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 Kendrick Lamar, My Chemical Romance, Death Cab For Cutie, and more.
Check out 17 songs you need to discover this week below.
Kendrick Lamar – “The Heart Part 5”
Kendrick Lamar shared a video for his comeback single this week, “The Heart Part 5.” The track serves as Lamar’s first new song in five years, and it serves as the first preview to his freshly released album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. Produced by Beach Noise, “The Heart Part 5” is a perfect return for Kendrick.
My Chemical Romance – “The Foundations of Decay”
My Chemical Romance have returned with their first new music in eight years, “The Foundations of Decay.” The track marks the first new My Chemical Romance track since 2014’s “Fake Your Death.” “The Foundations of Decay” is a pretty huge six-minute epic. The track opens with some ominous lyrics, as frontman Gerard Way delivers lines like, “See the man who stands upon the hill, he dreams of all the battles won/ but fate had left its scars upon his face, with all the damage they had done.” On the track, My Chemical Romance lean into their darker side, while staying true to their quintessential anthemic sound.
Death Cab For Cutie – “Roman Candles”
Death Cab for Cutie have shared a lyric video for their new single, “Roman Candles.” The track comes from their forthcoming album, Asphalt Meadows, out September 16th via Atlantic. The gritty new tune boasts some driven guitar lines, as frontman Benjamin Gibbard’s determined vocal lines take the lead. Created by Juliet Bryant, the accompanying lyric video flashes layers and layers of Polaroid-like images. “‘Roman Candles’ is about the crippling, existential dread that goes hand in hand with living in a nervous city on a dying planet,” Death Cab for Cutie explain. “And that the only way to be in the moment is to let it all go.”
The Smile – “Thin Thing”
Radiohead and Sons of Kemet offshoot The Smile are back with a video for their new single, “Thin Thing.” The track comes from their new album, A Light For Attracting Attention, out now. “Thin Thing” is a sprawling art-rock anthem with a jazz sensibility. Directed by Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña, the stop motion video took the duo six months to make. “Hearing the song for the first time, we imagined a frenetic fluid that carries machines, pieces of human bodies and carnivorous plants,” León and Cociña explain.
Wilco – “Tired Of Taking It Out On You”
Wilco have shared a video for their new single, “Tired Of Taking It Out On You.” Alongside the track, the band have announced a North American Tour. The new song comes from Wilco’s forthcoming album, Cruel Country, out May 27th via dBpm Records. The introspective track is all about trying to look inward instead of taking your problems out on the people around you. Throughout “Tired Of Taking It Out On You,” frontman Jeff Tweedy’s sweet vocals are accompanied by lap steel, percussion, electric and acoustic guitar. “I’ve realized over the years that a lot of the songs I’ve written have worked as reminders to myself to pay attention to various things,” Tweedy explains. “Sometimes I think I’ve figured out how the world works in some small way, and I worry I’ll forget it if I don’t sing it back to myself occasionally. This song, I believe, is going to come in handy for just that purpose.”
Bret McKenzie – “A Little Tune”
Musician, comedian, and Flight Of The Conchords member Bret McKenzie has announced his debut non-comedy solo album, Songs Without Jokes. As part of the announcement, he’s shared a video for his new single “A Little Tune.” “Post-Conchords, I’d been working on songs for the Muppets films, and during a session I had the thought that it would be fun someday to work on some songs that weren’t for someone else, that don’t have to tell a story or be funny or continue the narrative plot, checking all the boxes for the character in the movie,” Bret McKenzie explains. “I thought it’d be fun to do a record like that, something different.”
Julia Jacklin – “Lydia Wears a Cross”
Julia Jacklin has shared a video for her new single “Lydia Wears a Cross.” The track comes in celebration of the announcement of her new album, PRE PLEASURE, out August 26th via Polyvinyl. The new release boasts a pulsing percussion line, resounding keys, and dreamy, smooth vocal lines. “Lydia Wears a Cross” slowly builds into a subtle, yet catchy chorus. The accompanying video follows Julia Jacklin on a colourful adventure at a lighthouse, decked out in fishing gear.
Arkells, Cold War Kids – “Past Life”
Hamilton, Ontario’s Arkells have returned with a video for a brand new single, “Past Life.” On the track, Arkells collaborate with Cold War Kids. Today’s release is an 80’s pop anthem. “Past Life” comes from their forthcoming album, Blink Twice, due later this year. The accompanying video stars Saturday Night Live alum and MacGruber star Will Forte. “Last fall we were in LA working on music and had this driving 80’s song about being present in the moment, and liberating yourself from the past,” Arkells frontman Max Kerman explains. “We wrote the first verse and left the second one open, hoping that Nathan from Cold War Kids might be drawn to the collaboration.”
