The 10 Best New Songs

Featuring Dry Cleaning, SAULT, Weyes Blood 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.

Dry Cleaning: “No Decent Shoes for Rain”

Dry Cleaning guitarist Tom Dowse once told Paste, “I’m not really interested in being a technical guitarist, I’m much more interested in how much I can communicate emotionally through a guitar.” His playing on “No Decent Shoes for Rain”—the fourth (and presumably final) single ahead of the band’s sophomore album Stumpwork, due out next week—is perhaps his most expressive yet, setting the track’s blearily downcast tone alongside Florence Shaw’s bummed-out vocals. Like the unfortunate, ill-prepared pedestrian its title implies, the song finds Dry Cleaning assuming the perspective of someone emotionally unprepared for what life has thrown at them—this is rooted in truth, as the quartet made Stumpwork after having lost both bassist Lewis Maynard’s mother and Dowse’s grandfather. The result, on “No Decent Shoes for Rain,” is unlike anything in the band’s burgeoning catalog: Dowse, Maynard and drummer Nick Buxton lay down a groove that warps and blurs like wet newsprint, while Shaw’s knowing non-sequiturs (“I’ve seen a guy cautioned by police for rollerblading”) cover, but can’t quite obscure the cold, hard truth: “My poor heart is breaking.” —Scott Russell

Enumclaw: “10th and J 2

Enumclaw, the rising rock four-piece and recent Best of What’s Next act out of Tacoma, Washington, shared one last single ahead of their debut album Save the Baby before its release this week. Our fifth preview of the album after “2002,” “Jimmy Neutron,” “Cowboy Bepop” and “Park Lodge,” “10th and J 2” is out now alongside a music video. One of the last tracks on Save the Baby, “10th and J 2” is also quietly one of the album’s best, a gleaming, twang-tinged strummer in which Aramis Johnson fights to safeguard his self-belief, even in the face of anxiety, isolation and doubt. Over Eli Edwards and Ladaniel Gipson’s steady low end, Johnson and Nathan Cornell interweave warm acoustic chords and distant pedal steel, setting these heartland rock sounds against Johnson’s aspirational lyrics: “You should have it quoted / Say it all the time / I will be, I will be / Who I’m destined to be,” he sings, his heart set on running down that dream. —Scott Russell

Jobber: “Heel Turn

The debut record from Brooklyn fuzz-rock four-piece Jobber begins with a bombastic, professional wrestling promo-style threat: “All of you are going down on Hell in a Cell … you will not have a nice day.” It ends with “Heel Turn”—the band’s final single ahead of the EP’s Oct. 21 release on Exploding In Sound Records, which premiered at Paste this week—and by the time you hear the track in context, you won’t need us to tell you that threat was empty. The impassioned, storytelling spectacle of professional wrestling is Jobber’s stock-in-trade, as seen on Hell in a Cell’s previous singles, “Entrance Theme” (naturally) and the title track. Yet the band—named for a wrestler who gets beaten to make others look good—use that high-flying fun as a jumping-off point for some seriously thoughtful songwriting, from trenchant commentary on the gig economy to the emotional introspection of “Heel Turn,” a standout on the EP in both concept and sound. Where other Hell in a Cell cuts are upbeat and riff-driven, with vocal harmonies and sometimes synth figures to brighten the corners, “Heel Turn” is more mid-tempo and moody, as befitting its subject matter. Vocalist/guitarist Kate Meizner matches introspective lyrics with unusually muted singing over Mike Falcone’s thumping drumbeat, even when she and Michael Julius unleash their razor-in-wristband guitars. An explosive solo brings the track to its peak (and, one would imagine, the crowd to their feet), like a finishing move designed to leave bruises. —Scott Russell

Julianna Riolino: “Isn’t It a Pity”

No matter where you are or what you’re doing, you’ll feel yourself moving to Julianna Riolino’s (of The Outfit) newest single, “Isn’t It A Pity.” It just feels easy, while not getting so simple that it’s boring. The guitar provides an easy groove, almost as if she’s asking you to sing along. “Isn’t it a pity?” she opens the song, singing so naturally that you feel inclined to agree. She continues with beautifully sensory lyrics, putting everything in tactile terms that instinctually make sense: “Isn’t it a shame / Spring has risen over this game / Memory in motion / A carpenter of sound / Awakening my ears / Lays my body down.” The soft country-rock lends a warmth to listening, like stretching out muscles you haven’t used in a while. This track is her last single before the release of her album All Blue, out Oct. 14 on You’ve Changed Records. There’s a certain resignation to it, allowing the seasons to change even through her reluctance. But her tone assures you that she remains an active participant in her life, rather than allowing it to carry her. Her vivid imagery will stick with the listener, accompanying you comfortably. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

Plains: “Hurricane”

Katie Crutchfield and Jess Williamson, both accomplished solo artists in their own right, have joined forces for a new music project called Plains, and their debut album under the moniker, I Walked with You a Ways, is a rich assortment of country songs inspired by the greats—Dolly Parton, Lucinda Williams, Tanya Tucker, Loretta Lynn, Emmylou Harris, Tammy Wynette, The Judds, Faith Hill and so on—garnished with their individual distinct styles. A fierce face is at the center of the Crutchfield-led “Hurricane,” which features some of the record’s best and sparkliest harmonies. But this time, the narrator is hoping to shed some light on her penchant for a chaotic strain of love. “I come in like a cannonball,” Crutchfield sings. “I’ve been that way my whole life.” Crutchfield and Williamson both chime in on the refrain, Chicks-style, singing, “I’ll come back to you.” —Ellen Johnson

