Earlier this week, Maynard James Keenan essentially told the Phoenix New Times he was sick of Tool and the band’s fans. Now, we all know dude’s totally mischievous and I would wager there was more than a little deadpan impishness to that statement. That said, the artists jumping into our list of the week’s best new songs aren’t pretending to play hard-to-get, instead delivering a 10-pack of totally intense, heartfelt tracks. So, if you’re looking for something without that sheen of irony, click through and enjoy!
10. Fotomachine – “Black Punk”
Brixton’s Fotomachine (formerly PhOtOmachine) has repeatedly re-envisioned the sounds of the UK underground. Normally dabbling in soul-infused house as the force behind Technicolour Records, Fotomachine makes a shift and builds “Black Punk” atop the “Amen Break” of drum ‘n’ bass lore. Hushed with shoegazing ambiance, the lo-fi approach leads to a far more textured experience than those offered from standard junglist cuts. Though distant from typical punk rock sounds, the stand-alone single still embodies the retaliatory ethos of the genre. As grime and garage rise into the pop realms, Fotomachine is piecing together a new sound for the subterranean masses to explore. –Derek Staples
09. Eleanor Friedberger – “He Didn’t Mention His Mother”
As a member of The Fiery Furnaces, Eleanor Friedberger would sing about blueberry boats, little thatched huts, and Vietnamese Telephone Ministry — though always imbuing the songs’ characters with a startling sense of rounded humanity. On her solo albums, her songs cut even deeper to the bone, digging through emotions and stories that sound less fantastical in their details, far closer to home. Such is the case with the evocative new track “He Didn’t Mention His Mother”, in which Friedberger’s golden-toned guitar rings autumnally under her rich vocals. “Today I’m frozen, but tomorrow I’ll write about you,” she shrugs, seemingly unable to process a loss and instead going through a list of domestic artifacts and dull tasks in the meantime. This and the rest of her latest solo LP, New View, will be available January 22nd through Frenchkiss Records. –Adam Kivel
08. Adele – “Hello”
The moment Adele’s comeback single, “Hello”, hit the internet, it began to draw comparisons to hits both new and old. Although the phone-related links to Drake’s “Hotline Bling” are somewhat chuckle-worthy, it’s the song’s echoes of Lionel Richie’s “Hello” that resonate more. Like Richie’s classic, Adele’s “Hello” is an expression of full-bodied longing, but there’s little hope to be found here. As on the titanic “Someone Like You”, she breaks our hearts with a beautifully mature sense of resignation. In five measured, piano-led minutes, the British pop star traverses the wobbly line from tentativeness to knowing self-effacement and finally, an acknowledgment of separation. Hello indeed, Adele. You’ve been missed. –Karen Gwee