The 10 Best New Songs

Featuring illuminati hotties, Deafheaven, Lucy Dacus and more

Music Lists Best New Songs
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The 10 Best New Songs

Maybe you’ve been dealing with the intense storms sweeping the coast, or maybe you’ve been boiling in the sun. In either case, June has not given anyone a break. Illuminati hotties tried to cool us down with “Pool Hopping” and Madi Diaz makes a fuzzy blanket out of “Woman In My Heart” for those rainy, introspective nights. In any case, emotions are high, backs are sweaty and the world is slowly opening back up. How about you join the Paste staff and listen to some of our favorites of the week? Umbrellas and pools not included.

Deafheaven: “Great Mass of Color”

San Francisco-based metal innovators Deafheaven have announced their fifth album Infinite Granite, a follow-up to 2018’s Ordinary Corrupt Human Love. The band’s go-to producer Jack Shirley returns as an engineer, with production duties instead being handled by Justin Meldal-Johnsen, known for his work with M83, Paramore and Wolf Alice. With this new production team comes a new musical approach on the band’s newest single, “Great Mass of Color.” The track takes a slightly more melodic approach with the band’s lush soundscape, reminiscent of a wistful indie rock hit. The most notable difference is frontman George Clarke’s subdued croon instead of his signature wails, with Clarke nothing that Infinite Granite will be used to explore his vocal abilities further than previous releases have shown. —Jade Gomez

illuminati hotties: “Pool Hopping”

Illuminati hotties, the exhilaratingly noisy project of Sarah Tudzin, has dealt with a lot over the years. From label disputes to unpaid royalties, it has been a rocky road to get to the point of independence. Today, illuminati hotties announces their third album Let Me Do One More, out Oct. 1 via Tudzin’s imprint label Snack Shack Tracks. To kick off the summer, the band shares “Pool Hopping,” the album’s second single following “MMMOOOAAAAAYAYA.” Tudzin uses the pool as a cheeky metaphor for relationships and her desire to find someone better. Her spry lyrics and the beach-punk vibes of the song lend itself well to the equally fitting music video: Everyone is in a pool. What more could we ask for? Maybe some synchronized swimming, which Tudzin delivers with a smile. —Jade Gomez

Lucy Dacus: “Brando”

Since announcing her forthcoming album Home Video (out June 25 via Matador Records), Lucy Dacus has shared dazzling singles such as “VBS” (along with its gorgeous video), as well as “Hot & Heavy” and “Thumbs.” She ramped up the excitement this week with “Brando,” the fourth and final single ahead of the new record. Striking directly towards the listener’s heart with precise and frank lyrics, and a jaunty, danceable mortar of Dacus’ bright acoustic guitar strings and punchy drums, “Brando” demonstrates Dacus’ capacity not only as a songwriter, but also as a practitioner of tactful restraint. Emotive lyrics like “You called me cerebral / I didn’t know what you meant / But now I do. Would it have killed you / to call me pretty instead?” color in the song with Dacus’ vibrant personality. Of the single, Dacus says ”’Brando’ refers to a very dramatic friend I had in high school whose whole personality was the media he consumed. He showed me a lot of amazing movies and music, but I think he was more interested in using me as a scrapbook of his own tastes than actually getting to know me.” —Jason Friedman

Lunar Vacation: “Shrug”

To celebrate signing to Austin-based indie label Keeled Scales, Atlanta-based rock quartet Lunar Vacation shared a new single and video, the sunny, yet circumspect “Shrug.” Though its title may evoke apathy, “Shrug” is more about growing beyond a simplistic, black-and-white perspective. “I look back now and realize that this song was a pivotal moment in delving into self-identity and ultimately identifying as a non-binary person,” says songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Grace Repasky in a statement. “The more I tried to fit into a box, the more I felt out of place. Reconstructing thinking patterns and unlearning a binary outlook is a lifelong journey, and I think ‘Shrug’ is a documented beginning for me.” Produced by Daniel Gleason of Grouplove, “Shrug” is cleverly built on a binary guitar progression, sliding back and forth between two woozy chords in its verses, only to grow more complex in its choruses. Repasky’s plucky vocals lend the song a light heart, even as they recall being “Invited but I’ll never show / Sit at home and playing too much Wilco,” and their ease in concluding, “Good or bad, it’s hard to say,” is uplifting and empowering, depicting uncertainty not as something to be afraid of, but as something to embrace. When Repasky sings in its closing moments, “Why don’t you get up and shrug it off?” the song feels less like a shrug and more like a heartening pat on the back. —Scott Russell

L’Rain: “Suck Teeth”

