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Pickled Priest Mixtape: Our Favorite New Songs of 2024, Volume #4 - "Our Delicious Vice "

This volume is inspired by the words of rock and roll lifer, Kid Congo Powers, of Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds, who described his attraction to music as "his delicious vice." We love that simple description of his, and our, lifelong addiction to songs and records. For purposes of this blog, we've formally dubbed records as our religion—and we mean it. While music is an addiction or sorts, few of the afflicted feel they need to recover from it. In fact, if sitting in a circle with others faced with the same weakness, we wouldn't treat it as a problem at all. We'd say it's our calling. Which is why, decades into it, we're still looking for new bands, new albums, and new songs to fill that bottomless pit known as our delicious vice.

Our Favorite New Songs of 2024, Volume #4


Intro: "Challengers" | Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

If The Social Network had been about the founding of Red Bull instead of Facebook, maybe Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross would've gone in this direction with the soundtrack—a concentrated dose of pulse accelerating energy to get you through the day. Which means "Challengers" also works as the perfect launching pad for a mixtape packed with newly released music. Get your blood pressure monitor ready, you're gonna need it.

01 "All That School For Nothing" | John Grant

Not the ideal subject matter for a guy with two kids in college, but we’re nothing if not realistic. The lead single from John Grant's new album, The Art of the Lie, is a total 180 from anything he's done before. An electro-funk workout that basically informs us that everything we've done to try to improve ourselves or the lives of our kids has been money flushed down the toilet. Now isn't that refreshing? What's great about Grant is his sense of humor makes the message go down with tongue in cheek, no matter how true it may be.

02 "Ese Vicio Delicioso" | Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds

It's hard not to respect a guy who spent time with the Gun Club, the Cramps, and Nick Cave's Bad Seeds over the years. For a long time now Kid Congo Powers has been leading his own band, the Pink Monkey Birds, and on their latest record, That Delicious Vice, he recounts falling in love with music at the very young age of three years. And I thought I was an early adopter when I burgled my sister's 8-track of Glen Campbell's Rhinestone Cowboy back in the fourth grade! Powers is a second-gen Mexican-American so it's fitting he's chosen to translate the title track into Spanish for this single, which tells the origin story of his lifelong love of rock and roll. We especially love that the song sounds like a Ritchie Valens demo from the 1950s with minimalist drumming and a hint of mambo to add just the right amount of spice. The rest of the record is pretty damn good, too, particularly "Wicked World" which features a cameo from Cali-punk cult legend, Alice Bag, another member of the vice squad.

03 "Hélène" | Population II

Just a few months after landing a song on our Top Songs of 2023 mixtapes ("C.T.Q.S."), Quebec's Population II returns with an absolutely magnificent EP titled Serpent Échelle (Snake Ladder). There's not a bad track on the four-song, nineteen-minute trip, but "Hélène" is something special, bringing the band's post-punk sound, French vocals, and otherworldly psych reverberations into a soft/loud tension-building maelstrom packed with tons of razor-sharp guitar riffs. The band is onto something here. If they get any better it'll be scary.

04 "Hide & Seek" | The Jesus Lizard

I was a bit worried when I heard the Jesus Lizard were back with a new record after 26 years apart. Known as one of the greatest live bands of their day, which I can personally confirm, I asked myself what a ferocious, whiplash-inducing band like this could possibly still have to offer now that they're in their 60s. The answer can be found in their new single, "Hide and Seek." It comes from an album, Rack, to be released in September, and it features the original lineup back in fine, albeit tamer, form. "Singer" David Yow, a rabid hyena on LSD in his prime, now scans as one of those deranged old men you might see ranting to himself in a Chicago subway; unnerving, but still somehow riveting simultaneously. Guitarist Duane Denison, capable of reanimating a corpse from thirty paces in the 90s, is back stage-right to unleash shock therapy riffs like he's never closed up his practice. David Wm. Sims returns to anchor the band's menacing bottom end, an essential complement to original drummer Mac McNeilly, who pounds out the brutal rhythms that used to send Yow into hysterics back in the day and surely still does. Yes, the first single is predictably a little dialed back from the band's early insanity, but I like this version in a completely different way. "Hide and Seek" isn't child's play as the title might indicate, rather a song about a witch with a demented streak, otherwise known as "Yow Territory." If this is what the rest of the album will sound like, I'm all in.

