Each week we break down our favorite song, highlight our honorable mentions, and wrap them all up with other staff recommendations into a New Sounds playlist just for you. Be sure to subscribe here.
The latest (and riffiest) single from what will be The Raconteurs’ first album in over 10 years is, at least in part, an ode to Jack White’s native Detroit. It’s no secret that White has a lot of affection for the city he grew up in, but he has resided in Nashville for most of the past decade. “Well, I’m Detroit born and raised/ But these days/ I’m living with another/ You tell me she can be replaced/ But that’s not the case/ I’m so lost without her,” White sings, waxing poetic about the ineffability of the Motor City.
In keeping with White’s love for Detroit, “Bored and Razed” is about the future and the past and reconciling the differences between them while people and places move in and out of focus just a little bit too quickly. The song evokes a middle-class ethos, conjuring images of a young man at a “juke joint” late at night. He is acutely aware of the “grindstone future” that awaits and has a certain hustle about him. “Changing the losses to wins if I’m able,” White sings, “Running the rounds of the mundane soldier.” All the while, White’s clean, quick articulation and Patrick Keeler’s percussion drive the action forward at a fast clip.
Help Us Stranger, The Raconteurs’ third album and first since 2008’s Consolers of the Lonely, is due out June 21st.
OTHER SONGS WE’RE SPINNING
Bat for Lashes – “Kids in the Dark”
Natasha Khan returns this fall with her fifth studio album as Bat for Lashes. This week we were treated with the upcoming record’s lead single, “Kids in the Dark”. The track is a gleaming synth-pop ballad that pays homage to growing up in Los Angeles in the ’80s that sparkles with intensity and flavor — complete with an infectious melody and jangly beat. –Samantha Lopez
Surf Curse – “Disco”
“Disco” is the first new music from the Los Angeles-based pair of Nick Rattigan (Current Joys) and Jacob Rubeck since 2017’s Nothing Yet. On it, the indie pop-rock duo bring the same energy and knack for melody that’s characterized the best of their work so far. The same three thinned-out chords on electric guitar drive forward throughout, while Rattigan flexes his falsetto and Rubeck pummels his drum set. The group’s forthcoming album, Heaven Surrounds You, is due out September 13th. –Sean Lang
Black Belt Eagle Scout – “At the Party”
Black Belt Eagle Scout is the solo project of Portland-based artist Katherine Paul, who often draws from her childhood growing up in the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community in her music. The artist has said that her upbringing on the reservation has influenced a sense of anxiety about society; her new single, “At the Party”, finds a safe place in maneuvering through existence with her fellow POC. The song starts with a guided drumbeat and follows with Paul’s echoing vocals that sink into a mellow, spiraling instrumentation. –Samantha Lopez
Slotface – “Telepathetic”
The Norwegian punk band formerly known as Slutface — they would still prefer you pronounce it that way, too — has returned with their first new music since their 2017 debut, Try Not to Freak Out. “Telepathetic” is loaded with crunchy guitar and hooky as hell, but it leaves center stage to the vocals of Haley Shea. For most of the song, her vocals carry a typical pop-punk effect, but by its end, she forcefully talk-sings the track’s mantra instead: “Thinking, if you think hard you’ll make it happen/ Telepathetic.” –Sean Lang
Bruce Springsteen – “Moonlight Motel”
Veteran rocker Bruce Springsteen is at it again with another great track off one of his best releases in years. “Moonlight Motel” relies on the orchestral approach that’s prevalent across Western Stars; like most memorable Springsteen songs, “Moonlight Motel” is led by a fully formed narrative. Even a track essentially about a rundown hotel with an empty swimming pool with dandelions pushing up through the cracked concrete is able to come to life as a character on this record. –Samantha Lopez
Crumb – “Nina”
The Brooklyn-based four-piece Crumb dropped their debut studio album, Jinx, today. The LP features the track “Nina”, which arrived with a cool music video starring Twin Peaks actor David Patrick Kelly. The indie quartet combine a hazy production style with enchanting lyrics to create an infectious psych-pop beat peppered with jazz-sampling and hip-hop beats that create the perfect summer day landscape. –Samantha Lopez
Radiohead – MINIDISCS [Hacked]
Radiohead fans rejoice! Following a wildly information-age debacle involving members of the subreddit r/Radiohead, a reputable leaker going by “Zimbra”, and, honestly, who knows who else, over 17 hours of sessions recorded by Radiohead around the time they were recording OK Computer have surfaced. Following the original leak, the band quickly uploaded the entirety of the sessions (with some samples removed due to lack of clearance) to their Bandcamp profile on June 11, announcing that they would be available for streaming or purchase (for £18, with all proceeds to Extinction Rebellion) for the next 18 days. Already, fans and music publications alike have combed through the entire 17 hours, highlighting particular goodies, including an unreleased version of “Lift” (see MD125 at 9:46), a lengthened version of “Paranoid Android” (see MD115 at 5:37), and several iterations of “Karma Police” at different stages in development (see MD122 at 33:28) among so much more. –Sean Lang
Erin Rae – “Can’t Cut Loose”
Erin Rae grew up in Tennessee and because of that has had an early introduction to folk music. A mainstay of East Nashville’s music scene for several years, Rae has collaborated with peers like Andrew Combs and Margo Price. In “Can’t Cut Loose”, Rae showcases her poignant vocals with an infectious, eclectic fusion of folk and country. –Samantha Lopez
Tennis System – “Shelf Life”
“Shelf Life” will open up Tennis System’s Lovesick, the Los Angeles-based outfit’s third album (due out August 2nd on Graveface), and it looks to be a strong start. The song alternates between sections of fuzzed-out guitar and drums pounding in unison and more understated vocal stretches, before going out in a blaze of shoegaze, prog-rock glory. –Sean Lang