This Week’s Best New Songs

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This Week’s 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, in alphabetical order. (You can check out a playlist of last week’s songs here.)

Al Menne: “Freak Accident”
The title track from Al Menne’s forthcoming debut solo album, Freak Accident, is a propulsive, catchy and gentle acoustic turn of affection. Menne—who is performing in quieter, more reflective colors than they are when singing in Great Grandpa—gets a chance to harmonize with Whitmer Thomas atop a pedal steel from Jodi’s Nico Levine. “Looks like I’m gonna burn up in the headlights,” they sing. “Brace for impact out on the road and I’m not coming back. I’m a freak accident head on collision just waiting to happen.” To hear the arrangement tumble into a sing-song, choral outro lends to the song’s propensive twang and irresistible storytelling. Like the three singles that preceded “Freak Accident”—“Kill Me,” “Grandma’s Garden” and “Beth”—Menne doesn’t seem much interested in getting loud for the sake of making a noticeable ruckus. The songs are calm yet earth-shattering, mountainous in emotion and sublime with dashing familiarity. —Matt Mitchell

Chelsea Wolfe: “Dusk”
In her first new music since scoring Ti West’s X with Tyler Bates, Chelsea Wolfe comes out swinging with the dark psychedelic single “Dusk.” A moody, sensual song about unrelenting love, Wolfe’s chilling tone and searing guitar breakdown create a swirling, gruesome melody. The haunting track describes the torture of devoted love through the drone of the opening verse, “Branded, baptized by your love and by your hunger,” Wolfe sings, “One sin leads to another, and I would go through the fire to get you.” “Dusk” is the perfect melancholic track to play in a late-night drive and achieve peak brooding aesthetic. —Olivia Abercrombie

Cornelius: “Cue”
Earlier this year, the global music community lost two crucial voices in Japanese music with the deaths of Yellow Magic Orchestra founders Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yukihiro Takahashi. No one understands the weight of those losses more than Cornelius, the Japanese artist who has expanded on the pop blueprint that YMO created by adding on elements of shoegaze and psych rock. The appreciation is mutual as Sakamoto and Cornelius have remixed one another’s work, and Takahashi invited Cornelius to be part of his group Metafive. As a nod to his fallen heroes, Cornelius has added a fantastic cover of “Cue,” a track from YMO’s 1981 album BGM to his recent concert setlists—even borrowing the same visual backdrop that Metafive used when performing the song live. Released so far only as a video, this cover finds Cornelius taking the technopop of the original and applies some lovely guitar jangle and a soft lushness you can almost sink into. —Robert Ham

Devendra Banhart: “Fireflies”
The fourth and final single from Banhart’s upcoming album Flying Wig, “Fireflies” is, quite possibly, the sweetest synth ballad of the year thus far. You can find flickers of I’m Your Man-era Leonard Cohen in the arrangements, but even that feels like a rudimentary comparison. The instrumentation is soft and spacious, yet so, so dense somehow—boasting light horn work and a shimmering, crystalline guitar melody that unfurls like a teardrop synth might. Banhart co-wrote the track with Cate Le Bon, and you can definitely hear the Pompeii-style influence in the pacing and the mood. “See you in a stranger’s eyes, and there’s so much I wish I could say,” Banhart sings. “Just a song I’ll sing anyway, when I said I wouldn’t need it.” The vibes of “Fireflies” are relentless, and Banhart arrives upon it like a late-night crooner whose octaves can’t break away from their heavenly chains. I recommend listening to this song sometime between 1 and 4 AM; it’ll make you wish the sun went extinct for good. —MM

Faye Webster: “Lifetime”
The Atlanta singer/songwriter’s lovely, meandering new single “Lifetime” is the perfect yearning romance track just in time for autumn, with the 26-year-old pondering the unspoken peace of a long-lasting relationship. Artfully constructed with a simple piano arrangement and sultry strings accompanying her reflective crooning, Webster opens the song with the thoughtful line “Can’t imagine me before you.” “Lifetime” is the softer sister of her previous single, “But Not Kiss,” and it leaves behind stringing keys and delicate chords. —OA

