Good noole, dear readers, and a happy Friday to you all. As usual, its been a busy week of new music, and up to their usual antics, artists have been releasing new songs left right and centre. We’ve picked out the biggest and best new songs to emerge this week, and there’s plenty to get stuck into. Rat Boy’s busy being a naughty little git with his apologetically rowdy new song, Weezer are welcoming in a brand new album, and that’s just for starters. In other words, this week has been chocka. For everything else out recently head over to the DIY Listening Hub, or hit play on our Essential Playlist.
Rat Boy - Move
One of indie’s noisiest upstarts, Rat Boy quickly became a welcome blip on the new music radar in 2015. Now, with the lion’s share of 2016 still on the runway, Essex’s finest export is set to claim this year as his own. His latest effort, ‘Move’, confirms how the UK fell for him. The track is brilliantly boyish throughout – rogue and distorted, too – and undeniably British. Bizarrely, and to its benefit, the opening is irrefutably Beastie Boys-esque and showcases Rat Boy’s elder-brother bravado: a strutting-into-town, no-fucks-given approach that we’re now all too familiar with.
This is a notion that’s present in ‘Move’ from the get-go. It’s unapologetically noisy and in-your-face, with Rat Boy’s ironic adage “You know, I never say the same thing twice” confidently barked throughout. As the first verse kicks in and as that machine bassline churns, it’s almost as if he thought we’d forgotten him (far from it, mate), but as the obvious late-80s hip-hop influences ooze over the track, Rat Boy’s signature is still present and correct. “Everything’s free if you want-it-to-be” he riffs cheekily, “Take my MP3 ill-e-gally if you want to and move”.
It’s this dancehall romance and juvenile excitement that will see Cardy – off the back of ‘Move’ and his progressive, off-beat brand of indie hip-hop (Indie-hop? No? Fine then) – strut those sun-kissed festival stages that are soon to come. ‘Move’ is a raucous and delightful celebration of all things immature and finds itself peppered with references of devouring Maccy Ds and ripping MP3s; itself an ode to our younger (and significantly more Rat Boy) years. (Ed Cooper)
The 1975 - The Sound
Sitting somewhere between a dodgy 90s holiday park cabaret and a children’s TV theme tune, the stabs of synthetic strings and piano that dwarf ‘The Sound’ make ‘Love Me’’s neon excess look like little more than a birthday party. Pitching The 1975 further into their deep-seated pop tendencies than ever before, it’s a saccharine, rot-your-teeth exercise in frivolity.
In true Matthew Healy fashion, there’s a swallowed-thesaurus leading the way, though at least this time the pages admit to being inside a “sycophantic, socratic, pathetic junkie wannabe.” Perhaps a little hard on yourself, there, Matt, but at least if your tongue’s in your cheek you might not trip over it.That sense of self-reference is what defines ‘The Sound’. Finally embracing their boyband status and running with it, it’s an unashamed throwback to the massive pop of days gone by, relishing in the glitz and glamour that the charts are so sadly devoid of. As the current crop of fancy-haircutted groups of blokes continue to wrestle with guitars in a bid for ‘authenticity’, The 1975 are bathing in glitter.’I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’ is still an absolutely ridiculous title for an album, and Healy’s tendency to churn out overwrought declarations of artistry where simply slowing down the motor-mouth would do is still grating. Despite all that, though ‘The Sound’ and its two album-two-teaser siblings illustrate that The 1975 are a band whose pop ethics and waves of influence are as fluid as they come. For better or worse? Still up for debate. (Tom Connick)
Weezer - King of the World
It’s been 22 years since Weezer released their first single ‘Come Undone’, a neurotic and woozy college rock number that perfectly encapsulated the band’s geeky self-deprecation. A lot has happened in those 22 years since however; bad reviews and break-ups, drugs and drawn-out debates about the colour wheel.
