The 5 Best New Songs We Heard This Week: The National, Azar Swan


It’s Friday, which means it’s time to draw the curtains on the working week and go and get drunk — but first, it’s time to survey the best songs that were released this week. As we move toward the end of the year, the days get longer and the release schedules get shorter — so it’s only five tracks this week, instead of our regular ten, but they include a new and suitably melancholy track from The National, along with a strangely effective Autre Ne Veut/Fennesz collaboration, the title track from Azar Swan’s excellent debut album, and two unlikely dance-floor bangers from Múm (courtesy of a Jónsi remix) and Mathew Dear. Click through and get listening!

The National — “Lean”

From the soundtrack to upcoming Hollywood behemoth The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I’m guessing it’ll be accompanying one of the film’s more somber moments, somehow.

Azar Swan — “Dance Before the War”

Azar Swan’s debut single “Amrika” is one of my favorite songs of the last year or so, and it’s always exciting to hear new material from the band. This is the title track of their debut album, which is out via Handmade Birds on November 12. It’s great — as, indeed, is the rest of the album, which I’ve been lucky enough to have heard and can recommend heartily.

Autre Ne Veut and Fennesz — “Alive”

I’ve never entirely bought into the hype around Autre Ne Veut — if there’s anyone the PBR&B label should apply to, it’s him — but this unlikely collaboration with excellent Austrian experimentalist Fennesz works surprisingly well, setting Arthur Ashin’s vocals over an ever-shifting backing track of harsh, atmospheric noise. The collaboration is part of the fifth anniversary celebrations for both musicians’ label, Mexican Summer. Hopefully more, similarly fascinating, experiments await.

Múm — “When Girls Collide” (Jónsi remix)

Jónsi makes a pounding dance track, complete with pulsing sidechained synths and a full-fledged drop! And it works a treat!

Audion — “Motormouth”

Also on the pounding dance track front, here’s a new piece from Matthew Dear, released under his Audion moniker. You could, in fact, conceivably mix the Múm/Jónsi track with this one, thus making the unlikeliest of floor-filling moments since… well, ever, really. I don’t understand this world anymore.