Five songs you must hear this week: 20 November 2023

Will Radiohead ever release new music again? Did Jared Leto really scale the Empire State Building? When will The Strumbellas finally return? Read on.

1. The Smile, Wall of Eyes
Wall of Eyes (XL Recordings)
Recommended If You Like: Anything even close to Radiohead

While Radiohead is quick to point out that the band still exists, you’d never know it from their recent output. Instead, the various members have embarked on all manner of spin-off projects including The Smile, which features Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenway. A sophomore album is ready for release on January 26 and is being introduced with this single. The video was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, too. It’s the closest we’re going to get to Radiohead for a while.

2. The Strumbellas, Running Out of Time
Part-Time Believer (Glassnote)
RIYL: Headphone music

Here’s the third single from the upcoming Strumbellas record (due February 9) and this time, it’s largely a production of Dave Ritter who plays piano, organ, percussion, and some of the vocals. Hint: Listen wearing headphones because that’s the best way to hear one of the best parts of the song. I quote from the band: “Somehow producer Keith Varon and mixer Ben Allen were able to gather the background vocals together into a fuzzy choir of robot angels, especially in the final chorus. The harmonies dance and sparkle around the lead vocal in a way that makes us smile every time we hear it.”

3. The Beaches, Boys Don’t Cry
Single (Amazon Music Originals/AWAL)
RIYL: Well, The Cure, right?

The Beaches are part of a year-end crop of bands contributing special recordings for Amazon Music. Why this Cure classic? Because it was an important influence in recording their recent single, Blame My Ex. The downside is that Amazon makes you jump through all kinds of hoops before you can listen to it. I’ll give you this link which, if you have an Amazon account, should take you right there after signing in to your Amazon account. If you don’t have one, then prepare to be frustrated.

4. Elephant Stone, History Repeating
Back into Dreams (Independent)
RIYL: Sitar rock

For the life of me, I don’t know why more people haven’t been turned on to Montreal’s Elephant Stone. They get great reviews from all the right places (Rolling Stone, NPR, Clash Music, Consequence of Sound, Brooklyn Vegan, me). If you love psych-pop, then you owe it to yourself to give them a chance. The sixth album, Back into the Dream, will be here on February 26th.

5. Thirty Seconds to Mars, Seasons
It’s the End of the World But It’s a Beautiful Day (Concord)
RIYL: Whatever Jared Leto is selling

Did Jared Leto really scale the Empire State Building to announce the band’s 2024 world tour? Apparently so. He’s always been fascinated by the structure saying “The building is a testament of all the things that can be done in the world if we put our minds to it, which is largely the inspiration behind our most recent album. Give the guy props for going to the extreme for his art. This is the second single from the album.

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