It’s time for Your First Listen, where we show you songs you need to discover this week!
This Indie88 feature is presented with Bay Bloor Radio.
Each week we feature five remarkable songs that you need to hear on Your First Listen on air. In case you miss them on air, you can catch up on the weekly tracks right here. Your First Listen airs every day in Indie88 beginning at 10 a.m.
Online, we expand the list with a couple more tunes. This week, we’ve gotten some amazing fresh cuts from Muse, The Beaches, Lucy Dacus, and more.
Check out 15 songs you need to discover this week below.
Aurora – “A Potion For Love”
Norwegian pop star Aurora is back with a new single, “A Potion For Love,” which was previously only available on the vinyl edition of Cure For Me. Alongside the track, Aurora has also shared a performance video, which sees her playing the song live. With soft guitar lines and ambient melodies, “A Potion For Love” slowly builds into a powerhouse ballad with Aurora’s intoxicating vocal lines at the forefront. It’s an emotional tune that’s sure to move you, as Aurora singe of lost love, delivering lines like, “I don’t feel love anymore.”
Rina Sawayama – “Hold the Girl”
Rina Sawayama has shared the title track to her forthcoming album, Hold the Girl, out September 2nd via Dirty Hit. Alongside the track, she’s announced a forthcoming tour. Featuring a pretty killer key change, “Hold the Girl” is an energetic, uplifting tune. It boasts rollicking instrumentals with an almost country sensibility, as Sawayama’s powerhouse vocals take the lead.
Arkells – “Human Being (feat. Lights)”
Arkells have collaborated with Lights on a new single, “Human Being.” The track comes from their forthcoming album, Blink Twice, out on September 23rd via Virgin Records / Universal Music Canada. It’s an upbeat new tune with anthemic vocal lines, pulsing synths, and catchy melodies. “We wanted a chaotic energy – something like Talking Heads meets Billy Joel,” frontman Max Kerman explains. “We are learning a lot about ourselves on this record. This song is about finding a truer version of yourself – the one you’ve hid in the past. The song is searching for a kind of freedom that conventional life paths have to offer. Once we had it in good shape we sent it to our friend Lights who is the best at writing about this kind of discovery.”
Khruangbin, Vieux Farka Touré – “Savanne”
Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Touré has teamed up with Khruangbin for a new collaborative album, Ali, out September 23rd via Dead Oceans. They’ve previewed the record with its lead single, “Savanne.” The forthcoming eight-track album is named after Vieux Farka Touré’s late father and African desert blues pioneer Ali. Ali is made up of songs that were previously recorded and performed by Ali, but now, his son has covered them with Khruangbin.
Chris Shiflett – “Long Long Year”
Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett has shared a new solo single “Long, Long Year.” The new tune was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee with bassist Jack Lawrence of The Raconteurs and drummer Julian Doro of Eagles of Death Metal and The Whigs. Produced by Vance Powell, “Long, Long Year” is an emotional single with a country sensibility. “I spent a lot of time alone at my studio in LA during the first part of the lockdown just woodshedding tunes,” Chris Shiflett explains. “The line ‘It’s been a long, long year’ was rattling around my head for obvious reasons, but I framed it as a love song.”
U.S. Girls – “So Typically Now”
U.S. Girls are back with a video for their new single, “So Typically Now.” Featuring backing vocals from Kyle Kidd, “So Typically Now” is a dance-worthy synth-pop anthem. Boasting uplifting drums, dreamy synths, gritty electronics, and frontwoman Meg Remy’s distinctive playful vocal lines, the track is a perfect return for U.S. Girls.
Alex G – “Cross the Sea”
Philadelphia singer-songwriter Alex G is back with a video for another new single, “Cross the Sea.” The track comes from his forthcoming album, God Save the Animals, out September 23rd via Domino. “Cross the Sea” channels a pretty different sound than the rest of the album singles thus far, with soft ballad-like melodies and gritty vocals processed through a vocoder. Directed by Elliot Bech, the accompanying video follows a white and teal animated character singing along to the tune, dancing through the city, on graveyards, and on top of buildings.
