The 10 Best New Songs

Featuring Deerhoof, Amber Mark, Mini Trees and more

Music Lists Best New Songs
The 10 Best New Songs

If you’re anything like me, summer has zoomed on by and burnt a hole in your wallet. Luckily I can recoup the cost of the iced coffees by writing up some of the week’s best songs for you to enjoy. Best of all, it’s free. I will admit, Amber Mark’s manifestation of luxury on “Foreign Things” is calling my name. Furrows’ “Grey Cities” brings us right back down to reality, looking upon the remnants of Earth’s natural order. If that’s too much, blow off some steam with the brooding anthem “Vexed” by The Bug featuring Moor Mother. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself, although it might be good to start making iced coffee at home. Sit back, relax and enjoy your favorite scheduled song recommendations from your friends at Paste.

Amber Mark: “Foreign Things”

Amber Mark has been an underground treasure in R&B, finally preparing to release her debut album. The album’s latest single is a spectacular thesis for Mark’s magnetic sound that effortlessly meshes together dance textures with the unmistakable R&B groove. Her crisp voice bounces into comforting lows and graceful highs as she presents another facet to the larger class of soulful starlets. Mark is simply irresistible, and she’s bringing a new kind of rhythm to a genre she’s reimagining. —Jade Gomez

Deerhoof: “Plant Thief”

Sounding as raucous and disorienting as ever, experimental rock group Deerhoof’s latest single “Plant Thief,” ahead of their forthcoming album Actually, You Can (Oct. 22, Joyful Noise), is a remarkable display of the band’s talent for writing songs that sound like they’re constantly in a state of controlled chaos. Held together by the incredible drumming of Greg Saunier, the rapid pace of the song is electrified further by the shredding guitars of Ed Rodriguez and John Dieterech, with the intensely complex arrangements courtesy of the “DIY baroque” mentality they brought to the recording process. Despite this complexity and the band’s signature abrasive sound, the track doesn’t feel imposing, and contains a light playfulness at times. 18 albums deep into their career, the band is still finding new ways to be inventive within the scope of the sound they’ve built over the years, and writing some furious riffs while they’re at it. —Jason Friedman

Furrows: “Grey Cities”

The lead track from Baltimore-based songwriter Peter Wagner’s full-length debut as Furrows, Fisher King, “Grey Cities” takes bright, acoustic guitar-driven indie-folk for its foundation, with shoegaze and synth-pop elements overlaid in a smooth and satisfying fashion. Ruminating on a lost love who’s “unseen but always there,” Wagner’s lyrics blur reality and time, as if the impact of the loss has untethered him from earth’s natural order: “In the ruins of this living memory we’re crawling up a stairway / to something real,” he envisions, pining for a future he’ll never populate. Wiggling electric guitars bolster Wagner’s melodies all the while, evoking Real Estate in their gentle psychedelia. Despite its uncertain destination, “Grey Cities” is a rewarding journey, with Furrows’ imaginative, emotionally sensitive songwriting on full display. —Scott Russell

Geese: “Low Era”

After releasing one of our favorite songs of the summer, buzzy Brooklyn rock outfit Geese have detailed their debut album, Projector, set for an Oct. 29 digital release on Partisan/Play It Again Sam. Their second single “Low Era” is a hypnotic combination of post-punk and dance rock, part Wire and part A Certain Ratio, radiating a subtle, but sure psychedelia with its insistent groove and spider-web guitar riffs. Meanwhile, Cameron Winter’s lyrics range from sardonic (“Modern magazines and holy scriptures / My play rehearsals all go unheard”) to downright apocalyptic (“The beginning of the end approaches / You and I, we float up to the top”). Like Geese’s debut single “Disco,” the track’s unpredictable nuances ensure it never stagnates, and an extensive psych-rock outro concludes “Low Era” in particularly mesmerizing fashion, smash-cutting to black just as you feel yourself beginning to ascend.—Scott Russell

Gustaf: “Best Behavior”

