The 10 Best New Songs

Featuring Big Red Machine, Shygirl, Turnstile and more

Music Lists Best New Songs
The 10 Best New Songs

This week saw June give way to July, with another month of much-anticipated music in the offing. Before we get into our new release recommendations for this first New Music Friday of July, we’re looking back at the best tracks of the past seven days, including one of three new singles from Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner’s Big Red Machine, a banger (in more ways than one) from Shygirl and slowthai, a standout from Turnstile’s surprise-released EP and more. Find 10 of your new favorite tracks below.

Big Red Machine: “Latter Days” (feat. Anaïs Mitchell)

Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Aaron Dessner (The National) made good on their recent teasers this week by announcing their second album as Big Red Machine, How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?, out Aug. 27 via their own 37d03d label. Written and performed by Vernon, Dessner and Anaïs Mitchell, and recorded during early Long Pond sessions, lovely lead single and album opener “Latter Days” is a somber and sentimental number driven by pretty piano, distant horns, a deceptively propulsive drum groove (courtesy of Big Thief’s James Krivchenia), and Vernon and Mitchell’s vocal harmonies. The singers trade nostalgic verses, looking back on times gone by with aching wistfulness, yet not the faintest hint of emotional string-pulling—its rosy glow feels real and lived-in. “I recall it all forever / How it found us where we lay,” Vernon and Mitchell harmonize, “With our arms around each other / In the latter days, in the latter days.” —Scott Russell

girlpuppy: “As Much As I Can”

Atlanta songwriter Becca Harvey has announced her debut EP as girlpuppy, with Royal Mountain Records (Wild Pink, Alvvays, PACKS) set to release Swan on Aug. 20. Its heartfelt first single “As Much As I Can” is out now alongside a music video. “As Much As I Can” is as bittersweet as indie rock comes, with peppy percussion and pleasantly blurry guitars belying lyrics that suggest a painfully strained mother/daughter relationship. “Head first, got stuck / Almost killed us / C-section baby’s all fucked up,” Harvey sings over a bright, pretty riff, meeting all that intensely personal conflict with a heartfelt promise in the choruses: “Love you as much as I can.” —Scott Russell

Gully Boys: “Russian Doll”

Minneapolis-based trio Gully Boys, made up of Kathy Callahan (she/her, guitar, vocals), Natalie Klemond (she/her, bass, vocals) and Nadirah McGill (they/them, drums, vocals), shared a ripper on Tuesday to mark their signing to Get Better Records. The band’s stated influences (No Doubt, Hole) shine through on “Russian Doll,” a grungy, relentlessly melodic rock track with a complicated sentiment at its core: “There’s no one coming to make things right.” The trio repeat this declaration in unison, counterbalanced by subtle synth touches, their chants and crashing guitars growing more raucous as the track builds to its explosive conclusion. But don’t let that killer hook distract you from the depth of Gully Boys’ songwriting: Depending on your perspective, that refrain can indicate either resignation or empowerment—either “we’re screwed” or “we can do this.” Take a guess which way Gully Boys are going. —Scott Russell

moa moa: “Coltan Candy”

London-based indie-pop five-piece moa moa essentially wrote and recorded their debut Speedy Wunderground release—the spirited psych-pop single “Coltan Candy”—in real time, as is Dan Carey and company’s wont, resulting in a thrilling deviation from their usual sound. Where previous moa moa singles like 2020’s “Yellow Jacket” and “Spinning” are more midtempo and meandering, “Coltan Candy” has a hyper-focused intensity about it, splattering psych-rock colors across the canvas of a shuffling funk groove, and melding the alt-pop sensibilities of an Unknown Mortal Orchestra with the trippy instrumentation and tongue-in-cheek lyricism of an MGMT. “If you want to see your child again / Please watch my Powerpoint to the end,” James Ratcliffe sings during one unexpected, fleeting breakdown, a laugh line no less effective for its menace. Though its heavily distorted guitars and feathery synths lend the track an effervescent lightness, “Lyrically, the tune is darker and more direct than our other stuff,” says Ratcliffe, “even if it’s offset by everything else going on in the music. The main hook of the song is the lyric ‘Coltan Candy’ which refers to a mineral that has been mined unethically for decades in Africa for the production of electronic circuits in the West.” —Scott Russell