05 "Guzzle Blood" | Les Savy Fav

I'm looking for some kind of savior

But no one's coming around

I'm guzzling the blood of Jesus

But Jesus, man, it's bringing me down

There are only a few bands extant that can follow behind the Jesus Lizard and not get crushed in their wake. Les Savy Fav, formed in 1995 by pals attending the Rhode Island School of Design, is just such a band. Singer Tim Harrington is to Les Savy Fav as Yow is to the Lizard, a force of nature you can't keep your eyes off of for a moment, lest you miss something spectacular or at least comical. The band even took the requisite long sabbatical between records, with a mere 14-year break since their last, so the two bands also have a comeback element in common. If I had to pick a band from the aughts that ably represents the unhinged spirit of early alt-rock, the unpredictable, potent, and bitingly humorous Les Savy Fav would be right near the top of the list. The fact they're guzzling Jesus's blood on the opening track of their new record, Oui LSF, is a good sign that they haven't lost anything that made them special in the first place. Back and as demented as ever.

06 "Supernatural" | Julie Christmas

While we're in the guzzling blood section of the mixtape, here's a new single from Brooklyn's Julie Christmas from her new album, Ridiculous and Full of Blood. Normally not one for a giant, triumphant hook that could be used in a sports highlight reel or a blood-lusty video game, here I make an exception because there's a beyond-powerful chorus attached to this Christmas carol that wouldn't sound out of place next to some prime mainstream 90s alt-rock hits. Man, she can really belt this shit out. Feel free to get caught up in it.

07 "Burning Down" | High on Fire

While the perfect time and place to hear High on Fire's "Burning Down" is on an ancient viking ship sailing on a molten lava ocean during an electrical storm, you're never going to achieve that scenario, so your only option is to go there in your imagination and let this firebreather melt your mind from the inside. Watch the creepy video at your own risk.

08 "Heavy" | Sprints

Dublin's Sprints made quite a splash in 2022 with A Modern Job, our #1 EP of that year. Their debut was long-anticipated and I've had a hard time choosing a song from it for our Best New Songs mixtapes, but I must break that stalemate now or risk missing the chance to highlight the official debut of a thrilling young band. "Heavy" is our current choice from Letter to Self because it highlights singer Karla Chubb's main talent, which is the hypnotic intensity she achieves through the pseudo mantra-esque repetition of key lyrics while her band rides a propulsive wave of itchy guitar riffs that eventually explode into a cathartic release that feels earned not faked. The great ones channel, the posers pretend.

09 "Sympathize" | Mary Ocher (ft. Your Government)

Looking for a record to bust you out of your boring, predictable existence? Try Berlin-based Russian, Mary Ocher, and her sometimes band, the cleverly-named Your Government, on for size. Is it political disco you seek? If not, why? That sounds fantastic to me. Her new record is titled Your Guide to the Revolution and could there be a better time to dance away your political insecurities? Even better, the song has a pleasingly clinical feel to it as if a team of German-engineers wired the circuitry.

10 "Mojo Picón" | M.CHUZI

For those who seriously want more cowbell, I submit "Mojo Picón by Brussels Afrogroove merchants M.Chuzi (no space) and their deliriously entertaining new EP, Yiri BOOM! The track features some mind-rattling percussion from Stéphane Galland, previously unknown to me and now known to me, who is ranked among the best drummers on the planet by those who judge such things. He opens the track seemingly tapping on everything in his kitchen cabinets with wooden spoons (or so it sounds) and then takes a full cowbell solo (agogo bells, to be technically accurate) mid-song that is positively jaw-dropping. The whole song is a master class in propulsion, as Galland drives the horns forward with Afrobeat fills that would make Tony Allen smile in his grave. The band is similarly locked in around his groove, amounting to one of the most thrilling instrumentals I've heard this year.

