Happy Friday! And not only is it a Friday, it’s also both the start of the Bank Holiday weekend (joy to the world!) and the first day of Reading and Leeds 2018. What a time to be alive.
Fittingly kicking off this week’s Tracks then are Bring Me The Horizon - aka Friday’s secret Reading festie guests - and their comeback banger ‘Mantra’. Disclosure have also returned in fine form, offering us four - FOUR! - new tracks including ‘Love Can Be So Hard’.
Elsewhere this week, we’ve had another newie from Christine and the Queens - this time sung en Francais, the first offering from new supergroup boygenius (aka Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker), two stone cold gems from NEU favourites Squid and Lady Bird and fresh offerings from Fall Out Boy and Bastille.
Thank heavens you’ve got an extra day to listen to them all then, eh!
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.
Bring Me The Horizon - Mantra
With their last album ‘That’s The Spirit’, Bring Me The Horizon completed their transformation from scrappy metalcore outfit to full-blown titans of the heavy rock arena. With the first cut from their forthcoming sixth record, it’s clear their sights are now set on world domination. Where previous incarnations of the band saw them fusing together their screamo roots with hook-laden choruses, ‘Mantra’ still feels huge and heavy - its introductory riffs, especially - but this time, in a different way. Oli Sykes’ trademark screamed vocals are cleaner, and it’s the instrumentation here that relates the track’s weighty feel. Another surefire anthem in their arsenal, it’s an intriguing introduction to the band’s newest era. (Sarah Jamieson)
Disclosure - Love Can Be So Hard
Emerging from what feels like an age in the wilderness, Disclosure returned this week with a new track. Then another. And another. And one more for good measure. It's clear, then, that Guy and Howard Lawrence have been busy squirrelling away at new material since 2016's house-driven 'Moog For Love' EP, and we're now beginning to see the fruits of said labour.
The pick of the new tracks is 'Love Can Be So Hard', a flip on a track by dance-pop vocalist Princess. A feelgood house-disco cut, Princess' vocals sway in and out of the mix wonderfully, with the cut toasting the end of a long, glorious summer and ushering in one last dance. (Will Richards)
Squid - The Dial
There’s something endearingly ramshackle about new Brighton bunch Squid. On recent track ‘Terrestrial Changeover Blues (2007-2012)’, they brought woozy shoegaze, intense krautrock and a whole lot more to the table: it was an enticing cocktail, but one that left plenty still to find out about what sort of band they really were.
The picture begins to look clearer on their fantastic new single ‘The Dial’, released by acclaimed London label Speedy Wunderground, though. When the track trundles into life, it feels more akin to mid-’00s New York City rather than late ’10s Brighton - it possesses the same kind of chunky backbone that holds every LCD Soundsystem song together so brilliantly - but it slowly morphs into something weirder and more indebted to the scrappy earliest recordings of Foals.
“The dial doesn’t change, the dial stays the same,” vocalist Ollie Judge sings, then shouts, then positively bellows as the track bounds along. Beginning with a tight drum beat and relatively taut, funky guitar strut, the instrumentation gets more intense and impassioned with every next run-through, Ollie’s vocals rising alongside.
“The song is about a dear loved one suffering a horrible illness in hospital,” the band say of the track. “At the point the patients’ blood is being taken by the nurse we imagined them all turning into vampires and sucking the blood from the patients.” A dark twist to an ultimately sad story, for sure, and it’s transmitted on ‘The Dial’ via an intensely dark thrash.
Taking inspiration from the weirder end of the rock canon to create something as catchy as it involved, as funky as it is heavy, all while swerving pure pastiche, Squid have shown themselves to be something really special on ‘The Dial’. (Will Richards)
boygenius - Me & My Dog
In their respective solo work, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker have made a name for themselves tackling human emotion with a gut-wrenching intensity. Now, to the delight of our indie-folk dreams, they’ve formed supergroup boygenius, dropped three tracks and announced the release of their debut EP for this November.
On one of the stand-out tracks from the new releases, ‘Me & My Dog’, the choruses are held by Phoebe: “I had a fever until I met you, now you make me cool…” she sings, before the song pivots into a cinematic, punchy chorus, with all of her bandmates joining in, their vocals complimenting each other in perfect harmony. Sharing in each other’s styles and sounds in a way that collectively seems to grow each of their own, the first slice of the music they’ve been making sounds exciting and, judging by ‘Me & My Dog’, we can’t wait to hear what they release next. (Rachel Finn)
Fall Out Boy - Lake Effect Kid
Back in 2008, Fall Out Boy released a demo called ‘Lake Effect Kid’ via Pete Wentz’s Decaycance label. Now, a decade after its original release, the track has got a proper release as part of a surprise three-track EP dropped by the band, ahead of their headline set at Reading & Leeds festival this weekend.
‘Lake Effect Kid’ is a love letter to the band’s hometown of Chicago with Patrick Stump singing about he’ll always want to return home on the song’s punchy, scuzzy guitar-filled chorus (“boomerang my head back to the city I grew up in, again and again, forever a lake effect kid”). It’s also a nostalgic throwback to how they used to sound, a more straightforward pop-punk track than the more pop-influenced direction they’ve taken on their later albums and, with that, it’s proof the band are still in touch with the fans who grew up with their early sound. (Rachel Finn)
Bastille & Marshmello - Happier
The musical worlds of Bastille and Marshmello overlap more than you'd ordinarily think, and they intertwine wonderfully on new collaboration 'Happier'. Dan Smith already writes songs to headline festivals day-to-day, but this main stage ambition is only furthered by the introduction of Marshmello, who takes his vocals and adds a euphoric EDM sheen. It's quite the team-up. (Will Richards)
Lady Bird - Boot Fillers
On debut EP ‘Social Potions’, Kent trio Lady Bird set themselves up as punks with a heart, offering up mosh-worthy bangers but with an atypically sensitive lyrical core. Now, on newie ‘Boot Fillers’, they've taken these dual traits and deployed them in their most affecting way yet.
Full of rowdy sing-along “la la las”, the track is a hefty, rough’n’ready number on the surface. Thematically, however, it's anything but. Discussing the difficulties of accepting a string of temporary new stepfathers into the family with an honest and empathetic stance on the matter, it's a track full of internal conflict that ultimately chooses positivity and hope.
It ends in a spoken word mantra from singer Sam Cox: ”We don’t have to stay the same forever/ We can blossom and adjust and some day become better/ He can be happy, you can be happy, we can all be happy/ But it requires practice.” Tackling a topic rarely brought up in music, 'Boot Fillers' isn't just a danceable banger but one that could genuinely provide some solace. (Lisa Wright)
Christine and the Queens - La Marcheuse
Of course it shouldn't actually be a ballsy move - Christine and the Queens being French an' all - but there's something pleasingly confident about the singer's decision to release new track 'La Marcheuse' in its french language version rather than the translated track (entitled 'The Walker') that's set to appear on forthcoming LP 'Chris' internationally.
Another move in a list as long as our arm that proves that Chris beats to the sound of her own drum, it's also one that shows off the deliciously sultry vibe of the song itself. Backed by metronomic drum beats and sparse, minimal synths, the singer's vocals take centre stage, with the kind of breathy passion that supersedes language. If you did want to know what Chris is saying though, let's just say it contains thoughts on "redesigning fists" and "easy violence". Crikey. (Lisa Wright)
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