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.
We’ve got brand new singles from Sports Team and Black Honey, numbers accompanying album announcements from LIFE, Kindness and Bat For Lashes, a couple of finally-released fan favourites from Julien Baker, 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.
Sports Team – Here It Comes Again
So far, in their brief but bizarre time, Sports Team have taken us on a trip down the M5, reintroduced us to the delights of Ashton Kutcher’s Punk’d and popped over for a jolly to Margate. It should, therefore, be not that much of a surprise that, to accompany the London band’s rattling newest ‘Here It Comes Again’, singer Alex Rice has dressed up as some kind of toff beekeeper. Why? Maybe it’s an analogy for the track’s slightly anxious lyrical rattle of everyday neuroses. We’re all worker bees in this thing called life etc. More likely, they just thought it was funny (they were correct) – a justification you can equally use for lines like “Won’t you put me in your band? But you know I’m in a band – is this speaker working?” Full of English eccentricities and tinged with the general aura of Five Go Mad In the Country, it’s another inimitable step along Sports Team’s increasingly inimitable path. (Lisa Wright)
Black Honey - I Don’t Ever Wanna Love
The video for Black Honey’s first single in eight months is preposterous, sure, an ostentatious tale of pink wigs, pastel shades and crustacean romance, but the music comes close to matching its almost cosmic levels of camp. Swooning crooner strings weep over everything with opulence, lending that trademark melodrama that this particular foursome have always been so brilliant at handling. Not that it’s all just silliness, this track finds frontwoman Izzy B. Phillips on perhaps her finest form yet. (Patrick Clarke)
LIFE – Hollow Thing
A live staple of the Hull quartet’s blistering set for a while now, ‘Hollow Thing’ introduces forthcoming second LP ‘A Picture Of Good Health’ with both a confirmation and a slight change. On one hand, you have perhaps the best proof of the band’s tongue-in-cheek, eyeball-roll of a playful streak to date; “I look much better than you / I look so good in black… I always do!” declares singer Mez Green, voice dripping with the ritzy sarcasm of a posturing no-gooder. On the other, away from the political commentary of their debut, you’ve got a hint towards the more personal streak that the band have said is set to come within their second effort. It’s all wrapped up in the kind of immediate, fists-aloft slammer that’s, as ever, halfway between the mosh pit and the dancefloor. It’s a good place to be. (Lisa Wright)
Marika Hackman - the one
If ‘i’m not where you are’ set the stall out for Marika Hackman’s forthcoming, flirtatious album, then her newest cut shows her ramping things up even further. Inhabiting the mind of - in her words - “a ridiculous arrogant rock star”, ‘the one’ is a pop-impued romp of a track that shows off Marika’s playful side brilliantly. “Love me more / Rub me til my ego is raw,” she croons, with barely a hint of a wink, before she becomes possibly the first - and only? - pop star to namedrop venereal disease in such a nonchalant manner. Another taste of one of 2019’s most exciting albums to come, ‘the one’ proves that ‘Any Human Friend’ is going to be something very special indeed. (Sarah Jamieson)
Africa Express - City In Lights
When Africa Express’ music clicks like this, there is nothing on earth quite so joyous. The collective’s latest reels in Georgia to join forces with South African pioneers The Mahotella Queens for a shimmering and propulsive shoot into the sky. Uganda’s greatest, Otim Alpha, kicks things off before a synth-line so supreme you’d be dead to your core if you weren’t to start grinning. Topped with Georgia’s soaring vocals, which pack a subtle emotional punch, it’s a piece of kaleidoscopic pop excellence. (Patrick Clarke)
Kindness - Hard To Believe
Featuring US singer-songwriter Jazmine Sullivan and Mercury-winning key-basher Sampha, Kindness once again shows off their ability to create A Mood, using intertwining vocal layers to dazzling effect on this cut from forthcoming album ‘Something Like A War’. At once funky, moody and slick, the frequent collaborator’s third sounds like a record worth getting excited for. (Louisa Dixon)
Bat For Lashes - Kids in the Dark
Natasha Khan – aka Bat for Lashes – has always existed in something of a mystical land of her own creation, her songs full of celestial imagery and a kind of proto-Florence sense of the magical. On forthcoming LP ‘Lost Girls’, however, there seems to be a more sinister element creeping in; referencing classic ’80s film The Lost Boys, the announcement of the record was full of nods to vampires and rebel gangs, Khan the leader of her own troupe of dark-hearted women, taking back the night. Which is all very well and good, however lead single ‘Kids In The Dark’ sounds more like an icy, cool take on Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time’ than anything else: a good thing by any account, but also… not that haunting. (Lisa Wright)
Metz - Dry Up
Metz’s new song is actually an old one -‘Dry Up’ comes from ‘Automat’, Metz’s upcoming collection of rarities and B-sides, and this particular track dates back to one of their earliest releases from 2009. Hard to believe in some ways that this is the sound of a band in their embryonic days, because it sounds certain, fully-realised. There’s echoes of Quicksand with its restrained tempo and propulsive bass, before it ramps up into a noisy assault. Though beyond its years in skill, the track is energised in a way that comes easiest to a wide-eyed band with no guide yet other than a drive to make beautiful, ugly noise. (Mia Hughes)
Julien Baker - Conversation Piece
It’s a well-worn scrap of advice by now that if you’re on the brink of any kind of emotion, listening to Julien Baker’s heart-on-pained-sleeve music probably isn’t the most ideal of plans, but if embracing meltdown is indeed your bag, then the singer-songwriter’s ‘Conversation Piece’ from both the ‘Turn Out The Lights’ sessions and this year’s Record Store Day release is prime. With lyrics as - ahem- haunting as that tearjerker vocal, it’s about returning as a ghost to (amiably) haunt her friends. (Louisa Dixon)
More like this
They’re hitting their stride just as the Brexit void looms. Accordingly, this record is indispensable.
For years, Hull’s LIFE have sat on the peripheries, but recently their socially-charged punk has started to resonate further out. We meet the band in their hometown in the year that it all went right.
The six-piece will play London’s Kentish Town Forum so turn your out of office on the next day, yeah?
The Glasgow group’s newbie will be released on 7” vinyl on 24th September.