It’s finally the end of the week, and we have a brand spanking new edition of Tracks - our weekly round-up of the biggest and best new tracks around.
There’s Foals and the thunderous ‘Black Bull’, the first taste of ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost - Part 2’, the return of The Best Boyband Since One Direction™ BROCKHAMPTON, a brand new number from Swedish punk icons Refused, and much 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.
Foals - Black Bull
If there were ever any fears as to whether Foals had spunked their finest wares on the first part of ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost”s double album one-two, then ‘Black Bull’ – the first taste of ‘Part Two’ - doesn’t so much eradicate them as blast them clear off the face of the earth. A sonic battering ram of a song, it takes less than 30 seconds for a riff seemingly dredged up from the pits of a particularly raunchy section of hell to rumble into view, before Yannis Philippakis delivers a vocal stretched to its limits – his throaty howl pushed to near-breaking point, spitting scathing putdowns at the kombucha-drinkers of the world.
There are several modes that Foals excel in: the cerebral, swelling emotions of ‘Spanish Sahara’ and the like; the itchy, mathy dancefloor twitches from ‘Hummer’ to ‘On The Luna’. However the best lane that Foals race in, we’d argue, is when they sound like they’re soundtracking the raging hellfires of the apocalypse itself. ‘Black Bull’ makes you want to rip all your clothes off and start a riot. It makes you wonder why other bands even bother. (Lisa Wright)
BROCKHAMPTON - I BEEN BORN AGAIN
The best boyband since One Direction are back! That’s right, the 14-member-strong hip-hop collective BROCKHAMPTON returned this week with new track ‘I BEEN BORN AGAIN’, the first taste of their upcoming fifth studio album ‘GINGER’ which is set to come out some time this month.
A slow burning sizzling rap song showing the group flex their musical muscles yet again, it may not pack the same punch as ‘IRIDESCENCE’ intro-track ‘J’OUVERT’ but it still shows off why the collective are one of the most exciting acts around. Shout out Joba’s distorted vocal verse and Matt Champion hammering it home with his characteristic enthusiasm once again. Hot boy summer is here, gang. (Elly Watson)
Haim - Summer Girl
Haim have become synonymous with a certain brand of festival cool. The kind of cool that means they can ask you “Do you mind if we do a noodling Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac cover, then ditch the instruments and do a three-person drum solo?” and your immediate response is “Yeah, sure why not?”
But ‘Summer Girl’ is a different kind of cool. Languid, hazy, beautiful. Evoking a sadness driven by intense love. From the obvious ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ inspirations to the smooth sax that punctuates the track, its sweet breezy flow is the sunshine on a rainy day. The trio are keeping the dark at bay with as much hope as they can muster. (Chris Taylor)
Sleater-Kinney – Can I Go On
The fourth track to emerge from Sleater-Kinney’s imminent St Vincent-produced ‘The Center Won’t Hold’, ‘Can I Go On’ embodies the inner paradox of external happiness and internalised pain. In sound it perfectly mirrors this juxtaposition, pairing the band’s most upbeat melody with an overt tale of desperation.
“Maybe I’m not sure I want to go on,” Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker reveal through pop-tinged co-vocals as the track reaches its hook-laden chorus, the accompanying lyric video depicting a hand desperately hovering over a macabre emergency stop. It carries with it a powerful message, that hopelessness can easily be masked with a smile. (Ben Tipple)
Angel Olsen - All Mirrors
It’s been three whole years since Angel Olsen released the excellent ‘My Woman’ and finally she’s back with a cinematic new song that shakes up her sound in the most satisfying of ways.
‘All Mirrors’ manages to capture the power of Angel’s voice whilst placing it in sparkly new surroundings. Strings (courtesy of a swanky 14-piece orchestra) and synths sweep around her, providing a glimmering robotic sheen not heard in her music before. It is a totally hypnotic journey, who can say where she’ll go next. (Tom Sloman)
Refused - Blood Red
This is new music from a band that once dubbed itself ‘The Shape of Punk to Come’, so it’s easy to approach ‘Blood Red’ with expectations. Don’t be disappointed - anything earth-shattering, this is not. But what it is - from that pacing opening riff, indebted to RATM, to vocalist Dennis Lyxzén’s thrashing, throaty cries - is a vitalised piece of hardcore. The band tweeted that it was written for the fans who ‘turn every venue into a boiling hot mess’; as Dennis yells ‘Blood red until I’m fucking dead’, you can imagine how vital it would feel in that tangle of sweat and spit and veins. (Mia Hughes)
Boniface - Wake Me Back Up
A deep melancholy runs under Boniface’s otherwise lifting new single ‘Wake Me Back Up’. Focusing on the formulative change brought on by significant moments in life – in the case of Canadian alt-pop artist Micah Visser a relationship - the track pairs its soaring guitars with the density of Visser’s vocals and his almost desperate plea to be reawakened.
Yet in no small part due to collaborator Ben Gregory of Blaenavon’s prevailing guitar, ‘Wake Me Back Up’ sees the weight being lifted off Micah’s shoulders, building to a beautifully cathartic crescendo as freeing as it is vibrant. (Ben Tipple)
More like this
The Haim sisters unveil their emotionally charged new bop.
We caught up with Yannis Philippakis and Cassie Kinoshi around this year’s edition of the Prize.
It picks up the baton of its predecessor and sends it surging to the finish line.
An invigorating listen that flirts with the eclecticism of their 1998 album.