasing the band’s immortal genre prowess. Weaving in and out of dream pop, art punk, bossa nova and jazz, Being Dead are collaging their interests into one big suite of ambition. It’s hard to not get swept up in the magic of this band’s presentation. Through great wordplay, delicious vocalizations and a gonzo theatricality, Being Dead are one of the coolest and freakiest acts around; debut LP When Horses Would Run aims to be the exact cosmos of weirdness the band evokes. —Matt Mitchell

DJ Danifox: “Ilha dos Bruxos”
The new single from Portuguese-born, London-based electronic producer DJ Danifox opens with a sound akin to a robot waking up from slumber and slowly stretching out its shiny limbs. Before too long, the sideways electro-cumbia beat pushes forward, sparking circuitry and colorful LED displays in the mind’s eye. It’s one of those perfect modern dance tracks that feels both organic and synthetic with programmed rhythms and acoustic percussion locking comfortably together and a chanted vocal sample rolling through with insistent glee. —Robert Ham

Fatoumata Diawara: “Massa Den”
Fatoumata Diawara began her career in the entertainment world as an actor, working with celebrated African directors Dani Kouyaté and Abderrahmane Sissako. It’s a fitting start for an artist who can easily adapt to fit the mood and sound of various musical styles since she began recording music back in 2011. That spirit also made her the perfect collaborator for fellow chameleon Damon Albarn, who has co-produced Diawara’s forthcoming album London Ko. Her latest single, “Massa Den,” finds her melding the caramel tones of her vocals and Afrobeat rhythms to a sparkling house beat and the contributions of a French popster known only as -M-. —Robert Ham

Girl Ray: “Hold Tight”
London trio Girl Ray’s newest single off of their forthcoming LP Prestige is a blanket of good vibes and tasty bass runs. Taking inspiration from HAIM’s Women In Music Pt. III, members Poppy Hankin, Iris McConnell and Sophie Moss have put together a triumph that re-invents R&B and baroque pop into a plucky, disco anthem. The track—and album—was produced by Ben H. Allen (Gnarls Barkley, Belle & Sebastian, MIA, Animal Collective) and oozes joy through crystalline arrangements and Hankin’s endearing vocals. —Matt Mitchell

Hayden Pedigo: “Elsewhere”
One-time Amarillo, Texas city councilman hopeful, Gucci runway model and internet goofball Hayden Pedigo aims to make good on his masterful, 2021 LP Letting Go. Drawing from a well of inspiration provided to him by pioneers like Terry Allen and Pete Drake, Pedigo constructs emotional, perfect guitar concertos that tell greater stories than lyrics ever could. New single “Everywhere” is no different, as Pedigo fashions arpeggios from a looping acoustic trill and a dreamy pedal steel. His second record from Mexican Summer, The Happiest Times I Ever Ignored, is another chapter in the fingerpicker’s ongoing archive of sun-baked Texas pastorals; “Everywhere” is another building block in the Lubbock-based maestro’s pursuit of Western divinity. —Matt Mitchell

King Krule: “Seaforth”
Few artists have had a more ambitious last 10 years than King Krule, the stage name of English singer/songwriter Archy Marshall. Since releasing his debut LP 6 Feet Beneath the Moon in 2013, Marshall has been on an incredible trajectory, making some of the best jazz-infused post-punk of the 21st century. Just a few weeks after selling some flexi-discs of new material at shows, Marshall has announced his first record since 2020’s Man Alive!, the forthcoming Space Heavy. Lead single “Seaforth” is a slow-burning, woozy, mathematical slice of slacker avant-garde. On the track, Marshall is contemplating the disintegration of the planet while in the company of someone else. “I see you, the same eyes / Reflect the world that falls apart / There’s a fire in my heart / ‘Cause this faith is far, I heard,” he sings, while the backing vocals echo “Baby, this faith is all I have” right back at him. “Seaforth” signals a new chapter for King Krule, through one of his most-compelling tracks in recent memory. —Matt Mitchell

The Lemon Twigs: “Every Day is the Worst Day of My Life”
The Lemon Twigs’ best album, Everything Harmony, arrives early next month, so brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario are rolling out one final single in anticipation. “Every Day is the Worst Day of My Life” is their Big Star-esque acoustic ballad that highlights a perfect harmony atop a minimal arrangement. The brothers have made it to a place where they don’t have to doll up their songs with extravagant instrumentals or lyricism that overworks the melodies. “Every Day is the Worst Day of My Life” is a moment of growth even in brevity, as the band strays from the operatic cuts off of Go to School or the Jim Steinman-influenced theatricality of Songs For the General Public. Here, the Twigs are confident, poised and unafraid of letting their technical talents carry a song that’s only two lines long. —Matt Mitchell