Not to mention a discography which will soon feature an equal number of self-titled albums to Zeppelin’s. While such a tempestuous history is surprising for a band whose reputation is one of a somewhat shy and timid nature, it’s allowed Weezer the chance to flourish where lesser bands would have floundered. As a result, the slew of releases the band have put out over the last five years has seen them grow in confidence as a band, becoming a far-cry from the bespectacled, cardigan wearing emo kids that coughed and spluttered for their inhalers back in the mid ’90s.
The latest single to be released from their upcoming ‘White’ album, is ‘King of the World’ and though following in much the same vein as previous material, its sugary optimism and sing-song power-pop melodies are the perfect antithesis to a bleak UK winter, making the prospect of taking “a greyhound all the way to the Galapagos” all the more appealing.
Of course it’s not a track to break any boundaries, but that’s never been what Weezer have been about, certainly not in recent years anyway. Instead it’s an upbeat and frivolous affair, the kind that’s become a Weezer staple. Sure there’ll be people who instantly dismiss it as “not ‘Pinkerton’”, but when you’re having this much fun in the present, who wants to be neurotic in the ’90s? (Dave Beech)
Yuck - Hearts in Motion
Dropping the grunge scene that they dabbled in for a while, and fully armed with a new pop-punk tasting track, Yuck have returned to the New Year. ‘Hearts In Motion’ embodies the signature traits the band have always presented; with contagious riffs and stand-out vocals being only more confident and more in-your-face, truly basking in the attitude of a self-assured band.
Mimicking the motions of this century’s relationships, the track revels in ecstatic guitar patches, before crashing down to a drastic halt and allowing time for some heart-felt vocals. It’s pretty much like the rush of adrenaline before accidentally swiping left on your Tinder crush. Dramatically shouts of “two hearts in motion, have to beat at the same time” emphasise exactly how much doubt and confusion frontman Max Bloom has in the modern day world of romance.
The outro seems emotionally confused, too, with a momentary downfall suddently interrupted with saturated drums. Then, Yuck pick up the pieces again, closing the song with room for one more emotive statement. It’s clear Yuck are pretty settled with this release, allowing their loudness to do the talking. Creating something that’s hard to say no to, it’s obvious to say that’s going to be common theme on their third album, ‘Stranger Things’. (Mollie Mansfield)
Courtney Barnett - Three Packs a Day
When it comes to suitable candidates for Valentine’s Day bae, there are few choices that can compete with a humble pack of instant noodles. That’s certainly the view that Courtney Barnett takes in her new ditty, an all-out love song dedicated to the glorious foodstuff. She loves noodles so much, in fact, that she’s had to make self-imposed cutbacks, limiting herself to a stingy three helpings a day. Amid sweetly-strummed guitars, squealing mouth organ solos, and what could accurately be referred to as an, erm, noodling bass-line, Barnett sings about trading in swanky dinner plans with friends for quietly bubbling saucepans - a feeling almost everybody can surely relate to
“That MSG tastes good to me, I disagree with all your warnings,” sings an ever-witty Courtney Barnett, embracing monosodium glutamate and its wondrous flavour-giving properties, despite everyone else’s health and safety concerns. If that isn’t love, then what is? (El Hunt)
The Last Shadow Puppets - Bad Habits
After seven long, quiet years, it seemed as though The Last Shadow Puppets were defeated; that the dream supergroup - consisting of Arctic Monkeys’ frontman Alex Turner and his ex-Rascals-turned-solo best mate Miles Kane - were never to return. However, storming back armed with ‘Bad Habits’ and the help of old producer James Ford, it seems that break was simply Turner handing over the reigns.
Unlike the past, where the band seemed to follow whatever initiative Turner dreamed up, ‘Bad Habits’ is positively-plagued with Kane’s signature elements - short, sharp, rip-roaring vocals and arrogance that you couldn’t take home to your mother.