“Suck Teeth,” the latest single from songwriter/multi-instrumentalist L’Rain’s forthcoming album Fatigue (out June 25 on Mexican Summer), creates a simultaneously groove-worthy and unsettling soundscape. Cleverly drenching many of the instruments in reverb and warbly tape delays, L’Rain uses her voice as an anchor through unknown waters. Meant to evoke “a very Black sound of disapproval, annoyance and disappointment,” as the songwriter explains in a statement, “Suck Teeth” shows how L’Rain’s experimentation with her sonic terrain makes her a powerful and exciting voice in modern music. —Jason Friedman

Madi Diaz: “Woman In My Heart”

Madi Diaz began working on her forthcoming album History of a Feeling three years ago, focusing on writing direct and introspective material that nodded to her hometown roots. Produced in part with Big Thief and Bon Iver producer Andrew Sarlo, the album tracks the feelings associated with the dissolution of a relationship as Diaz’s partner went through gender transition, saying in a statement, “The bulk of this music came from dealing with a kind of tsunami clash of compassion, both for my former partner while she was discovering a deeper part of her gender identity long hidden, and my own raw heartache over having lost the partner I knew. I felt so torn through the middle because half of me wanted to hold this person through such a major life event, one that is so beautiful and hard, and the other half felt lost — like I had lost myself in someone else’s story.” The album’s first single “Woman In My Heart” is a saccharine blend of guitars and building percussion, with Diaz’s vocals resonating through it all. Wearily somber lyrics like “I’m still pulling out your love / Little pieces coming up / Now the man I love is gone / And there’s a woman in my heart” reverberate the shadow of personal loss and the way the path forward is often unclear. “This song came out in a sort of waking dream while I was actively learning how to part with someone,” Diaz says of the track. “It was hard enough not to miss/hurt/hate/fight/fuck/feel/get over them, and, what was even harder, was the love we had felt more and more like a mystery and the pain was the only thing coming in clear.” —Jason Friedman

Pom Pom Squad: “Crying”

Another stunner of a single from one of Paste’s most-anticipated June releases, “Crying” is defined, first and foremost, by its raw emotion. Pom Pom Squad songwriter and bandleader Mia Berrin croons about feeling awful when she feels anything at all (“If I’m a bitch at least someone is”), then spiraling into self-pity and -mockery as a meta-response to her own emotional state (“I’m in hell it feels like home”), laying all her complex emotions on the table with a wink and a sob. Half Liz Phair and half Old Hollywood, “Crying” sits at the stylistic nexus of Death of a Cheerleader, somehow fusing heavily distorted power chords to dramatic string arrangements. Even when she’s this far down on herself, Berrin demonstrates the skill that has her band on the way up. —Scott Russell

Runnner: “Urgent Care”

On “Urgent Care,” LA producer/songwriter Noah Weinman (aka Runnner) paints a tender portrait of unsatisfying times. Buoyed by a clever weaving of drum machines and finger-picked acoustic guitar, Weinman successfully conveys the quietly morose, featuring lyrics like “got rejected a new job in the parking lot” and “sitting in your favorite chair / the third time this week that we’ve both been here at Urgent Care.” Muted horns quietly hum around the instrumental, creating layers of focused and impressive songwriting. —Jason Friedman

The Goon Sax: “Psychic”

Brisbane, Australia, trio The Goon Sax are 2/2 thus far on the road to their third album Mirror II, their Matador Records debut, due July 9. Lead single “In the Stone” ranked among our favorite tracks of last month, and follow-up “Psychic” carves out a lane of its own, suggesting there’s more to Mirror II than the sunny jangle-rock the band have built their buzz on. Here, Louis Forster and Riley Jones trade vocals not over shaggy guitar rock, but new wave-infused synth-pop, with retro synth and drum machine at the forefront, and filled out with buzzing guitar and bass. The song “exists in the fragile intersection of fantasy and reality,” Forster explains, and “Much like ‘In the Stone,’ this song is a conversation. Two people’s truths of the search for this very thing.” —Scott Russell

W.H. Lung: “Pearl in the Palm”

Where W.H. Lung’s 2019 debut Incidental Music found the band blending post-punk and krautrock guitars with synth-pop propulsion, “Pearl in the Palm” shifts the scales towards the latter end of the rock show vs. dance floor spectrum. Synth sounds evoking both Blade Runner and Giorgio Moroder swirl around uptempo drums and Evans’ reedy vocals, with funky guitar accents, group vocals and a sprawl that never slows evoking the best of dance-punk greats like LCD Soundsystem. “The song is exploring relationships, the stakes of relationships, and how that defines the individual,” says Evans of the song and its video—which he co-directed alongside Gracie Collier, shooting in January in the Irish midlands—in a statement. “You can find yourself in a balloon, if you’re willing to let that happen. Just like you can find yourself in another person. And you’ve got to go away to come back.” —Scott Russell

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