Preoccupations – “Death of Melody”
Preoccupations have shared another new single, “Death of Melody.” The track comes from their forthcoming fourth studio album, Arrangements, out September 9th. “Death of Melody” is a perfect preview of the record, recalling the sounds of their 2015 album while moving toward more of a dystopian, avant pop sensibility. With reverb-heavy melodies and shoegazy instrumentals, this track is sure to get you lost in your memory. “It’s about having a song stuck in your head, and having no idea what it is, and driving yourself to the brink of dementia trying to figure out what it is,” the band’s Matthew Flegel explains. “It’s about knowing and forgetting, existing in the middle ground between the permanent and temporary.”
Nutrients – “The Dolphin”
Toronto jangle pop outfit Nutrients are back with a video for their new single, “The Dolphin.” The track arrives as the final preview of their forthcoming album, Different Bridges, out August 5th via Earth Libraries. With driving percussion and a groovy bass line, “The Dolphin” channels the sounds of the summer. The accompanying video takes place out on the water during sunset and at night as fireworks go off. “The lyrics just kind of flowed out on top of that odd piano part,” the band’s Taylor Teeple explains. “Instrumentally, this one is merely a fretless bass, a drum loop off an old keyboard, bongos, and midi keys. It’ll be really interesting for us to hear what artists or genre ‘The Dolphin’ reminds them of.”
Tommy Lefroy – “Dog Eat Dog”
Producer and artist duo Wynter Bethel and Tessa Mouzourakis have shared a video for their new single as Tommy Lefroy, “Dog Eat Dog.” The track arrives in celebration of signing to Pheromone Recordings. “Dog Eat Dog” is a soft, guitar driven ballad that slowly builds into an anthemic, singalong chorus. Throughout “Dog Eat Dog,” Tommy Lefroy deliver stunning melodies, gritty instrumentals, and soft vocal lines. Directed by Dominique Froud, the accompanying video was shot with an all-female crew. Drawing inspiration from strong female mediaeval characters, the clip is about women feeling guarded as they make their way through the world.
Gorillaz feat. Thundercat – “Cracker Island”
Beloved virtual band Gorillaz have collaborated with Thundercat on a new single called “Cracker Island.” The track marks Gorillaz’s first new music since the release of last year’s Meanwhile EP. “Cracker Island” sees Thundercat delivering killer bass lines, making for a funky anthem. The track was co-produced by Greg Kurstin and Remi Kabaka Jr. “It’s nice to be back, I’m well into our new tune, it brings back weird and scary memories of stuff that hasn’t happened yet,” singer 2-D explains.
Tim Baker – “Some Day”
Former Hey Rosetta! frontman Tim Baker has shared a video for a new single, “Some Day.” The summery new song revolves around some bright piano, dreamy horns, and stunning harmonies. It’s definitely a more upbeat, sunnier tune than most of Baker’s recent releases, as he delivers lines like, “Some day/ I’ll get/ Out of my own way baby/ Out under the morning breaking.” “As a living human being, I’ve always enjoyed upbeat pop shuffles full of heartfelt lyrics and playful countermelodies,” Baker explains. “The ‘song’ just sort of fell out – one of those easy writes that rushes out and requires only light editing. As soon as I played it with my friends Ben Whiteley and Phil Melanson, and we sunk into that shuffle, and they wailed those falsetto backups there in Ben’s garage, I couldn’t wait to record this and get it out into the world.”
The Mars Volta – “Blacklight Shine”
The Mars Volta recently returned with their first new song in 10 years, “Blacklight Sunshine.” Vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala explains that the lyrics look at the concept of “a wave of rolling blackouts washing memories onto shore, a heartbeat that still remembers everything. Alongside the track, they’ve shared a black-and-white short film, directed by Rodríguez López.
Headstones – “Tangled”
Canadian rockers Headstones are back with a laidback new tune, “Tangled.” On the song, the band sing of repeating the same mistakes over and over, as they deliver lines like, “We don’t learn a thing.” The new tune follows their 2019 album, PeopleSkills, which boasted two Top 5 radio singles: “Leave It All Behind” and “Horses.”
Jungle – “Good Times”
“Good Times” served as Jungle’s first new music of 2022. The track arrived alongside a twin single called “Problemz,” both of which are summer-ready anthems. “Good Times” is definitely a standout, with beats that balance disco and hip-hop sounds. Both tracks came accompanied by a short film, directed by JFC Worldwide (Charlie Placido and J. Lloyd).