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It’s Time Again for the Week’s Best New Music—and Its Worst

5 great new local songs, 5 great new songs from everywhere else, and a real stinkeroo

Photos provided|

Bathtub Cig, Vampire Weekend

If you missed the news last week, I’m now adding a “worst song of the week” to this column. And let me tell you: Finding a song that sucks is way less fun than finding a bunch that you actually want to hear!

Bathtub Cig, “Red Pine”

Lyrics don’t get much more direct than “Good morning, I love you/And I always will.” Named for our state tree, Hilary James’s bittersweet little indie song covers all the important parts of life: 69ing, abstaining from weed, saying goodbye.

Critterthing, “Colors”

A taut and spare indie, with Juno Lee’s wiry guitar clicking in with an unfussy rhythm section and Claire Rogalsky’s voice occasionally freaking out a bit, all leading to a declaration of “I’ll call you back” followed by sweet backing harmonies. 

Daphne Jane, “The Next Party (I’ll Miss)”

I think parties are pretty fun myself, but this little ditty about how it’s more fun to write songs at home makes a strong case for not leaving the house. Also, Daphne Jane’s got a Tuesday night residency at Green Room this month, so it’s not like she’s that much of a shut-in.  

Services, “Shake”

Guitars rev into motion and glint in all directions; Sylvia Jennings is trapped at the center of it all—“Waiting/Just waiting/Impatient/Impatiently waiting.”

Silver City Super Band, “Up to the Stylosphere”

Belfast Cowboys bassist Joe Baumgart cooks up a track of instrumental funk with an organ drone that suggests Ethiopian jazz to me. Maybe not to him, or to you, but to me. 

Local Picks

Non-Local Picks

Dua Lipa, “Training Session”

Every time I’m like “Do we really need another Dua Lipa retro dance hit?” and then every time I’m like “OK, just one more.” She’s found her lane, she’s set the cruise control, and she’ll get you where you’re going.

Laura Jane Grace, “I’m Not a Cop”

Four terrific advance singles preceded Grace’s Hole in My Head but my favorite track on that stripped down new album is this swinging rockers, which inserts a “fuckin’” into the title and offers this wisdom: “You know by law you gotta tell me otherwise it’s entrapment.” 

Nia Archives, “Silence Is Loud”

On the title track of a new album due in April, the queen of the neo-jungle returns with more songful breakbeats, with chillout spaces opening up wide when you need respite from the brisk funk.

Sheer Mag, “Eat It and Beat It”

I love how Christina Halladay’s voice always approaches on the verge of shrill and then blasts straight on through, and that the band knows exactly how to record their guitars for ultimate gut-punch impact.  

Vampire Weekend, “Capricorn”

This ballad wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Modern Vampires of the City, and if that means they’re repeating themselves it also means they’re still capable of songs that would fit in on one of the best albums of the 21st century. The soothing intelligence of Ezra’s Koenig’s voice adds resonance to lines like “Too old for dying young/Too young to live alone/Sifting through centuries/For moments of your own” and that baroque keyboard figure sets up a huge synth moment that’s less a climax than a revelation.

Worst Song of the Week

Morgan Wallen, “Spin You Around (1/24)”

The song itself deserves nothing but a shrug: a yawn or two of a pick up line set to middling contempo-country. But its reason for existing is somewhat newsworthy. It seems Wallen cut some tracks pre-fame, including the original “Spin You Around,” and those recordings’ owners have decided to cash in by re-releasing them. This perturbed the star so much he cut a quickie version of the stand-out track and released a high-horsed statement about the wickedness of the music biz. Says Wallen of his juvenilia: “I cringe when I listen to these songs.” Yeah… we’ve all done things we’re ashamed of in the past, huh Morgan?  

Wanna get a local song considered for the playlist? To make things easy on both of us, email keith@racketmn.com with MONDAY PLAYLIST in the subject header. (Don’t, as in do NOT, DM or text: If I’m in a good mood, I’ll just ask you to send an email; if I’m in a bad mood I’ll just ignore it.)

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