It’s the end of another week, and what a week it’s been for new music! The last seven days have seen the return of some DIY faves, announcements of long-awaited debut albums and highly anticipated new records, as well as some buzzy indicators of new records to come.
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.
Sundara Karma - Illusions
“Yes, but what should I do?” questions a Siri-like voice before a crash of cymbals wash away the robots and a loosely funky guitar line takes our hand into Sundara Karma: Phase Two. If there’s one thing that’s abundantly clear even from the opening notes of the Reading lot’s next moves, it’s that they’re not going quietly into the night this time around. Firstly, there’s that new press shot: a gloriously unapologetic thing featuring frontman Oscar Pollock resplendent in a flowing blonde wig. Then, there’s the fact that the first words the singer speaks on his band’s big comeback are “Welcome to the abattoir/ Disconnected from who we are”. If Sundara always sat slightly on the peripheries of the indie realm – a little bit too overblown and literary to be comfortable bedfellows with the Catfish’s they were often billed alongside – then on ‘Illusions’ they’re not exactly dialling down the idiosyncrasies.
There’s a chorus that harmonises Pollock’s falsetto with a synthetic, Daft Punk-esque vocal effect, a warm, slow-building mid-song instrumental interlude and a final, whirring, spacey fade out (completed by cheering and whoops). If it all sounds like a lot, then that’s because ‘Illusions’ is undoubtedly packed with ideas. But what’s impressive here is that actually, Sundara Karma’s latest doesn’t SOUND too ritzy at all. Instead, it’s a laid-back banger that preps us for a record that’s undoubtedly going to go all in all manner of weird and wonderful new directions and shows a band cavorting around a musical playground entirely of their own. (Lisa Wright)
Maggie Rogers - Light On
The first two tracks shared from Maggie Rogers’ upcoming debut album showed very different sides to the singer. ‘Fallingwater’, the first offering, was a shimmering piano-based cut that presented a soaring vocal that Maggie had never quite stretched like it before.
Then ‘Give A Little’ came along, a single in the truest sense. Pushing catchiness to the forefront, the track’s intricate, HAIM-esque skip of a chorus saw the singer heading headfirst towards the radio airwaves.
‘Light On’, the record’s third preview and song released in conjunction with the announcement of the album, sits somewhere in between these two worlds. A soaring, thumping cut, its chorus still pops out of the speakers but at a slower, steadier pace, recalling Lorde in its intricacy and moody tones. If it shows anything, it’s that Maggie Rogers’ debut album is set to be a magnificent, varied beast. (Will Richards)
FIDLAR – Can’t You See
The first track to come from forthcoming LP ‘Almost Free’, ‘Can’t You See’ finds FIDLAR nixing the old tricks of short, bratty punk bursts in favour of a more subtle new angle. Over repeated, pulsing guitars, singer Zac Carper’s verse vocals are given an almost psych-y twist – shut one eye and you might think they’ve roped in our old pal Kevin Parker for a guest spot. The bridge, meanwhile, is more trad Zac; the cumulative effect is almost like he’s singing a duet with himself.
Far more reigned in than the grubby skate kids we were first introduced to way back when, ‘Can’t You See’ still has elements that are recognisably FIDLAR, but there’s a more restrained swagger here that suits them. Rather than a chaotic explosion of hedonism, Zac and co might be converts to the less is more approach. (Lisa Wright)
Yak - Bellyache
Yak have always used intensity as their greatest weapon, hammering their way through tracks loud enough to make your ears bleed. New one ‘Bellyache’, however, uses restraint to its advantage.
Let’s be clear here, it’s not a ballad, or lumbering in the slightest, but the space given to the song by its slow, steady drumbeat allows all manner of fascinating, psychedelic squeals to worm their way around the QOTSA-esque rock song at the track’s core.
Wah pedal-assisted guitars give the track a woozy, otherworldly quality, before a stab of incessant noise barges through for a chorus-of-sorts. Completely by surprise, the track then folds out into a majestic outro, punctuated by horns. A fascinating change of pace, ‘Bellyache’ shows that Yak refuse to be pigeonholed, and are all the more exciting for it. (Will Richards)
Miya Folick - Thingamajig
Following the release of her much more upbeat previous two singles ‘Stop Talking’ and ‘Stock Image’, Miya Folick’s new track arrives as a contemplative breath of fresh air. On a note shared with the release of the track, Miya called new single ‘Thingamajig’ “the deepest apology” for “a grave mistake out of selfishness or ignorance” and on it she showcases a tremendous amount of vulnerability through her direct lyrics. “I am sorry, I know I am wrong,” she sings simply on the chorus, expressing a genuine desire to be forgiven.
It’s a track rooted in gentle harmonies and quiet keys, allowing Miya to perform her vocal acrobatics without being constrained by a heavier instrumental and builds up to a strings-filled, atmospheric finish where, apology made, she leaves the option for it to be accepted or not with her final line: “Only you know what to do now”. (Rachel Finn)
Girlpool - Where You Sink/Lucy’s
LA duo Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker - aka Girlpool - returned this week with two new tracks, splitting the vocal lead between them - Harmony on ‘Where You Sink’ and Cleo on ‘Lucy’s’. Awash with atmosphere and droning guitars, the band explained that ‘Where You Sink’ “explores our fixations on characters in our lives and the projections we create. It explores our natural human desire to be made special by another”, whereas ‘Lucy’s’ is a more dynamic beast, driven by a pounding drum beat and a winding guitar line, a track that “responds to stubborn feelings from a past relationship… hope, distraction, and love.” It’s not too clear yet whether the two tracks are part of an upcoming album or just stand-alone releases, but either way, the band sound strong as ever and it’s good to have them back. (Rachel Finn)