Although Turner takes the backing vocals and guitar, it’s not weakened by the lack of his frontman presence. Instead, he fills the track with saucy riffs and Northern charm from afar, letting Kane boast about everything he’s taught him. Lyrically, ‘Bad Habits’ thrives in short, sex-driven questions, buoyed by the upbeat instrumental tones that smother them. The seductive charm of the duo makes a regular appearance throughout, when Kane slurs “deep trouble”, however it’s sharply brought back round with the shout of “red lolly-POP” accompanied by a just as sharp scream. While news of the band’s return is clearly more than enough to excite thousands, ‘Bad Habits’ nails exactly where that universal excitement comes from. (Mollie Mansfield)
Explosions In The Sky - Disintegration Anxiety
Taking Texan post-rock stalwarts Explosions in the Sky on the merits of a single track is not just difficult; it’s nigh on impossible. Such is the band’s propensity for the progressive, each cut works best when viewed within the context of their respective albums. Given that it’s been five years since the band released any non-soundtrack material however, we’re just pleased to see them make a return - and what a track to return with.
At a little over four minutes, ‘Disintegration Anxiety’ falls at the shorter end of the band’s spectrum, yet packs no less of a punch. Beginning with a distorted, almost vaudevillian organ that falls away, replaced by low end rumbles and audible string slides, it takes just over a minute before the band’s trademark rhythmic propulsion kicks in. When it does however, it’s as if they’ve never been away.
Frenetic and packed with understated ambition, the track’s change in time signatures is a post-rock staple, but one that’s pulled off here with such conviction and confidence that it’s barely even noticeable, with such subtleties making Explosions in the Sky the band they are. And though ‘Disintegration Anxiety’ might be a little more straightforward than previous offerings, its apparent simplicity belying much of the underpinning nuance, it’s worth remembering that it’s a single track taken out of context, and when forthcoming album ‘The Wilderness’ drops on April 1st all the complexity and melody that we’ve come to associate with Explosions in the Sky will surely come flooding back. (Dave Beech)
Creeper - Black Mass
There’s always been more to Creeper than their black-clad, goth-punk exterior might suggest. While contemporaries with similar wardrobes might be content to tread water in their navel-gazing, fringe-swooshing scene, the Southampton group instead push forward with every step, drawing endless influence from all corners of all universes, both finite and fantastical.
It’s that spirit of re-invention which ‘Black Mass’ exudes in spades, dancing between fist-aloft punk-rock and ballroom blitz with ease. Just two EPs in, they’re contorting themselves into new shapes which are already almost unrecognisable from the scrappy, serrated punk rock of their self-titled first EP - ‘Black Mass’ owes as much to Meatloaf as it does The Misfits. Thundering forward from the off, its nevertheless when they pull everything back that Creeper reveal their winning hand, a subdued, waltzing breather bringing frontman Will Gould’s love of theatrical fantasy to the foreground like never before.
“I’m not a dream that you wish you’d had,” cries Will throughout, but he couldn’t be further from the truth - diving into Creeper’s dreamworld has never been so satisfying, and ‘The Stranger’ looks set to be their most triumphant step of their evolution yet. (Tom Connick)
Big Ups - National Parks
With a teaser trailer and single dropping just before the Christmas madness kicked in, it was only a matter of time until New York punks Big Ups reared their ugly heads once again. True to expectations, just six short weeks later, the band are back with both a new single and with the confirmation we’ve been waiting for; album number two.
Though the dust has barely settled on the trail of destruction left by previous single ‘Capitalized’, ‘National Parks’ sees front-man Joe Galarraga musing on the maternal sacrifices his mother made, creating a thematic duality between the two singles and giving listeners a taste of the band’s underlying intelligence.
Though ‘Capitalized’ is two minutes of biting hardcore, ‘National Parks’ reigns in the aggression, replacing it instead with a Fugazi-esque militancy, something reflected in the stop-start bass as much as the dynamic exploration that punctuates the track’s first half. The latter half however sees that catharsis come to a head; a steady corrosion turning the vocal in to angsty acerbic fuzz. It’s raw, it’s emotional, and it’s everything hardcore should be.
Not a band to rest on the laurels of their influence, here Big Ups have created three minutes of blistering punk that acknowledges where it came from, whilst constantly looking ahead. As such both the band, and ‘National Parks’ itself manage to feel both as fresh, and as imperative as the DC heavyweights that came before them. Essential listening. (Dave Beech)
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