The 10 Best New Songs

Featuring Squid, Lightning Bug, The Go! Team and more

Music Lists Best New Songs
The 10 Best New Songs

Your Paste Music pals have had SXSW 2021 on the brain this week, exploring the music discovery festival virtually, rather than on the streets of Austin, Texas. As such, we’re way more well-rested than we normally would be this time of year, and excited to bring you this week’s best new songs, as usual. The standout tracks of the past seven days include continued single releases from the much-anticipated Squid, Spirit of the Beehive and Francis of Delirium albums, as well as our first previews of new albums from Lightning Bug, The Go! Team and Fiddlehead. Check out our 10 favorite new songs in full below.

Fiddlehead: “Million Times”

Boston rock quintet Fiddlehead will release their second album Between The Richness on May 21 via Run for Cover Records, following their 2018 debut Springtime and Blind. Something of a supergroup, featuring members of Have Heart, Basement and more, Fiddlehead blend post-hardcore punch with emo’s openhearted catharsis, all of which comes through in lead Between The Richness single “Million Times.” Singer and songwriter Pat Flynn’s full-throated growls emphasize the unending effort and emotional resilience required to hold a romantic relationship together over time (“What’s love if not a war for peace that never ends?”). “Come back for our millionth try / Come back one more million times,” he demands on the track’s hooky, anthemic choruses, with fluidly melodic guitars upholding the song’s battered, yet unbroken sentiment. —Scott Russell

Francis of Delirium: “Red”

Francis of Delirium deliver powerful homegrown indie rock on “Red.” The track comes ahead of their forthcoming EP Wading and follows fellow “Best New Songs” pick “Let It All Go.” The Luxembourg-based duo offer choppy, repetitive verses against a fuzzy guitar, giving the band their signature grunge-infused indie sound. In the chorus, singer Jana Bahrich repeats, “It all turned red when it all made sense / and it all turned red,” which she explained in a statement as lyrically describing “the pushing away of someone and justifying it with your anger rather than rationally discussing your feelings. It’s believing something you thought to be true and then that being switched. It’s the loss of trust in a relationship.” The song arrived with an animated music video, created by Bahrich. —Carli Scolforo

The Go! Team: “World Remember Me Now”

The Go! Team announced their sixth full-length album, Get Up Sequences Part One, out July 2. The ensemble band also released an accompanying video for “World Remember Me Now,” the forthcoming album’s summery, drum-heavy final track that doubles as its lead single. Go! Team’s lead vocalist Ninja and the Kansas City Girl Choir perform the song with moxie, and croon about feeling forgotten and lost in a monotonous world. Ninja sings, “Baby / It’s just another day / If there’s another way / Then where’s the sign, ‘cause I don’t see one.” Ian Parton, the group’s songwriter, shared that this lead single “was written ages ago but has become strangely relevant to the world now.” —Adesola Thomas


The latest single from 21-year-old Tanzanian-American singer/songwriter and guitarist Kezia, “SUNSHINE” is our first preview of the Bay Area native’s debut EP claire, coming May 28 as London imprint NEVER SEVEN’s inaugural release. Built on a mid-tempo trap beat and a whistle-esque synth line, the brightly atmospheric pop track balances a warm glow with steely resolve as Kezia insists, “My pain is so relative.” Sounds like needle scratches rend the pleasant mix sporadically, like a reminder not to get too comfortable in the light, because darkness is always right around the corner. That sort of tug-of-war is what Kezia’s considering in her lyrics: “The song’s about how before I learned to be myself, I would be largely absent,” she explained in a statement. “I would steamroll over my inconvenient inconsistencies; I would replace ego with shadow and hope with fear.” —Scott Russell

Lambchop: “A Chef’s Kiss”

After taking a detour (or a TRIP, as it were) with their 2020 covers LP, Kurt Wagner’s Lambchop will return with a proper studio album titled Showtunes on May 21 via Merge. Our first preview of the record takes its name from an image that has become synonymous with appreciation online, so it’s only fitting that we appreciate it online. “A Chef’s Kiss” is a somber, contemplative MIDI piano ballad in which Wagner ponders evanescence—that of something so simple and sensory as “the smell of gas and fresh-cut grass,” as well as of human life itself (“Life will be the death of us all,” the singer concludes). Even Wagner’s lyrics themselves are fragmented in a way that leaves you grasping at absence: “If sunlight were our best disinfectant,” he sings, “And our years will burn with night’s fall.” Wagner describes “A Chef’s Kiss” as “a reflection on the temporal nature of life and ultimately of song itself. A ‘chef’s kiss’ being a gesture toward something perfected or well-done, even loved.” We can expect more of this sort of poignant balladry on Showtunes, which finds Wagner drawing inspiration from classic songwriters and composers alike. —Scott Russell

Lightning Bug: “The Right Thing Is Hard to Do”

