Your First Listen: 18 songs you need to discover this week

Blessing on Your First Listen
Courtesy of Chris Maggio

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 Alex G, Alexisonfire, M.I.A., Toro y Moi and FKJ, MUNA, and more.

Check out 18 songs you need to discover this week below.

Alex G – “Blessing”

Alex G has shared a new single, “Blessing.” The track sees Alex G entering some new sonic territory, and it’s a distortion-heavy anthem that comes packed with heavy drums, pulsing synths and wailing guitar lines. Lyrically, Alex G delivers a sort of call-and-response, as he opens with “Every day,” and hears it repeated back before adding, “Is a blessing.” The accompanying video channels the haunting sound of the track as Alex G and his backing band perform along to the gritty anthem.


Alexisonfire – “Sans Soleil”

ALEXISONFIRE are back with a new single, “Sans Soleil.” The track comes from their first full-length in over 13 years, Otherness, out June 24th via Dine Alone Records. “Sans Soleil” features heartfelt lyrics from the band’s Wade MacNeil, with vocals from Dallas Green. “Wade came in with the lyrics for this song around the same time he had been working on the Dooms Children record and I feel like it shows,” George Petit explains. “The Dooms Children album touched on a lot of things extremely personal to Wade and this song is definitely in that vein.”

M.I.A. – “The One”

M.I.A. has shared “The One,” the lead single from her first new album in six years, MATA. “I know that it was the pandemic, and kind of everything was hitting the fan, but I’d got to a place that was really happy,” M.I.A. told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe about the track. “In a way, it’s kind of rebellious because everybody’s expecting me to put out that really havoc…Everyone’s expecting that, but it’s not that, that’s not what it is.”

FKJ – “A Moment Of Mystery (feat. Toro y Moi)”

Just a few weeks after releasing his new album, Mahal, Toro y Moi is back to feature on French multi-instrumentalist FKJ’s new single “A Moment Of Mystery.” FKJ is gearing up to release his new album, V I N C E N T, which features his Carlos Santana collaboration, “Greener.” The new preview, “A Moment Of Mystery” is a pretty laidback tune. Toro Y Moi delivers his distinctive vocal lines atop dreamy synths and jazzy melodies. “I met with Chaz and Tony, who plays keys in Toro Y Moi, for the first time at this session,” FKJ explains. “The energy was real smooth, and we got in the zone quickly. We couldn’t stop playing.”

MUNA – “Home By Now”

MUNA are back with a new single, “Home By Now.” The track comes from the indie pop trio’s forthcoming self-titled album, out June 24th via Saddest Factory. While MUNA have shared a few previews of the album already, “Home By Now” feels more reminiscent of their previous albums. With pulsing synths and melancholic vocals, frontwoman Katie Gavin sings of longing post-breakup. “‘Home By Now’ is the song on the record that we feel might be closest to our first album in that it’s a dance song with brutal lyrics and an emo bridge,” Gavin explains. “While a lot of this album does seem to be about trusting my instincts, this song acknowledges the pain of not knowing if I left a relationship that I was meant to be in.”

Caribou – “Cherry”

Daphni aka Caribou aka Dan Snaith is back with “Cherry,” his first new track under the moniker since his 2019 EP Sizzling. The dancefloor-ready, tumbling tune is full of spiraling, upbeat melodies and pulsing synths. Alongside the swirling track, Daphni has released visuals from Damien Roach aka @555×5555. The clip sees Roach using AI technology to create some mind-bending, twisted, psychedelic visuals of cherries that fit the tune perfectly.

Sylvan Esso – “Sunburn”

Sylvan Esso have surprise released a new single called “Sunburn.” The cathartic pop anthem serves as Sylvan Esso’s first release since their 2020 album, Free Love. It’s a pulsing, synth-driven tune with Sylvan Esso’s signature gritty, warping vocal lines. The track is all about feeling delight to the point of discomfort, or the pain that comes from too much of something good.

Dehd – “Window”

Chicago trio Dehd are back with the a video for their new single “Window.” The track comes from their highly anticipated forthcoming album, Blue Skies, out Friday, May 27th via Fat Possum. “Window” is an infectious, full-bodied anthem that is sure to get you singing along. Directed by Kevin Veselka, the accompanying video comes packed with stunning, shimmering, cinematic shots on the sea. The new track is about “being obsessed with true love and the construct of ‘the one,’” Dehd’s Ellie Kempf explains. “I wrote it to address my addiction to the terrible and wonderful pursuit of perfect love.”

