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. This week’s top song is Thom Yorke and Flea’s “Daily Battles”.
It’s been a bountiful year for Thom Yorke fans. Earlier this summer, Yorke released his first complete solo record in five years, ANIMA, and a few months after that dropped a companion EP to his astounding Suspiria soundtrack. This week, Yorke released a new song he recorded with Flea (his Atoms for Peace bandmate) for Motherless Brooklyn, Edward Norton’s upcoming directorial debut based on the novel of the same name by Jonathan Lethem.
The new track is titled “Daily Battles” and is a scant and reflective song carried heavily throughout by piano. The film takes place in the 1950s, but throughout the track we hear Yorke coo out about anxieties of modern life alongside a horn arrangement by Flea.
The new song came about when Norton directly reached out to the Radiohead frontman. In a statement with Rolling Stone, Norton says this about the content of the song: “Thom is so good at weaving together personal anguish and the crushing politics of the time … The way that you get the sense in his songs of the difficulty of holding on to your own spirit within times that feel oppressive, and that is so much the straddle that is taking place in this film, which is loneliness and institutional depression and racism.”
The track also has a jazz adaptation by Wynton Marsalis. Both versions of the song will be released on a 7” vinyl single, due out October 4th. Motherless Brooklyn is due in theaters November 1st.
OTHER SONGS WE’RE SPINNING
Sturgill Simpson – “Sing Along”
In a move that I’d like to think no one saw coming (or at least not before ComicCon last month), Sturgill Simpson’s new single is accompanied with an anime-style video following a steampunk samurai through a post-apocalyptic wasteland where labor is traded directly for food and glitzy mobs terrorize the proletariat. Simpson’s new album, Sound & Fury, will be out September 27th, along with its companion anime film, a collaboration between Simpson, manga artist Takashi Okazaki, and filmmaker Junpei Mizusaki. Both look to be exciting mashups of the Americana, country aesthetic Simpson is known for and more traditional elements of anime. –Sean Lang
Maya Hawke – “To Love a Boy”
Maya Hawke is the second of the Scoops Troop to showcase their music ability. (Joe Keery released two under the moniker Djo earlier this month). The breakout Stranger Things actress made her musical debut this week with two beautifully intimate tracks, “To Love a Boy” and its B-side “Stay Open.” “To Love a Boy” is filled with lyrics that pull on your heart-strings, all thanks to Hawke, while the folksy execution of the music is by Grammy Award-winning songwriter Jesse Harris. Regardless, both tracks allow a deep insight into Maya Hawke’s character and promise major success if the Stranger Things actress continues to pursue music. –Samantha Lopez
BROCKHAMPTON – “NO HALO”
The much-loved West Coast rap “boy band” released a new album, Ginger, last night at midnight. It’s a follow-up to last year’s celebrated Iridescence. For the past few weeks, the group have released a new single with a companion video every Thursday morning — including this past Thursday. This week, the track is titled “No Halo”, and unlike its predecessors, which capture an inexplicable and chaotic vibe throughout, is a song built on whimsy guitars that create a more pensive, melodic mood. Its companion video is directed by Spencer Ford and has the same grainy, lo-fi energy as other BROCKHAMPTON videos. –Samantha Lopez
Anna Wise – “Nerve”
Alt R&B singer and veteran Kendrick Lamar collaborator Anna Wise is prepping to release her first full-length. The record is due out Oct. 18th and follows up a pair of EPs. Wise’s new single, “Never”, is an upbeat, funky tune about releasing toxic energy brought on by toxic people. The song has a precise drumbeat that showcases Wise’s sturdy vocals. Both of which are infectious. In a statement, Wise says this about the musical process: “Sometimes words and melodies flow out so fast, it’s best to have all your tools ready to catch the ideas before they leave you and tap on the next person’s shoulder. I had all my tools ready that night, and I’m grateful. Lyrically, it’s about spring cleaning your relationships and not being afraid of letting go. Typical, I know, but it’s a lesson I am still learning.” –Samantha Lopez
Click ahead for more song picks and our exclusive playlist.