Brooklyn five-piece Gustaf have shared the second single from their forthcoming debut album Audio Drag For Ego Slobs (Oct. 1, Royal Mountain Records), “Best Behavior.” The seemingly effortless, stylishly oblique art-punk track, which follows standout July single “Book,” arrives ahead of the band’s tour of the U.S., U.K. and E.U. with IDLES, Pillow Queens, Osees and Kills Birds. Lead vocalist Lydia Gammill spends “Best Behavior” claiming kudos for her spotless conduct (“I didn’t lie / It wasn’t you I betrayed”), like someone trying a little too hard to convince someone else—or themselves—that their conscience is clear. Leave it to Gustaf to stage a harrowing one-act morality play in a shout-along dance-rock track, riffing through the cognitive dissonance with a wink. —Scott Russell

Hand Habits: “No Difference”

Fun House is the first Hand Habits record to showcase teamwork in a grand gesture kind of way. With Meg Duffy heading up the songwriting, Kyle Thomas planted behind the boards and Sasami lending her vision and vocals, the trio welcomed their friend Mike Hadreas, aka Perfume Genius, into the fold. Hadreas sings on “Just to Hear You,” as well as latest single “No Difference,” where Duffy battles with whether the glass is half-full or half-empty. “I had spent so much of my life in scarcity and longing for something, feeling like there’s not really a difference between having it all and having nothing,” they say. “We always want to be seen and heard and understood. But me fixating on not being seen is actually blocking my view from seeing that person, too.” For the song’s music video (dir. V Haddad), Duffy returned to their hometown in upstate New York, filming motorcycle sequences with their dad and revisiting old haunts. “It was really hard and psychedelic to go back to the place of my birth, where these rooms of memory actually exist and thinking about how I used to be so tense in wanting my family to understand [me].” —Matt Mitchell

Helado Negro: “Outside the Outside”

Songwriter Roberto Carlos Lange’s (aka Helado Negro) music always carries with it a sort of tender vulnerability, and if the singles from his forthcoming album Far In (Oct. 22, 4AD) are any indication, he hasn’t lost that touch despite his sound pivoting harder towards dance music. “Outside the Outside,” the album’s second single following the funky, bombastic “Gemini and Leo,” is simple, but mesmerizing. Recalling the muted house sound of artists like Caribou and Four Tet, the track uses its simplicity as an opportunity to explore space, with Lange employing a variety of sonic and textural elements such as chirpy synths, polyrhythmic percussion and swirling noise to create a singular listening experience. —Jason Friedman

Mini Trees: “Cracks in the Pavement”

The third single from Always in Motion, Los Angeles songwriter Lexi Vega’s forthcoming debut album as Mini Trees, is also the third to land on one of our weekly Best New Songs lists. “Cracks in the Pavement” finds Vega keeping her eyes in the downward direction its title implies, wary of catching feelings for a friend. She’s wary of her own emotions, and unsure of how to keep them under control—all she knows for sure is that “nothing is ever as it seems, until you’re there lying next to me.” Vega blends indie-pop intimacy and dreamy, danceable psychedelia, amplifying the song’s sense of both intoxication and uncertainty, with beat shifts and vocal layering adding a subtle complexity to its pleasantly hazy atmosphere. “Cracks in the Pavement” is an anthem for summertime sadness, pretty yet plaintive, and yet another reason to be excited about Always in Motion.—Scott Russell

Porches: “Lately”

New York songwriter/producer Aaron Maine has spent the better part of the last decade writing exhilarating and often illustrious alt-pop music as Porches, wiring his songs with an intricate emotionality. “Lately,” the latest single ahead of his new album All Day Gently Hold !, is one of the project’s most sonically ambitious moments. Launching right out of the gate with “my vibe has been pretty fucking crazy lately,” the song feels just as stimulating, with crashing drums and ecstatic synths electrifying the song’s emotional highs. Maine’s cool baritone weaves into the well-organized soundscape as he guides Porches to one of their most electric-sounding singles to date. —Jason Friedman

The Bug feat. Moor Mother: “Vexed”

Electronic producer Kevin Richard Martin, also known as The Bug, recently announced his first solo album in seven years. Fire (Aug. 27, Ninja Tune) is the third installment in his triptych series, which includes 2008’s London Zoo and 2014’s Angels & Devils. Today (Aug. 23), he shares the final single from the album, “Vexed,” featuring Philadelphia rapper Moor Mother. “Vexed” is menacing, with Martin’s sparse palette of brooding synths and clangs building into a war cry. Moor Mother asserts, “Who told you to come for me? / You better run from me,” as Martin’s sirens and bass swell to match her increasing intensity. It’s a post-apocalyptic battle anthem rooted in pride. —Jade Gomez

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin