Essential Tracks This Week: Róisín Murphy, Beverly Glenn-Copeland and more

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Roisin Murphy

It’s almost quaint to think that this year felt like it was getting off to a slow start considering we can barely keep up with all the great new music that’s been released this month alone. But we soldier on anyway, doing our best to curate this weekly roundup of great new songs as much for our own sake as for yours. This week’s best new songs include a bright and summery DJ/diva collab, a young Welsh band’s driving new post-punk anthem, a new age artist’s foray into Afrobeat and more.

Róisín Murphy – “The Universe”

After an early highlight this year with “CooCool,” Róisín Murphy and collaborator DJ Koze deliver another standout single with “The Universe,” which arrives with the announcement of their upcoming full-length collaboration Hit Parade. And it’s as delightful as it is weird, with a comic sketch of sorts in the middle as well as a row-your-boat sing-along. None of which detracts from the sunny, breezy, summer jam sensibility, vibing on soulful guitar licks and hazy cinematic string samples, capturing a kind of warm and effortless magic that Murphy and Koze previously bottled on their collaborations on his 2018 album Knock Knock. When these two artists share space on the same song, it seems nearly impossible for them not to cook up some surrealist, feel-good magic. – Jeff Terich

From Hit Parade, out September 8 via Ninja Tune

Beverly Glenn-Copeland – “Africa Calling”

The music of new age/ambient pop artist Beverly Glenn-Copeland became one of the great musical rediscoveries in recent years thanks in part to a reissue campaign of his long out of print material. But now the artist returns with his first album of all original material in over 20 years, introduced with a song that incorporates West African drumming and explores the roots of the African diaspora. It’s a vibrant and animated track that carries a wide range of emotions, but most of all joy and life, its rhythmic urgency driving it as Glenn-Copeland merges his atmospheric pop sensibility with the hypnotic immediacy of Afrobeat. – Jeff Terich

From The Ones Ahead, out July 28 via Transgressive

Small Miracles – “Mercury”

Cardiff-based new wave quintet Small Miracles mash the ’80s into the ’90s for their latest single “Mercury,” where forceful, bass-driven, post-punk verses give way to riveting, grungy choruses of messy distortion and charismatic, yelping angst. But the single’s eminently danceable beat belies a sinister subject matter. “Mercury” paints a dark but all-too-common portrait of a man prone to alcoholism and ensuing violence, penned in on all sides by an impoverished society that only serves to make the situation far, far worse. Frontman Finn Pelling’s conversational vocal style veers from starkly observational to cutting and mournful, adding some emotional layers to the band’s compelling blast of retro-flavored storytelling. – Ed Brown

Out now via Dirty Carrot

Shapednoise – “Family” (feat. Armand Hammer)

Just two weeks after the release of his outstanding new album Maps, billy woods returns with even more music, this time with his partner-in-rhyme Elucid as Armand Hammer, guesting on “Family,” the new single by Sicilian-born, Berlin-based producer Shapednoise. And it’s a wild change of course for the rap duo. Shapednoise’s sonic palette, true to his name, heavily comprises industrial noise, and “Family” delves into dark spaces both lyrically and sonically. The music scrapes and squeals like cries from the beyond, while woods and Elucid deliver some of their most stunningly bleak lyrical content in a while (“The family plot had to go, so we backhoed the graves open / The farm next to us folded / The family farm was stolen”). There’s no beat to speak of here, but “Family” is as heavy as it gets. – Jeff Terich

From Absurd Matter, out July 14 via Weight Looming

bar italia – “Changer”

The mysterious UK group bar italia released their new album Tracey Denim today, and it’s one of the week’s best new releases—really, really good stuff, folks. They also happened to release one last single this week before the album drops, “Changer,” which is one of the strongest encapsulations of their hazy, animated, but psychedelically colored gloom, merging elements of post-punk, Britpop and scrappy jangle pop into a mesmerizing whole that employs every element to its fullest—each piece of the song essential to the overall picture. It’s a prime example of why the London group feel primed to have a breakout year—even if it’s one in which they personally choose to stay out of the spotlight. – Jeff Terich

From Tracey Denim, out now via Matador

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