Jane Remover: “Census Designated”
19-year-old hyperpop sensation Jane Remover continues to tease her upcoming album—this week releasing its title track, “Census Designated.” The six-minute song slowly unfurls into its own immersive world; crass and visceral but utterly celestial. Written and produced entirely by Jane herself, the song blends her typical fuzzy, industrial glitch with gossamer keys and a smoothly robotic vocal performance—one that is comforting, not off putting, to the more terminally online of Jane’s fans (which, in all honesty, is likely most of them). She sings, “I’m young blood, fresh meat, and I like that,” ushering in a tongue-in-cheek awareness to the genre while remaining beholden to no limits in which the sounds her work can subsume. On “Census Designated,” Jane Remover knows exactly what she is doing—and she’s doing a damn good job at it. —Madelyn Dawson

Lowertown: “Bline”
Atlanta duo Lowertown have released their first single since their 2022 LP I Love To Lie. On the surface, “Bline” is flippant; vocalist Olivia Osby’s deadpan delivery works alongside Avsha Weinberg’s funky strings to create a tune that is infectiously catchy—but in a left field, we-don’t-actually-take ourselves-that-seriously way. “Bline,” though, is a deeply melancholic tune steeped in uncertainty and self-doubt. Osby sings bluntly about the fears and doubts she faced in her late teenage years: “These foxes see their way with an eye, crossing traffic without worrying if they’ll die. Maybe one day I’ll do the same, to see who stops and to see who drives.” Here, we see Lowertown mastering the balance of irreverence and obvious earnestness, in a way that makes it impossible to stop listening to the track. —MD

Mendoza Hoff Revels: “Dyscalculia”
If you’ve been following the movements in the modern jazz world, this project should have you reeling with anticipation. The group boasts four of the most original voices in that community: guitarist Ava Mendoza, bassist Devin Hoff, saxophonist James Brandon Lewis and drummer Ches Smith. If you know any of their individual work, you may already have a sense of what is in store with this group—raucous, unbound expressions that evoke the splashy downtown New York scene ca. the mid-’80s. Nostalgia is not the intent, however. The spirit of this track is pure now, as the quartet acts like mixologists combining different amounts of liquids and ingredients in their roughly shaken originals to discover new, deliriously potent concoctions. — RH

Model/Actriz: “Winnipesaukee”
In their first new release since their absolute behemoth of a debut Dogsbody from earlier this year, we see Boston noise rockers Model/Actriz taking on a slower, sludgier tone—and absolutely nailing it. “Winnipesaukee” is the band at their most frightening; as sudden bursts of noisy percussion give way to vocalist Cole Haden’s slight Russian whisperings, I feel as if I’ve been haunted. Sure, it’s probably harder to dance to than “Amaranth” or “Mosquito,” but what it loses in groove it makes up for in atmosphere. Its sparseness leaves you hanging on to every word and every bit of noise, and it forces you to trudge along with the band through their snow-covered odyssey. —MD

Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter: “I WILL BE WITH YOU ALWAYS”
Part-funeral hymn, part-Appalachian folk vocalization and part-extraterrestrial haunting—the likes of which we don’t even have the language to name—Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter’s second single leading up to her post-Lingua Ignota debut is certainly one of the most instantly affecting tracks of the year. There is a desperation in Hayter’s voice, one that rings through in trembling vibrato. Even as she takes in a breath between lines, you can hear her hunger and her gasping for any air that will give her the strength to finish the song. “I know your name, take your teeth out of me,” she sings. “Return my body to me, release me.” Maybe this song is the closest I can get to God; maybe it’s drawing me to some other angel—but, either way, I follow Hayter’s voice like a siren. —MD

Sally Shapiro: “Rent (NICOLAAS Remix)”
Released this week is a fantastic cover of Pet Shop Boys’ sleek ode to the sugar daddy relationship “Rent” by Swedish duo Sally Shapiro. Their take on the song is only elevated by this remix from Italians Do It Better artist NICOLAAS. As he has done on his own with other ’80s classics (check out his sexy Eurodisco makeover of “Sussudio”), he applies the perfect glint of neon sleaze and faux fur covered psuedo-elegance to the mix. Play this over a montage of the dining scenes from American Psycho. —RH

