The 10 Best New Songs

Featuring Florence + The Machine, Destroyer, Floating Points 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 Thursday we can swing it, we take stock of the previous seven days’ best tracks, delivering a weekly playlist of our favorites while keeping Fridays free to focus on new albums. Check out this week’s best new songs below.

Destroyer: “June”

Ahead of the release of their new record LABYRINTHITIS on March 25, Destroyer’s third single “June” allows yet another layer of the world Dan Bejar and collaborator John Collins have created to unfurl. With influences including disco, Art of Noise and New Order, it’s not surprising that the tracks we’ve heard so far sound tailor-made for the dance floor, albeit with head-scratching lyrics characteristic of the band that only add to its absurd charm. “June” is no exception, closing with a two-minute spoken-word passage that distorts as the song collapses in a heap. Even while he’s rambling, Bejar doesn’t let his foot off the gas or his hold on your attention waver. Extra points just for the inclusion of the line, “A snow angel’s a fucking idiot somebody made / A fucking idiot someone made in the snow.” Guess we can’t argue with that, Dan. —Elise Soutar

Floating Points: “Vocoder”

Sam Shepherd’s work under his Floating Points moniker is endless in its potential to uncover the depths of electronic music. Whether it be his bass-inflicted techno or breathy ambient, Shepherd plays around with the dance floor and the emptiness of a back room and shows his versatility, most notably on 2021’s Promises. “Vocoder” flips the switch into true dance territory. A distant synth swells into a vocoder-treated groove, punctuated with chopped-up vocals and tingly percussion. Various eras of house music coalesce on the seven-minute-long dance floor romp. It’s Shepherd at some of his most straightforward and intense, leaving no room for reflection as he takes listeners on a speaker-shaking, body-moving journey into a new extreme for the veteran DJ. —Jade Gomez

Florence + The Machine: “Heaven Is Here

Following Florence + The Machine’s heavily anticipated return with “King,” Florence Welch and company made quick work of sharing “Heaven Is Here,” another new single from their forthcoming album Dance Fever. The percussive, ritualistic battlecry of a track arrived with another video directed by Autumn de Wilde and featuring choreography by Ryan Heffington. Carrying confrontational lyrics and spare instrumentation over from “King,” “Heaven Is Here” sees Welch’s elastic voice provide a substantial amount of the backing track, letting shrieks and grunts dance around handclaps and timpani strikes, all warning whatever stands in the way of what she wants. The accompanying lyrics read more like an incantation than a song, exorcising any demon hiding between the lines: “I went to the water, drank every drop / I’ll turn your sea to a desert.” Despite the aggressive front, Welch gives the impression that the ceremony stemming from her pen won’t be enough to save her. “And every song I wrote / Became an escape rope / Tied around my neck / To pull me up to heaven,” she whispers before the song finishes with an abrupt drum hit that mimics the snap of a neck, perhaps sacrificing her own in order to create. —Elise Soutar

Golden Daze: “Nobody Else”

“Nobody Else” is a consequential single from Los Angeles duo Golden Daze, who had just started building an audience on the strength of their second album, 2019’s Simpatico, when the pandemic brought the world to a stop. Ben Schwab and Jacob Loeb envisioned the new track, their first in the three years since Simpatico, as “a bridge between that record and whatever comes next,” and that’s a crossing we’re glad to make. The duo’s lush, timeless tunes are best described as Laurel Canyon dream pop, blending Hovvdy’s delicate vocal harmonies with Whitney’s “country soul” instrumentation. On “Nobody Else,” rosy guitars intertwine with Schwab and Loeb’s conjoined voices as the tight-knit pair consider “the idea of ‘home’ and whether we understand it as a person or place, as something to seek out or something to return to,” as they explain. At the end of the day, no one can answer that question but you, Golden Daze decide, urging, “Listen to yourself and go / Ain’t nobody else who knows.” —Scott Russell

Horsegirl: “Anti-glory”

Horsegirl hive, assemble: The Chicago rock trio have announced their full-length debut, Versions of Modern Performance, coming June 3 on Matador Records, and shared the video for its lead single and opener, “Anti-glory.” Penelope Lowenstein (guitar, vocals), Nora Cheng (guitar, vocals) and Gigi Reece (drums) are best friends who met through Chicago’s youth arts programs—Cheng and Reece are college freshmen, and Lowenstein a high school senior, so “youth” is a key word there. They recorded Versions of Modern Performance at Chicago’s Electrical Audio with John Agnello (Kurt Vile, The Breeders, Dinosaur Jr.), saying of the LP, “It’s our debut bare-bones album in a Chicago institution with a producer who we feel like really respected what we were trying to do.” If “Anti-glory” is anything to go by, “bare-bones” may be a misleadingly modest framing of what Horsegirl have up their sleeves. The band’s output to this point, including their 2020-standout EP Ballroom Dance Scene et cetera (best of Horsegirl) and their 2021 one-off “Billy,” has skewed towards throwback shoegaze and no wave, but “Anti-glory” hits differently. Over Reece’s blunt percussion, Cheng and Lowenstein trade hard-nosed riffs and point/counterpoint vocals, as if they’re singing two parallel songs. Cheng’s dense lyrics evoke anxiety (“Feeding for a foe till it’s found”), while Lowenstein’s are like nihilism’s siren song (“Dance / With me please / If black / Turns to blue / Well, there’s nothing I can do”). The song’s two minds become one in its staccato dance-punk choruses, with Cheng and Lowenstein commanding us to dance as Reece stomps the kickdrum. —Scott Russell

