10 Best Songs of the Week: Black Belt Eagle Scout, Weyes Blood, Badlands, Andy Shauf, and More
Plus Shame, koleżanka, The Golden Dregs, and a Wrap-up of the Week’s Other Notable New Tracks
Nov 18, 2022
Welcome to the 40th Songs of the Week of 2022. After a few weeks of doing a Songs of the Week every other week, we’re back on the regular weekly schedule now. Although next week we won’t being doing a Songs of the Week because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
In the last week or so we posted interviews with Frankie Cosmos and Eric Appel (the director of Weird: The Al Yankovic Story).
In the last week we reviewed a bunch of albums.
Covers of Covers, our first album, came out at the beginning of March on CD and digitally via American Laundromat. You can stream it here. You can also buy it directly from American Laundromat, via Bandcamp, or on Amazon.
Don’t forget to pick up our double print issue, our 20th Anniversary Issue (which is out now).
To help you sort through the multitude of fresh songs released in the last week, we have picked the 10 best the last week had to offer, along with highlighting other notable new tracks shared in the last seven days. Check out the full list below.
1. Black Belt Eagle Scout: “My Blood Runs Through This Land”
On Wednesday, Black Belt Eagle Scout (aka Swinomish Indian Tribal Community-based singer/songwriter/guitarist Katherine Paul) announced a new album, The Land, The Water, The Sky, and shared a new song from it, opening track “My Blood Runs Through This Land,” via a video for it. The Land, The Water, The Sky is due out Feburary 10, 2023 via Saddle Creek. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as her upcoming tour dates, here.
Evan Benally Atwood directed the “My Blood Runs Through This Land” video from a concept by Paul. It was filmed in the ancestral lands of the Swinomish and Coast Salish.
In October Black Belt Eagle Scout shared the album’s closing track, “Don’t Give Up,” which was one of our Songs of the Week.
The Land, The Water, The Sky is the follow-up to 2019’s At the Party With My Brown Friends, also released via Saddle Creek.
In 2020, Paul returned to her ancestral lands from Portland during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I created The Land, The Water, The Sky to record and reflect upon my journey back to my homelands and the challenges and the happiness it brought,” she says in a press release.
Of the new song, Paul says: “‘My Blood Runs Through This Land’ is about the connection I have with my ancestors. When I run my hands through the rocks at Snee Oosh beach and dip my fingers into our waterways, I am reminded of where I come from. Paying attention to all of the sounds and the feelings I get when I am immersed in trails of cedar trees and canoeing out on the water deeply grounds me and strengthens my bond to my lineage of the Swinomish tribe. I wanted the delicateness of these moments to meet the intense reality of the history of my people. I like to imagine my blood—all of my ancestors—running through our homelands freely and powerfully.”
Read our interview with Black Belt Eagle Scout on her debut album, Mother of My Children, along with our 2018 politically themed interview with her.
Black Belt Eagle Scout was featured on our Covers of Covers compilation, which came out earlier this year via American Laundromat. By Mark Redfern
2. Weyes Blood: “God Turn Me Into a Flower”
Weyes Blood (aka Natalie Mering) released a new album, And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow, today via Sub Pop. On Wednesday, she shared its third single, “God Turn Me Into a Flower.” The song features synthesizer from Daniel Lopatin. Read our rave review of the new album here and view Weyes Blood’s upcoming tour dates here.
Previously Weyes Blood shared the album’s first single, the wistful “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody,” which was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. Then she shared a video for “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody.” Then she shared the album’s second single, “Grapevine,” which was again #1 on our Songs of the Week list. Then she shared a spooky video for “Grapevine.”
Weyes Blood also recently guested on the new John Cale song, “STORY OF BLOOD,” from his new album, MERCY (out January 20 via Double Six/Domino). “STORY OF BLOOD” was one of our Songs of the Week.
And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow is Weyes Blood’s first album since 2019’s Titanic Rising, which was her first album for Sub Pop and was #2 on our Top 100 Albums of 2019 list. Mering co-produced the new album with Jonathan Rado, with the exception of album closer “A Given Thing,” which was produced by Mering and Rodaidh McDonald. Kenny Gilmore mixed the album at 101 Studio and Emily Lazar and Chris Allgood mastered it at The Lodge. And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow features guest appearances from Meg Duffy, Daniel Lopatin, and Mary Lattimore.
A previous press described the album in more detail: “The album is her follow-up to the acclaimed Titanic Rising, the first album of three in a special trilogy. Where Titanic was an observation of doom to come, And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow is about being in the thick of it: a search for an escape hatch to liberate us from algorithms and ideological chaos (spoiler alert: the next one will be about ‘hope’).”
Mering also said: “We’re in a fully functional shit show. My heart is a glow stick that’s been cracked, lighting up my chest in an explosion of earnestness.”