Squirrel Flower: “Intheskatepark”
One truth I can offer today is this: Squirrel Flower makes massive tunes. Between lead single “Full Time Job” and our song of the summer “Alley Light,” there’s no other way to describe Ella Williams’ artistry. Now, she’s given us access to “Intheskatepark,” a woozy, noisey heater that’ll burn through your bones. I can’t even begin to stress just how nuts the melody on this thing is, as Williams never overextends herself vocally. She arrives here with patient, angelic singing backed by thick, sludgy guitars. It’s not so much a grunge tune as it is soaring alt-rock glossed with candied delicacy. Can you believe this isn’t even the best song on Williams’ upcoming album Tomorrow’s Fire? It’s wild to see a masterpiece unfurl one chapter at a time. —MM

The National ft. Rosanne Cash: “Crumble”
The penultimate song from The National’s great new record Laugh Track features the greatest collaboration the New York-via-Ohio band have ever brought to life: a duet between Matt Berninger and Rosanne Cash. To hear Cash bring her timeworn croons into the Sad Dads universe is actually unbelievably perfect. She doesn’t immediately take center-stage like Phoebe Bridgers does on the album’s title track, instead opting to blanket Berninger’s lead with a stunning, pronounced glow. “If you say it like that, I’ll die,” they harmonize. “If you say it like that, I’ll probably cry.” But then, in a hero’s turn that fully solidifies “Crumble” as a National all-timer, Cash pulls back the curtain and grabs hold of the limelight, singing her own verse atop the Dessners’ arrangements—a triumph that makes Laugh Track such a rewarding, immense hour of music. —MM

Troye Sivan: “Got Me Started”
If you told me Troye Sivan would take over the internet with another single this year, I wouldn’t have believed you—but he followed the massive success of “Rush” in the most unpredictable way possible. With “Got Me Started,” Sivan wraps up the summer heat with a flowing, soft dance track that makes good work of an out-of-left-field sample from a 2018 meme, which, intentional or not, is the last year Sivan released an album. Boldly opening the track with the stinging notes of 2008’s “Shooting Stars” by Australian duo Bag Raiders is the kind of unexpected choice you should come to expect from the same artist who made a hit song about poppers. “Got Me Started” is the perfect blend of nostalgia and indie pop, punctuating Sivan’s summer of success and raising the expectations of his third album even higher. —OA

Wings Of Desire: “A Gun In Every Home”
Any bands who share a name with a Wim Wenders masterpiece have got my vote—it doesn’t hurt when they drop a song as magnetic and irresistible as “A Gun In Every Home,” either. The track is one-half of a brand new double-single (along with “001 [Tame The War, Feed The Fire]”) from James Taylor and Chloe Little—two UK musicians who parade around under the name Wings Of Desire. “A Gun In Every Home” is anthemic and beautiful and catchy; exactly what I imagine U2 would sound like in 2023 if they could just remember how to write a good record. I have to tip my cap to Wings Of Desire here, as I was not familiar with their game prior to hearing this song—and boy, do I regret that. “Beautiful angel, I’ll pull you out the rubble in the city when it’s tumbling down,” Taylor sings. “You got your reasons and they’ll never love you. Baby, can’t you see how they build you up to pull you down.” With rushing, noisy guitars and Little’s angelic harmonies, “A Gun In Every Home” is bright and undeniable and definitive. —MM

Other Songs We Loved This Week: Alex Lahey: “Newsreader”; CHAI: “GAME”; Crumb & Melody’s Echo Chamber: “Le Temple Volant”; Equipment: “Minnow”; Pile: “The Birds Attacked My Hot Air Balloon”; Superbloom: “Velvet Hippo”; The Drums: “The Flowers”; The Menzingers: “Come On Heartache”

Check out a playlist of these great songs below.

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