Best New Songs (June 15, 2023)

Don't miss this week's best tracks.

Music Lists Best Songs
Best New Songs (June 15, 2023)

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 last week’s songs here.)

ANOHNI and the Johnsons: “Sliver of Ice”
The latest offering from ANOHNI and the Johnsons ahead of their anticipated next album My Back Was A Bridge For You To Cross, “Sliver of Ice” is a slow-burning affair shouldered along by a flowing, soulful guitar and patient snare drum. Inspired by some of the last words that Lou Reed said to ANOHNI before he passed away in 2013, she opted to capture his explanation of how, in the final months of his life, the “simplest sensations had begun to feel almost rapturous.” “A carer had placed a shard of ice on his tongue one day and it was such a sweet and unbelievable feeling that it caused him to weep with gratitude,” she said in a press statement. There’s something genuinely indescribable about what kind of power and emotions ANOHNI’s most recent offerings conjure, but I can safely say that—just like lead single “It Must Change”— “Sliver of Ice” is delicate, beautiful and meticulous. —Matt Mitchell

appian: “shimmer”
So many songs being released these days deal with the ephemeral nature of existence—accepting the truth of how quickly our lives zip past by trying to stay present and appreciate every fleeting moment. That is the message at the heart of the new music from Malcolm MacLachlan, the Detroit-bred electronic artist who records as appian. His lush album Fragments Vol 1 (out July 14) floats and glistens like snowfall with each moment seeming to shift in new directions and build fresh drifts of beauty. Logically, I know it’s impossible for “shimmer” to change after it was committed to tape, but, on an emotional level, I feel like the song is changing in real time, beginning and ending in new places and taking fresh twists with each spin. —Robert Ham

Being Dead: “Last Living Buffao”
“Last Living Buffalo,” the third single from Austin trio Being Dead’s upcoming LP When Horses Would Run, starts out all clash and panache; a sonic Wild West of jarring excitement. It lulls (and I use the word as lightly as possible) into indie rock normality, before exploding in and out of fireworks of drums and vocals in its last 30 seconds. “I see a buffalo lying dead on the floor / Fur for fasion, fun for fashion / You are pioneering fashions of the new world / Kiss the jewels for red-blooded carnivores,” vocalist Gumball sings out, in a meditation on “the universal human fear of being alone and/or skinned alive.” —Miranda Wollen

Girl Scout: “Boy in Blue:
A song with one of the most-entrancing choruses of the year so far (“I’m just the ghost of you / I do whatever you want me to / I can’t believe all the things I’ve been missing from your room,” done in perfect layers), “Boy in Blue” is where Girl Scout have perfected their pop sensibilities. Between Emma Jansson’s cosmic, ’90s alt-rock vocals, Viktor Spasov’s mountain-moving riffs, Evelina Arvidsson Eklind’s warm, throughline rhythm and Per Lindberg’s precise percussive backdrop, Girl Scout are a well-oiled machine, and “Boy in Blue” is one of the catchiest, most-enthralling tracks of 2023 so far. There’s even a gentle xylophone layered with a toy piano and synthesizer in there, someplace, that twinkles beautifully. If you haven’t fallen in love with this band yet, now’s your chance to catch up. —Matt Mitchell

Hand Habits: “The Bust of Nefertiti”
The final single from Hand Habits’ forthcoming album Sugar the Bruise is a lesson in construction, as Meg Duffy dares to reinvent themselves with experimental breakdowns and ambitious storytelling. The titular bust that’s currently at the Neues in Berlin is the focal point, but Duffy considers what it might look like to walk out of the museum and onto a dancefloor. In turn, the track explodes into a disco coda that’ll enrapture you down to the bone. Sugar the Bruise is unlike anything Hand Habits have ever released, and “The Bust of Nefertiti” is a direct, fearless reference point. —Matt Mitchell

Julia Jacklin: “Shivers”
The first lines in Julia Jacklin’s cover of The Boys Next Door’s “Shivers” hit you like a truck: “I’ve been contemplating suicide / But it doesn’t really suit my style / So I think I’ll just act bored instead,” she croons, in her shimmering warble. Jacklin’s rendition, part of a tribute to late producer—and the song’s original recorder—Tony Cohen, highlights the desperate enamoredness of young love. As the track swells into a power ballad, a marching combination of piano and drums add a determined militance to Jacklin’s lilt. It’s an homage to her musical roots, and a cacophony of big emotion and sonic perfection.—Miranda Wollen

Locate S,1: “Heart Attack”
Christina Schneider, the artist who records as Locate S,1, has every reason to be angry. Her work on her last album Personalia wound up being diminished in the press due to her choice of collaborator, Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes. And for the past few years, she’s been involved in intense therapy sessions to cope with the trauma of being abused as a child. So why does she sound so light and free on the songs we have heard so far from forthcoming self-produced full-length Wicked Jaw? Really all it takes is a cursory scan of the lyric sheet to see what’s truly at the heart of these songs. As she sings over some frothy electropop on new single “Heart Attack,” the memories of the past and the pain she has inflicted on others are enough to cause cardiac arrest. But the true message of the song—and the album—is one of liberation, of acceptance, of embracing our vast ability to grow and change even in the wake of trauma. —Robert Ham

Sarah Mary Chadwick: “Shitty Town”
The key line in “Shitty Town,” the powerful first single from Sarah Mary Chadwick’s new album Messages To God, comes towards the song’s rousing finale as she belts out the words, “Yeah I know I’m angry / why aren’t you?” It’s a question for the ages but feels especially appropriate nowadays when there’s so much to be furious about and so few people seem to notice. For the protagonist of this song, though, it’s a cry of desperation as they lament their circumstances and the awful place they’re stuck in. The depth of feeling in the song is only made more powerful via Chadwick’s quavering vocal delivery, which often sounds like the trumpet blast taking down Jericho’s walls, and the woodwinds that gives the music its gorgeous ache —Robert Ham

Slaughter Beach, Dog: “Strange Weather”
Since releasing At the Moonbase in 2020, Philadelphia rock quartet Slaughter Beach, Dog have remained relatively quiet—aside from some singles, covers and live cuts. This week, they returned with “Strange Weather,” a roaring country-rock journey that features frontman Jake Ewald dueting with Erin Rae, whose LP Lighten Up arrived last year. “Strange Weather” is a beautiful, soulful reflection on, as Ewals calls it, “doing your very best to disappear from yourself.” The song is light, a worm that’ll hug your eardrums and refuse to let go. On replay value alone, this one is destined to be a fixture in our playlist rotations for a long, long while—as Ewald’s vocals pair masterfully with Rae’s. We can only hope this isn’t just a one-off collaboration between the two singer/songwriters. —Matt Mitchell

Vagabon: “Can I Talk My Shit?”
The latest Vagabon single, “Can I Talk My Shit?,” promises a further sonic metamorphosis for the New York indie maven, as sparkly electronic arpeggios and cheerful synths anchor her weightless melodies, intertwining into a song that feels like sunshine. With a reputation and sound that is chameleonic, “Can I Talk My Shit?” is vibrant dance-pop that taps into the conversational and open-hearted everyday ethos that makes up her forthcoming LP, Sorry I Haven’t Called. —Miranda Wollen

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