Happy Friday! Among trying above anything to stay cool and hydrated in the sweatbox of a capital city we currently find ourselves in, we’ve also heard some pretty brilliant new music this week.
It’s all gathered in this week’s Tracks round-up. It’s led by Pale Waves, who channel Avril Lavigne on their simply bloody massive new single ‘Eighteen’ from debut album ‘My Mind Makes Noises’.
They’re joined by Charli XCX, who marked the one year anniversary of the release of ‘Boys’ by flipping it on its head with new one ‘Girls Night Out’, the return of Jungle with two new cuts, and newies from IDLES, Maggie Rogers, Fucked Up and more.
For our verdicts on all of this week’s biggest and most exciting tracks, all you need to do is scroll down. And if you’re itching to check out everything else out this week, step this way for DIY’s Listening Hub, and our Essential Playlist.
Pale Waves - Eighteen
Pale Waves are no strangers to writing a hit - we knew this from the moment they released debut single ‘There’s A Honey’. New single ‘Eighteen’ though, the single released in conjunction with the announcement of their debut album ‘My Mind Makes Noises’, goes above and beyond.
From the opening thuds of synth that greet the track, it’s clear that this is Pale Waves’ biggest, most direct pop song yet, a track that doesn’t fuck about, just promptly shoots for the stars (and the arenas, for that matter).
“This city depresses me,” Heather Baron-Gracie laments in the track’s first line, before being drawn back into love by a significant other. The track carries the revelationary emotional weight of a first love, bursting with colour and wide-eyed wonder. Whether it’s viewed nostalgically or as an of-the-moment revelation, it hits hard.
Then there’s the chorus, the best Pale Waves have ever written. The band’s glossy sheen remains, but it’s joined by a new-found grit as Heather bellows the track’s title: ‘Eighteen’ is as much indebted to Avril Lavigne as it is Depeche Mode and other gods of synth-pop. A step up from the band’s already-prolific habit of writing chart-mingling choruses, ‘Eighteen’ is their best, most direct effort yet and comes just in time for an album that looks like becoming one of the year’s most exciting debuts. (Will Richards)
Charli XCX - Girls Night Out
Almost one year exactly since we were blessed with ‘Boys’, Charli XCX has given us the song’s natural sequel ‘Girls Night Out’. Already a live favourite after the track was leaked online last year and the closer of her recent ‘POP 2’ shows, the SOPHIE and Stargate produced track is an ecstatic bop that’ll have you repeating the chorus line ‘no boys, no boys!’ in your head until you’re sick of the whole thing, but you’ll probably press play again.
“When we’re out at the weekend, R.I.P to the club, ‘Cause we walk in and kill it, DJ, hey, turn it up!” Charli sings to us. An ode to an almost mythical night-out that doesn’t quite seem to exist outside of pop songs and hen parties, ‘Girls Night Out’ is a ultimate banger of a track dedicated getting all dressed up with your girls for a big night of general misbehaving. It’s so bubblegum pop, it’s almost ridiculous, but it’s Charli so somehow it works. After a couple of months of drop-releasing singles ‘5 In The Morning’, ‘Focus’ and ‘No Angel’, ‘Girls Night Out’ is Charli at her most ultra-pop and the work of an artist who doesn’t care what anyone thinks. (Rachel Finn)
IDLES - Samaritans
Continuing the blistering take-down of archaic, destructive behaviour that is fast coming to categorise IDLES’ searing second effort ‘Joy As An Act of Resistance’, ‘Samaritans’ arrives with a bone to pick. “Man up/ Sit down/ Chin up/ Pipe Down… Grow some balls,” spits singer Joe Talbot - a conveyor belt of emotionally suppressive statements so often associated with traditional ideas of masculinity.
As guitarists Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan brew a heavy, claustrophobic storm around him, Joe fights back - “I’m a real boy, boy, and I cry/ I love myself and I want to try” - before culminating in the righteous punchline: “This is why you never see your father cry”. It’s dense and dark, and – like so much of the Bristol quintet’s output – a fundamentally necessary re-writing of traditional ideas. God bless this band. (Lisa Wright)
Jungle - Heavy, California
Jungle’s return back in May with new tracks ‘Happy Man’ and ‘House In LA’ saw a band refreshed, if not one with a whole lot more to say than their 2014 debut presented. Their ability to write slinky summer jams was once again immediately apparent, though.
They’ve now shared another pair of new cuts, alongside the release of their second album ‘For Ever’. The pick of the two is ‘Heavy, California’, a track impeccably suited to our current heatwave.
The pair’s distinctive vocals remain - largely one-dimensional, breathy stabs - but are twisted in some of their catchy directions yet, and backed by easy-going tropical pop. Reinventing their own wheel they’re not, but it’s pretty easy to imagine ‘Heavy, California’ inciting friends on shoulders at festivals across the planet immediately, and it’s what Jungle do best. (Will Richards)
Blood Orange - Charcoal Baby
“I think of family as community. I think of the spaces where you don’t have to shrink yourself, you don’t have to pretend or perform. You can fully show up, and be vulnerable, and in silence and that’s completely enough,” intones activist Janet Mock in the spoken-word section that begins ‘Charcoal Baby’. It’s a powerful introduction, and one that adds a poignancy to the musings on loneliness and acceptance that infuse the track’s sparse, sepia-tinged grooves.
“No one wants to be the odd one out at times/ No one wants to be the negro swan,” sings Dev Hynes, woozy, vaporous synths and angelic harmonies lending an ethereal tinge to the introversions beneath. The effect is like being offered a hazy glimpse into the singer’s dreamscape – a place filled with beauty and sadness in equal measure. (Lisa Wright)
Maggie Rogers - Give A Little
“This is a track about empathy,” Maggie wrote of ‘Give A Little’ in a note accompany the release of ‘Give A Little’. “In the midst of all this fear and hate, what if we got the chance to re-introduce ourselves? What if somebody listened?” Preaching a message of openness and understanding, Maggie’s new track is a more upbeat cut than her previously single ‘Fallingwater’ and comes after her recent support slot with Haim.
She seems to borrow from the sisters in the harmonising and ridiculously catchy chorus of the track and, paired with Maggie’s crystalline vocals and the track’s cheerfully boppy baseline, it comes as the perfect accompaniment for summer weather. In the run up to her debut album, Maggie seems to be getting better with each release; ‘Give A Little’ offers a promising insight into the final record to come. (Rachel Finn)
Fucked Up - Raise Your Voice Joyce
It’s no secret that most bands don’t ever attempt to make a concept album. Even fewer would try to tackle two but, well, Fucked Up have never been afraid of a challenge. Returning four years on from their last record ‘Glass Boys’, the Canadian hardcore crew are back with a blistering slice of their new double(!) album, which sees the band revisit the characters from their previous rock opera ‘David Comes To Life’.
Picking up right where they left off, ‘Raise Your Voice Joyce’ is ferocious: a series of addictively frenzied guitars segueing into smooth saxophone, all soundtracking the first meeting of protagonist David and Joyce Tops, a sorcerer who lives in a bin behind his work. Guttural and fierce, Damian Abraham is once again a blisteringly intense narrator, and it makes this first re-introduction to David’s world all the more compelling. (Sarah Jamieson)