Essential Tracks This Week: Water From Your Eyes, Mandy, Indiana and more

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Water From Your Eyes

Another week down, another great set of songs, including some artists that are shaping up to be Essential Track MVPs this year. We also have a great reworking of a track we loved from 2022, some weird and wonderful jitters from a band on the rise, and an early glimpse of a debut album we can’t wait to dive into. Check out the best new tracks of the week below.

Water From Your Eyes – “Barley”

Fresh from the announcement earlier this year that they’re joining the Matador Records roster, putting them in the company of a list of indie rock royalty too long to mention here, Water From Your Eyes preview their first-ever OLE catalog number with a twitchy, jerking weirdo synth-pop chant that’s infectious in spite of itself. With its uneasy arpeggio motifs, melting synthesizers, and a chant of “One, two, three, four/I count mountains” from Rachel Brown, “Barley” pulls us into a psychedelic headspace that makes it feel like the walls won’t sit still. There are few smooth edges here, and at no point does any one element feel as if its operating to specifications, but that’s what makes it so much fun—when the joy of art is increasingly being sucked out by algorithmic AI, it’s a blast to hear something that feels more like inspiration wrought from asking, “what does this button do?”

From Everyone’s Crushed, Out May 26 via Matador

Mandy, Indiana – “Pinking Shears”

Part of the fun in being dropped into Mandy, Indiana’s sonic whirlwind is trying to discern just what, exactly, is happening. There are vocals chanted in French, and there’s definitely a drum kit, but everything else is kind of an amorphous, prickly blur—guitars? synths? miscellaneous? It all sort of melds together into something that feels at once playful yet harsh and cold, a kind of metal alloy puppetry at work. “Pinking Shears” is two and a half minutes of robots playing double dutch in an acid rainstorm—strange, unsettling, but gleefully mesmerizing all the same.

From i’ve seen a way, out May 19 via Fire Talk

Party Dozen – “Earthly Times” (billy woods rework)

When Party Dozen released their newly reworked version of The Real Work slow-burner “Earthly Times,” featuring billy woods, it was accompanied by a statement that the Australian duo were the only band to collaborate with both Nick Cave and billy woods. Which is true as far as I know. And though the kind of noise they’re able to make with just saxophone, samples and drums doesn’t necessarily need the aid of a high-profile guest vocalist, this latest song is proof of how the right collaborator can still make it stronger, woods’ inimitably cryptic and knotty verses only adding to the mystique of an already haunting set of low-droning saxophone and cinematically eerie vibes. Coupled with woods’ recent team-up with Algiers, there’s enough evidence to suggest that he could pull of an album of live-band collabs brilliantly.

Out now via Temporary Residence

Debby Friday – “Hot Love”

Debby Friday has released three singles thus far from her upcoming Sub Pop debut GOOD LUCK, and not one of them yet has been a miss. Where the Canadian artist takes cavernous detours through various genre spaces, be they brighter synth-pop sounds or more menacing strains of industrial rap, “Hot Love” finds her perfecting her goth/darkwave synth tones in an eerie balance between sensuality and menace. She boomerangs between sober and subtle verses and a frayed, frantic chorus, Jekyll and Hyde-ing her way toward a pulse-raising dancefloor climax. If I don’t hear this at a goth club in the not-too-distant future, frankly, I’m going to be disappointed.

From GOOD LUCK, out March 24 via Sub Pop

Yves Tumor – “Heaven Surrounds Us Like a Hood”

Yves Tumor toured with Nine Inch Nails last year and will be making appearances at two Coachella weekends next month, which is enough evidence to confirm what we already know: They’re officially achieving rock star status. That being said, they were basically already there on the strength of their showmanship and standout art-rock anthems. “Heaven Surrounds Us Like a Hood” only adds to that lineup of hits, though it’s a bit more of a slow burner than their two previous singles, big on dramatic drum-fills and soaring guitars, but moving at a more gradual pace and harboring a more tender heart at the center of all the bombast. It’s intricate and epic, and somehow Yves Tumor just makes it all seem so effortless—just like a rock star to do such a thing.

From Praise a Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds), out March 17 via Warp

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