Best New Songs (May 11, 2023)

Don't miss this week's new tracks.

Music Lists Best Songs
Best New Songs (May 11, 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 10 best new songs, in alphabetical order. (You can check out last week’s songs here.)

Bonny Doon: “On My Mind”
The fifth teaser from their upcoming LP Let There Be Music, Detroit-based trio Bonny Doon’s “On My Mind” is a generous, loving ode to the folks who are no longer in our lives. “Got a lot of friends to spend the days with / And I’ve had a few who got away / Got a lot of time to think about them / All the things we could say,” bandleader Bobby Columbo sings, atop a slick, bluesy riff. “On My Mind” is another stellar slice of alt-country from one of the toughest bands around. —Matt Mitchell

feeble little horse: “Pocket”
Despite presenting themselves in all lower case, Pittsburgh quartet feeble little horse make music in capital letters. “Pocket” is, in no short terms, a revelation. Through the noise of their industrial, avant leaning comes hints of dream pop and even glints of synthst that wouldn’t feel out of place in a techno world. Vocalist Lydia Slocum gives a career-defining performance and, as she cascades into a full-throated scream during the song’s breakdown, the band has never sounded more mythical. “Pocket” is a gravitational tune that will swallow you up quickly. —Matt Mitchell

Geese: “Mysterious Love”
“Mysterious Love” is violent in the most euphoric way, with heavy, monstrous guitars and piercing vocals. “Your familiar eyes, I know what they cost / Born into the sea, swimming on your own / Between giant fires, singing for the long gone / Some people are alone forever, some people are alone forever,” bandleader Cameron Winter sings. You’d be hard-pressed to find a definitive way to describe what goes on across any particular Geese track, as the Brooklyn band conjures everything from the Rolling Stones to Alex Cameron to Led Zeppelin to Squid, and, as is evidenced on “Mysterious Love,” they do it in the hardest, punkest ways imaginable. —Matt Mitchell

Lloyd Cole: “Warm By the Fire”
Singer-songwriter Lloyd Cole has often wound messages about larger social concerns into his lyrics, couching them in rich metaphors or quick pithy lines amid tunes about more personal matters. But with “Warm By the Fire,” the second single to be released from his forthcoming album On Pain (out June 23), the U.K.-bred artist lays it all out plain. There are images of the city of L.A. facing “the chill of the icebergs” and the 1% taking over the halls of power “in Gucci loafers and Prada.”. But as the song’s shimmering glam pop carries forth, Cole keeps returning to this knockout lyrical punch: the world may be burning around us, but it’s warm by the fire. —Robert Ham

MAVICA: “you could never do that”
Much of the world doesn’t fully grasp the impact that social networking apps like TikTok and Instagram are having on generations of young people—especially young women—and their overall mental health. It’s a concern that Spanish artist MAVICA takes on with her new single “you could never do that.” Over vaporous synth pop, she breathily wonders aloud about the “battle for self love” and the ways in which her chosen artistic industry oversexualizes the women as a way to generate more streams and ticket sales. It’s not a song that offers up pithy slogans or pat solutions to these age old concerns. The music and the message feels like a reflection of the larger conversation going on in academic circles and online about these important socio-political issues: rich, multi-faceted and dynamic. —Robert Ham

maya ongaku: “Something in the Morning Rain”
Legend has it that the members of Japanese psychedelic trio maya ongaku spend their days manning a small shop in the island community of Enoshima. When artistic inspiration strikes their communal mind, the three decamp to a recording studio in the building to jam and hone their musical ideas. So far, what has come out of these informal sessions are songs that capture the feeling of a warm day by the seaside, sun-soaked and unbothered. This single from their soon-to-be released debut album floats and billows like a jellyfish. It moves with the patient, stoned bliss of Another Green World or the more pastoral moments in the Pentangle’s catalog. —Robert Ham

Natalie Rose LeBrecht: “Holy”
The novelty of the pandemic album has almost entirely worn off at this point. There is little surprise to be found in the story of an artist building their album using the bits and pieces that they and their collaborators recorded in their homes. That’s exactly what Natalie Rose LeBrecht did for her forthcoming full-length Holy Prana Open Game, mastering the appropriate software and digital editing techniques that helped her survive the lockdowns with her creativity intact. What makes her music shine beyond the cliches is the restraint that she exhibited in the album’s creation. LeBrecht let her collaborators (Mick Turner and Jim White of Dirty Three, woodwind player David Lackner) run wild with their contributions. She then winnowed this mass of material down to the bare minimum, pulling their melodies and improvisations to the surface of her rippling layers of keyboards and vocals with gentle force before letting them calmly sink down again. —Robert Ham

Petal: “You Really Love Me”
Petal—the decade-long stage (or, sometimes, band) name of Kiley Lotz—is back with their first new song in five years. “You Really Love Me” follows Magic Gone, one of the most-underrated indie rock albums of 2018. Since then, Lotz has remained relatively quiet, which makes their return all the louder. Done in conjunction with No More Dysphoria Fest, “You Really Love Me” features a mammoth, fuzzy guitar that croons beneath Lotz’s towering vocals before taking shape as a bare-bones, old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll solo. “And in the era of mass extinction / I am feeling for a love that’s / Christened virtually / If it’s not for the whole world to see / How can I believe it / How will I know that you really love me?” Lotz sings, meditating on finding romantic joy at the end of the world. What comes next for Petal remains unseen, but it’s always, always, always a gift to have Kiley Lotz in our ears again. —Matt Mitchell

Vundabar: “Digital Forest / Sugar Pill”
Boston indie band Vundabar tend to keep themselves busy these days. Ever since putting out Either Light—one of the most-underrated rock albums of the last five years—in 2020, they’ve maintained a consistent run of releases. Their 2022 LP Devil for the Fire floated under the radar, but their next chapter, sparked by new double-sided single “Digital Forest / Sugar Pill,” finds the crew leaning further into their own punk urges more than ever. While “Digital Forest” is a raucous, face-melting jamboree of surf, new wave and emo, “Sugar Pill” attempts to cover more ground—shapeshifting across both ends of the volume knob. The pair of tunes signals Vundabar’s staying power in contemporary post-punk and indie circles, though we never doubted it in the first place. —Matt Mitchell

yeule: “Sulky Baby”
Like the best future pop artists of our era, yeule is thinking at least three moves ahead of the mainstream, daring listeners to follow her on sonic adventures through the gauzy prickly beauty of 2019 album Serotonin II and the daring four hour ambient track that closed out the digital version of last year’s Glitch Princess. Rather than wait for the rest of the universe to catch up, yeule is forging ahead with a new label (Ninja Tune) and a fresh single that applies a healthy coating of AutoTune and squirrely tones to what would otherwise be a fairly straightforward shoegaze pop number. It plays like a wonky AI program trying to recreate a Slowdive single. The right ingredients are there, but everything is stretched out of proportion and incredibly unnerving. —Robert Ham

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