The 10 Best New Songs

Featuring Tierra Whack, Róisín Murphy, Overcoats and more

Music Lists Best New Songs
The 10 Best New Songs

The latest sign of hope for 2021 arrived this week in the form of numerous tour announcements, suggesting that, at least on paper, safe live music is somewhere on the horizon. We’re cautiously optimistic, but for now, more focused on something else that arrived this week: some good new songs. The cream of this week’s crop includes rock tracks by Overcoats and Pardoner, hip-hop from Tierra Whack and McKinley Dixon, and dance music from Róisín Murphy and Hildegard. Mix it up with the full list below.

Freddie Gibbs: “Big Boss Rabbit”

Freddie Gibbs knows he’s good, and he has the receipts to prove it. He’s one of the most critically acclaimed rappers of the past decade, most recently snagging a Grammy nomination for 2020’s Alfredo with legendary producer The Alchemist. “Big Boss Rabbit” has Gibbs gliding over the same “Sugar Man” sample that graced Nas’ “You’re Da Man” as he reflects on his success despite not having a charting song: “”No Hot 100, I’m a hot boy with some murder ones / Cash money Kane, big number one Sunday, you my youngest son.” Gibbs has set out his own red carpet, and he will walk on it no matter what. —Jade Gomez

Hildegard: “Jour 1”

Helena Deland told Paste in late 2020 that Hildegard was on its way. The project, a collaboration between Deland and French producer Ouri, then went on to release its first single “Jour 2” last month. Wednesday, the news arrived that we can expect their debut self-titled LP on June 4. The announcement came with the release of single “Jour 1,” and an accompanying music video directed by Deland and Ouri. The new song finds a different mix of Deland’s haunting, ghostly folk-style vocals and Ouri’s electronic dance influences than we’ve seen previously. With “Jour 2” being toned-down and ethereal, “Jour 1” shows a harder edge of how these two can come together, with bouncing percussion biting through Deland’s singing. With two tracks out of eight released, each titled in French after one day the duo spent together, we’re already seeing the wide range of possibility that comes from two vastly different musical powerhouses teaming up. Hildegard described “Jour 1” in a statement as being “about processing by partying, and the clarity that sometimes comes with it.” —Carli Scolforo

LSDXOXO: “Sick Bitch”

LSDXOXO is a globetrotter, taking pieces of European dance scenes, American house staples and African elements, amongst a slew of other influences, to create some of the most compelling dance music of the past decade. His latest song “Sick Bitch” is a tribute to the raunchy Chicago ghetto house movement. LSD turns moans and body-thumping bass into a club banger that will someday make its way across ballroom battles and dance parties alike. —Jade Gomez

McKinley Dixon: “Chain Sooo Heavy”

McKinley Dixon shared “Chain Sooo Heavy” on Tuesday, the third single ahead of his debut LP for label Spacebomb Records. For My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like Her arrives May 7 and features previous releases “Swangin’” and “make a poet Black,” the latter of which made Paste’s Best Songs of February 2021. “Chain Sooo Heavy” is jazzy and chaotic in the best way possible, with the Richmond rapper’s expertly delivered verses swimming on top of a blaring saxophone. Female backing vocals, more subtle horns and dreamy keyboard trills add nuance to the beat as Dixon keeps it dynamic, switching his rhythm throughout. Dixon said of the song’s lyrics in a statement: “Chain Sooo Heavy” is my view on the commodification of the black experience by an outside audience. The way that trauma can be made palatable and marketable without consent and how because of capitalism, it’s hard to escape the consolidating parts of you for an audience. It’s a self reflection on how I’m susceptible to that.” —Carli Scolforo

New Madrid: “Are You the Wind”

“Are You the Wind” is the third single—and a standout track—from New Madrid’s self-titled fourth album, out April 30 on Lemonade Records and produced by Drew Vandenberg (Bambara, Faye Webster). The Athens, Georgia quartet describe their first new LP since 2016 as “all the things we liked about our previous albums with new stuff put on top of it.” In the case of “Are You the Wind” (which the band say was “one of the first songs we started writing for the new album, but the last to find its final form”), that comprises distinctly Southern jangle-pop, a propulsive motorik chug, and Phil McGill vocals that evoke Paul Banks and Jeff Mangum alike. But the song’s most surprising and striking element is its ambient synth-pop breakdown, an atmospheric stretch that eventually grows to encompass both of the song’s two minds. New Madrid swing for the fences on this one, expanding their sound with skill and confidence. —Scott Russell