Pale Waves – “Lies”
Indie-rockers Pale Waves have returned with a video for their new single, “Lies.” The track comes on the heels of the announcement of their third studio album, Unwanted, out August 12th via Dirty Hit. “Lies” is a pop-punk anthem. Lyrically, frontwoman Heather Baron-Gracie sings of standing up to a lying lover. The track comes packed with lines like, “You called it love but it never had the feeling/ Ripped out my heart and left it bleeding.” The accompanying video comes packed with captivating blue-tinged shots of the band performing along to the rowdy tune.
Tim Baker – “Lucky Few”
Singer-songwriter and former Hey Rosetta! frontman Tim Baker has made his return with a video for his new single, “Lucky Few.” The track serves as Baker’s first new release since his 2019 debut solo album, Forever Overhead and it’s companion EP. Written during the pandemic, the track is all about missing the people you love in an unpredictable world. Co-directed by Tim Baker and Jamie Miller, the accompanying one shot video is a captivating, slowly building piece that’s sure to move you.
TOPS – “Janet Planet”
Montreal band TOPS have shared “Janet Planet,” the final track from their new EP, Empty Seats, out now. Today’s release is an upbeat track that involves pulsing synths and deep grooves. With smooth vocals, and a catchy, bubbly beat, “Janet Planet” is sure to get you dancing. The accompanying video sees TOPS performing along to the tune beneath blue lights. “‘Janet Planet’ is about feeling trapped inside of your own head, trapped by your thoughts, trapped by everything, looking for an escape, and all of the misguided ways I’ve tried to dispel these feelings,” TOPS’ Jane Penny says.
Nutrients – “Nauseous”
Toronto-based outfit Nutrients have shared a video for their new single “Nauseous.” The retro track comes from their freshly announced forthcoming album, Different Bridges, out August 5th via Earth Libraries. “Nauseous” is a groovy dance-worthy anthem, packed with pulsing melodies and silky vocal lines. The accompanying video sees the band performing beneath rose-tinted lights. “‘Nauseous’ was influenced by 90’s dance-pop, which can be heard in the bass and keyboard parts, but also 80’s Japanese city pop, which can be heard in the sax and guitar performances,” songwriter Taylor Teeple explains.
Arcade Fire – “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)”
Arcade Fire have shared a new tune, “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid).” The new track comes from their forthcoming album, WE, out May 6th via Columbia. “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)” is an anthemic, uplifting tune, all about encouraging you to keep pushing forward through tough times. “So I was really just sort of thinking about my son and the world that he’s facing and how like, I was a very, very, very depressed kid, particularly in high school,” Win Butler tells Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1. “I mean, in a lot of my life in general, I think that music is like my medicine in a lot of ways. But I was trying to imagine the way that I’m wired just chemically and the s**t that I’ve dealt with in my life, having to deal with that now in this era of like … and not to mention now, but like 10 years from now, whenever the f**k he’s going to be dealing with it. And it was just like, ‘Man, he’s going to need to have the thick skin and to just really be able to take a hit and have some just fortitude.’ And I don’t know, I was just sort of thinking about that and just trying to sing to him in the future or to his kids even.”
Bishop Briggs – “High Water”
Bishop Briggs recently returned with the release of her new single, “High Water.” “High Water” was written about Briggs’ sister, who was battling against the ovarian cancer that she eventually passed away from. “I still can only count on one hand, the songs that I’ve written about my sister,” Briggs says, according to Paper. “That was something that’s been really painful to do. On some days, even just writing lyrics or going into a session can be extremely difficult. And then other days where I just feel like she’s here with me.”
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – “I’m On Your Side”
Nathaniel Rateliff’s “I’m On Your Side” is a standout tune from his most recent album, The Future. The Future was recorded in frontman Nathaniel Rateliff’s Colorado studio where they wanted to shed light on diverse observations and reflect on the current times. In a press statement Rateliff revealed:
“I look at the album overall as a big question. When I was writing the record we were in the middle of a pandemic and our future looked pretty bleak. I just continue to try to write from a place of hope. Then my own neurosis, and maybe being a libra gets in the way, and I can’t make up my mind. There is this constant back and forth battle in me personally and I am sure that comes out in my writing.”
Destroyer – “It Takes A Thief”
Destroyer’s LABYRINTHITIS standout “It Takes A Thief” is definitely a must-listen. The new Destroyer album sees Bejar exploring some uncharted sonic territory. The mystic, intoxicating album opens up with the question, “Do you remember the mythic beast?” on “Tintoretto, It’s For You.” From then on, Bejar weaves peculiar images and perplexing allusions throughout LABYRINTHITIS. You can really hear that on “It Takes A Thief”
Jack Johnson – “One Step Ahead”
Jack Johnson is back with a new song, “One Step Ahead.” The track comes alongside the announcement of Meet The Moonlight, out June 24th via Brushfire/Republic Records. Johnson has made the album alongside Blake Mills. “When Blake and I first got in touch we’d send each other playlists, and over time we realized we were drawn to music that sounds effortless despite all the effort put into making it,” Johnson explains. “After a while we got a language together and I gained a trust in him that allowed me to let go, push outside my comfort zone, and get to a sound I really loved.”
Listen to our Best New Indie playlist below!