It’s the end of another week, dear readers, and it’s been a real doozy for new music, if we do say so ourselves.
From unexpected comebacks (hello, These New Puritans!) to superb steps forward from young, hungry British acts (we see you, Nilüfer Yanya, Lady Bird and Sorry!), there’s a real range to pick from in our weekly round up, Tracks.
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.
These New Puritans - Into The Fire
Across five years and three albums, These New Puritans carved out a reputation as an intense, unpredictable, grand beast of a band, culminating in the truly epic ‘Field Of Reeds’, released back in 2013. After a short amount of teasing, new music which we never really knew would arrive, is here in the form of single ‘Into The Fire’. After a short, glacial introduction, punctuated by stabs of reverberating piano, the track worms into life via scratchy synths, and sees the world reunited with a These New Puritans no more straight-forward, and no less fascinating.
“The next album is a banger,” George Barnett told The FADER upon the band’s comeback. “Both brutal and beautiful, a record of extremes…. I’ve already put a bet on us winning the Turner Prize.” Brutal and beautiful are words that can also be used to describe ‘Into The Fire’. “Open your mouth and spit out the sky,” they sing, gorgeous in its delivery and lofty in its mental picture, but set over instrumentation that feels like it’s beckoning in the apocalypse. It’s a return we never quite expected, but one that’s most, most welcome. (Will Richards)
Nilüfer Yanya - Heavyweight Champion Of The Year
Across the past 18 months, Nilüfer Yanya has blossomed into a new songwriter capable of evoking a wide range of emotions, all while carving out a brilliantly subversive niche. Last year’s ‘Baby Luv’ single, which ended up on a subsequent EP, ‘Do You Like Pain?’, saw her embracing pop sensibilities on her catchiest song to date. New one ‘Heavyweight Champion Of The Year’, however, takes a slightly weirder road.
A staple of the singer’s live set for quite a while now, the track centres around a jagged guitar line that’s slowly plucked one sec, then hammered out with venom a split-second later. Over it, Nilufer’s vocals are also double-edged: “This is the bar I’m waiting, this is the bar I’m staying, this is the bar where I can’t think for myself,” she almost whispers, to the point where it’s difficult to decipher. “I’m still wired,” she spits before her voice reaches a wail, backed up by the same guitar line, swelling and surging behind her. Without a lyric sheet to hand, it’s not quite clear what exactly she’s singing about, but it’s delivered with enough vigour that it creates a world of its own even without context.
The tension of the jaggedy back-and-forth of the majority of the track is released gorgeously as drums and backing vocals crash in for a soaring end, and ‘Heavyweight Champion Of The Year’ is as unpredictable, left-of-centre and thrilling as we’ve come to expect from the singer. (Will Richards)
Lady Bird - Reprisal
Throughout the small collection of songs they’ve released so far, Kent-based punk trio Lady Bird have already proven themselves a socially-conscious bunch. Whether focusing in on the confused identities of young people in debut single ‘Spoons’, or tackling the reality of broken homes in ’Boot Fillers’, this lot don’t hold back on approaching difficult subjects. That’s something again shown with newest offering ‘Reprisal’.
A less abrasive but still intensely percussive track - its chorus doused in almost-funky keys - their new ‘un sees frontman Sam Cox presenting the fine line that exists between authorities and the citizens they deal with. Delving into the problematic violent circles that so often exist (“What makes this policeman any different to the man he is fighting?”), their new track is a no-holds-barred example of their witty, razor sharp and - ultimately - necessary songwriting. (Sarah Jamieson)
Sorry - Starstruck
Since they emerged in the middle of last year with a scratchy pair of debut demos, Sorry have shown themselves to be the most subversive, hard-to-define bands in the South London scene that’s made so much noise in the past year. Mixing traditional rock band elements with slinky electronics and lo-fi production, the band’s sound has become no more straight-forward since their signing to Domino and non-stop run of lauded live shows. “It’s so easy to be a rock band, especially when playing live,” vocalist Asha Lorenz told us in our Class of 2018 interview at the end of last year. “I love rock music but I don’t particularly want to be in a rock band.”
Though buried under thick, near-impenetrable production, the band always showed glimpses of becoming a true rock band, though. On new single ‘Starstruck’, that side of the quartet bursts out brilliantly. A clearer, more unrestricted view of the band’s songwriting than we’ve seen before, Asha and Louis O’Bryen’s vocals circle around each other like vultures in the track’s verse, which builds menacingly before releasing gorgeously into a moshpit-worthy chorus-of-sorts, casting the band’s ambition in stone and marking their biggest step forward to date. (Will Richards)
Julia Jacklin - Head Alone
After a brief sabbatical as part of Phantastic Ferniture, Julia Jacklin has announced the release of new solo album ‘Crushing’ with ‘Head Alone’. A song about autonomy and space, ‘Head Alone’ is a short-but-sweet piece of rambling indie rock with Julia proclaiming “I don’t wanna be touched all the time / I raised my body up to be mine” on the song’s chorus. “This song is me raising my arms and running into an open field,” she’s said of the track, and that’s pretty much what it sounds like - a contemplative yet uplifting song that sounds like spreading your arms wide open and embracing the space in front of you. (Rachel Finn)
Iceage - Balm Of Gilead
This year’s ‘Beyondless’ album saw Iceage galloping towards a new age, confidence flowing through their veins on their most accomplished, swirling collection yet. New song ‘Balm Of Gilead’ comes from an upcoming 7” with Black Lips, around a co-headline US tour the pair are heading out on.
No less furious and blustering than ‘Beyondless’, the track sees Elias Bender Ronnenfelt at his most fired up, a swaggering narrator for an apocalyptic story played out in a dusty middle-American dive bar. For conjuring up a thick, irresistible atmosphere, it works wonders. (Will Richards)
Cherry Glazerr - Daddi
This week LA trio Cherry Glazerr announced their third album ‘Stuffed & Ready’ and have offered up a preview of the album with ‘Daddi’. “With ‘Apocalipstick’, I was an over-confident teenager trying to solve the world’s problems,” frontwoman Clementine Creevy explains. “With ‘Stuffed & Ready’, I’m a much more weary and perhaps a more cynical woman who believes you need to figure your own self out first.”
Appropriately then, on the band’s new track, Clementine shows both a mixture of fury and confusion, whimpering “Where should I go daddi? What should I say?/ Where should I go daddi? Is it OK with you?” before the track explodes into a scorching chorus of distorted guitars, with Clementine shouting “Don’t hold my hand! / Don’t be my man!”, followed by her reverting to her unsure self again. Conceptually clever and filled with a swaggering punch, as their first introduction proper to the new album it certainly makes an impact. (Rachel Finn)