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. FKA Twigs - out of absolutely nowhere - has released a new, dizzingly loved-up cut, and The 1975 have gone full on saucy warbler with their latest album preview ‘Somebody Else’. In other words, it’s all kicking off, For everything else out this week head over to the DIY Listening Hub, or hit play on our Essential Playlist.
FKA Twigs - Good to Love
Love is in the air. For the last month, messages of devotion have been delivered in a purer form. Rihanna broke through the smoke and mystery with berserk ballad ’Love on the Brain’, Kanye loves, well, Kanye, and Bat For Lashes just announced her return to music with wedding bells in the air. FKA twigs doesn’t waste time in delivering a similar, no-frills message. It’s good to love. “Touch me softly, let our kisses last,” she sings on a track delivered alongside a simple, bedsheet-tangled video.
There’s still a hint of the disorienting charm that defines ‘LP1’ and last year’s ‘M3LL155X’ EP, but this is twigs’ most direct effort since 2013’s couplet of ‘How’s That’ and ‘Water Me’, dizzying doses of potential that truly announced her ability to marry complex production with simple truths. Twigs continues to walk a tightrope between chart-ready triumph and bright dynamism. She’s just as effective reduced to bare bones as she is when submerged in effects. There’s no guessing her next step, but she could go anywhere. (Jamie Milton)
Weezer - LA Girlz
Sure, it’s only February, but already, Weezer’s self-titled ‘White’ album is shaping up to be one of the year’s best. ‘LA Girlz’, with its blatant disregard for spelling, follows the majestic ‘Do You Wanna Get High?’ as a culmination of everything there is to love about the band. Chord changes, time signatures, melodies – that point where Rivers Cuomo’s already pretty vunerable vocal threatens to self-destruct; even if a San Fran boffin programmed a computer to construct the perfect Weezer track they’d never beat this.
Because while it harks back to those supposed ‘glory days’ the most chin-stroking of fans hold so dear, it also finds the band falling in perfectly to the current wave of rock-goes-pop. See, when Weezer returned in the early 00s, having deviated from the slacker rock niche they’d emerged from in the mid-90s, their polished bombast was derided. This year, their US touring partners Panic! At The Disco are topping charts worldwide with what on paper appears to be the same philosophies. But let’s not look too deeply; this isn’t a thesis, it’s a song. And a great one at that. (Emma Swann)
The 1975 - Somebody Else
Brash and blinding, The 1975’s return has attempted to dazzle at every turn. Battering its audience over the head with a handbag full of glitter, ‘Love Me’, ‘UGH!’ and ‘The Sound’ have revelled in confusion by cabaret.‘Somebody Else’ is something different. Gentle and soft-of-touch, it’s a slow jam in every sense of the word. Lyrically, Matty Healy finally lays himself bare in the emotional sense, rather than just whipping off his top and skipping about, bottle of plonk in hand and fingers in his ears.
At its best, it’s captivating. “I took all my things that make sound,” he half-whispers, “the rest I could do without.” Hauntingly honest, it’s a chink-in-the-armour depiction of heartbreak like we’ve never seen from the band before. “I don’t want your body, but I hate to see your body with somebody else,” he laments, a dizzying depiction of that gut-punch moment lost love brings. When that dreamscape’s pulled away, though, Healy seems desperate to squeeze his way into someone else’s leather trousers. Despite his insistence that ‘Somebody Else’ is “a straight up 1975 song”, it instead feels like he’s desperate to live up to the track’s title. Snatching at influence from all over, ‘Somebody Else’’s kaleidoscopic mishmash of R’n’B du jour only serves to drown out The 1975’s signature in the process.
“Get someone you love, get someone you need - fuck that, get money,” he squawks at the track’s mid-point, in the most ’sorry, what?’ moment since Kanye’s last tweet-storm. Tongue in cheek, perhaps, but it’s an irony-meter busting moment that crumbles ’Somebody Else’’s more admirable, even (whisper it) heartfelt sentiments. Like a panicked joke from someone who’s unwillingly let down their emotional guard, it’s a disappointing yank back down to earth. ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’ is a confused, confounding record. ‘Somebody Else’ - at times spellbinding, at others baffling - proves to be the perfect home straight into The 1975’s bonkers second strike. (Tom Connick)
Bat for Lashes - I Do
Twinkling harps and wedding invites - Bat For Lashes return is as shamelessly romantic as being whisked away to Venice by bae, and taken for a swanky meal while a nice Italian man in a tux plays ‘‘I Will Always Love You’ on the accordion. In other words, it’s so incredibly loved up that, it could well border on ‘a bit much’. Somehow, though, when Bat For Lashes plays the lovey-dovey card, it passes for entirely, honestly real.
“Tomorrow, you will ask me, if I do,” sings Natasha Khan, floating on dew-spotted rose petals, and quick dissipating cloud-wisps - there’s no room for bitter cynicism in the heady throes of love, after all. Compared to the dangerous, darkly obsessive love found in ‘Daniel,’ or the fragile “knight in crystal armour,” found galloping through ‘Two Suns,’ ‘I Do’ is strikingly fuelled by unbridled optimism. Though there’s a hint of maudlin to be found in the unrelenting grin, the question of ‘what happens happily ever after’ hangs slightly unanswered - and this may well be something that Bat For Lashes explores in the future - this song is totally lovestruck. Scoff all you like, weary Tinder users worldwide, but sometimes it’s hardest to write a happy ending. (El Hunt)
Frightened Rabbit - Death Dream
The return of Frightened Rabbit being somewhat of a departure isn’t a surprise. In the time since 2013’s ‘Pedestrian Verse’ they’ve lost a member, and frontman and founder Scott Hutchinson has released a solo album as Owl John and moved across the Atlantic to settle in the US.
‘Death Dream’, the song from which the band’s new album ‘Painting Of A Panic Attack’ takes its name, harbours the same emotional weight as the band are used to, but it’s missing the self-deprecating humour that pierced the likes of ‘Poke’ and ‘My Backwards Walk’ - still serious, but now with the straightest of faces.
Producer Aaron Dessner of The National’s input can be felt here too, and Hutchinson’s sometimes whispered vocals add mystery to the band’s usual bluntness.Whether material closer to ‘Pedestrian Verse”s radio flirter ‘The Woodpile’ will appear alongside ‘Death Dream”s gloom on ‘Painting..’ is unclear, and the opening track poses more questions than it answers, but Frightened Rabbit’s initial return sees them as hard-hitting as ever. (Will Richards)
Holy Fuck - Tom Tom
Holy Fuck’s Brian Borcherdt clearly needed to find some spare time. In a statement about his band’s new album ‘Congrats’ - their first in six years - he says: “When you’re sitting still in a van and staring out the windows, you start to dream about all the other things you want to do. This album is exactly what we couldn’t do then.” Poor guy needed over half a decade to come up with an answer to boredom and stagnating transit, but he looks to have found it. ‘Tom Tom’, their returning gambit, is a sinister and industrial juggernaut. Holy Fuck could have spent two years perfecting the chugging snare and guitar combination here, and it would have been worth it. Somewhere between modern day Liars and the fear factor they first broke out with, Borcherdt and co. have created something that puts faith in putting time aside. It’s also the best song to be named after a sat nav in yonks. (Jamie Milton)
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