The 10 Best New Songs

Featuring Björk, Weyes Blood, Algiers feat. billy woods and Backxwash, and more

Music Lists Best New Songs
The 10 Best New Songs

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 best new songs below.

Algiers feat. billy woods and Backxwash: “Bite Back

Atlanta-based quartet Algiers “Bite Back” on their first new single since 2020, featuring underground hip-hop heavyweights billy woods and Backxwash. The band break new stylistic ground on the six-minute statement track, keeping an eye on unchecked, insidious forces over a darkly twitchy, yet sprawling instrumental, and layering in their collaborators’ distinctive verses for maximum effect. “Shit’s been so real the past few years, we really needed to grow our community of collaborators and make solid the bonds we’ve always felt, particularly with rap heads,” said Algiers multi-instrumentalist/producer Ryan Mahan in a statement. “And to have the two best rappers around, billy woods AND Backxwash, on the same Algiers-produced track? Pinch me, for real.” —Scott Russell

Bill Callahan: “Coyotes”

If I may quote an unusually eloquent YouTube comment, “Bill [Callahan] has us all in the palm of his hand.” The oaken-voiced Drag City singer/songwriter makes mesmerizing music seem easy, as most recently heard on “Coyotes,” the lead single from his forthcoming album YTILAER (Oct. 14). Gentle acoustic guitar abuts wandering piano and smoky electric riffs, the instrumental equivalent of a campfire fizzling out at dawn. Meanwhile, Callahan creates a lyrical mosaic of nature, time, survival and togetherness, all revolving around “A dream of a coyote / Watching over you and me.” The song moves slowly through all these eternal ideas, Callahan’s full-band backing lending the force of ages to his meditative songwriting, and finds itself, finally, in a place of unconditional love. —Scott Russell

Björk: “ovule

Icelandic avant-pop titan Björk has shared the video for her second single from the forthcoming fossora ahead of its Sept. 30 release on One Little Independent. The album is her 10th, and first since 2017’s Utopia. “i am excited to share with you the second video of my album to the song ‘ovule,’” said the artist on social media. “‘ovule’ for me is my definition of love. it is a meditation about us as lovers walking around this world.” “ovule” finds Björk charting the life cycle of a relationship over her own elaborate production, which comprises regal trombone and timpani, arranged by Björk and performed by Bergur Borisson and Soraya Nayyar, respectively, and a pounding industrial beat. The song begins and ends on the image of the titular ovule—the idealized form of the seed from which love and pain both grow. “We dissolve old habits and place a glass egg above us floating,” Björk sings haltingly, just before “ovule” shudders to an end. —Scott Russell

Bonny Doon: “San Francisco

Bonny Doon are back with their first new material in four years, the easygoing “San Francisco.” The Detroit trio’s debut single on ANTI- Records features Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield, members of Woods, and other friends of the band. The band’s journey to this point explains much about how they arrived at “San Francisco.” Bill Lennox (vocals, guitar), Bobby Colombo (vocals, guitar) and Jake Kmiecik (drums) released their self-titled debut as Bonny Doon in 2017, and began performing as Waxahatchee’s backing band and released the acclaimed Longwave the following year. Lennox and Colombo collaborated closely with Crutchfield on Waxahatchee’s 2020-standout album Saint Cloud, writing many of its guitar arrangements. “San Francisco” feels like a product of that cross-pollination in many ways: Bonny Doon lean further than ever into rustic Americana, with tinny piano (arranged by John Andrews) and hand percussion framing their breezy acoustic guitar. Lennox’s wistful vocals find him focused on the places he’s left behind, as well as the future he’s still seeking: “You know you sure can’t put a price on / The things that make you feel alive,” he observes, ever in search of something no one area code can claim. —Scott Russell

Hand Habits: “Greatest Weapon”

Somehow, Meg Duffy (the artist behind the project Hand Habits) will have you singing along in your bedroom to the terrifying grips of time on this latest track. Building the sound with a slide guitar at the base, their song has a nearly pop feel with gratifying moments of release to jam out to. “I’ve seen the greatest weapon / Of all time / It’s time itself,” Duffy cries, yet they give themselves over to this with notes of underlying joy. Featuring Sylvan Esso’s Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn on backing vocals, and released via artist-run recording company Psychic Hotline, this is a project made in collaboration with friends, and feels driven by such a passion. There’s a relentless drive to the chorus, something that won’t stop going through your mind hours after your last listen. Winking at fear, Duffy seems to take it in stride, crumbling at time’s feet while finding the fortitude to write a song about it all. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