Mering also released a typed and signed statement, which is here.
Read our My Favorite Album Issue interview with Weyes Blood on her all-time favorite album.
Read our 20th Anniversary Issue cover story interview with Weyes Blood.
Titanic Rising was our joint Album of the Week and you can read our rave review of it here.
Weyes Blood’s album previous to Titanic Rising was Front Row Seat to Earth, which made it all the way to #9 on our Top 100 Albums of 2016 list.
Read our interview with Weyes Blood on Front Row Seat to Earth (from our Best of 2016 Issue).
Also read our The End interview with Weyes Blood about endings and death. By Mark Redfern
3. Badlands: “I Want Blood”
Swedish producer, composer, and musician Catharina Jaunviksna is back with her latest record as Badlands, Call to Love. Arriving a year after her previous effort, Djinn, Call to Love trades the lush arpeggiated synths and expansive soundscapes of that record for a more analog sound. The record incorporates vinyl samples, field recordings, malfunctions, and overdubs into new organic arrangements, pushing her sound in novel directions while retaining her songwriting’s resonant core.
Badlands previously shared the album track “My Time Will Come Again,” which was one of our Songs of the Week, followed by her latest single, “Bury You Whole.” On Tuesday, she shared a final single from the record, “I Want Blood,” premiering with Under the Radar.
“I Want Blood” is a simmering slow-burning effort, one that unfurls at its own pace but remains thoroughly magnetic throughout. The track’s beginning minutes expand outward with a steadily growing mix of instrumentation, as keys, strings, and delicately layered production all overlap into a thick haze of sound. In the latter half, Jaunviksna’s vocals fall away and the ethereal elements transform into something more visceral, carried by driving electronic production and given striking color thanks to bursts of strings and plucking synth tones. The track’s effortless blend of instrumentation and tones, paired with an expansive song structure, make it one of Jaunviksna’s most ambitious offerings yet.
Jaunviksna says of “I Want Blood,” “This track sums up what the record is all about. Like, you have to kill yourself a little in order to get what you want. One can not keep her entire self and sanity, and at the same time win love over. It’s an exchange. Love in exchange for control; love in exchange for your life as you know it.”
Check out the song and visualizer below. Call to Love is out everywhere on November 18th via RITE. By Caleb Campbell
4. Andy Shauf: “Wasted on You”
On Monday, Andy Shauf announced a new album, Norm, and shared a new song from it, “Wasted On You,” via a video for it. Shauf also announced some 2023 tour dates. Norm is due out February 10, 2023 via ANTI-. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as the tour dates, here.
Norm is the follow-up to 2021’s surprise-released Wilds and 2020’s The Neon Skyline. Neal Pogue (Tyler, the Creator, Janelle Monae, Outkast) mixed the album, which centers of the title character. “The character of Norm is introduced in a really nice way,” Shauf says in a press release. “But the closer you pay attention to the record, the more you’re going to realize that it’s sinister.”
Shauf was inspired by David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive when crafting the lyrics for the album and worked with Nicholas Olson as “a story editor” on the lyrics. V Haddad directed the “Wasted On You” video, which was written by Shauf. By Mark Redfern
5. Shame: “Fingers of Steel”
On Tuesday, British post-punk band Shame announced a new album, Food For Worms, and shared its first single, “Fingers of Steel,” via a video. They also announced some tour dates. Food For Worms is due out February 24, 2023 via Dead Oceans. Check out the album’s tracklist and cover art, as well as the tour dates, here.
Food For Worms is the follow-up to 2021’s Drunk Tank Pink. For the album they worked with renouned producer Flood. In a press release, frontman Charlie Steen calls Food For Worms “the Lamborghini of Shame records.”
James Humby directed the “Fingers of Steel” video. Steen had this to say about the video in the press release: “Self-obsession, social media flagellation and death can all be seen in this Oscar-nominated performance. No one’s ever done a video like this before and when you watch it, you’ll see why. Think Casablanca, but in color, and better.” By Mark Redfern
6. koleżanka: “Slapstick”
Yesterday, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, guitarist, and producer koleżanka (aka Kristina Moore) announced the release of a new album, Alone with the Sound the Mind Makes, which will be out on February 17, 2023 via Bar/None. Moore also shared a new album single “Slapstick.” View the album’s cover art here.
Speaking about “Slapstick” in a press release, Moore states: “This song is an ode to the service industry and a lament on the lifestyle it cultivates for me. You’re required to adopt a breezy, welcoming demeanor that can suck the life out of you when life is tough and the last thing you want to do is talk to a stranger about a steak you can’t afford. I’ve been lucky enough lately to work in some places with pretty chill patrons, but I still get tables that make me feel as though they’re just waiting for me to fail, waiting for a way to reprimand someone about something arbitrary. Broadly too, the way the rich are rewarded for being rich while the poor are penalized for their lack of resources while the economy depends on cheap labor from those who lack resources is the cruelest joke.”