Overcoats: “The Hardest Part” (feat. Tennis)

Brooklyn alternative-pop duo Overcoats announced a new EP Wednesday, featuring a new single with fellow pop innovators Tennis. Used To Be Scared Of The Dark features contributions from Middle Kids, Lawrence Rothman, and Ryan Hahn of Local Natives. The EP is based on self-growth and the quest for stability, and all of the collaboration was done remotely to show how trust transcends physicality. Lead single “The Hardest Part” is a summery folk-pop jam aided by Alaina Moore of Tennis’ buttery-smooth vocals and sparkly keyboards to create immersive harmonies that are easy to get lost in. Reflecting on the making of the song, the Overcoats said: “This song is about coming to terms with a relationship being over. And the hard reality that you may never know where that person ends up or what they do. It’s about letting go. We brought this song to Tennis because it needed their nostalgic retro pop sound to help tell this story. And it needed to be cooler.” —Jade Gomez

Pardoner: “Bunny’s Taxi”

Bay Area rockers Pardoner makes music fit for these singular times: Right around the corner is a sunny, vaccinated summer, full of explosive celebration, but by no means free of simmering rage. Take their previous Came Down Different singles: “Donna Said” melded rock of the noise and jangle varieties while documenting the draining demands of the music-industry rat race (“When you got feelings and guitar / You wanna trade it for cash”), while “Spike” moved a mile a minute to reflect its anti-exploitative sentiments (“Step up on some grapes / They want wine / They want twice the results / In half of the time”). These are songs about being cash-strapped, anonymous and squeezed dry by society (just like those grapes), but somehow having the last laugh all the same. “Bunny’s Taxi” keeps an eye on that same everyday dehumanization, but takes more of a big-picture view of such everyone-for-themselves struggles, mocking the thoughtlessness of following your bliss wherever. “C’mon and do what you want / If it makes you feel good, how could it be wrong? / C’mon and do what you want to,” Max Freeland urges over shrieking guitars, going on to drone, “I threw my cares off the cliff / I didn’t care who I hit / The tourists shouted in French / But it’s all Greek to me.” Elsewhere, Pardoner reference their hometown antihero Dirty Harry, deliver wrist-shattering drums and red-hot riffs that land somewhere between shoegaze and surf-rock, and conjure a truly harrowing metaphor for life (and “leisure”) under late capitalism on a dying planet: “If you need me / I’m watching TV in the oven with a gun to the back of my head, fuck.” —Scott Russell

Remember Sports: “Out Loud”

Philadelphia band Remember Sports released “Out Loud” Tuesday, the latest in a string of singles ahead of Like a Stone. The LP, out April 23 via Father/Daughter Records and Big Scary Monsters, is one of the 10 albums Paste is most excited about this April. With a near seven-minute runtime, “Out Loud” is one of Remember Sports’ longest songs to date. Warm acoustic guitars add a certain comfort to the band’s brand of indie rock, with each player getting a chance to shine at the forefront of the mix throughout the song’s extended run. Guitarist Jack Washburn and bassist Catherine Dwyer add layers of emotion with their harmonies on pining lyrics “I’m not going backwards / We can turn around / When everything else feels broken / You’re still words in my mouth,” yet it’s lead singer Carmen Perry who takes the cake on the latest track. In Washburn’s words via a statement, Perry goes “full Ariana Grande” with her powerful vocal takes, “and the whispering she does on that last chorus is one of the most special moments on the record for me.” —Carli Scolforo

Róisín Murphy: “Assimilation”

Wednesday, Irish electropop queen Róisín Murphy shared “Assimilation,” a rework of 2020’s “Simulation” off Róisín Machine. It strips back the original song into a more moody, house-influenced disco bop while highlighting Murphy’s magnetic vocals that loop and glide into each others’ syllables. The echoey layers blend into the twinkling keys for a track that transcends genre and settles into an effortless homage to generations of dance. —Jade Gomez

Tierra Whack: “Link”

Three years ago, Tierra Whack introduced us to her colorful mind with Whack World, turning the medium of the visual album into something immersive with her deceptively childlike aesthetics to provide short snippets of life’s quirks. On her latest song “Link,” Whack does what she knows best: catchy synth-pop earworms that showcase her innate ability to turn the simplest of rhymes into jams that can be infinitely repeated, made as a ringtone, or sent to that special someone as a digital nudge to link when the pandemic is over. —Jade Gomez

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