Nation of Language: “Weak in Your Light”
Brooklyn-based trio Nation of Language are returning with a new album, Strange Disciple. The record was initially preceded by the hypnotic, grooved-out “Sole Obsession.” Now, with a proper announcement out to the world, the band has doubled down on their expansion into post-lockdown dedication and romance. Much like “Sole Obsession,” “Weak in Your Light” is an excellent exploration of devotion and agony, properly matching the themes and motivations of affection and closeness that was momentarily lost during the pandemic the album was written in. Ian Devaney’s towering vocals blister through the stratosphere atop a subtle keyboard throb. There’s no climax or hook, only a punchy loop that aches in tandem with the lyrics. “I can feel myself come undone,” Devaney cries out. It’s a subdued re-introduction to the best synth-pop band in the world; the truest rendition of a teaser track, in all of its soothing, unignorable glory. —Matt Mitchell

Natural Information Society: “Is”
The group that Joshua Abrams has assembled for his latest Natural Information Society release (out this Friday) is dubbed a “Community Ensemble” on the album sleeve. It’s a fitting heading for the warm and loose camaraderie of this group that includes a bevy of Chicago jazz luminaries like percussionist Hamid Drake, tenor saxophonist Ari Brown and trumpeter Ben Lamar Gay. “Is,” the new single to be released from Since Time Is Gravity, perfectly encapsulates the scope and dynamics of this ensemble. Abrams sets the pace with a drum machine beat and the percussion work of Drake and drummer Mikel Patrick Avery, leaving the rest of the air around them open for the horn players, particularly Brown, to provide a fog of moaning chords and lovingly drawn out solos. —Robert Ham

Pardoner: “Are You Free Tonight?”
With their fourth album coming in June, San Francisco-based quartet Pardoner and their heavy, gravitational hooks endure. Lead single “Are You Free Tonight?” covers a lot of ground in two minutes of work, surfing from slacker indie to hard-edged punk in mere seconds. The track laments generational lulls; the ups and downs of going nowhere. “Just take the edge off for me / I’m a sharp corner / Sticking out and making people bleed / Tripping all over me / You’re always on the run / But are you free?” Max Freeland sings. He, Trey Flanigan, River Van Den Berghe and Colin Burris have put together something really solid in Pardoner, and this track is a hybrid of sugar and pain akin to something in Built to Spill’s catalog. Pardoner have always hung around with the best hardcore, punk and indie rock line-toers; “Are You Free Tonight?” keeps them right on course. —Matt Mitchell

Salami Rose Joe Louis: “Dimcola Reprise”
Lindsey Olsen, the artist known as Salami Rose Joe Louis, describes herself in the press notes for her new album Akousmatikous as an “introverted producer,” happy to work in solitary as she claims to be “shy to work with others in person.” So far, that’s worked wonderfully, as proven by the strong work she’s released to date, but taking advantage of our broadband world to connect with collaborators like Brijean and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson has expanded her sonic world appreciably. There’s something cinematic in the breadth of a track like “Dimcola Reprise” in spite of Olsen’s hushed vocal turn and the minimalism of the electronic pop backdrop. It feels like a droplet hitting still water, causing ripples of energy to grow wider and wider as the song playfully skitters forward. —Robert Ham

superviolet: “Locket”
“Locket” is a warm blanket of guitar pop with a melody you’ll be humming all week and beyond. It’s got a similar sonic architecture as the final Sidekicks album, Happiness Hours, which taps into a bubbly, hook-heavy blueprint that allows the focus to be on Steven Ciolek’s vocals. But, instead of employing a coming-of-age narrative, he’s ruminating on his own self-doubt, attempting to put the pieces of his own presentation together. “Well then how come all my candor / Just comes across as grandeur / And I’m a locket with my own face in the frame / I didn’t mean to keep you waiting / I was laying in bed with Satan / Now all my nightmares are in highchairs / And laughing / They’re laughing with me,” he sings before melting into a euphoric vocal run. —Matt Mitchell