10 Best Songs of the Week: Fat White Family, Lizzo, Sharon Van Etten, Cherry Glazerr, and More
Plus SOAK, SASAMI, POND, Beirut, Priests, Steve Gunn, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks
Welcome to the first Songs of the Week of 2019. We took an extended break in December, as there aren’t too many notable new songs released at the end of the year (beyond endless Christmas covers), but the past week has been filled with exciting new album announcements, most accompanied by new singles worthy of consideration for this list.
We’ve also recently posted to the site interviews with Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor-elect John Fetterman, J Mascis, Peter Bjorn and John, Moonface, and Matthew Dear.
To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last week, we have picked the 10 best the last seven days had to offer, along with highlighting other notable new tracks shared in the last week. Check out the full list below.
1. Fat White Family: “Feet”
This week British trio Fat White Family announced a new album, Serfs Up!, and shared a new song from it, the string-backed “Feet.” Serfs Up! is due out April 19 via Domino, their first for the label (and third album overall). “Feet” is one of the band’s more welcoming songs (some of their previous work can be a bit more intense) and perhaps bodes well for a more accessible album on a bigger label.
The album is the follow-up to 2016’s Songs For Our Mothers. Serfs Up! was recorded in Sheffield, England, and features Baxter Dury on one song, “Tastes Good With the Money.”
2. Lizzo: “Juice”
Minneapolis-based singer/rapper Lizzo (aka Melissa Jefferson) kicked off 2019 with a brand new song, “Juice.” The track is a pure pop delight, one that would appeal to fans of the lighter side of Janelle Monáe, and is accompanied by an amusing Quinn Wilson-directed video that sends up infomercials, talk shows, and more. The song follows her 2018 singles “Fitness” and “Boys.” Lizzo hasn’t released a studio album since 2015’s Big Grrrl Small World (although she did release the Coconut Oil EP in 2016), could a new album be in the cards for 2019?
3. Sharon Van Etten: “Seventeen”
Sharon Van Etten is releasing a new album, Remind Me Tomorrow, on January 18 via Jagjaguwar. This week she shared another song from the album, “Seventeen,” via a video for the track. Maureen Towey directed the clip, which features the singer in New York City, but in the spirit of the song, also flashes back to a 17-year-old version of Van Etten.
Towey had this to say about the video in a press release: “Sharon wanted to use this video to create a love letter to New York, her home for the last 15 years. She showed us around all her old haunts – the places that made her the musician that she is today. Some of these spots are still around, some are just empty lots now. We took an eye toward the city that was both tender and tough, trying to find the ways that a beautiful city can fall apart while still nurturing the hopes of a young artist.”
Previously Van Etten shared the album’s first single, “Comeback Kid” (which was one of our Songs of the Week), as well as a video for the song. Then she shared another song from the album, “Jupiter 4,” via a video for the song. The compelling tension filled track was all build-up with no release and its dark and mysterious black & white video matched the song’s vibe well. “Jupiter 4” was also one of our Songs of the Week.
Remind Me Tomorrow is the follow-up to 2014’s Are We There, but she’s kept busy in the intervening years, having a kid, going back to school, writing a film score, and embarking on an acting career. The album was written while Van Etten was pregnant and going to school to study psychology. Around that time she also guest starred on the Netflix show The OA and was one of the musical performers on the revival of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. Plus she wrote the score for Strange Weather, a 2017 drama directed by Katherine Dieckmann and starring Holly Hunter and Carrie Coon, as well as contributing the closing title song for Tig, a 2015 documentary on comedian Tig Notaro. As a previous press release described it, “Remind Me Tomorrow was written in stolen time: in scraps of hours wedged between myriad endeavors.”
4. Cherry Glazerr: “Wasted Nun”
Los Angeles-based trio Cherry Glazerr are releasing a new album, Stuffed & Ready, on February 1 via Secretly Canadian. Previously they shared its first single, the Blonde Redhead-sounding “Daddi,” via a video for the song (it was one of our Songs of the Week). This week they shared another song from the album, “Wasted Nun,” via a video for the track. Jessica Collins directed the slightly NSFW clip, which stars singer Clementine Creevy as a twisted nun.
