Happy Friday dear readers, and welcome to another edition of tracks. The DIY writers have got together, had a tiff, had a squabble, and settled on the biggest and best tracks of the week. There’s a 7 minute space jam, the return of Beirut, the greatest video in recent times from FIDLAR, and that’s just for starters. For everything else released this week check out the DIY Listening Hub, or hit play on our Essential Playlist.
Beirut - No No No
The title ‘No No No’ brings up an image of despair. Zach Condon, banging his head against a wall, searching for an answer and
hitting nothing but dead ends. Turns out that’s a neat summary of what’s happened to the New York musician over the past three years.
Coupling tour exhaustion with severe writer’s block, he found himself
completely incapable of writing the kind of hooks that defined Beirut’s
first three records.
True to the project’s continental, travel-happy spirit, it took moving to another country and a sudden burst of inspiration to get the wheels turning again. ‘No No No’’s title-track, then, might on paper be a companion to Beirut being stuck in a rut, but the band sound more free-flowing and capable of new ideas than ever. Playful synth parts spiral out in different directions, as staple horn sections follow suit, building on a sense of adventure. Despair might be a precursor to this album, but the end result is a complete opposite scenario. (Jamie Milton)
FIDLAR - 40oz on Repeat
While the focus on FIDLAR’s first track in two years ‘40oz on Repeat’ lies in its bonkers, early ’00s dress-up video,there’s also one hell of a song for eager fans to sink their teeth
into. Thankfully, though it’s been a while since FIDLAR released any new
music, they haven’t grown up even a little bit. All of their carefree,
straight-shooting attitude is still there, from immature sing-song hooks
to balls-out raspy voiced verses; their particular brand of hyper-fun,
classic garage-punk is just as fresh as it was on their self-titled
debut back in 2013.
The beauty of FIDLAR is that they’ve always been operating, unashamedly, well behind the times. In 2013 they were putting out music that belonged in the ‘90s and now 2 years later they’ve dragged themselves forward just a few years. Operating somewhere around the early 00’s with arguably their poppiest sounding track to date, FIDLAR are still sat firmly, two middle fingers up, in a time that has long gone. The result is an odd combination of nostalgia and originality, harking back to a sound that is all but forgotten with a fresh twist that feels decidedly new. As FIDLAR “sit inside my room with this 40oz on repeat”, it’s plain to see that they are not only oblivious to the outside world but they also couldn’t care less. They’re making music as they see fit and they’re doing it with such conviction that it feels right at home in whatever time it so chooses to inhabit. (Henry Boon)
Formation - Hangin’
There might be a hint of LCD Soundsystem about Formation’s newest single ‘Hangin” at times - and mild-registering flickers of Friendly Fires and Mount Kimbie’s percussive addictions, too - but when it really comes down to it, the South London twins have invented their own unmistakable flavour combination. Basically, Formation’s sweet, sharp-edged sound is like the pop equivalent bacon and maple syrup pancakes.
Cowbells get a bad rep generally - mainly, it must be said, because of the “More Cowbell” Blue Oyster Cult sketch on Saturday Night Live. Formation are single-handedly bringing back the cowbell, and they’re doing it in slick, well-polished style. If you haven’t caught them live already, believe the hype. Formation are the party band of the summer. (El Hunt)
Shura - White Light
If Shura was a superhero, her alter-ego would most likely be named Singles McGee. She’s more than proved her knack when it comes to writing emotional ear-ferrets that burrow straight through into people’s brainy matter in a matter of minutes. With her latest, ‘White Light’, though, Shura’s only gone and pulled a curveball.
An almighty 7 minutes long, ‘White Light’ has been the drawn-out closer of Shura’s live set for quite some time, and she previously sneak-previewed the song in session at Maida Vale late last year, too. At least to start with, it’s punchy, immediate and crisp like a monster-munch sandwich, riding along on a meteorite ring of sparse, bassy bursts, and sprinkled with liberal amounts of production moon-dust. At the end, though, the step away from previous material arrives. Instead of disappearing in a puff of smoke, ‘White Light’ fizzles out into a slow-burning wash of Martian noises and chiming guitars, before thumping back into extraterrestrial life. (El Hunt)
Leon Bridges - Smooth Sailin’
There’s only a few degrees of separation between cheesy, box-ticking blues and rich invention with Leon Bridges. The Texas newcomer sprung up out of thin air late last year, and with just a couple of weeks until debut album ‘Coming Home’, he’s still in the process of revealing the true shape of his identity. ‘Smooth Sailin’, the Fort Worth resident’s latest, is simple, finger-clicking bliss. It might not go beyond Bridges’ staples of being loved-up and loaded with soul, but it also contains some of his finest moments yet. The average joe would sound pathetic singing “sweet honey baby” like they’ve seen the sun for the first time, but Bridges has a way with delivery that helps explain his ridiculously fast rise to prominence. Further proof that this guy’s the real deal. (Jamie Milton)
Foxes - Body Talk
Bang in time for the arrival of the summer sun, Foxes has dropped a new single ‘Body Talk’ for your listening pleasures. Louisa
Rose Allen sticks fast by her pop roots, blending summery
synths with echoey guitar parts, and it’s breezy and bracing, like a long drive to the
beach. Unless you live by the beach, in which case, lucky you!
There’s no doubt that Foxes has come a long way since 2014’s ‘Glorious’, with her shimmering production amped up about seventy notches. Her debut album peaked at number 5 in the UK chart - not bad for a first go - and on this evidence, she’s only set to get bigger still. As a one-off release, it serves as a tantilising taster of what could come next on album number two. Pack this one in your summer suitcase. (Natasha West)
Deradoorian - A Beautiful Woman
Though she’s best known for her past role in Dirty Projectors, Angel Deradoorian has been blazing a trail on her own, since leaving the group two years ago. Besides playing in Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, she’s been releasing solo material since her 2009 debut EP ‘Mind Raft’.
‘A Beautiful Woman’ is the first preview of Deradoorian’s debut album ‘The Expanding Flower Planet,’ and it’s a building, rolling boulder of a song, hurtling atop skittish jarring vocal samples, and tricksy, fidgety melodies. While her earlier efforts were more introspective, wily affairs, on ‘A Beautiful Woman’ Deradoorian heads straight after the killer hooks. (El Hunt)
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