Essential Tracks This Week: Wild Pink, High Vis and more

Essential Tracks Wild Pink

These are the best songs of the past week: Dense and shoegazing indie rock, anthemic post-punk, an inventive heavy metal cover of a darkwave track and more.

Plus listen to our ongoing 2022 Essential Tracks playlist.


Wild Pink – “Q. Degraw”

There are lots of ways to describe a Wild Pink song—earnest, melodic, introspective, even pretty. But until “Q. Degraw,” heavy wouldn’t necessarily have been one of them. Well, that’s changed with the latest single from John Ross and company. After the gorgeously triumphant A Billion Little Lights, Wild Pink resurface with a track that feels immense and vast, almost like Justin Broadrick’s best Jesu moments, but with an elevated BPM. It’s an unexpected turn of events, but one that Wild Pink wears well—that same infectious melodic core remains at the heart of this massive shoegaze sound, a natural transition into new terrain that opens up even broader horizons for an already great band.

Out now via Royal Mountain


Thou, Mizmor & Emma Ruth Rundle – “Night”

Thou are great at covers. When tackling songs by grunge greats Nirvana, Soundgarden or Alice in Chains, they absolutely destroy them, and the same goes for their takes on more underground artists like Pygmylush. They also delivered one of our favorite albums of 2020 with May Your Chambers Be Full, a collaboration with Emma Ruth Rundle (whose companion EP also featured a cover of The Cranberries’ “Hollywood”). Taking all these facts into account, it’s fitting that the two artists’ collaboration on a cover of Zola Jesus’ “Night”, along with Mizmor for good measure, is expectedly incredible. Opening as an absolutely ferocious blast of black metal, their take on “Night” ultimately feels like two songs in one, played simultaneously—raw, venomous sludge encircled by a halo of dreamy ambience. At the risk of playing to type, it’s everything I could possibly want from two of the best metal bands and one of the best singer/songwriters of the moment tackling a contemporary darkwave MVP.

From Todo Muere SBXV, out May 27 via Sacred Bones


Temple of Void – “Deathtouch”

One of last week’s highlights that slipped under the radar, the new single from Detroit death doombringers Temple of Void carries a post-punk groove and triumphant alt-rock(ish) chorus that complements their overbearing gloom in both surprising and entirely natural ways. After all, what goes best with a genre defined by darkness and despair than yet another style of music defined by, well, darkness and despair—but one that moves at a somewhat faster pace. The group don’t compromise on any of their haunting atmosphere or eerie melodic sensibility, but with “Deathtouch,” there’s an added sense of urgency that finds them pulling off the rare feat of making death-doom catchy. Not every band of their ilk can accomplish such a thing and maybe most shouldn’t, but here it all comes together in gloriously morose harmony.

From Summoning the Slayer, out June 3 via Relapse


High Vis – “Talk for Hours”

Much has been made of the abundance of talk-singing frontpeople in British indie music right now, one that works great when it works, but in too-high doses, it also serves to remind us how great it is to hear a singer that really goes for it. Vocalist Graham Sayle goes for it in more ways than one, both embracing soaring melodies worthy of Britpop’s greatest singles as well as frequently finishing High Vis’ live shows with a little blood on his forehead. On new single “Talk for Hours,” the band’s energy and knack for melody come together stunningly, a driving showcase for their anthemic post-punk that carries more than a trace of their rowdy hardcore punk background as well as the triumphalism of a group like Manchester icons The Stone Roses. “Talk for Hours” is the kind of song that’s unforgettable from first listen, a perfect summer anthem arriving just a few months early.

Out now via Dais


Just Mustard – “Mirrors”

This isn’t the first time I’ve raved about Just Mustard on this page, and it probably won’t be the last time, though that all depends on how many more singles drop before the release of new album Heart Under. The Irish post-punk/shoegaze group have a unique sound that balances a driving post-punk core with guitars that scarcely resemble any kind of conventional guitar sound. “Mirrors” isn’t exactly the band’s version of a ballad, but there’s a lot more space and restraint to the chilling dirge that’s at times reminiscent of The Cure circa Seventeen Seconds, The Sound or Comsat Angels. Intoxicating gloom at its finest.

From Heart Under, out May 27 via Partisan


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