Essential Tracks to Hear This Week: Junior Boys, Archers of Loaf and more

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Junior Boys

The fall new release season is just around the corner, and we can pretty much consider Labor Day weekend the calm before the storm. We’ve been hard at work on our own list of upcoming albums to look out for this fall, some of which are also featured on this weekly roundup of the best new songs. Junior Boys are back, Bitchin Bajas are still vibing, and more. Check out this week’s Essential Tracks below.

Plus, listen to our ongoing 2022 Essential Tracks playlist.

Junior Boys – “Nightwalk”

Junior Boys always had a knack for pulsing electronic pop with big hooks, but some of the greatest moments in their career have been the songs that seem to move like a kind of mysterious fog, whether the sparse and icy ethereality of “Playtime” or the libidinous ooze of “Work It.” “Nightwalk,” their first new single in six years, feels like one of these moments but highlighted from a different angle. It’s nocturnal, airy, but playfully so, with warm synth arpeggios looping beneath curiously comforting drones. It feels like an IDM lullaby, which is about as concise a description as you’ll find for the music that Junior Boys do best.

From Waiting Game, out October 28 via City Slang

Archers of Loaf – “Screaming Undercover”

When Archers of Loaf closed up shop the first time on White Trash Heroes, they did so in a subdued manner, by and large trading their indie-punk raveups for more haunting art rock dirges, closing the door on the slow-burning stunner of a title track. Now that they’re back, however, they just fucking rock. “Screaming Undercover” is the second single from their upcoming Reason in Decline, and it’s an absolute banger, three minutes of big guitars, aired grievances and a super fun cartoon video. Insular, moody Archers of Loaf is great too, but it’s not as much of a blast as this is.

From Reason in Decline, out October 21 via Merge

City of Caterpillar – “Mystic Sisters”

Next month, Richmond screamo pioneers City of Caterpillar will release their first new album in 20 years, following up their debut album two decades after the fact. They’ve already shared one song, “Decider,” and with “Mystic Sisters,” they offer a more atmospheric and slow-building track that carries a sense of cinematic scope and heavy emotion that’s more aligned with a group like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, gorgeous and harrowing all at once. That progressive, unconventional approach to hardcore has always been a major part of their sound, and it’s as beautiful here as it is climactic and intense.

From Mystic Sisters, out September 30 via Relapse

Bitchin Bajas – “Amorpha”

Bitchin Bajas have covered a lot of ground under a broad umbrella of making progressive electronic music, whether crafting aquatic film soundtracks or reinterpreting the music of Sun Ra. “Amorpha,” from their upcoming Bajascillators, is an extended exercise in the kinds of unique sonic spaces that the Chicago trio create. Built around elements of Reich-ian minimalism and hypnotic, gamelan-inspired chimes, “Amorpha” is simultaneously soothing and deeply engaging, pulling you deeper into its vortex as it offers a kind of calming frequency. It’s space-age music for just vibing.

From Bajascillators, out September 2 via Drag City

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