Happy Friday, readers, and what a week it’s been! We’ve been waiting a while now for a week when basically all of our faves decide to put us out of our misery and drop new tracks, and it’s happened!
With new ones from Protomartyr, BODEGA, Beach House, and the return of Trevor Powers after ditching his Youth Lagoon moniker back in 2016, it’s an absolutely packed edition of Tracks this week.
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.
Florence + The Machine - Hunger
There’s a certain thing that runs through the core of the best Florence + the Machine offerings, a kind of romanticised but raw articulation of the fundamental desires and flaws that bond us all together as lumps of flesh and blood. Say what you like about our Flo, but she’s got a way of peering into the human heart like few others.
On ‘Hunger’ – the latest offering from forthcoming fourth LP ‘High As Hope’ – the lens is turned to ideas of longing, of trying to fill that nameless void with love or drugs or success: “At least I understood then the hunger I felt/ And I didn’t have to call it loneliness”.
Musically, well… it’s a F+TM song. Big, swooping vocals; powerhouse chorus; elegantly banging. You know the drill. But the beauty’s in the sentiment: like an often painful look in the mirror, Florence is just untangling this whole human mess, one song at a time. (Lisa Wright)
Drenge - This Dance
“Could Drenge write a dance number?” Eoin Loveless poses in a statement about the band’s comeback single, ‘This Dance’.
The band’s first new material since 2015’s brilliant second album ‘Undertow’, ‘This Dance’ needs to do a lot to reintroduce the band after such a stretch away. Of course, we needn’t have been worried: they re-establish themselves as one of Britain’s best snotty rock bands inside two-and-a-half huge minutes.
Eoin’s fizzy guitar line introduces the track with a crash, bang and wallop before his fuzzed out vocals carry the track’s verse with a brilliant, unstoppable momentum, like he’s trying to keep up with his own thoughts and excitement.
“No-one wants to be here more than I do,” he spits, and it’s bloody true: ‘This Dance’ sees Drenge at their most vital and confident. A dance number? Almost. A huge, brilliant reminder of what a great band we have here? Absolutely. (Will Richards)
Spring King - Animal
Far from easing themselves back in with their first new material since the full-length, new single ‘Animal’ is even more instant. Barging down the door with a riff of gigantic proportions, lifted from the Josh Homme school of shredding, Tarek Musa sounds more inspired than ever, egging his bandmates on through a track destined to incite sweaty, fervent moshpits.
The track’s chorus then bursts in, contrasting the song’s ever-present, dirty riff with sparkling synths into a brilliant, cacophonous mess. Its new video - which depicts the band heading through a pretty gruesome clinical trial at the doctors’ - only serves to ramp up the nervous, untamed energy of ‘Animal’.
A single in the truest sense, in its three minutes, ‘Animal’ reintroduces Spring King with the force of a bulldozer, and could just point towards a chart-topping, festival-headlining future. (Will Richards)
Black Honey - Bad Friends
So you think you know Black Honey? Izzy and pals have been gifting us gem after gem of cinematic indie-pop for some time now, and matching them blow-for-blow with their buoyant live selves to boot. Still, even for the most seasoned of ‘Honey lovers, ‘Bad Friends’ will be an introduction to a before-now-hidden side of the foursome.
First of all, and bear with us, the track worms its way in via tweaked, synthetic vocals from Izzy, before a brash, uber-confident chorus picks the band up and dumps them into a whole new realm.
What’s surely now the first teaser of what to expect from a full-length continues (again, bear with us) where Charli XCX’s ‘Sucker’ left off, blurring the lines between pop stars and slick rock band perfectly.
Immediate and dancefloor-ready, slathered with massive beats and finished off with a smidge of vocoder, it’s the band’s slap-to-the-face attitude gone industrial pop. And this new way of thinking suits Black Honey very well indeed. (Emma Swann)
Protomartyr - Wheel Of Fortune (ft Kelley Deal)
Following on from their staggering ‘Relatives In Descent’ album from last year, Detroit punks Protomartyr have announced details of a new EP called ‘Consolation’. Out next month, the new collection includes two songs with Kelley Deal of The Breeders.
Its first taster is ‘Wheel of Fortune’, a track that wastes no time in stating its intentions. Blistering feedback crashes into a murky, thrashing introduction, frontman Joe Casey’s howled, untamed vocals fighting for space against swirling, stop-start guitars.