Creevy had this to say about the song in a press release: “‘Wasted Nun’ is about a woman trying to come to grips with her life. She’s a tragic woman. She hates herself and is trying to move through the world but gets deflated by extreme self-loathing. She wants to harness the power of the universe but instead she turns to self-destruction. The song is aggressive and intense because I’m letting out my anger, I’m enraged. People want girls to be strong, I want to be strong, but I just feel angry, and those are two very different things. There’s a stubbornness there, I know.”
Collins had this to say about the video: “Music, blood, blades, babes. Sometimes anger looks like a weird beautiful demon nun that wants to rip right through you! You’re not sure how she’ll do it, but you know you want her to! The soft and sharp of brutality makes you want to bite down on something and rip it off! RIP IT UP! DO SOMETHING!”
Stuffed & Ready is the band’s fourth album and the follow-up to Apocalypstick, which was released on President Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day in 2017. Instead of focusing on political songwriting, the craziness of the last two years made 22-year-old Creevy turn inwards.
“I am telling my story of how I feel and where I am in life,” she says in a press release. “I’ve felt the need to explain my feelings…not just state them, but search for why I feel the way I do honestly. With Apocalipstick, I was an over-confident teenager trying to solve the world’s problems. With Stuffed & Ready, I’m a much more weary and perhaps a more cynical woman who believes you need to figure your own self out first.”
Cherry Glazerr is now a three-piece also featuring drummer Tabor Allen and bassist Devin O’Brien, with synth player Sasami Ashworth moving on to her own solo work. An initial version of Stuffed & Ready was recorded in early in 2018 with engineer/musician John Vanderslice. Creevy says that resulted in a “very live sounding, self-produced album, which was cool, but wasn’t exactly what I wanted to put into the ether right now.”
The band then turned to Carlos de la Garza, who had co-produced Apocalipstick. “I wanted a producer to push me,” Creevy explains. “I wanted to be questioned, to rip my songs apart and look at their guts and pour myself open again. And I wanted it to sound massive.”
5. SOAK: “Knock Me Off My Feet”
This week SOAK (Northern Ireland singer/songwriter Bridie Monds-Watson) announced a new album, Grim Town, and shared a video for its new single, “Knock Me Off My Feet.” Grim Town is due out April 26 via Rough Trade. It includes “Everybody Loves You,” which she shared back in October and was one of our Songs of the Week (she also shared a video for the song). Jak Payne directed the video for “Knock Me Off My Feet,” which features Monds-Watson as a racecar driver. Check out the album’s tracklist and her tour dates here.
Grim Town is SOAK’s second album, the follow-up to 2015’s debut, Before We Forgot How to Dream. Back then she was only 19 years old, now of course she’s older (22) and likely wiser.
In a press release, Monds-Watson says that the central premise of Grim Town is “a dystopia that I’ve created in my brain: me on the inside, processed into a pretend location. The way I could wrap my head around a lot of what I was going through was to make it feel like something quite physical and real. Once I had the idea of the album being an actual location, exploring the dynamics of this town and what it would look or sound like felt like the right way to give my mental state a personality.”
Read our 2015 interview with SOAK.
6. SASAMI: “Jealousy”
This week SASAMI (aka Los Angeles based musician Sasami Ashworth) announced her self-titled debut album and shared a self-directed video for the new song “Jealousy.” She has also announced some tour dates. SASAMI is due out March 8 via Domino. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as her tour dates, here. The album includes the previous singles “Not the Time” and “Callous,” which you can listen to here.
Ashworth had this to say about the “Jealousy” video in a press release: “The whole ‘Jealousy’ video was born out of inspiration from the scene ‘Bruce Vs Chocolate cake’ from the 1996 film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda. I wanted it to be kind of like a filmed version of a weird play. I am a witch creature and my sidekick, Gobby, and I dance in our painted backdrop lair and plot mischief. Luckily our havoc bears liberating ends as the bewitched are released of their socially expected, self-imposed obsessions and rituals. I wanted to make something grotesque and creepy and funny of course.”
7. POND: “Daisy”
This week Australian psych-rockers POND announced a new album, Tasmania, and shared a video for its new single, “Daisy.” The six-minute song doesn’t particularly go anywhere surprising, but it’s a nice journey nonetheless. Tasmania is due out March 1 via Interscope. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art here.