Sauna – “Get Strange”

Made up of Fake Palms’ Michael le Riche, Weaves’ Zach Bines, and Greys’ Braeden Craig, Sauna have shared a new single, “Get Strange.” The track comes from their forthcoming album, Dose Yourself, out this Friday, May 25th. Today’s release is a pulsing, synth-driven anthem. With disco-tinged, electronic melodies and stunning harmonies from James Baley, “Get Strange” is sure to get you dancing. “I’m excited to finally release this record,” le Riche says of the forthcoming collection. “It was such a different process than anything we’ve ever done before. We tried new things, experimenting with different sounds and genres and filtering them through what we thought Sauna was capable of. It captures a very specific moment in time, and it’s a record that wouldn’t be made now.”

Lenny Bull – “Feel Alright”

Toronto artist Lenny Bull is back with a video for a new single, “Feel Alright.” The track comes from her freshly announced EP, Strange Vacation, out September 23rd. The feel-good summer anthem is the perfect song to listen to in your backyard in the sun. With upbeat, shimmering guitar riffs, driven drums, and catchy vocal lines, this track is sure to transport you to the beach. The accompanying video, which stars a series of sock puppets, was made in a Toronto backyard in the middle of lockdown. “It is your BBQ anthem, your pool party jam, your summer night single,” Bull explains. “You can finally kiss everyone you know again, so let this play in the background.”

Tallies – “Special”

Toronto’s Tallies are back with a video for their new single, “Special.” The track comes from their forthcoming sophomore album, Patina, out July 29th via Kanine Records, Hand Drawn Dracula, and Bella Union. Thematically, Tallies frequently explore the juxtaposition of light and dark, and you can really hear that on their new jangle-pop tune, “Special.” “‘Special’ is about longing to be seen and heard by those who matter to you most,” bandmember Sarah explains. “Sometimes feeling invisible is particularly painful when the indifference comes from someone whose opinion means a lot to you.”

Lowell – “Guess I’m Going To Hell”

Lowell has made a huge return with her new single, “Guess I’m Going To Hell.” The track sees Lowell channeling 60s doo-wop ballad sounds with a modern twist. “Guess I’m Going To Hell” features atmospheric synths and Lowell’s silky vocal lines. Throughout the track, she delivers raw, vulnerable lyrics about learning to accept yourself, even when you make mistakes. “I wrote about coming to terms with my demons and realizing that we’re all human,” Lowell explains, “we make mistakes and at some point you might as well just party on.”

James Favron – “Lovers”

Hamilton, Ontario singer-songwriter James Favron’s new alt-pop single, “Lovers,” was written in the aftermath of the dissolution of his marriage. Lyrically, the track is all about looking at what led to some big changes in his life. “‘Lovers’ first began taking shape in 2019 when my family life, as it was, fell apart,” Favron explains. “We spent the better part of a year living together after the split, and that involved both of us starting to see other people.”


The War On Drugs – “Change”

The War on Drugs’ six-minute single “Change” was the final preview of their recent album I Don’t Live Here Anymore. The track is all about how difficult it can be to move forward and make changes. Throughout the track, frontman Adam Granduciel sings lines like, “There are so many ways/ Our love could make it through/ But it’s so damn hard to make the change.”

Beabadoobee – “Talk”

UK artist beabadoobee has shared a video for her new single “Talk.” The track comes from beabadoobee’s freshly announced album, Beatopia, out July 15th via Dirty Hit. “Talk” is a gritty, early aughts anthem. With distorted guitars and catchy, bubbly vocals, “Talk” is about doing things that you know are bad for you. Directed by Alexandra Leese and Luke Casey, the accompanying video sees beabadoobee performing for a crowd in an all-white room. “I wrote ‘Talk’ just after my first album,” beabadoobee explains. “I was obsessed with Tuesday because I thought it was the best night to go out, not too much chaos but just enough to have a good time. Generally, it’s about doing things that aren’t necessarily healthy or great for you, but you can’t help indulging. It’s like that unavoidable feeling that you get. You can’t get rid of it, and you know it’s bad, but you love it really, and it’s whatever, so you do it anyways.”

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.”

Matt Maeson – “Blood Runs Red”

Matt Maeson has returned with a new song called “Blood Runs Red.” “‘Blood Runs Red’ is a song about being a successful artist and the narcissistic tendencies that come along with it,” Maeson explains. “I toured for three years straight and received copious amounts of validation but when that ends and you go home, you’re left with yourself and who you’ve bceom while everyone else around you has remained the same.”

Housewife – “Patrick Bateman”

Toronto duo Housewife (f.k.a. Moscow Apartment) are back with the first single under their new name, “Patrick Batemen.” The new pop-rock tune is all about romanticizing evil. Lyrically, the anthemic tune is all about anti-capitalism. “The ultra-capitalist business imagery fell into place once we started writing the song,” Housewife explain. “We wanted to tell a story of someone who is a ‘bad actor’ and hides parts of themselves to appeal to others, but their true intentions are slowly revealed.”

Listen to our Best New Indie playlist below!


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