This week’s Essential Tracks: Soccer Mommy, Greet Death and more

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Soccer Mommy

Friday’s upon us and it’s time to dive into the best tracks we’ve heard over the past five days. Technically, that includes one from last week that we intended to include but didn’t, for no good reason, so we’re making good on it now. Listen and read about our favorite songs of the week.

Plus listen to our ongoing 2022 Essential Tracks playlist.

Soccer Mommy – “Shotgun”

The idea of Oneohtrix Point Never producing a Soccer Mommy album is a pretty exciting one—Sophie Allison has, after all, shown an affinity for unusual collaborations, having teamed up with HEALTH a few years back. And though “Shotgun” doesn’t necessarily sound like her tuneful indie rock filtered through Daniel Lopatin’s uncanny valley digital filters, it’s atmospheric and anthemic dream pop that showcases the best of Allison’s songwriting as well as her sonic breadth, with shoegaze guitar whoosh underscoring her infectious pop hooks. New collaboration need not require total reinvention, but “Shotgun” reveals both promise in its possibilities, as well as an increasing sense of growth in Soccer Mommy as an artist.

From Sometimes, Forever, out June 24 via Loma Vista

The Party Dozen – “The Iron Boot”

Technically, “The Iron Boot” came out last week, and for that we offer a mea culpa. But overlooked on our part or not, a track this manic and intense is just too good to ignore, its explosive bursts of Lightning Bolt-like noise rock—complete with some genuine rock ‘n’ roll riffs—is invigorating right from the start. Australian duo The Party Dozen comprises percussionist/sequencer Jonathan Boulet and saxophonist Kirsty Tickle, and though you hear both of those instruments, there’s so much going on that it really doesn’t feel like the work of a duo, but a wall of amplifiers and a weaponized pedalboard. Absolutely massive.

From The Real Work, out July 8 via Temporary Residence

Greet Death – “Panic Song”

Greet Death showed up in our Essential Tracks column several weeks back, and yet here they are again, mystifying us with their perfectly crafted shoegaze. Given the string of singles that the Flint, Michigan band have been releasing over the past few months, it would seem that a new album would be around the corner, but that’s just speculation on my part. What they have delivered is a stunning new single in “Panic Song,” a noise-pop gem that’s big on heavy, dense guitars and J Mascis-like soloing, an anthem that’s reminiscent of some of the greatest guitar moments of the ’90s without being a carbon copy. Moreover, it’s one of the catchiest tracks the band’s ever released, and seems to suggest they’d have no trouble making inroads on mainstream radio playlists, given the chance.

Out now via Deathwish Inc.

Charles Stepney – “Step on Step”

Charles Stepney, a member of the soul group Rotary Connection with Minnie Riperton as well as a producer, arranger and songwriter, never released any solo music during his relatively brief but impactful career. But this week, on what would have been his 91st birthday, International Anthem shared “Step on Step,” a gorgeous soul-jazz recording from the archives that was never released. An instrumental showcasing Stepney’s vibraphone playing against a simple drum-machine beat, the track is warm and mesmerizing, a showcase for both Stepney’s knack for melody and performance alike. There’s something timeless about it, and it feels only natural that International Anthem—whose recent output has included Irreversible Entanglements, Jeff Parker and Dos Santos—would be the label to put this out. There’s supposedly more on the way, and this track alone is reason enough to be very excited about that.

Out now via International Anthem

Tengger – “Exhale”

South Korean ambient duo Tengger created meditative kosmische epics on recent albums Spiritual 2 and Nomad, their warmly atmospheric sound an unusually ecstatic phenomenon in their chosen field. Yet “Exhale,” the first track from their surprise released new album Earthing, shows even more restraint and space than usual, its title a kind of hint as to what kind of approach they’re taking. It feels like a deep breath rather than a statement of intent, a moment of clarity and openness that’s always welcome if not always available. And, naturally, it’s beautifully rendered in glowing synth arpeggios and wordless voices, gentle enough for sleep but seemingly intended for the act of awakening.

Out now

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