It’s finally the end of the week, and we have a brand spanking new edition of Tracks - our regular round-up of the biggest and best new tracks around.
Sure, you might not be finding yourself in a noisy, sweaty basement any time soon, but the gears of the music industry haven’t entirely ground to a halt - there has still been a smattering of exciting new songs over the past few weeks, including The Streets and Tame Impala’s teaming up on the first taste of Mike Skinner’s new mixtape, a solo single from The Kills’ Alison Mosshart, another new one from The 1975 and much more.
For what we have to say on the last few weeks’ biggest and most exciting tracks, scroll on! And if you’re itching to check out even more, subscribe to our Essential New Tracks playlist.
The Streets, Tame Impala - Call My Phone Thinking I’m Doing Nothing Better
One is essentially responsible for turning a generation of British indie kids onto hip hop; the other is a one-man by-word for future-facing, perfectly-produced psych-pop. Both are true pioneers and icons of their respective areas, but aside from that? Let's just say, on paper, Mike Skinner and Kevin Parker aren't natural bedfellows. And yet, on 'Call My Phone...', the first cut from The Streets' forthcoming mixtape, the odd couple prove something of a winning one. They've not tried to compromise on either of their distinctive sounds in any way - instead, Mike intones inimitable one liners (“You know I'd give you my kidney, just don't ever take my charger”), before Kev swooshes in on a hazy daydream, like the angelic voice on his pissed-off shoulder. It's a good cop / bad cop routine in a song, and proof that opposites do attract. (Lisa Wright)
Hayley Williams - Why We Ever
Ahead of the release of her debut solo album next month, Hayley Williams has already offered up a veritable buffet of musical offerings: from the dark and rage-laced opener ‘Simmer’, to the crunchy and powerful ‘Sudden Desire’, via the gorgeous boygenius-featuring ‘Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris’, ‘Petals For Armor’ is proving to be a varied, technicolour record. And again, her latest offering arrives and feels at once entirely different, but very much at home. A funky-flecked number ruminating on relationships lost, it possesses a warm sort of potency, even in its quieter, more reflective second half. (Sarah Jamieson)
Alison Mosshart - Rise
One half of The Kills. Lead vocalist with Jack White-collaborating supergroup The Dead Weather. Ultimate icon of dishevelled, whisky-sodden arty chic. If you looked up the dictionary definition of a fucking cool rock star, a picture of Alison Mosshart would be there, staring out and making you feel like a big ol’ dweeb. So it seems almost bizarre that, well into her second decade in the biz, 'Rise' is the first single to bear Alison's solo name. The answer may be, however, that she just didn't need to; far from a wild left turn, the track - a slow-burning, scorched desert anthem with a curled lip and a deadened stare - only goes to prove how big Alison’s influence is on both her main bands. Sparse backing, a ferociously unfuckwithable chorus climax and a general aura of defiance are the order of the day, and if it's a pleasingly familiar one then, well, that's no bad thing is it. (Lisa Wright)
Alfie Templeman - Happiness In Liquid Form
What’s better than one indie dreamboat? Two of them working together to create a sugary sweet disco-infused pop bop of course! Continuing his genre-blending style, Alfie Templeman went into the studio with Vaccines main man Justin Young to craft up a summary pop gem, ‘Happiness In Liquid Form’. Self-described as his most “sugary colourful disco-pop song” yet, ‘Happiness…’ continues to show why Alfie is one of indie’s shiniest new talents, throwing in disco-beats with an infectious chorus to create, what can only really be described as, happiness in musical form. Cheers Alfie! (Elly Watson)
Phoebe Bridgers - Kyoto
Another glimpse into her forthcoming second record, Phoebe Bridgers’ ‘Kyoto’ is a glorious slab which again shows off her knack for astute songwriting. Dealing with a particular bout of impostor syndrome which occurred during her first visit to Japan, the track is as sharp and witty (“Dreaming through Tokyo skies / I wanted to see the world / Then I flew over the ocean / And I changed my mind”) as Phoebe herself. Peppered with brass and propelled by scuzzy guitars, it’s bright, it’s bold and it manages to feel both razor sharp and charming all at once.
The 1975 - Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America
To say it feels apt that The 1975’s latest - which features folk-indie wonder woman Phoebe Bridgers - opens up with the air of a Bon Iver track is probably a bit of an understatement. A lilting acoustic number which feels to embody a country twang both musically and lyrically, it’s another example of the broad musical spectrum explored on the band’s forthcoming ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’. But its sincerity and simplicity - plus the melding together of both Matty Healy and Phoebe’s vocals - feel intricate and moving. And while it might be hard to imagine ‘Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America’ appearing on the same tracklisting as turbo-charged stomper ‘People’, it’s all the more thrilling that it does. (Sarah Jamieson)
Orlando Weeks - Blood Sugar
The second offering from former Maccabees man Orlando Weeks' forthcoming solo debut 'A Quickening', 'Blood Sugar' should finally quell any persistent attempts at comparison to his old band; aside from the tremulous familiar vocal at its centre, there's really little here that bears resemblance. Instead, ambient, atmospheric soundscapes and a slow shuffling pulse dominate, the whole thing riddled with intricate Bon Iver-esque details before a harmonic chorus drops in to punctuate its titular climax. Part of a record centred around the emotions and anxieties of the birth of his son, 'Blood Sugar' harnesses a sense of both small moments and big, overwhelming feelings; it's a slow-burner, but a weighty one. (Lisa Wright)
Orville Peck - Summertime
Following the release of his debut album ‘Pony’ last year, masked cowboy crooner Orville Peck has offered up his first new material since in the form of brooding country-number ‘Summertime’. Lead by his mystical baritone vocals, the mesmerising new’un is a slow-burning sizzler, which will instantly have you pining for hot summer evenings and scanning Depop for some cowboy boots. Romantic and rousing, step aside Billy Ray, because it’s Orville Peck making country music cool again. (Elly Watson)
Car Seat Headrest - Hollywood
Ah, Hollywood. The place where all your dreams come true, eh? Well, Car Seat Headrest’s Will Toledo has got other ideas. ‘Hollywood’, the latest from May album ‘Making A Door Less Open’, the roaring track is all about the locale’s fantasy being just that, and the underlying fear of those unable to accept it. Laying out his thoughts perfectly in the biting chorus of “Hollywood makes me want to puke!”, he continues, yelling “You’ve got a face that you think will last as long as the Sphinx / But the poster’s painted over in a week if it stinks”. Who doesn’t love their life advice delivered with a smashing indie-rock soundtrack? (Elly Watson)
Pottery - Hot Like Jungle
Montreal's Pottery may have made an increasingly tantalising name for themselves as wildcard sonic expeditionaries, stomping through the terrains of punk, funk, surf and rock'n'roll with only their own strange internal compass to guide them. But on 'Hot Like Jungle' - the latest from imminent debut 'Welcome to Bobby's Motel' - the quintet show they can do something approaching tender, too. Blissed out guitars and soft percussive shakes jangle around the kind of gentle euphoria that feels like the dawn rising on a particularly excellent night out. Let's just ignore the utter filth that was originally meant to populate some of its lyrics (or if you must know, read our feature with the band and tell them off for being thoroughly naughty boys). (Lisa Wright)
Records & Merch
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The biggest and best tracks of the past week, rounded up and reviewed.
Available via Bandcamp with proceeds going to Fair Fight.