Tasmania is the follow-up to 2017’s The Weather. It features two songs the band shared last year: “Sixteen Days” and “Burnt Out Star” (which was one of our Songs of the Week). POND is Nicholas Allbrook, Jay Watson, Shiny Joe Ryan, Jamie Terry and Jamie Ireland. As with The Weather, Tasmania was produced by Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker. POND frontman Allbrook used to play bass in Tame Impala and the two bands have often shared members, including Parker. Jesse Taylor Smith directed the “Daisy” video, which was shot on Kulin and Nyoongar Nations lands in Australia.
Read our 2017 interview with POND on The Weather.
8. Beirut: “Landslide”
Beirut (aka Zach Condon and his band) is releasing a new album, Gallipoli, on February 1 via 4AD. Previously he shared its title track, “Gallipoli” (which was one of our Songs of the Week), as well as the brief instrumental track “Corfu.” This week he shared another song from the album, “Landslide,” via a video for the track. Eoin Glaister directed the clip, which features a knight (Ian Beattie, from Game of Thrones) trying to rescue a damsel in distress (Yelena Agapova).
Condon started work on Gallipoli in 2016, with him writing on the old Farfisa organ he used to write the first two Beirut albums (2006’s Gulag Orkestar and 2017’s The Flying Club Cup). Initial recording sessions happened in New York and Condon’s current home of Berlin. Then the rest of the album was recorded in Sudestudio, a studio complex in rural Puglia, southern Italy. The album is Beirut’s fifth and the follow-up to 2015’s No No No.
Condon had this to say about “Gallipoli” in a previous press release: “We stumbled into the medieval-fortressed island town of Gallipoli one night and followed a brass band procession fronted by priests carrying a statue of the town’s saint through the winding narrow streets behind what seemed like the entire town. The next day I wrote the song entirely in one sitting, pausing only to eat.”
9. Priests: “The Seduction of Kansas”
This week Washington, D.C.’s Priests announced a new album, The Seduction of Kansas, and shared a video for its first single, the album’s title track. The post-punk band have also announced some tour dates. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as their tour dates, here.
Priests’ core lineup is drummer Daniele Daniele, vocalist Katie Alice Greer, and guitarist G.L. Jaguar. For this album they were joined in the studio by multi-instrumentalist Janel Leppin. The band also spent two weeks recording with producer John Congleton (Angel Olsen, St. Vincent) at his Elmwood Studio in Dallas. The album is Priests’ second full-length album, the follow-up to 2017’s Nothing Feels Unnatural.
Read our 2017 interview with Priests.
10. Steve Gunn: “Vagabond”
Steve Gunn is releasing a new album, The Unseen In Between, on January 18 via Matador. This week he shared another song from the album, “Vagabond,” via a video for the track. Jason Evans directed the black & white clip, which has an understated classic feel to it, matching the song. Meg Baird provides backing vocals.
Previously Gunn shared the album’s first single, “New Moon” (which was our #1 Song of the Week). Then he shared another song from the album, “Stonehurst Cowboy,” which was inspired by his father, as well as a live acoustic video for the song filmed in London.
The Unseen In Between is the follow-up to 2016’s Eyes on the Lines, which was his debut for Matador. Two weeks after the release of Eyes on the Lines, Gunn’s father died after a two-year battle with cancer. His passing influenced the new album, in particular “Stonehurst Cowboy.” A previous press release said the song “distills the lessons Gunn learned from his father and it is a solemn but tender remembrance, a tribute to his father’s reputation as a tough, wise, and witty guy from far west Philadelphia.”
James Elkington produced The Unseen In Between, which was engineered by Daniel Schlett.
These eight songs almost made the Top 10.
Lana Del Rey: “Hope is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have – But I Have It”
Stella Donnelly: “Old Man”
Girlpool: “What Chaos Is Imaginary”
Hand Habits: “Placeholder”
Lala Lala & WHY?: “Siren 042”
Lost Under Heaven: “Come”
Mercury Rev: “Okolona River Bottom Band” (Feat. Norah Jones) (Bobbie Gentry Cover)
Other notable new tracks in the last week include:
Buke & Gase: “Scholars”
The Chemical Brothers: “MAH”
Billie Eilish: “When I Was Older”
Ex Hex: “Cosmic Cave”
Ibibio Sound Machine: “Tell Me (Doko Mien)”
Karen O: “Anti-Lullaby”
Pedro The Lion: “Quietest Friend”
Royal Trux: “White Stuff”
Sleaford Mods: “Kebab Spider”
Swervedriver: “Spiked Flower”