The 10 Best New Songs

Featuring black midi, Mannequin Pussy, Bachelor and more

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The 10 Best New Songs

It’s almost time for Paste Music to look back at all March’s best releases, and forward to what April has in store for us. But until then, we’re keeping our focus on this week, which saw the returns of black midi, Mannequin Pussy, beabadoobee and BROCKHAMPTON, as well as a new single from Jay Som/Palehound supergroup Bachelor, an instrumental Ben Seretan track (lots of B artists this week) and more. Find our picks for the top 10 tracks of the past seven days below.

Bachelor: “Stay in the Car”

Jay Som’s Melina Duterte and Palehound’s Ellen Kempner are continuing their partnership under the moniker Bachelor with a new album. Bachelor’s first single “Anything At All” premiered last month, and their debut LP Doomin’ Sun is set to arrive May 28 via Polyvinyl Record Co. The news of Doomin’ Sun arrived Wednesday with bass-heavy indie-rock endeavor “Stay in the Car,” a summer-ready jam recounting an infatuation with a stranger in a grocery store parking lot. Duterte and Kempner’s masterful songwriting combines to perfection yet again with lyrical gems like, “She burns out of the market / Plastic bags digging into wrists / Blood stuck in her fingertips.” The song’s dynamic instrumentals are euphoric with a punch, with wailing electric guitars and acoustic breakdowns complementing the sweet quality of the singers’ combined voices. —Carli Scolforo

beabadoobee: “Last Day on Earth”

Philippines-born, London-bred pop singer/songwriter Bea Kristi, aka beabadoobee, released her first new music of 2021 this week, sharing “Last Day on Earth” Wednesday afternoon alongside the news of her forthcoming EP, Our Extended Play, out this summer on Dirty Hit. Both the single and EP were co-written with and produced by Matty Healy and George Daniel of The 1975, which is plenty obvious once you push play: “Last Day on Earth” is a big, bright pop track that takes impending doom as a given, pushing right past it with beabadoobee’s breathy vocals and buoyant instrumentation straight out of “Steal My Sunshine.” Healy sings back-up as the song “shoop-doobie-doobie-doo”s its way into the end of days, co-signing the suggestion that, if we’re almost out of time, we might as well spend what little we have left immersed in unapologetic melody. —Scott Russell

Ben Seretan: “Fog Rolls Out Rabun Gap”

Coming off one of 2020’s best albums in Youth Pastoral, singer/songwriter Ben Seretan will release Cicada Waves via NNA Tapes on April 30, coinciding with “the arrival of the once-every-17-year Brood X cicada, one of the world’s largest swarms of the noisy insects,” per a press release. That confluence of humankind and nature is the album’s organizing principle, as seen on gorgeous closer and lead single “Fog Rolls Out Rabun Gap”: Named for the album’s secluded Georgia recording location, the song finds Seretan’s gentle Steinway keystrokes resonating through country air awash with the Earth’s own music. “It was clear the moment I hit ‘record’ that any sound I captured from the piano would always carry some other sound with it,” Seretan said in a statement. “There would be no silence whatsoever. So I gave in—I threw open the windows and let the world in.” The result is simply beautiful. Crickets chitter, rain falls, and the natural noises blend with Seretan’s piano playing until it hardly matters what’s intentional and what’s incidental—when, halfway through the song, a bird sings, it’s as moving as any instrument. —Scott Russell

black midi: “John L”

Singular English rockers black midi—that is, Geordie Greep (vocals, guitar), Cameron Picton (vocals, bass guitar, synths) and Morgan Simpson (drums)—announced their sophomore album, Cavalcade, out May 28 on Rough Trade. Its details arrived Tuesday alongside lead single “John L” and its downright hallucinatory music video. Greep says of the album, “The emphasis when we were making and sequencing Cavalcade was to make music that was as dramatic and as exciting as possible.” That approach quickly becomes obvious on the album itself: Opener “John L” is a whirling dervish of a track, even by black midi’s standards. Greep’s ever-unexpected vocals sound strange in an entirely new way as he unspools the tale of a cult leader whose flock turns against him (“No hack with an army / Will last long before he / Breeds men who yearn / For their own bloody glory,” he warns), while the additions of Joscelin Dent-Pooley on violin and Kaidi Akinnibi on sax lend a particularly anxiety-inducing new element to the band’s sound. Simpson’s thundering drums marshal “this infernal din,” which stops and starts on a dime, further intensifying its chaotic energy. —Scott Russell

BROCKHAMPTON: “BUZZCUT” (feat. Danny Brown)