Runnner: “i only sing about food

Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Noah Weinman has announced his debut album as Runnner, Like Dying Stars, We’re Reaching Out, coming Feb. 17, 2023, on Run For Cover Records. Lead single “i only sing about food” is out now alongside a music video. Our first preview of Like Dying Stars finds Weinman continuing to refine his sound, splitting the difference between the ghostly indie-folk of his peer (and collaborator) Skullcrusher and the hooky bedroom-pop confessionals of Field Medic. Looping banjo plucks and acoustic guitar chords fade in over a rapid-fire drum loop, with whirling synths flickering in and out of the mix. Meanwhile, Weinman wrestles with his own internal monologue, struggling not only to express himself, but also to deal with the emotions that disconnect engenders (“I cried in your car / When I couldn’t find the words I was looking for”). Hooky and brief, the track pairs its lightness with the urgency of a search for badly needed relief from the pitfalls of one’s own mind. Piano and wordless vocal harmonies carry the track through its home stretch, Weinman’s vocal falling silent as if he’s focused on imagining a future in which he can just be understood. —Scott Russell

SAULT: “Angel”

The enigmatic U.K. band SAULT have once again released an unexpected new track via their own Forever Living Originals, this one clocking in at just over 10 minutes. Produced by Inflo, “Angel” features London singer/songwriter Jack Peñate and Jamaican reggae artist Chronixx, according to its credits. The song moves as though composed of three different songs, producing a total evolution over the course of just the one track. The instrumentation remains spare, with bass and guitar shifting into quiet piano as the track progresses. It often sounds as though vocalist Chronixx is singing into a large, empty hall, performing for an empty audience. “My little brother was an angel to me,” he repeats in the first third, on a track filled with tension about the gun-induced death of a younger brother, as a choir sings, “Run to save your life.” On the next portion, voices guide us toward Zion, producing a gentle, transitory interlude and continuing the storyline. Delicate harmonies make the spare arrangements seem softer, with the piano shifting into soft bass beneath a spoken-word part advising us to “Go gently, and find your way,” and easing the listener into the third part of the track. Here, the singer’s voice is raw and vulnerable, strong in that they are singing even though their voice might break at any moment. Even with simple repetitive lyrics, the story is told so intimately that it feels like it happened to someone you know. —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

Westerman: “Idol; RE-run”

For people the world over, Jan. 6, 2021, was a day dominated by feelings of disillusionment and anger, watching helplessly as a violent mob swarmed the U.S. Capitol like ants at a picnic. South London-born and Athens, Greece-based Westerman channeled those and other feelings into “Idol; RE-run,” his first new single in two years, which he co-produced alongside James Krivchenia. Over finger-picked acoustic guitar, skittering percussion, serene piano and synth, and contemplative trombone, Westerman considers what he calls “the compulsion towards the pedestal [and] the need to scapegoat and revere without logic,” immortalizing the sheer human suffering (“All the pain / The doubt”) that crashes against the bulwarks of society, provoked by leaders who wield outsized power in both our lives and minds. The song’s jazz-inflected folk gains momentum as it goes, while Westerman takes repeated aim at the cheap facades these figureheads erect for themselves: “There goes a juggling bear / There’s always going to be another,” he sings, mocking the falsehood of political theater without losing sight of its price: “People die waiting / For the lighting to come back / This way.” —Scott Russell

Weyes Blood: “Grapevine”

Weyes Blood’s (aka Natalie Mering) voice has always been an illumination, wavering delicately among her surrounding folk-pop instrumentals. Her newest track, “Grapevine,” upholds this legacy of hers. With an orchestral backing, complete with bells and swooping synth, this track builds up to a magnificent crescendo, with Mering’s voice guiding the way. The lyrics describe a love epic, taking place on the road, with lines like “California’s my body / And your fire runs over me” giving you a sense of place, while leaving you with goosebumps. Mering herself searches throughout this entire track, singing, “When I see the light / Shining across the freeway late at night / Start to drift over the line / And it hits me for the first time / Now we’re just two cars passing by / On the Grapevine.” Her yearning sears into you, carving through the layers of the song decisively, making everything point toward her loved one. Mering explains the tragic note embedded in the song, saying, “Technology is harvesting our attention away from each other. We all have a ‘Grapevine’ entwined around our past with unresolved wounds and pain. Being in love doesn’t necessarily mean being together.” —Rosa Sofia Kaminski

Wild Pink: “The Grass Widow in the Grass Window”

Picking up right where A Billion Little Lights left off, ILYSM finds John Ross once again staring into the cosmos and the infinite abyss, looking towards the moon as a companion and the night sky as a link to all of humanity. Early on in the writing process for ILYSM, Ross was diagnosed with cancer, and there are moments on almost every song where you can hear him grappling with this diagnosis and trying to make sense of it all. In spite of its tough subject matter, or perhaps because of it, ILYSM is a record brimming with hope and a newfound appreciation for life itself. Songs like “Hold My Hand,” a duet with Julien Baker, and the hauntingly beautiful “St. Beater Camry,” which features vocals from Samantha Crain, take a more laid-back sonic approach which, in turn, makes them all the more effective as Ross shares some of his most vulnerable lyrics to date. These tracks in particular serve as further proof that no matter how complex the band’s arrangements have grown, the humanistic qualities of their songs have always endured. However, it isn’t until “The Grass Widow in the Glass Window” that Ross delivers one of the record’s most devastating lines: “Now is not for the faint of heart / They’ll put you on a shelf / If you can’t just shut the fuck up and be alone with yourself.” —Michael Brooks

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