Kate Bollinger: “Who Am I But Someone”

Richmond, Virginia-based singer/songwriter Kate Bollinger finds herself confronted with, in her own words from a press release, “avoidance, denial, being afraid of change and being afraid of stagnating” on “Who Am I But Someone.” It’s worth noting that crises hardly ever sound as lovely as this one, as Bollinger juxtaposes her lyrics with warm, skipping guitars and keyboard lines. The video only takes the strained sunshine further by referencing the color-saturated, charmingly sugary word of late 60s television, offering an alternate reality where the Partridge Family or The Monkees decided to take the week off and let Bollinger and her friends take a crack at it. “Who am I but a ship in the night / Lost but headed for you / Crossed my wires, unknown are my desires / A confused point of view,” she sings as the song slinks to a slower bridge nearing the finish, forging ahead regardless of what lies at the other end of her grainy, artificially-colored rainbow. —Elise Soutar

Meat Wave: “Honest Living”

The first new material from Chicago noise-punk outfit Meat Wave since last summer’s Volcano Park EP, “Honest Living” is a hooky head-banger about the unyielding rigors of capitalism. Written while an unspecified member of the band was working days in a warehouse and nights in a bar, the track is played entirely straight, as if “Clocked in for the rest of time / Retire when I die!” were a rallying cry, rather than one of despair. “The system is not cruel / The system is not evil / There’s a better word for it / I just can’t think of it,” vocalist and guitarist Chris Sutter insists as Ryan Wizniak and Joe Gac’s low end, buttressed by subtle synths, pumps furiously along like an overworked set of pistons. The track’s thrumming energy alone is enough to help propel even the most stripped-bare cog through another day on the job. —Scott Russell

Sadurn: “Golden Arm

Philadelphia folk-rock quartet Sadurn have shared the second single from their forthcoming debut album Radiator, coming May 6 on Run For Cover Records. “Golden Arm” follows last month’s “Snake,” one of our favorite songs of February. Where “Snake” was anthemic and upbeat, “Golden Arm” is more serene, centering bandleader Genevieve DeGroot’s intimate vocals and guitar. They yearn for a connection that seems just out of reach, singing over sparing strums and percussion, “I wish I understood a hundred times / The gnawing in my heart / I wanna touch you on your golden arm.” Slide guitar streaks across the song like dusk’s last rays of sunlight, and at times, DeGroot vocalizes wordlessly, as if at a loss to wrap their arms around a feeling so big. —Scott Russell

Spiritualized: “The Mainline Song

Spiritualized, the acclaimed space-rock band, were initially set to release their latest album Everything Was Beautiful in February via Fat Possum Records. There is a new release date set for April 22, and the wait is made less painful with their new single “The Mainline Song,” which arrives with another J Spaceman-directed video. Noted in press materials as being partially inspired by the 2020 protests, “The Mainline Song” is an atmospheric slow burn, and the propulsive nature of the song is driven home with a train bell that morphs into the melody. Harsh train sounds make way for choral melodies and dynamic layers of twinkling bells and atmospheric guitars, reminiscent of vintage Spiritualized. The accompanying video features footage of a train barreling down the tracks from one destination to the next, filled with endless meaning. —Jade Gomez

Tomberlin: “tap”

Sarah Beth Tomberlin has shared the third single from her much-anticipated new album i don’t know who needs to hear this…, her follow-up to 2018’s At Weddings, coming April 29 on Saddle Creek. Like “idkwntht” and “happy accident” before it, “tap” finds the singer/songwriter taking a sonic leap forward, albeit in an entirely different way than those previous singles. Over shifting sands of hand percussion, hypnotic fingerpicking, and sparse flickers of electric guitar, bass, piano and strings, Tomberlin spends “tap” exploring the elements of daily life that make her feel alive—or do the opposite. Her mesmerizing vocals consider social media (“Tap the heart until I hate myself”) and nature (“Do you think about the trees in the breeze / How they swing and scream and talk and breathe?”), internet friends (“Talk to strangers like we already met”) and the communal gift of music (“I love the people playing songs in the park”), “movies that make [her] feel” and “trash TV.” Ultimately, she remembers that these pursuits are hers alone to prioritize: “Remind me that I don’t have to be anything.” —Scott Russell

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