5 Songs to Hear This Week: Weyes Blood, Tennis, The Hold Steady

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Tunes to welcome you to 2023 from Akin Soul, Tennis, and Fazerdaze. Photos by Nora Cammann, Luca Venter, Joey Clough

Hey! Did you know that there’s an entire aspect of KCRW music discovery that you might be missing out on? Fear not, because our 5 Songs to Hear This Week newsletter is now a weekly feature on our website. Watch this space for rundowns of the five songs that you need in your life immediately, curated by KCRW Music staff. Don’t want to wait for your latest taste of fresh tunes? Sign up for the Friday newsletter here, and always be the first to know.

Follow us on Spotify to keep up with our current obsessions, including 5 Songs to Hear This Week, Bent By Nature: Deirdre O'Donoghue and The Lost SNAP Archives (The Music), and our weekly sampler of KCRW’s Top 30 most played records

Weyes Blood – “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody”

In the theater of life, you’re not the only one with stage fright… it’s everybody. Lady troubadour Weyes Blood has no trouble commanding our spotlight, and this single from her remarkable new full-length, And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow, brings new razzle-dazzle to a familiar vamp with accessible allegory and chuckle-worthy presentation. Not to mention the music — a stunning assembly which calls to mind the chamber-pop story hours of Joni Mitchell and Aimee Mann. Bravo! 

Tennis – “One Night with the Valet” 

Our favorite un-Googleable indie duo are back with an achingly cool new single to help you shake off those winter blues. Blending elements of R&B come-hither vocals with electronic notes and pure-pop playability, this track’s all tied together by an unexpected vocal bridge and steady, talent-show piano chords that almost serve as percussion. Topped off by a video that’ll have you longing for springtime meadow romps, this is no one night stand — play it again, and again, and again.

Akin Soul – “Daylight”

Oof… we needed this one. Sensual, stimulating, and absolutely organic in nature, as if it emerged fully assembled from a thousand parts and all at once, straight from the spirit of its creator: Akin Soul. Born in Texas, but raised in South London, the 20-year-old jazz and soul singer, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter is sure to be a fixture among the flourishing soul/jazz renaissance that’s taken root in the UK. Click play, then repeat, for layers of atmosphere, preternatural vocals, and transportive arrangements of shakers and strings. 

Fazerdaze – “Winter”

Every now and then, a track hits that’s equally nostalgic and new. Maybe it’s the one-woman harmonies, or the steady-as-she-goes rhythm, or the ‘90s crush video styling — whatever it is, we like it. Fazerdaze is New Zealand’s Amelia Rahayu Murray, a de-facto cool girl with a seemingly innate sense of how to blend straight-up rock with pop flavors and be-yourself image. The result is familiar and feel-good, like when your favorite barista makes your morning cup. Grab your brolly and get into the good side of winter with this one. 

The Hold Steady – “Sideways Skull”

The Hold Steady, known by their fans, friends, and lovers as THS, have been cranking out gather-round rock since the early aughts. This song is excellently performance-ready with sing-speak vocals that serve as a rallying cry, with a joyful tone throughout and ultra-confident, rock-solid instrumentation. And the six-piece promise more of that combination on their forthcoming LP — The Price of Progress, due March 31 — which they’re teasing as their “most cinematic” album to date. We’re seeing that movie for sure. You get the popcorn.