Kathryn Mohr: “Stranger”

New to The Flenser is San Jose-based singer/songwriter Kathryn Mohr, whose forthcoming Holly EP, produced by Madeline Johnston of Midwife, will be released via the Bay Area-based “dark music label” on Oct 21. Lead single “Stranger” is Mohr’s first new music since the 2020 release of her self-recorded demo tape As If, and leaves its minimalist-industrial atmosphere behind in favor of a more melodic, guitar-driven sound, at which her previous release only hinted. Over layered guitars and a small ocean of reverb, Mohr sings as if she’s on the outside looking in, lamenting “the way of them,” and enduring through uncertainty and struggle as if she has no other choice. Her lyrics are so frank, they’re almost funny: “Generally lost / Figuring out that it’s bad out there,” she sings. But her hauntingly beautiful vocal traces an arc towards hope across the song, as she finally finds herself “Waiting for something more / Forever and evermore.” —Scott Russell

Nick Hakim: “Vertigo

Nick Hakim is no stranger to highly intimate music, and his latest single “Vertigo” does not break the pattern. The song’s hazy thrum holds you close, with the folk-soul musician once again showing his affinity for a touch of psychedelia. It is the second single released in the buildup to Hakim’s latest album Cometa, to be released via ATO Records on Oct. 21. The album as a whole serves as an exploration of floating love. “The key is to find that extremity of love for yourself,” Hakim says in a statement. “It’s about growing into someone you want to be; it’s about finding pure love within yourself when the world around us seems to be crumbling.” Opening with a rhythmic, muted guitar, and surrounding you with Hakim’s echoing vocals, “Vertigo” suspends the listener, asking them to trust in this out-of-body experience. The lyrics emphasize, “Spinnin’, fast as hell can’t tell if it’s me or the room that’s moving.” And the music video released for the single definitely drives this point home. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

Rozi Plain feat. Alabaster DePlume: “Agreeing for Two”

This gentle, lightly glittering new release from Rozi Plain instantly sits just beneath your skin. The soft instrumentals and patient builds leave the song feeling almost ambient, and ensure a softness present throughout the blue-tinted track. The track feels like a conversation between friends or lovers behind closed doors, a moment of disagreement that you perhaps weren’t supposed to catch. Plain shares, “Mainly it’s thinking about how easy it can be to unknowingly make decisions on behalf of other people, thinking you might know what’s best or right for a situation where as maybe it’s just what was easiest for you.” This is the first single released off Plain’s newly announced album PRIZE, out Jan. 13, 2023, via Memphis Industries. Like sliding into a lake for a quick swim, and without a splash all of a sudden finding your body in a whole new environment, “Agreeing for Two” submerges you. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

Skullcrusher: “It’s Like a Secret

Imagine trying to weave a spiderweb with your voice, and you’re close to arriving at a Skullcrusher song. Singer/songwriter Helen Ballentine (aka Skullcrusher) has released a new single “It’s Like a Secret,” and it’s just as heartbreaking and heart-filling as you’d expect. Her voice is full, yet very delicate, and there is not much accompaniment besides dreamy, airy guitar. This is the third track released off her forthcoming debut album Quiet The Room, out Oct. 14 via Secretly Canadian, and as the title might suggest, it really does feel like Ballentine is imparting something vulnerable and close to her heart to you. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

Weyes Blood: “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody

After a breadcrumb trail of teasers, we can finally officially confirm that Weyes Blood is back, baby. Sub Pop will release the Natalie Mering project’s latest album, And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow, on Nov. 18, and its opening track and lead single “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody” is out now. The track is one of 10 that “shed light on the meaning of our contemporary disillusionment,” as Mering writes in an extensive letter accompanying the album’s announcement, describing 2019’s Titanic Rising as “the first album of three in a special trilogy.” Our first preview of its second chapter, “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody” is a sweeping call for kindness and unity amid unimaginable upheaval, which is another way of saying it’s the exact song we need right now. “Living in the wake of overwhelming changes / We’ve all become strangers / Even to ourselves,” Mering observes over stately piano, percussion and strings, later wondering, “Has a time ever been more revealing / That the people are hurting?” The choruses’ choir-like backing vocals and harp flourishes further make “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody” as soul-stirring as it is soul-soothing. —Scott Russell

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