Good noole, dear readers, and a happy Friday to you all. As usual, its been a busy week of new music, and up to their usual antics, artists have been releasing new songs left right and centre. We’ve picked out the biggest and best new songs to emerge this week, and there’s plenty to get stuck into. Chairlift have written their most sob-worthy pop banger in yonks, Savages mean business with ‘Adore Life’s looming sort-of title track, and that’s just for starters. In other words, this week has been chocka. For everything else out this week head over to the DIY Listening Hub, or hit play on our Essential Playlist.
Savages - Adore
Under the surface of Savages’ exact calculations and unrelenting intensity is a heart, and second album ‘Adore Life’ sees this alter-ego unfurling. Debut album ‘Silence Yourself’ was defined by control, avoiding distractions at all costs. Its follow-up wants to live, to experience and explore at every turn.
It’s a perspective that’s summed up best in ‘Adore’, which finds the key to Savages’ heart and unlocks what’s inside. “Is it human to ask for more? Is it human to adore life?” Jehnny Beth asks, in a series of questions, tangled up in a search for truth. It begins ponderous, but ‘Adore’ soon breaks out into a graceful, cymbal-crashing triumph. Gemma Thompson’s concrete-encrusted guitars find a new space to inhabit, while Beth discovers new confidence with every stride.
Frankly, midway through the song, Savages have already struck gold with their finest moment. But brilliance is never enough for this four-piece. ‘Adore’’s closing two minutes are as life-affirming as they’ll ever sound, galloping ahead with a swarming refrain: “I adore life. Do you adore life?” Somehow encompassing fear, brutal paranoia and life-saving optimism, by wandering into the unknown, Savages have taken one hell of a step up. (Jamie Milton)
Chairlift - Crying in Public
Whether prompted by the petty stresses of a three hour trek home on the nightbus, or the immediate fallout from a messy break-up, we’ve all been in the same boat as Chairlift at one time or another. “Sorry I’m crying in public this way,” apologises Caroline Polachek on their latest, through glassy-hued, teary-eyed synths. It’s hardly the ideal remedy to January’s reputation as a fairly gloomy month, but then again, there’s something wonderfully bittersweet about what Chairlift have created here. With the cash-till trills and repeatedly plugged phone digits of ‘Ch-Ching,’ and the heady, humid drive of ‘Romeo,’ Polachek and bandmate Patrick Wimberly have already proved their Gigantic Pop Banger credentials. ‘Crying in Public’ shows something different, far starker. It’s their most emotionally upfront effort since breakthrough moment ‘Bruises’. (El Hunt)
Yeasayer - I Am Chemistry
Having drip-fed the Internet teases of their impending return over the Christmas weeks, Brooklynites Yeasayer have finally surged back into action. ‘I Am Chemistry,’ a tangled journey through the sticky landscape of growth, sees the experimental bunch break silence with their first track in almost three years ahead of a triumphant fourth album set for release in April.
It may not depart hugely from Yeasayer’s usual psychedelic pop roots, but ‘I Am Chemistry’s’ washy synths and doom-laced vocals seep a distinctly downtrodden sentiment, greedily consuming familiarity before it even gets a chance to peak its head through the door. Pooling the resources of Suzzy Roche for the track’s final third, ‘I Am Chemistry’ takes a turn for the delicate, tinkering with keys and the lighter side of the quartet’s repertoire, leaving a whisper of fresh air amongst a once muggy background. (Charlie Mock)
Milk Teeth - Brain Food
It’s been a busy old week for Milk Teeth. Kicking off the post-Christmas home straight to their debut album ‘Vile Child’ with the shock announcement of vocalist Josh Bannister’s departure, the remaining trio wasted no time in proving their staying power. ‘Brain Food’ is possibly the group’s most enchanting cut yet, all stop-start walls of fuzz and frivolity. Dedicated to soul-crushing boredom, it’s that contrast of hundred-mile-an-hour punk fury and lyrical odes to apathy that marks this lot’s debut album out as something very special indeed. (Tom Connick)
Sunflower Bean - Easier Said
Until now, Sunflower Bean were content with plunging into new depths with a psychedelic swarm. Hype’s followed the trio’s every step like there’s an incoming stampede, and first work ‘Human Ceremony’ is looking to go beyond a simple justification of all that talk. ‘Easier Said’ is less a validation, more a completely new lease of life for the group’s already fledging career.
Gone are the thick, sludgy bass parts and saw-toothed aesthetics. Instead, Julia Cumming leads a finely-tuned, dreamy piece that bears resemblance to DIIV’s softer moments, or early Beach Fossils. Instead of jumping on an escapism bandwagon, however, there’s a tenderness at play to this song. “Easier said than done / I heard you right the first time,” sings Cumming, every word delivered with a newfound purpose. They’re showcasing different shades this time round, and it’s Sunflower Bean’s finest moment to date. (Jamie Milton)
Wild Nothing - Reichpop
If there’s any instrument which doesn’t get enough recognition or acclaim, it’s the humble glockenspiel. Frequently overlooked in favour of the slightly poncy vibraslap, and the jaunty triangle, Wild Nothing’s ‘Reichpop’ finally sets right that injustice. Sounding like the Balariac setting on a garden centre’s compilation album stand, It’s also punchier than anything else Jack Tatum has ever attempted before, saturated with all sorts of subtle bits and bobs behind that initial immediacy and chiming top-coat. (El Hunt)
Wet - Harder to Say
It’s hard to say why blog pop trio Wet stand out in a busy crowd. Hundreds share their delicate, post-xx aesthetic. But if it was boiling down to one factor, it’d have to be their ability to strike hard with simple one-liners. Whatever the song, buried beneath the heartbreak is a cutting clincher. This time round, it comes from Kelly Zutrau’s admission of defeat: “I don’t wanna give up what we had / But every time I see your face, I think of all the ways that this could end.” The sorry subject of ‘All the Ways’ probably had their heart crushed on first listen. That’s the crux of Wet. They’re the very opposite of what their name suggests. Crisp, straight-for-the-gut songwriting that never lets up on the truth, there’s nothing fake about how they express themselves. (Jamie Milton)
Get your copy of the latest issue
More like this
Kings of Leon, Savages and alt-J also appeared at the Madrid festival’s second year.
Beth Ditto and Savages also headed to the Belgian countryside to open the four-day bash.
The band hit just as hard, but some of their edges have softened, too.
This year’s festival circuit saw a flurry of established bands take it up a level, powered by their newly invigorated vocalists.