Art-rap boy band BROCKHAMPTON shared their first official new release in two years on Thursday, the shapeshifting “BUZZCUT,” featuring a verse from Detroit hip-hop misfit Danny Brown, as well as backing vocals from in-house producer Jabari Manwa. Over booming bass hits, fidgety synths and myriad vocal samples, Kevin Abstract looks back on his group’s path to this point, reflecting, “Deals they had us sign, for years it had me blind / Think I had to hit rewind and think about why I do shine,” and unflinchingly acknowledging, “A platinum record not gon’ keep my Black ass out of jail.” Brown’s trademark high-pitched delivery lends a special musicality to lines like “White on the street, walking the beat like Abbey Road,” and as the song progresses and changes shape, Kevin Abstract’s insistence on independence (“Now get the fuck out my ride”) manifests as the music itself roving free. There’s no official word yet on a follow-up to 2019’s GINGER, though a press release teases “more information from BROCKHAMPTON coming soon.” For now, all we have are rumors of a new album from the group titled ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE. —Scott Russell

FACS: “General Public”

FACS return with another album full of dark, dubby noise on May 21, when Trouble in Mind Records releases their fourth LP, Present Tense. The prolific trio from Chicago—this is their third album in three years, and fourth overall—make some of the most ominous rock going today, and they don’t try to lighten the mood on the new one. Case in point: the song “General Public,” whose video premiered at Paste Tuesday. It’s a brutal, methodical march through the post-punk muck, with bassist Alianna Kalaba and drummer Noah Leger building a steadily creeping foundation for Brian Case’s morass of vocals and guitars. You’ll hear a bit of The Birthday Party, maybe The Pop Group at their less funky, or perhaps that first Liars record. If feeling bad makes you feel good, you’ll dig it. —Garrett Martin

kolezanka: “Vegan Sushi”

Phoenix-born, Brooklyn-based artist Kristina Moore, formerly of Triathlon and now performing solo as kolezanka, announced her signing Bar/None Records Wednesday, marking the occasion with a new single, “Vegan Sushi.” The upbeat art-pop track feels as if it starts in medias res, fading in on a rollicking bass/drums lockstep (made possible in part by percussionist/multi-instrumentalist Ark Calkins) that sweeps you up in its pulsing rhythm right away. Meanwhile, Moore ponders art-world superficiality (“I wrote this about going to bars, shows, or other social events and falling into ‘industry’ discussions [...] And there was always this game of whether or not someone would take interest in talking to you based on who you know or or what band you’re in that I found exhausting,” she explains in a statement) via her soulful vocals, unable to shake a nagging question: “Have we wasted all our time?” Synths create a house of mirrors that reflects (no pun intended) her inability to discern the real from the illusory, and before you know it, “Vegan Sushi” has vanished. —Scott Russell

Mannequin Pussy: “Control”

Good news for lovers of guitar rock: Philadelphia indie-punk trio Mannequin Pussy are back with their first new material in two years. Missy (vocals/guitar/keys), Colins “Bear” Regisford (bass) and Kaleen Reading (drums) will follow their acclaimed 2019 album Patience with a new EP, Perfect, out May 21 on Epitaph. Explosive lead single “Control,” out now alongside a Missy-directed music video, is an excellent first preview of Perfect. The opening track off the EP, “Control” captures the mental struggle so many have experienced in the times of coronavirus, rendering feelings of helplessness and hopelessness as dynamic, poignant rock. “I’m in control / That’s what I tell myself / When all the walls around me close in,” Missy murmurs over a lone electric guitar, giving up as she concludes, “I know no one’s waiting for anyone,” only for the song to explode into a cathartic, irresistibly hooky ripper, emotions flying outward into the waiting ears of people who care. Missy stars in the accompanying video, as well as directing, moving from isolated and alone to empowered and liberated in thrilling, funny fashion. —Scott Russell

Meet Me @ The Altar: “Hit Like a Girl”

Pop-punk trio Meet Me @ The Altar can’t help but uplift female voices. Consisting of three women of color, the band partnered with Facebook in honor of Women’s History Month on their latest track. “Hit Like a Girl” is the band’s first release of 2021, and the second since their signing to Fueled By Ramen. They took to social media asking their fans to share what being a woman meant to them, and fashioned their answers into a good old-fashioned pop-punk anthem. The latest track is dripping with nostalgia, chock-full of heavy drums and power chords. The lyric video for “Hit Like a Girl” is likewise reminiscent of pop punk’s golden years, stylized as a doodle-filled notebook entry saturated in a Y2K color palette. —Carli Scolforo

Winter: “All I Know” (feat. Jorge Elbrecht)

The second 2021 single from Brazil-born, Los Angeles-based dream-pop singer/songwriter Winter (aka Samira Winter), “All I Know” finds the artist teaming up with producer Jorge Elbrecht to embrace a more rock-oriented (though less alluringly danceable) sound. The track opens with a blast of fuzzed-out guitar and bass, then overlays that with Winter and Elbrecht’s muffled, melodic vocals, intertwining like two trees growing together. “Indistinct / Calls replay / The meaning’s open / Not ending?,” they sing, their artfully obscure lyrics lending a hazy wonder to the track. “All I Know” ends with Winter and Elbrecht doubling down on their guitar-forward approach, pushing their bent-note riffage into total noise-rock overdrive. —Scott Russell