Lightning Bug announced their third album (and first on Fat Possum), A Color of the Sky, out June 5. Singer/songwriter Audrey Kang and company also shared its lead single, “The Right Thing Is Hard to Do,” along with an animated music video. “The Right Thing Is Hard to Do” is an atmospheric, guitar-driven ballad, with a gorgeous drone that Kang’s vocals illuminate, like a spotlight shining through the night sky. The song’s reflective lyrics find Kang recalling her idyllic childhood, and the way that reckoning with her emotions grew more difficult as she got older; she connects this rising anxiety to our current political climate (“So they say they’ll build a wall […] And turn away those seeking shelter most of all”), ultimately upholding love over doubt and fear. Lightning Bug’s lush instrumentation intertwines with Kang’s hopeful lyrics, and “The Right Thing Is Hard to Do” as a whole fortifies the spirit, convincing you that a better world is possible. —Scott Russell

Quivers: “Gutters of Love”

On May 28, Melbourne-via-Tasmania jangle-pop quartet Quivers will release Golden Doubt, their second album (and first on Ba Da Bing Records), and the follow-up to their 2018 debut We’ll Go Riding on the Hearses and 2021 full-length cover of R.E.M.’s Out of Time. Lead single and Golden Doubt opener “Gutters of Love” begins simply with singer Sam Nicholson’s voice and a three-chord progression, building patiently to an achingly anthemic climax. Gleaming guitar work, vocal harmonies from Quivers members Holly Thomas and Bella Quinlan, and keen production courtesy of Matthew Redlich (Holy Holy, Husky, Ainslie Wills) all elevate the song into a bruised, yet beautiful rock anthem that makes its home in the fleeting space between joy and pain. “‘Gutters of Love’ is a song about serotonin levels but mostly about love. We wanted a guitar song that was in love with love, but also knows a comedown is coming and you might need your friends to help you get through it,” Nicholson says in a statement. “That’s why the song is all Holly and Bella harmonies, big guitars, broken Farfisa organ, piano, and a shouty choir. It will be OK.” —Scott Russell

Squid: “Paddling”

Rising U.K. rock quintet Squid shared the second single from their much-anticipated debut album Bright Green Field, out May 7 on Warp Records. A longtime staple of Squid’s live show, “Paddling” opens on Laurie Nankivell’s low-key drum-machine loop and slowly, steadily—and then suddenly—ratchets up into a psych-motorik rave-up. Guitarists Anton Pearson and Louis Borlase, and drummer Ollie Judge all trade off on vocals, as if to reinforce the song’s topsy-turvy world (“There are people, there are people inside / And they’re changing in shape and in size”), while Arthur Leadbetter’s delirious synths push the song to a fever pitch until it breaks. As its title suggests, “Paddling” is exhilaratingly unmoored, never staying put long enough to be pinned down. “Written from two different perspectives, ‘Paddling’ is a song about the dichotomy between simple pleasures and decadent consumerism,” Squid explain in a statement. “Recounting a familiar scene from The Wind in the Willows, the song reminds us that although we are humans, we are ultimately animals that are driven by both modern and primal instincts, leading to vanity and machismo around us in the everyday.” —Scott Russell

Spirit of the Beehive: “I SUCK THE DEVIL’S COCK”

It’s clear Spirit of the Beehive are holding a hot hand when it comes to their forthcoming Saddle Creek debut album, ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH, out on April 9. The difficult-to-define Philadelphia band have released three singles so far, the latest of which is this week’s eyebrow-raising “I SUCK THE DEVIL’S COCK,” and all three, including “THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN’T DO” and “THE SERVER IS IMMERSED,” have ranked among the best songs of their respective weeks. “I SUCK THE DEVIL’S COCK” is the most sprawling and divergent single yet, a journey that begins with a warped jangle-pop guitar riff, only to collapse into glitchy ambient noise, shifting shape and passing from there through numerous doors of perception. Spirit of the Beehive describe the song as “our take on ‘a day in the life.’ A man, overworked and undervalued, discovers a portal to another time and place where he hears a familiar song on the radio. In the context of the record, this track specifically encapsulates the dread of required performance, ultimately leading to a freeing death.” ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH, indeed. —Scott Russell

William Tyler & Marisa Anderson: “Lost Futures”

Prolific guitarists Marisa Anderson and William Tyler are joining forces on a collaborative album, Lost Futures. The album’s lead single and title track arrived Thursday, a delicate blend of uplifting instrumentals. The pair met at a Portland concert honoring the late David Berman, and began working together remotely at the start of 2020. The album borrows its name from Mark Fisher’s cultural theory, and takes inspiration from the halting of life and plans that came as a result of the pandemic. “Lost Futures” is a serene and comforting glimpse into the gems bound to arise from a partnership between Anderson and Tyler. —Carli Scolforo

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