Well hello, dear readers, I hope you’re as excited it’s the weekend as we are.
This week’s tracks kicks off with Grimes’ comeback singles ‘We Appreciate Power’, which is written from the perspective of a Pro-A.I. Girl Group Propaganda machine (of course!). We’ve also got the Arctic Monkeys pulling us deeper into the weird and wonderful world of ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ with album B-Side ‘Anyways’ and Rina Sawayama serving up a glittering pop banger.
Also featuring new releases from JAWS, Confidence Man and Iceage, Track is DIY’s verdict on some of the biggest releases of the past seven days.
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.
Grimes - We Appreciate Power
While releasing no new solo music in 2018, Grimes has managed to remain firmly in the spotlight. While releasing a potential tracklist for a new album and some clips of new music, as well as announcing that she’s written the theme tune to new Netflix series Hilda, before teaming up with former Mindless Self Indulgence frontman Jimmy Urine on a track for his new project EURINGER(!), guesting on the new Bring Me The Horizon album(!) and releasing ‘Play Destroy’, a collaboration with Poppy, it’s her relationship with Elon Musk that’s seen Claire Boucher grab the headlines this year.
With comeback single ‘We Appreciate Power’, the music can finally start doing the talking again, and oh boy does it do just that. The track, featuring regular collaborator HANA is a filthy, sexy hammerblow. The track is, according to a press release, “inspired by the North Korean band Moranbong. ‘We Appreciate Power’ is written from the perspective of a Pro-A.I. Girl Group Propaganda machine who use song, dance, sex and fashion to spread goodwill towards Artificial Intelligence (it’s coming whether you want it or not). Simply by listening to this song, the future General AI overlords will see that you’ve supported their message and be less likely to delete your offspring.”
Whether you choose to take this as more tongue-in-cheek than Banksy fodder or not (we are), ‘We Appreciate Power’ is mainly just a storming, latex-clad metal-infused pop banger, any political connotations cast aside. Its verse has palm-muted chords and razor-sharp stabs of distorted guitars that would feel more at home on a Marilyn Manson record, before its chorus harbours a riff so mighty that it sounds like it could fell buildings. A half-hearted comeback this isn’t. What it becomes, though, is a thoroughly confusing but eventually massive re-introduction from an artist that will never, ever be predictable, and is all the better for it. (Will Richards)
Arctic Monkeys - Anyways
On first listen, Arctic Monkeys’ sixth album ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ sat somewhere in between a masterstroke and a mind-melting disaster (indeed, in our review of the record we wrote that it was “Either genius, or the sound of a man unravelling”). With repeated listens, and after a world tour that added extra context and flamboyance to the still-flabbergasting album, it proved itself to sit firmly in the former camp. The band have now released a new 7” for the album’s title track, and it comes complete with a new b-side, ‘Anyways’.
The track sits firmly in the same realm as ‘Tranquility Base…’, a smooth-as-hell slow-jam that could fit comfortably on the album. Alex Turner sings of “Putting the world to rights with Bing Crosby eyes”, while talk of a “Philanthropic toga party” sits up there with the album’s best (read: most ridiculous lyrics), and while the track doesn’t really stretch its legs at any point - maybe why it was left off the LP in the first place - it’s an extra added bit of context that provides an extra, silly-as-ever glimpse inside the ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’. (Will Richards)
Rina Sawayama - Flicker
Rina Sawayama is no stranger to making music that’s a statement of empowerment. Inspired by her experience of the “first day of reception year at school my teacher totally butchered my surname while calling out the register”, on new track ‘Flicker’, Rina offers up a another song filled to the brim with statements of self-confidence.
Written by Rina and produced by longtime collaborator Clarence Clarity, she sings “When you’re down, feeling low, just remember your name, they ain’t us, they ain’t us baby,” over shimmering synths, uplifting and urging listeners to take pride in who they really are. It’s a little slow to start but once things pick up with a vibrant, upbeat chorus, it’s easy to see why Rina is fast making a name for herself as an addictively catchy pop songwriter. (Rachel Finn)
JAWS - Driving At Night
When Jaws first returned to the fore in 2016 with their second record ‘Simplicity’, the trio found themselves at the start of a whole new chapter. Now, as they re-emerge once again with news of its follow-up ‘The Ceiling’, they’re building upon their already-solid foundations.
Still a little shoegazey in parts, ‘Driving At Night’ feels bolder and bolshier than their previous material. Satisfyingly fuzzed-up vocals and soaring guitars help lift the whole thing up, making the track feel darkly poignant and uplifting all at once. A striking introduction to their third full-length. (Sarah Jamieson)
Confidence Man - Santa’s Coming Down The Chimney
Some people want an X-Box for Christmas, some want a nice box of choccies, but not Confidence Man singer Janet Planet. No, all Janet wants is a beat and she’s going to deliver all kinds of deadpan promises about being naughty, nice and sitting on Santa’s knee to get it.
Combined with an interlude from short shorts-wearing co-frontperson Sugar Bones as the voice of the big man in red himself, there’s something weirdly sexual about ‘Santa’s Coming Down The Chimney’ - but, like most of Confidence Man’s hyper-ironic arsenal, it’s delivered with enough of a wink to come up trumps. Minus 10 points for not the foggiest hints of sleigh bells, ho-ho-ho-ing or Noddy Holder though. It is a bloody Christmas song, lads. (Lisa Wright)
Iceage - Broken Hours
The second track released post-this year’s fantastic ‘Beyondless’ LP, ‘Broken Hours’ sees Iceage on the rampage once again. Beginning with ominous, clanging percussion, the track is a cacophonous, stop-start epic, with Elias Bender Rønnenfelt slurring over an increasingly furious wash of guitars and drums, taking the momentum the band picked up with ‘Beyondless’ and hurtling them towards a new era. It’s thrilling. (Will Richards)