Noun: “In the Shade”

The longtime solo project of Screaming Females vocalist/guitarist Marissa Paternoster, Noun has an EP titled In the Shade on the way via State Champion Records. She released the title track on Tuesday alongside a Dawn Riddle-directed video, starring a live-action Bart Simpson (“Marissa asked me to make this video with only this guidance: do whatever you want,” said Riddle in a statement). “In the Shade” isn’t as intense as Paternoster’s typical Screaming Females track; there’s a breezy sway to her guitar-playing that evokes the song’s eponymous state of relaxation, with whammy’d chords even gesturing in surf-rock’s direction. Paternoster sings with her usual authority, but dispenses with her signature vibrato, as if to smooth her vocals out and take her own advice: “Sing a song so sweet and see what follows.” What follows, we’d imagine, is a rad new Noun EP. —Scott Russell

NTsKi: “Kung-Fu”

NTsKi, the Japanese artist known for her ability to distill powerful nostalgic elements into soft synth-pop, R&B and club music, takes a deep dive into the experimental on new track “Kung-Fu.” Released on Orange Milk Records, a small label that recently has released some incredible ambient and experimental albums by Giant Claw and RXM REALITY, “Kung-Fu” finds NTsKi using various vocal chops, stuttering effects and gorgeous string arrangements to create a singular, tremendous sonic landscape. At times evoking some of the best works from artists like Oneohtrix Point Never, the track is continued proof that NTsKi is an artist who can’t be pinned down to one genre or one style, and that she crosses barriers seemingly without even noticing them. —Jason Friedman

Pendant: “Blood Rite”

Tuesday, Los Angeles producer/songwriter Chris Adams (aka Pendant) announced that he’s signed to Saddle Creek Records, known for releasing music by Big Thief and Spirit of the Beehive, and he’s released a new song, “Blood Rite.” Embracing a diverse palette of synths, stuttering drums and other electronic elements, Adams delivers a mighty blend of elements that make synth-pop and rave music so divine, all while working within the realm of introspection. At times feeling like Justice and at times a bit like Crystal Castles, Pendant captures the magic that made both stand out. —Jason Friedman

Shygirl: “BDE” (feat. slowthai)

London rapper Shygirl has spent the last few years perfecting her Y2K-inspired bubblegum rap with a raunchy twist. The sickening metallic production, a la SOPHIE (with whom Shygirl previously collaborated on “Slime”) is part of an exciting new chapter in pop music that takes everything to new extremes. Shygirl’s latest offering is “BDE,” featuring British rapper slowthai. The nauseating track is a club banger that demands proper pleasure, putting a different spin on the “Big Dick Energy” that the song’s title suggests. It’s pure, unabashed confidence. We could all use a little of that. —Jade Gomez

Turnstile: “Holiday”

Turnstile’s surprise four-track EP TURNSTILE LOVE CONNECTION is already becoming a release that will enjoy longevity well into the fall when folded-up beanies and cuffed jeans return once again. The Baltimore-based poptimistic hardcore mainstays have finally struck the perfect balance of chant-worthy lyrics and a sparkly atmosphere that works in the pit or in your favorite pair of headphones. “Holiday,” the EP’s commanding opener, has all the elements or a perfect Turnstile track, including fuzzy guitars and frontman Brendan Yates’ energetic yelp. The infectious hook, oozing with early-’00s pop-punk nostalgia, shows that Turnstile have only improved since 2018’s Time & Space. —Jade Gomez

Unknown Mortal Orchestra: “Weekend Run”

The first new music since songwriter and producer Ruban Nielson’s (aka Unknown Mortal Orchestra) previous album Sex & Food, “Weekend Run” is groovy, summertime goodness. Proving once again the artist’s capacity for writing tender, emotional earworms a la his hit “Hunnybee,” the catchy new single has Nielson singing “When the weekend comes / Yeah we’ll be lost in love” amidst ‘70s-evoking chords and bright, sun-drenched guitars. Only once before has a songwriter singing the days of the week been so catchy and satisfying, and that’s Cherrelle’s “Saturday Love.” —Jason Friedman

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