11 "Mais Amor" | Flavia Coelho

We love Flavia here at Pickled Priest, which has made the nearly ten years since we put her killer single "Amar e Amar" on our year-end favorite songs list so mystifying. Where did you go Flavia? Well, long after we had given up on hearing more, we stumbled on her comeback album, Ginga, and are delighted to report that the Brazilian bossa queen (now living in Paris) has returned with another tract of beachfront property titled "Mais Amor" ("More Love"). It's just what you'd expect from a girl raised on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, a laid-back percolating pop tune that would surely please the Girl from Ipanema. Flavia is quite aware she can win you over without bashing you over the head with heavy-handed production. It's that casual confidence that makes this track the perfect summer cocktail for a sashay to the sand.

12 "Whiskey" | Arooj Aftab

Oh my, does this go down smooth. Pakistani singer and composer Arooj Aftab's stunning new album, Night Reign, without a doubt one of the year's finest records, is a magnificent audio experience. Just give it the right atmosphere, time of day, and rapt attention, and it will drape over you like a warm blanket. It sounds like nothing else, but it's also accessible, too. "Whiskey" is a good entry point, sounding very much like it was aged in a barrel for 12-years or more before decanting. The sounds Aftab creates throughout the album will pull you in and sort you out in short order. This album is just the thing to help you forget about your troubles and worries for awhile and immerse yourself in something magical.

13 "Things I've Been Telling Myself for Years" | Elbow

Not an Elbow fan in general, but every once in a while they pull me back in with a great song. I'm starting to think I might need to reassess their whole catalog at this point. On the surface, they've always seemed a little boring to me, but I've also found their songs grow on me over time and some of them even make my heart soar or double-clutch a bit. The band's new album, Audio Vertigo, smartly pushes their sound outward, to the point I sometimes don't even recognize them anymore. Quite an accomplishment for a band over a quarter-century old. This track, about the lies we tell ourselves to keep functioning, hits almost too close to home, especially now that I'm getting to the age where past decisions, bad habits, and reckless behaviors are starting to sort themselves out and not for the better. But there's more than all this that put this song on this tape. It just has a super cool vibe that sounds amazing coming out of my speakers.


14 "Dance is Life" | Men Seni Suyemin

Positive vibes open side two of our mixtape with our first stop ever in Kazakhstan and this uplifting single from Men Seni Suyemin (which means "I Love You" in Kazakh). The brains behind this grooving electronic pop song with real guitars is Minona Volandova, a dreamy, head-in-the-clouds free spirit who can't help but make you feel better about your lot in life and this track is a sure-fire way to improve your attitude.

15 "New York, Let's Do Nothing" | King Hannah

King Hannah is the Liverpool duo Hannah Merrick (no relation to Elephant Man Joseph Merrick) and Craig Whittle. I'm not an expert on the band, but I was attracted to this track because I'm always on the lookout for great songs about New York City. Although speak-singing isn't my favorite thing, this single pulls off that Dry Cleaning vibe perfectly, as Hannah regales us with the story of her interview for an ill-fated job in NYC. Good news, though. After getting fired, she suddenly seems strangely liberated. Have you ever felt this way? Maybe even for a short time? Perhaps those magical two weeks after you quit one job and haven't started the next? Here, Hannah finds herself in the most expensive city on the planet with nothing to do...and she likes it. A feeling to which I can totally relate. There's something cool about being in the middle of a bustling metropolis where everyone is moving and shaking except you. All that's required of you, at least for a while, is to exist, taking in the scenery and people watching while everyone else does all the real work.

16 "Mambo Herd" | New Regency Orchestra

An 18 piece Afro-Cuban big band...from London. What's that you say? The New Regency Orchestra's debut album is a vinyl lover's fantasy, with exotic rhythms positively blasting from the soundstage throughout. The band takes on material from the 50s through the 70s with gusto and every track on the record is supremely infectious. I truly can't imagine anyone hearing this record and sitting still. "Mambo Herd" was written and orchestrated by percussion legend Tito Puente and renowned bandleader Woody Herman and the NRO does both justice by blowing the roof off the track. If you want the feel good record of 2024, look no further.

