Happy Friday readers! And what a week for new music it has been. Leading this week’s tracks review is the new one from Sigrid, who delivers yet another huge-sounding hit with ‘Sucker Punch’.
Charli XCX and Troye Sivan join up for the nostalgia heavy, Britney-referencing ‘1999’ whereas, in a completely different sounding collab, Anderson .Paak and Kendrick Lamar release a laid-back take on the need for privacy in the spotlight.
We’ve also got new ones from Courtney Barnett, Jockstrap, Joy and Anteros to dig into.
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.
Sigrid - Sucker Punch
Emotion and emotional power place themselves firmly at the heart of Sigrid’s music. It’s been evident ever since she emerged at the beginning of last year with the clapback of ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’, and is more visible than ever on new one ‘Sucker Punch’.
Sigrid’s recent ‘Raw’ EP showed off all sides of Sigrid’s repertoire - the title track and ‘I Don’t Want To Know’ were hushed, restrained cuts, while singles ‘High Five’ and ‘Schedules’ showed off her most playful, bouncy side - but there was little to rival the pure pop ecstacy of ‘Strangers’ or ‘Fake Friends’. That’s where ‘Sucker Punch’ comes in.
Light on its feet and supremely confident, the track bounces its way through a stop-start verse, before a wonderfully forceful chorus barges its way in. “I’m freaking out cos I’m scared this might end bad, but I still come back for that sucker punch,” Sigrid bellows, casting aside consequences and rational thinking in favour of relentlessly following her heart. (Will Richards)
Charli XCX ft Troye Sivan - 1999
On their new collaborative single ‘1999’, Charli XCX and Troye Sivan take things back to the end of the 20th century. Longing for the hallmarks of the tail end of the millenium - Britney’s ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’, Nike Airs, Slim Shady, etc etc - it’s a strong, sweet hit of nostalgia, at odds with the sticky, hyper-modern pop of Charli’s recent ‘Pop 2’ mixtape.
Despite the obvious (you know, we hope Charli wasn’t actually “Driving ‘round listening to Shady” aged seven) ‘1999’ is catchy enough, but the chemistry between the pair doesn’t quite spark as much as expected, and it all feels like somewhat of a hollow nostalgia trip with little purpose. (Will Richards)
Anderson .Paak ft Kendrick Lamar - Tints
Anderson .Paak and Kendrick Lamar have teamed up for ‘Tints’, which is set to be included on .Paak’s new album ‘Oxnard’. Exploring his life in the spotlight and the need for privacy, Anderson .Paak raps in the chorus, “I can’t be riding, riding around that open street/ I need tints/ Windows tinted, I need my windows tinted…” over a funky, energetic bassline. It’s a track that shows the undeniable chemistry between the two, with Anderson showcasing his jazzy, raspy tones and Kendrick sliding into the latter part of the track with his sharp flow. Although it’s not their first collaboration, it offers a blissed-out vibe and proof that the two are stronger than ever, but also, on this track at least, stronger together. (Rachel Finn)
Courtney Barnett - Small Talk
Earlier this year, Courtney Barnett released second album ‘Tell Me How You Really Feel’, her most lyrically direct and most honest work to date. With ‘Small Talk’, a track that came out of the album sessions but didn’t make the final cut, she delivers another dose of honest feeling and one that many of us can relate to: the fact that small talk is, well, actually pretty boring.
“All this small talk is killing me”, she intones, relaying the tale of talking to someone at a party about how many siblings they have and what they’re drinking, all the time whilst “looking across the room” in the hope that someone is looking back at her too. It’ll be a familiar feeling to anyone who’s ever been stuck in a polite conversation with someone and wishing they were on the other side of the room, talking to someone else. (Rachel Finn)
Jockstrap - Joy
There’s something about London duo Jockstrap. Before even releasing their debut single - last month’s ‘Hayley’ - Georgia Ellery and Taylor Skye composed strings for Dean Blunt’s recent ‘Soul On Fire’ EP alongside A$AP Rocky and Mica Levi, and now, announcing details of their debut mini-album ‘Love Is The Key To The City’, they’re becoming even more intriguing.
The first preview of the upcoming record is ‘Joy’, a track that’s unsettling in the best possible way. Starting as a psychedelic muddle of strings, the likes of which wouldn’t feel out of place on a soundtrack for a surrealist movie, the track then turns into a sharp, bubbling mix of sampled vocals and hyper-modern synths. The transition is played out with little to no regard as to the genres just skipped like a game of hop-scotch.
The idea of Jockstrap swerving convention is hammered home by the track’s video. In the self-directed clip, the idea of sexual objectification is deconstructed and toyed with in brilliant (and often gruesome) ways. It’s just another part of Jockstrap’s weird and wonderful world - one that we’re no closer to truly understanding, but can’t help but be swept up by. (Will Richards)
Mellah - What It Is
Across two early EPs, London’s Liam Ramsden has proved himself a singer-songwriter able to form a brilliant, creepy connection with his leftfield jams as Mellah.
On new track ‘What It Is’, his attack is a little more straight-forward. Set over choppy acoustic guitars and panned percussion, Liam’s voice is thrust to the front, and given a cleaner expression: it’s one he uses to hammer home a vital message.
“‘What It Is’ is essentially about remaining hopeful in the face of seeming hopelessness,” he says of the track. “On a daily basis we’re faced with a torrent of injustice and oppression from all around the world, it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed. I started writing the track from a place of trying to stay hopeful within myself but it progressed into a sort of wider call to arms to keep on fighting for those with less means to fight for themselves. To keep hope in the possibility of change and not to become complacent and subsequently complicit.”
The message anchors the song brilliantly, just about staying afloat amongst a torrent of doubt and uncertainty. “It is what it is, but what it is isn’t right,” he repeats throughout the track, refusing to settle for the status quo. It starts as a softly spoken refrain, but as the track progresses, it becomes an impassioned bark, the song gathering power and extra meaning as it rattles along, to the point where, at the track’s conclusion, it serves as a vital rallying cry. (Will Richards)
Anteros - Ordinary Girl
To coincide with the release of their long-awaited debut full-length album -‘When We Land’ due next March - Anteros have shared new single ‘Ordinary Girl’.
Anteros’ Laura Hayden explained the meaning of the track in a recent interview with DIY, saying: ”I wrote the song when my grandmother passed away and the same week I found out that my dad was having a child with his wife, so it was almost like I lost one of the most important female role models in my life and found out about the new one being born at the same time. I don’t know if I’m supposed to be mourning or if I should be happy but at the same time: quite a modern family scenario.”
A little bit slower than some of the band’s previous releases, the new track is like a ballad, with a piano-driven verse that explodes into a booming chorus and offers an intriguing look into the band’s full album to come. (Rachel Finn)