It’s Friday, and we have a brand spanking new edition of Tracks - our weekly round-up of the biggest and best new tracks around.
The week started with Bon Iver giving us a sneak peek at his new’uns via the PA system at Victoria Park after that All Points East headline set, went via the much-needed return of Girl Band, and finished with New Music Friday throwing up new LG among others. Plus there are new numbers from Sløtface, Spector, Jay Som, (Sandy) Alex G and more.
For what we have to say on this week’s biggest and most exciting tracks, scroll on! And if you’re itching to check out even more, subscribe to our Essential New Tracks playlist.
Girl Band – Shoulderblades
Girl Band were never going to come back quietly, were they? After taking some time off, the Dublin foursome are ready to rattle your bones again.
‘Shoulderblades’ is everything they do best: pounding drum beats, push-and-pull shrieking guitars and that unsettling low growl that’s enough to turn the space between your ears into soup. By the time they start clanging what sounds like a hollow metal pipe with an angry wasp’s nest, it’s like they’ve never been away. (Chris Taylor)
Liam Gallagher - Shockwave
Ah, Liam. Liam, Liam, Liam. Even if ‘Shockwave’ is actually about that time he watched a particularly vicious plotline in Eastenders, there’s one way and one way only that people will interpret a lyric like: “You’re a snake/ You’re a weasel/ You’re a tadpole in the sea/ And the pain you feel is washing over me.”
However, riddle us this: The lairy younger Gallagher’s comeback single, released as the dust is still only just settling on his career-resurrecting debut solo LP ‘As You Were’, might be a particularly un-subtle jab at his older bro - prolonging the feud that just won’t die. It most definitely is a massive rip off of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s 2000 banger ‘Spread Your Love’. It SHOULD, in theory, confirm every naysayer’s quibbles about the former Oasis man (rips people off, loves a good fight). And yet - AND YET - dear lord, what a banger. With more swagger and sex appeal than anything off ‘As You Were’, it’s almost certainly the best track to bear the LG solo name. The last album saw him headline Finsbury Park to 40,000 people; christ knows what he’ll do next… (Lisa Wright)
Bon Iver – Hey, Ma
Justin Vernon has come a long way since trekking up to a remote cabin in Wisconsin with a broken heart. He’s worked with massive hip hop stars and transformed from a timid folk artist into an Ace Hotel-referencing pop juggernaut.
‘Hey, Ma’ feels somewhere between those two worlds. With the vocoder in the bin, it’s a return to simple, dreamy melodies loaded with yearning. The unusual electronic textures are now more of an accompaniment; a coalescence of Bon Iver’s sound up to this point. (Chris Taylor)
Sløtface - Telepathetic
Since their emergence back in 2016, Sløtface have been experts at whipping up a palpable sense of vivacious energy and that’s exactly what they do with return ‘Telepathetic’. Sounding very much like a springboard between their debut ‘Try Not To Freak Out’ and a forthcoming second album, it’s a vibrant track that sparkles with sugar-sweet vocals and pop punk guitars. An infectious listen which is guaranteed to explode into life within their chaotic live sets, it’s an exciting hint at what’s to come from the Norwegian bunch. (Sarah Jamieson)
Spector - I Won’t Wait
Spector return in 2019 with a mini-anthem that harks back to the pop nuggets of their 2012 debut. Fred Macpherson’s acerbic wit shows no sign of letting up as he opens with a sarcastic verse directed at an unnamed acquaintance: “did we make it? Very nearly, do I like you? No, not really.” Gargling bass lines, giddy synth bleeps and a two-chord chorus that The Strokes wouldn’t sniff at complete the throwback checklist, before an audacious pregnant pause marks a climax that only indie royalty would attempt. (James Bentley)
Jay Som - Superbike
With 2017 debut ‘Everybody Works’, Melina Mae Duterte - aka Jay Som - marked herself out as a key new voice among the jangling, Pitchfork-friendly strain of America’s indie elite. Now, returning with ‘Superbike’ - the first single taken from forthcoming follow up ‘Anak Ko’ - there are still strong threads of the gauzy, dreamy sound that first made her name to be found, but there’s a clarity and punch here that elevates it all. The production is stronger and brighter, meaning that, though there are still moments of fuzzy shredding and twinkling lilts, ‘Superbike’ shines with a newfound confidence. An exciting return. (Lisa Wright)
(Sandy) Alex G - Gretel
Like much of the rest of (Sandy) Alex G’s work, ‘Gretel’ manages to transport you to the third act of a ’90s teen film, or somehow turn your life into one. A return to the jangled, shimmery, lo-fi acoustics of his previous material before his 2017 full-length release ‘Rocket’, ‘Gretel’ evokes slightly melancholy, slightly optimistic wistfulness. (Sandy) Alex G’s world is filled with an assortment of characters. His latest track, named after a character from one of the most recognisable European fairy-tales, coupled with his upcoming album being titled ‘House of Sugar’, opens another chapter to the wonderful, weird world of (Sandy) Alex G. (Cady Siregar)
Temples - Hot Motion
Opening with a woozy guitar line that seems to transcend time and space, Temples’ comeback track ‘Hot Motion’ finds them in voyaging mood. The near-six-minute mind-melter careens between heady, choral vocals and a rollicking drumbeat, with nightmarish undertones unsettling what would otherwise be a far more whimsical jam. “Dream, dreaming of the start”, sings space-headed frontman James Bagshaw as he reflects on the golden era of ‘60s psych-rock. (James Bentley)