17 "El Que" | Angelica Garcia

In 2020, Angelica Garcia came out of nowhere and landed her album, Cha Cha Palace, and a song, "Penny in My Back Pocket" on our Top 25 Albums and Top 25 Songs lists respectively. We've been impatiently waiting to see what would come next from Ms. Garcia. This year we found out on her very different, but equally brilliant new record, Gemelo. It's a remarkable record to behold, too. The first half of the LP is a more traditional take on her rich heritage and showcases her lovely voice. Side two, on the other hand, brings back the restless energy and experimental tendencies of Cha Cha Palace. Neither side is necessarily better, just different. That said, "El Que" is a slow-building fire, crackling softly at the beginning then erupting with thunderous power mid-song. Gemelo means "twin" in Spanish, and just as twins can look the same and have different personalities, so does this record.

18 "Green Shirt" | O.

London's O. aren't making it easy to find them on the internet, but the two-piece instrumental group features Joe Henwood playing his saxophone through a soundboard and Tash Keary wailing on his drums. No vocals. Amazingly, they don't quite sound like any other band I've heard. "Green Shirt" will tell you all you need to know about the band's approach. Drums keep the whole thing on track while the sax sounds like a monster coming to destroy a city. It's a wondrous cacophony of sounds that reminds me of the thrillingly unhinged power and unpredictability of Lightning Bolt. Let's sit back and see where this goes.

19 "Rawkuss" b/w "Columbo #5" | Wytch Pycknyck

This is why we do this, people. For bands like these deep-fried psychos from Hastings, England. Wytch Pycknyck (Lynyrd Skynyrd eat your heart out) are clearly having a blast bringing the epic crunch, to the point I don't even know where to turn first on their new self-titled album. Selecting one song to represent their attack isn't fair, so I didn't even bother to follow our arbitrary rules here. With that in mind, you get both leadoff track "Rawkuss" which is pretty much the band's business card in audio form, and the madcap "Columbo #5," which has a distinct Jon Spencer Blues Explosion vibe in addition to some fierce wall-to-wall riffery. A twofer dialed up just for you from a band that's not trying to fool nobody. Power, riffs, madness, repeat. It never goes out of style.

20 "People Don't Eat Dinner By Themselves" | Joanna Wang

Joanna Wang, I don't know how to describe you, but you don't sound quite like anyone else I've heard. What a great quality in an artist. I've gathered that Hotel LaRut is a concept album, but I haven't finished following the thread yet. I did discover that the title was inspired by an old Kids in the Hall sketch (hilarious, of course, as a recent viewing confirms). So bonus points to you for that. Give me some time to piece this together. For now, I'm admiring individual songs that stand out, like "People Don't Eat Dinner By Themselves." You do have a knack for titling songs, I'll give you that. I particularly like "Gasp! That Plastic Bag is Watching Me!" and "You Lost Me at the Spanking Machine." I do think that the true value of your work is seeing how everything fits together, so forgive me for picking one moment from the sound collage that is Hotel LaRut. It deserves to be heard in its entirety. I'm quite enamored with it all for reasons I can't quite explain.

21 "Yiriba" | Amina Mezaache & Marajuca

Brazilian flute and tuba compositions here, you know, the usual. I'm going to ask you not to skip this one on description alone. The flute is making a comeback lately (see Shabaka Hutchings' and Andre 3000's latest records) and the sousaphone as bottom end has also been a refreshing development. It provides a wide berth for the flute to meander through and around. I bought Vortex after hearing just a few songs because my brain responds to being treated like a snake in a wicker basket. Stick around and find out if this entrances you in the same, or different, way. I picked "Yiriba" because it adds a mid-song drum solo, which I've always kinda liked more than I should. Such is the case here. I've just finished scanning your record "collection" and you need something fresh injected into it to bring it back to life. So why not start with this?

22 "He Loves Us Both" | Lila Iké ft. H.E.R.

