5 songs you must hear this week: 14 September 2020

Now that we’re halfway through September, record labels–most of which work on a January-December fiscal year–are gearing up for the final push of 2020. Here are five songs that should be on your radar this week.

1. Of Monsters and Men, Visitor
Single (Republic Records)
Recommended If You Like: Iceland?

Of Monsters and Men have been trapped at home in the North Atlantic by the pandemic, so they’ve had time to work on material for a new album that should appear sometime in early 2021. A statement from the band reads “Visitor is a song about disconnection and being on the fringe of change, seeing everything you once knew disappear, and finding yourself in the role of the visitor. It was written and recorded when the world was a completely different place, but the post-apocalyptic world of the video seems fitting. We shot the music video for it in Iceland in the freezing cold of February right before the pandemic hit.”

2. Painted Shield, I Am Your Country
Painted Shield (Loosegroove Records)
RIYL: Pearl Jam. Probably.

In the absence of any Pearl Jam tours in support of the Gigaton album until at least some time in 2021, Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard has dusted off some instrumental demos he did with the Smashing Pumpkins’ Jimmy Chamberlin for this new band. Stone is joined by folksinger Mason Jennings and Seattle-based keyboardist Brittany Davis. The full album will be out on November 27.


Finneas, What They’ll Say About Us
Single, (Kobalt)
RIYL: Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish’s older brother and collaborator would like people to know he can do stuff on his own. This track was written in lockdown after Finneas spent the day at a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Los Angeles. It’s also inspired by what Canadian-born Broadway actor Nick Cordero when through before being felled by COVID-19. “This song is dedicated to all who have had to endure this year,” says Finneas. “I hope this song can offer some sort of comfort to those who may need it.”


4. AIDS Wolf, Very Friendly (Weasel Walter Remix)
Single (SKIN GRAFT/Lovepump United)
RIYL: There is only one AIDS Wolf

I saw AIDS Wolf perform at festival in Montreal years ago and never quite got over it. Playing a combination of noise and free jazz—I don’t know how else to describe it—they left me in a state of disbelief, especially when vocalist Chloe Lum sang part of a song with the head of a Shure SM57 completely inside her mouth. The band is now re-releasing some long-lost recordings in some newly remixed forms. Beware all those who go past this point.


5. Smashing Pumpkins, CYR
Single (Sumerian)
RIYL: Pumpkins. Duh.

The Smashing Pumpkins were also supposed to be on the road through the latter part of 2020, playing some solo dates and also—get this—opening for Guns N’ Roses on several stadium dates. (Can you imagine that happening in 1993?) Instead, Billy and the crew retreated into the studio to work on a new album due sometime next year. This single comes with a B-side called The Colour of Love.

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