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7 New Songs You Should Hear Now


Whenever I put together one of these monthly collections of “songs you should hear now,” culled from our weekly new music Playlists, my brain leaps to the “Now That’s What I Call Music!” font. Do you remember those compilations? I’m guessing you do, because a quick scan of the series’ impressively long Wikipedia page tells me they are released all over the world, and that they began in the United Kingdom in 1983. 1983! The “Now” albums didn’t arrive stateside until 1998, but to my surprise they’re still being released, even if the evolution toward streaming means they’ve receded from the album charts. Nevertheless, they persist. “Now That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 86” was released just a few months ago.

Is today’s playlist a kind of “Now That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 87”? Well, no. I don’t think I can call it that legally, and most of these artists — like the indie-rock group Palehound, the Canadian country crooner Colter Wall and the Detroit hard-rock collective the Armed — are a bit too under-the-radar to make a compilation like that. But that also means you’re most likely about to stumble upon at least one artist you’ve never heard before. Now that’s what I call exciting.

Listen along on Spotify as you read.

I nearly put this one on my Fourth of July barbecue playlist, but I decided it wasn’t quite celebratory enough to fit the bill: I was not sure that anyone would want to hear a painfully vivid indie-rock song about an Independence Day breakup while grilling burgers, no matter how excellently written it is. But, to be sure, this song is excellently written, by Palehound’s leader, El Kempner. “Sparkler in my throat, can we just take it all back,” Kempner sings atop a guitar that jangles like loose change. “Join the neighbors and go dancing with a rocket and a six pack?” (Listen on YouTube)

I will admit that I did not give the Atlanta singer-songwriter Faye Webster’s 2021 breakout album, “I Know I’m Funny Haha,” a fair shake for a very petty reason: The first song I heard from it, “A Dream With a Baseball Player,” is an ode to Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., and as a fan of the team’s division rival New York Mets, I must remain in denial about how good Acuña Jr. is. (He’s so good. It’s annoying!) I do like the push-and-pull rhythms of Webster’s latest single, “But Not Kiss,” and the way the whole thing sounds like a strange, woozy dream. Every time Webster confesses a feeling, she — and the song itself — suddenly retreats: “I want to see you in my dreams,” she sings, “but then forget.” (Listen on YouTube)


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