It’s Kelley’s voice, though, that lifts the track out of the sludge - “I decide who lives and who dies,” she states with menace alongside Casey, the pair of voices melting together wonderfully, sounding every inch as swaggeringly confident as the lyrics would suggest. The track then folds out into a slow, purposeful mid-section, led by the consistently brilliant guitars of Greg Ahee, with Scott Davidson’s rumbling bass tracing the guitarist’s every move.
It’s when Deal’s voice worms its way back in, though, that the track truly finds its purpose again. When Protomartyr occasionally find themselves bogged down by the inherent darkness of their doomy punk, introducing a voice such as Kelley’s serves to lift them gloriously upwards, and just add to their potency. (Will Richards)
BODEGA - Jack In Titanic
NYC newcomers BODEGA had us in a bit of a tizz when they released debut track ‘How Did This Happen?!’ earlier this year, to be honest. Sardonic, straight to the point, brilliantly catchy post-punk, it was an extremely promising early sign from the newcomers.
It’s been followed by the equally exciting ‘Can’t Knock The Hustle’ and news of a debut album, out next month via What’s Your Rupture?, and the band have now shared their third track. The track’s called ‘Jack In Titanic’, and it’s as wonderfully off-the-wall as its name might suggest.
“No-one is as salty as the seven seas, except me…and Jack in Titanic,” Ben Hozie begins, before laying out all manner of personal characteristics that only our sweet baby mid-90s Leo could compete with.
As sarcastic as it is catchy, and brilliantly fun to boot, BODEGA are continuing to excel on ‘Jack In Titanic’. We’d find room for them on that door in the freezing North Atlantic Ocean, no problem. (Will Richards)
Trevor Powers (fka Youth Lagoon) - Playwright
Back at the start of 2016, Trevor Powers announced he was retiring his Youth Lagoon moniker after three full-length albums. “There is nothing left to say through Youth Lagoon. It will exist no more,” he said at the time, more pertinently adding: “It’s odd to realize that something you’ve created can have the power of wrapping a leash around your neck & holding you hostage.”
His hands tied by his cult classic of a debut album, the insular, bedroom-like ‘The Year Of Hibernation’, the progression seen on subsequent LPs ‘Wondrous Bughouse’ and ‘Savage Hills Ballroom’ was met with smatterings of discontent, rather than admiration at its brilliant, consistent progression.
The singer has now returned with new music under his own name, and the sense of freedom is palpable. “I ended Youth Lagoon because it became a mental dungeon,” he explains of his time away and new track ‘Playwright’. The track is a glitchy, stop-start track that teams delicate, plucked nylon strings with thunderous rumbles of bass; suitably, it sounds like a rebirth.
“Every person alive is full of opposing forces,” his statement continues, and ‘Playwright’ sees the singer coming to terms with the duality, and using it to his strength, rather than pushing and pulling each way. It’s an understated but definite new beginning, and the start of a new age that looks set to be a fascinating one. (Will Richards)
Beach House - Black Car
Beach House hope that their new album ‘7’ can be something of a rebirth. Whereas the Baltimore duo previously tried to limit themselves to what they thought they could perform live in the recording process, on their latest LP Alex Scally & Victoria Legrand chose to ignore those boundaries in order to fully explore their sound. As Victoria explained in a statement earlier this year, the album includes “some songs with no guitar, and some without keyboard. There are songs with layers and production that we could never recreate live, and that is exciting to us.”
‘7’ is the band’s first album in three years, except from their ‘B-Sides and Rarities’ release last year, after the double release of albums, ‘Depression Cherry’and ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ in 2015. We’ve heard snippets of the new album with previously shared tracks ‘Dark Spring’, ‘Dive’ and ‘Lemon Glow’.
Now, newly released track ‘Black Car’ retains the duo’s dreamy, hazy sound, beginning with a mesmerising, undulating synth line, and builds into a lush, multi-layered soundscape. Singer/keyboardist Victoria’s voice hovers above it all with hypnotising vocals, crooning things like “I skipped a rock and it fell to the bottom” and “Each time I’m walking at night, I can’t close my eyes”. It’s Beach House as you know it, for sure, but with a little bit of a twist. Listen below. (Rachel Michaella Finn)
More like this
Lifted from their recently released second album ‘Written & Directed’.
Black Honey have never been ones to think small, and on ‘Written & Directed’ their flights of fancy are out in full force. Izzy B. Phillips unpacks the rich world that makes up the band’s second.
It sees the quartet evolving into the rock outfit they’d always threatened to be.
The group are heading out on the road later this year.