It’s finally the end of the week, and we have a brand spanking new edition of Tracks - our weekly round-up of the biggest and best new tracks around.
There’s another newbie from The Killers, the continuation of Charli XCX’s quarantine album, Glass Animals turning cover stars (sort of), a solo outing for Sigur Rós’ Jónsi and much more.
For what we have to say on this week’s 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 Killers - Fire In Bone
If previous single ‘Caution’ found The Killers treading familiarly anthemic, expansive territory like the modern Springsteen acolytes they’ve always been, then on ‘Fire In Bone’ the now-trio’s influences take a little longer to shine through. Kicking off as a surprisingly sparse, surprisingly funky bass-led shuffle, there’s more Talking Heads than thumping Americana to be found in its opening moments. But this is Brandon Flowers - king showman and never a man to be knowingly understated - and so, before long, the speakers crank up, the crescendos appear and we’re back in the stadium. Still, it’s a sign that forthcoming LP ‘Imploding the Mirage’ might have some interesting twists up its sleeve. (Lisa Wright)
Charli XCX - Claws
Considering the time-poor pace of her current ‘how i’m feeling’ album project - written and recorded from scratch during quarantine and set for release in less than a month - and the fact that both her ‘Number 1 Angel’ and ‘Pop 2’ mixtapes had a fair whack of filler on them, it’s sort of a miracle the hit-rate with which Charli XCX has been pumping out actually pretty brilliant bops of late. First track ‘Forever’ landed a solid opening punch, and now ‘Claws’ - a kitschy electro-pop nugget that draws heavily on her PC Music affiliation – arrives as proof that the musician is someone who clearly thrives under pressure. Full of video game-like twinkles and saccharine sweet lyrics (“I like everything about you” repeats its chorus), it’s like being trapped inside Candy Crush with only a couple of pills and some high-sheen production to save you. (Lisa Wright)
Glass Animals - Heart Shaped Box
The idea of Glass Animals’ mild-mannered frontman Dave Bayley crooning an ode to Courtney Love’s vagina is - let’s not beat around the bush (no pun intended) - an odd one. Then you add the general eyebrow-raise of Nirvana’s cathartic, guttural classic being covered in a tender, restrained falsetto and, by all accounts, this take on ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ should fall flat on its face. And yet, somehow, it works, the restrained jewellery box-twinkle of their stripped backing beginning gently and taking on a slightly eerie creep as the track progresses. The latest of the band’s quarantine covers, it’s a more than worthy interim offering before their long-awaited new original material lands. (Lisa Wright)
Hayley Williams - Dead Horse
Having already very much established ‘Petals For Armor’ as a project that acts as a brutally open avenue for Hayley Williams, newest cut ‘Dead Horse’ should come as no surprise. But - opening with a voice recording of Hayley herself saying, “Alright, it took me three days to send you this… Sorry, I was in a depression, that I’m trying to come out now” - it’s still an undoubtedly difficult listen, for both listener and narrator alike. A track which deals frankly and directly with her previous longterm relationship, it almost acts as an accompaniment to Paramore track ‘Pool’ - as first line “Every morning I wake up / From a dream of you holding me / Under water” echoes - and sees Hayley being perhaps the most honest so far. Peppered with delicious beats and packed with a chorus so catchy you’ll be humming it for days, the track may be packed with some hard-to-swallow home truths, but its catharsis is tangible, and that’s what makes it all the more powerful. (Sarah Jamieson)
Everything Everything - In Birdsong
The first hint of Everything Everything’s next step isn’t exactly what might’ve been anticipated. While most new records are launched with a hard-hitting, gutpunch of a track, this time the four-piece have offered up something more intriguing, more complex as their introduction to Album Number 5. Swirling falsetto vocals shroud a punchy, pulsing series of electronic beats, with frontman Jonathan Higgs guiding ‘In Birdsong’ from a more delicate offering, as it shape-shifts into a fuller, more dramatic beast. (Sarah Jamieson)
Dream Wife - Hasta La Vista
One of the newbies teased back last summer - when we’d have been able to throw a lukewarm overpriced pint around to its earwormy chorus (sob) - ‘So When You Gonna’ is the second number shared from Dream Wife’s second LP ‘So When You Gonna…’, and as well as showing off the trio’s knack for noodling riffs and pop hooks - gets a bit meta: “How many ways to say goodbye?” asks Rakel Mjöll. Er, according to its own lyrics, it’s… three? (Emma Swann)
The 1975 - If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)
Back in the slightly-less-apocalyptic days of 2008, Soulja Boy released undisputed R&B bop ‘Kiss Me Thru The Phone’, all about not being able to be with your gf so having to resort to some over-the-phone antics. Flash forward 12 years and with the entire world confined to their homes, it’s time for a little spicier lockdown love song. The 1975 have got us covered. The latest from ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ has already been circulating the internet ever since they gave it its live premiere during their recent tour. Now releasing it “for real”, it sees ’75 doing what they do best, calling back to their OG days blending big pop choruses and instantly quotable lyrics - “She said ‘Maybe I would like you better if you took off your clothes?’” - and throwing in some huge guitar riffs, and even a sexy sax solo for good measure. Off the back of the delicate ‘Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America’, house-y ‘Frail State Of Mind’, and punk-inspired ‘People’, ‘If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)’ is further cementing that ‘NOACF’ is going to be the most eclectic ’75 album yet. (Elly Watson)
Nasty Cherry - Shoulda Known Better
Nasty Cherry’s ‘Season 1’, whether that be the EP released towards the end of last year, or the literal first season of their accompanying TV show ‘I’m With The Band’, positioned the foursome in a similar spot to mentor Charli XCX’s ‘Sucker’, taking a little from pop-punk here, a lot from Sky Ferreira there, and packaging the whole shebang up in a shower of bubblegum pink and an endless supply of champagne. And on one hand, ‘Shoulda Known Better’ continues seamlessly on from that, Gabi Bechtel’s pout audible in her vocal over even the tinniest of smartphone speakers. But between any attempt at an edge smoothed off - are the guitars turned down to 5? - and a chorus that speeds up in place of any impact at all, their first release of 2020 barely musters a shrug. (Emma Swann)
Nadine Shah - Kitchen Sink
“And I just let them pass me by,” winks Nadine Shah seductively, on ‘Kitchen Sink’, the newest taste of her fourth record of the same name. A defiant and compelling new number that takes square aim at nosy neighbours and curtain-twitchers everywhere, it’s yet another example of her talent for deftly poking fun at some of society’s most ridiculous caricatures and stereotypes, all the while coolly shrugging them off. Kissed with scuzzy guitars and packed with wittiness, it’s another belter from her fourth record. (Sarah Jamieson)
Jónsi - Exhale
A full decade since Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi released any solo material, and seven years since the band themselves put out a record, the Icelandic group’s output has taken on something of a stereotype: music to watch David Attenborough footage of glaciers to, or music for a holiday company flogging a trip to see the Northern Lights perhaps. There’s such an innate Sigur Rós-ness to everything they do, that it’s hard not to just lump ‘Exhale’ in with that canon. Yes, it’s exceedingly pretty; yes Jónsi’s vocals do that thing that sounds like stumbling into a poignant church choir performance, and – to give the track credit – the second half does swell into a fuller, more electronic beast (perhaps courtesy of unlikely producer A.G. Cook). But is it a mind-blowing comeback after 10 years away? Not really. It’s just, as you would expect, very nice. (Lisa Wright)
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