In October, Moore shared the single “Canals of Our City,” which was one of our Songs of the Week.
Alone with the Sound the Mind Makes was produced by Moore and Ark Calkins. Moore’s latest album, Place Is, came out in 2020 via Bar/None. By Joey Arnone
7. The Golden Dregs: “Sundown Lake”
Yesterday, The Golden Dregs (aka Benjamin Woods) shared a new single, “Sundown Lake.” It is the latest release from Woods’ forthcoming album, On Grace & Dignity, which will be out on February 10, 2023 via 4AD.
Upon announcement of the new album in October, Woods shared the single “American Airlines,” which was one of our Songs of the Week.
The Golden Dregs’ previous album, Hope Is For the Hopeless, came out in 2019. By Joey Arnone
8. Liv.e: “Wild Animals”
Yesterday, R&B singer/producer Liv.e announced the release of a new album, Girl in the Half Pearl, which will be released on February 10, 2023 via Real Life. She also shared a self-directed video for the new album single “Wild Animals.” The track was co-written and produced by Liv.e alongside John Carroll Kirby and Solomonphonic. View the album’s cover art here.
In a press release, Liv.e states: “I really love the process of coming up with a vision and doing my best to ensure that it will come out just as it was in my imagination. I tend to use almost all my practices as another way to strengthen my trust and belief in myself. The concept is just based on the release of letting go of old ‘people pleasing’ habits that I tended to act on in the past a lot. A depiction of gaining the strength & courage to choose myself every time.”
In October, Liv.e shared the album track “Ghost.”
Liv.e’s debut album, Couldn’t Wait To Tell You, came out in 2020 via In Real Life. By Joey Arnone
9. Meg Baird: “Star Hill Song”
Meg Baird is releasing a new album, Furling, on January 27, 2023 via Drag City. On Tuesday, she shared its second single, “Star Hill Song,” via a self-directed video for it.
Baird had this to say about the video in a press release” “I’m neither a person who knows how to make films—or sew—but creating this homespun video felt very much like getting lost in a freestyle needlework and quilting project.
“I often think that music is a place where we can literally ‘put’ or ‘save’ things when there is no other space for them. All of the images I’ve stitched together here were squeezed from a sorely dying phone camera in my attempt to add life and flicker to them. And while they are images that mean a great deal to me—captured with eyes looking up close at things with love, care and devotion—I hope they leave plenty of open space for moods, thoughts and stories of your own.”
Previously Baird shared a video for the album’s lead single, “Will You Follow Me Home?” It was one of our Songs of the Week.
Baird’s last album was 2018’s Ghost Forests, a collaborative album with Mary Lattimore. By Mark Redfern
10. Death Valley Girls: “What Are the Odds”
On Tuesday, LA goth-rock band Death Valley Girls announced the release of a new album, Islands in the Sky, which will be out on February 24, 2023 via Suicide Squeeze. They also shared a video for a new album single, “What Are the Odds.” View the album’s tracklist and cover art here.
In a press release, the band’s Bonnie Bloomgarden states: “When we wrote ‘I’m a Man Too’ we were trying to revisit No Doubt’s ‘I’m Just a Girl’ but through a new lens. ‘What Are the Odds’ is in the same way an investigation/revisitation of Madonna’s ‘Material Girl’ but with a DVG spin. We love to think about consciousness, and existence, and we very much believe in some type of reincarnation, but also that this experience isn’t linear, there isn’t a past and future, there’s something else going on! What is it? Is it a simulation, are we simulated girls??!”
Bloomgarden also elaborates on the album, which was initially conceived while she was bed-ridden with a mysterious illness from November 2020 to March 2021: “When I was sick, I started to wonder if it would be possible to write a record with messages of love to my future self. This was really the first time that I consciously thought about my own suffering and what future me might need to hear to heal. I struggled so much in my life with mental health, abuse, PTSD, and feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere. And I don’t want anyone—including my future self—to suffer ever again. I realized that if we are all part of one cosmic consciousness, as we [Death Valley Girls] believe, then Islands in the Sky could serve not only as a message of love and acceptance to myself, but also from every self to every self, because we are all one!”
In September, Death Valley Girls previously shared the album track “It’s All Really Kind of Amazing.”
The band’s most recent album, Under the Spell of Joy, came out last year via Suicide Squeeze. It featured songs “The Universe” (one of our Songs of the Week) and “Hold My Hand” (another one of our Songs of the Week). By Joey Arnone
These songs almost made the Top 10.
Jenny Hval: “Buffy”
LIES: “Camera Chimera”
Weird Nightmare: “So Far Gone”
Here’s a handy Spotify playlist featuring the Top 10 in order, followed by all the honorable mentions:
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