5 songs you must hear this week: 16 December 2019

When we get to the third week of December, it starts to get difficult to find new tunes to recommend as release schedules slow to a trickle. This year, though, there’s been a flurry of excellent late-year tracks setting things up for 2020.

1. MGMT, In the Afternoon/As You Move Through the World
12-inch single (MGMT Records)
Recommended If You Like: I think you know what we’re talking about here.

I seem to recall that the last time we heard from MGMT they were a major label band. Now independent with their own label, their first project are two halves of an old-school 12-inch single. physical copies are available only through the band’s online store beginning in March. Until then, please enjoy this video. Trippy. And kinda middle-80s techno-alternative, too.

2. Evanescence, The Chain
Gears of War 5 soundtrack (Frontside)
RIYL: Fleetwood Mac covers

My favourite track from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album has always been the lead-off to side two of the vinyl version and the only song on the record credited to all five members of the band. With more young people discovered FM for the first time—just try to find a copy of Rumours in a used record store—and with newer artists mining the Mac sound (cf. Haim), it cool to hear Amy Lee’s rocked-up take.

Hazel English, Shaking
Single (PolyVinyl Records)
RIYL: Late 90s female-fronted indie rock

If you’re fond of late-90s female alt-rock (think Juliana Hatfield, The Breeders, Liz Phair, Throwing Muses, etc.), you’ll find much to love in this indie/dream-pop singer from Sydney, Australia. This single will have you wondering if you’ve been wormholed back to 1997.

4. Peter, Bjorn & John, Idiosyncrasy
Endless Dream (INGRID)
RYIL: Swedish bands that got famous by whistling

The new PB&J album won’t be out until March, but the band is already onto its third single, making it one for each member so far (For the record, this is John’s song.) Endless Dream will be the band’s ninth studio album and will mark the band’s 20th anniversary together. Cool single-take video for this one, too.

5. Stone Temple Pilots, Fare Thee Well
Perdida (Rhino)
RIYL: You can handle STP minus Scott

You gotta give STP credit: They refuse to give up no matter how many singers they go through. So far, the addition of Jeff Gutt (joined 2017) has not only stuck but led to the group’s first-ever all-acoustic studio album. Fare Thee Well—the first of ten tracks—opens with the lines “Fare thee well, so long/I hate to say goodbye to you,” which, considering the band’s history, kinda sets the emotional tone for the record, doesn’t it? Note that STP will be at the Danforth Music Hall February 27.

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