Good afternoon dear readers and welcome to another edition of Tracks. It’s safe to say that this week Lorde sort of stole everybody else’s thunder by drenching AN ENTIRE NEW ZEALAND BEACH in green lights, to commemorate her new single. But fear not, loads of your other faves have been releasing new tracks too, albeit with a lower electricity bill at the end of it all.
From Diet Cig’s tragicomedy birthday party, to Sälen nailing every lyrical turn, and Todd Terje previewing his unreleased single by way of a Four Tet remix (right, then) it’s all going on.
For our verdicts on all of this week’s biggest and most exciting tracks, all you need to do is scroll down. And if you’re itching to check out everything else out this week, step this way for DIY’s Listening Hub, and our Essential Playlist.
Lorde - Green Light
“I am about to show you the new world,” Lorde said in an album update given on her 20th birthday last year. ‘Green Light’, the first glimpse of this world, shows it to be a dramatically different universe than that which she presented with ‘Royals’ half a decade ago - the dark, introverted pop of debut album ‘Pure Heroine’ is given a neon-coloured facelift and sent into the night with heart-thumping urgency.
A song about “my first heartbreak,” ‘Green Light’ sees Lorde fighting back bitterness and instead spilling out bucketloads of defiance. “I’ll come get my things, but I can’t let go,” she sings in the track’s huge, gang vocal-backed chorus, and as soon as producer Jack Antonoff’s stadium-ready piano kicks in with all the spring of a trampoline, the track becomes a pop monster.
All manner of deep-rooted memories spring up across the track - it’s anyone’s guess where “she thinks you love the beach, you’re such a damn liar“‘s origins lie - but despite being unrelatable anecdotes on their own, they’re delivered with such force that it’d be impossible to not believe in them too.
Lorde’s out in the big wide world she stood on the brink of with wide eyes on ‘Pure Heroine’, and with ’Green Light’, she’s making it her own, and grabbing the unwavering attention and envy of the pop world in the process. (Will Richards)
QTY - Dress/Undress
It’s been mere months since QTY’s debut single ‘Rodeo’ earwormed its way into the world. On their third and latest cut, the Dirty Hit-signed New Yorkers continue to showcase their emotive, quite majestic rock ‘n’ roll with an innate cool.
‘Dress/Undress’ sees the duo’s vocal partnership really blossom, Dan Lardner and Alex Niemetz’s respective styles working in perfect tandem. A track that they say “speaks to the anxieties, routines and amusements of our day-to-day life”, it’s ultimately a delight, the irresistible guitar tones that recall numerous NYC icons from decades gone by remaining a hallmark of their sound.
To label this as QTY’s strongest offering so far would be clichéd to say the least – everything they’ve done has been instantly impressive in its own way – but it does add further weight to any assertions that they might just be onto something special. The title is a metaphor for the two “bookends” of the daily routine; keep on like this and QTY will have a shelf full of hits at their disposal. (Tom Hancock)
Diet Cig - Barf Day
Y’know those days where absolutely nothing goes right; so much so that life begins to feel a bit like a tragicomedy complete with Seinfeld slap bass to soundtrack every turn of new misfortune? Welcome to Diet Cig’s ‘Barf Day’. ”I just wanna have ice-cream on my birthday!” yells Alex Luciano, “blow my candles out and wish all of my pain away”. It nicely sets the scene of a lonely birthday party where nobody shows up; while a surprise party waits ready across the other side of town.
House plants die in ‘Barf Day,’ phone batteries fade away, and guitars crash in battering waves; if there were hints before that Diet Cig are amping up for their debut album, consider this the solid gold proof. A blasting, bittersweet projectile vom of pop-punk greatness, Diet Cig have a real talent for stating the vulnerable, and turning it powerful instead. (El Hunt)
Arca - Anoche
From the unveiling of ‘Piel’, the first track taken from his upcoming album, it was obvious that Alejandro Ghersi, better known as Arca, would be pushing vocals further into the forefront of his work. That track featured operatic vocals set against muted yet deeply atmospheric waves of whistling synths with low, pulsing bass lurking underneath.
On ‘Anoche’, he keeps things similarly minimalistic, singing first in falsetto and then more deeply atop extremely fragile piano tones. Eventually dusty percussive elements accompany the pairing, adding just another haunting layer into the mix. While it may not be laden in strings or pulsing synths, it’s still pretty evocative of his work with Björk on ‘Vulnicura’. As with much of that album, it’s intimate but also haunting, ethereal yet brimming with sadness. Listening to ‘Anoche’, you begin to understand why his upcoming LP is self-titled. It’s because Arca is finding his true voice. (Eugenie Johnson)
Todd Terje - Jungelknugen (Four Tet remix)
When was the last time you heard a remix of a song before the single itself even came out? Never? That’s not that surprising. Who precedes a single release by giving a taster of its remixes first? Well, Todd Terje does apparently. He’s just released two remixes of a brand new track – ‘Jungelknugen’ – including one by none other than Four Tet.
Listening to Four Tet’s remix of the track is thoroughly intriguing. There’s a buzzing bassline and looping techno elements, and a few classic drum licks, as well as some driving piano, all flowing into an arpeggiated flurry of melodies. The hard part is differentiating where exactly Todd ends and Four Tet begins. Trying to pick out exactly what will actually be included on the single itself (that piano perhaps?) is a puzzle in itself, and just makes you want to listen again to see if you can distinguish the pair’s work. But even if you’re not on the hunt for clues to what the “actual” version of ‘Jungelknugen’ will sound like, this is still a pulsating slice of electronic goodness. (Eugenie Johnson)
White Kite - Curtain Call
White Kite’s debut single ‘Swans’ was a runaway train, “a barrage of noodling synths and thudding synthetic drums”. It introduced the London quartet as a bright and pop-leaning prospect.
Its follow-up ‘Curtain Call’ takes the introduction of ‘Swans’ and sends it into the depths of the night. Soulful yet cautious vocals fly above blackened synths that feel so vicious they could declare war by themselves. By the time a gritty, almost post-rock guitar solo worms its way into the fold, White Kite are wrapped up in a vicious, hellbound journey.
“Don’t wanna put on a show anymore”, frontman Louis Shadwick croons, and the insular, creeping world he inhabits on ‘Curtain Call’ is a perfect accompaniment to nervous evenings and battles of the mind. (Will Richards)
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