Well, I've got two lovers, and I ain't ashamed

Two lovers, and I love them both the same

—"Two Lovers" by Mary Wells

Mary Wells' "Two Lovers" was more controversial by far, especially considering it was released in 1963, a time when one girl juggling two men wasn't at all ladylike. Fast forward to 2024 and now we have a similar concept with a slightly different scenario. This time, it's two girls loved by the same guy and everybody is fully aware of the arrangement. I'm not 100% sure the situation presented in "He Loves Us Both" has ever, to my knowledge, been covered in a pop song before. Maybe it has, but either way, this sounds like a modern soul classic to me. Jamaican Lila Iké smartly teams up with H.E.R. for this tale of a girl who seems to understand that her guy is capable of loving two girls equally at the same time—and she's fine with it! Somebody get this guy on Blind Love, stat! I suppose it's better to share love than to lose a good thing entirely. How refreshingly open-minded! It certainly helps that his lovers both deliver smoking hot vocals in the process. If you're going to pull off the impossible, you need all the emotional support you can get.

23 "If It's Gone" | Good Looks

Here's a pretty cool track from a promising Austin, Texas, band taken from their new record, Lived Here for a While. They're not doing anything revelatory, just some well-executed, Midwestern style, medium-tempo, alt-country/rock, but they do show signs of transcending those confines thanks to some real hard-won wisdom laced into their lyrics. On "If It's Gone," they present a strategy for dealing with heartbreak or loss or disappointment, whatever the case may be, by trying to sequester the pain into a moment in time rather than carrying it with you forever like a scar. "If it's gone / Say goodbyе / Say, "Goodbye, it's nice to know you" / Yes I lived here for a while." Then move on, I guess. Could it be that easy? Not sure, but it sounds worth trying. Later in the same song they offer an even more practical piece of advice, "May you always know your value / Don't let the fuckers sell you short." Man, Good Looks has a heart and brains as well. The whole damn package!

24 "Autumn Letter" | Buffalo Tom

When I look at pictures of Buffalo Tom now compared to how they looked during their "peak" in the 90s, I can't help but see myself a little. Aging, yes, but still committed to drawing inspiration from new music. Buffalo Tom may have hit their commercial ceiling in the early-90s, but so what, I was much younger then, too. I still had energy and promise to burn. The secret truth is that no matter what happens after that period, the fire never really dies, does it. Either you give it up and move on or hold onto it somehow, someway by writing a blog, playing an instrument, listening to new music, playing live, or putting out a new album, but it's always there waiting for you to return. Whatever it takes to keep the ember alive, I say do it. For this reason, I particularly love when a band comes back and proves they can still tap into the source of their original inspiration and do it pretty damn well, too. Buffalo Tom's new album, Jump Rope, proves they still have the same general abilities they've always had, even if they might be a bit frayed at the ends, a little long in the tooth. I'll put "Autumn Letter" and a few other new songs from the LP on my Buffalo Tom playlist and you won't even register the transition from their glory days to their current days. That's how well they've aged. The songs still grab you in much the same way. I can't say the same about myself, but I'm trying. Lord knows I'm trying.

25 "See That Girl" | Wild Yaks

This is a well-named band. Sound = image. Truth in advertising. Just as it's not wise to confine a wild yak in a holding pen it's not necessarily a good idea to capture a live band in a recording studio. Some bands are simply made to be heard and seen. The MC5 released a live album as their debut record for a reason. They came across better in a live setting. The same goes for Kiss back in the day. I have a feeling the Wild Yaks are the same type of band. They need to be loose, spontaneous, and interactive, with an adoring crowd as foils for their onstage antics. This is not to say that Monumental Deeds isn't a good record, it is. But I can't help but imagine how this would all go over in a 400-seat rock club. "See That Girl" still captures some of their feral tendencies, but this would surely slay after a few beers and a couple shots of whiskey surrounded by like-minded lunatics.

26 "Starburster" | Fontaines D.C.

We end with the new single from Pickled Priest favorites Fontaines D.C. that have a new LP out on August 23rd. Along with Nick Cave's new record, this is one we're anxiously awaiting. Impatient as we can be, we normally prefer to pick a song from a band's new record from the entire track list, but fuck that, we love the new song enough to give it props in advance. So here it is. Judge for yourself.

Outro: "Challengers: Match Point" | Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

We end with an extended version of our intro, which allows the buzz to last longer this time. At this pace, we might be up all night.


We leave you with a short reminder: Preserve your delicious vices. Before you know it they'll be all that's left you.


The Priest


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