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.
If you can tear yourself away from your fan / air con / sticking your head in the freezer for long enough to read on, there’s Actual Brand New Billie Eilish, Bastille nabbing Graham Coxon for a surprise new release, No Rome teaming up with Brockhampton’s Bearface (!), news of a new Angel Olsen album 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.
Billie Eilish - my future
A song called 'my future' written by the most in-demand pop star on the planet could easily be a slightly tiresome thing (We get it! You're probably going to have more houses than us!), but of course Billie is far smarter than to rub her dollar bills in our faces. Instead, the standalone, quarantine-penned single lands as something of an understated feminist anthem - an ode to being just fine by yourself (“Know I'm supposed to be unhappy without someone / But aren't I someone?”) delivered over warm grooves that nod to jazz and soul singers past. The future looks bright. But then we already knew that – duh. (Lisa Wright)
Bastille feat. Graham Coxon - WHAT YOU GONNA DO???
If you’re an arena-filling pop outfit who’d Quite Like to show the world you do indeed have amps, and know how to turn them up on occasion, obviously you’ll recruit one of the greatest guitarists ever to rock up for a guest spot on your surprise new track, just like that. Casual. True, ‘WHAT YOU GONNA DO???’ isn’t all that far removed from Bastille’s (preposterously) big singles, but with the added gnarl of Graham Coxon’s guitar, some punchy drum action, the group’s signature ‘woah-oh’s replaced by excitable ‘woo’s, and even a smidgen of distortion on Dan Smith’s usually crystalline vocal, it’s still as if the foursome have found a new lease of life. (Emma Swann)
No Rome feat. Bearface - 1:45AM
Staking their claim as one of our fave collabs of the year, No Rome and Brockhampton’s Bearface have teamed up for new track ‘1:45AM’. And what do you get when an indie pop act and a member of the most exciting hip hop collective in the world join forces? Well, a UK garage banger of course! In part due to the fact that legendary UK grime artist MJ Cole jumped on production duties, alongside The 1975’s George Daniel, ‘1:45AM’ is an upbeat banger, with Rome and Bearface’s delicately melodic vocals expertly intertwining to create a vibe-filled synth-leaning hit. Backed by an undeniable garage-influenced beat, it’s a fucking smash, and we love to see it. (Elly Watson)
Angel Olsen - Whole New Mess
The title track from her just-announced new album, 'Whole New Mess' marks Angel Olsen's first completely solo release since 2012 and arrives as just as emotive and vulnerable a prospect as that idea might suggest. Resonant and intimate, the only ingredients are Angel's rich vocal and delicately strummed strings; recorded in an isolated church, you can basically feel the pained acoustics in every note. Written in the immediate wake of a break-up, it's a raw listen (“I stretch my bones out on the floor/ I think I'll really do the change”), and one that's all the more affective for its lack of adornment. (Lisa Wright)
Poppy - Khaos x4
Back in January, a hundred thousand years ago, robot-turned-woman Poppy delivered 'I Disagree' - an album that answered the question of what Grimes would sound like if she tried to make a Korn record. Now, on 'Khaos x 4', ol' Pops is back with more brilliantly batshit metal-pop madness, and – as its title suggests – it's approximately four times more gloriously extra than anything else released this week. Screamo backing vocals? Check. Saccharine sweetly-sung lyrics about the world ending? Check. A press shot that makes her look like Lord Voldemort at a bondage club? Check. We love you Poppy. Never change. (Lisa Wright)
Jorja Smith - By Any Means
Written immediately after, and in response to the singer’s participation in a Black Lives Matter protest, ‘By Any Means’ is the first track to be taken from Roc Nation’s upcoming ‘Reprise’ project, aiming to bring awareness to social justice issues. At once lyrically hard-hitting (“White men can’t jump but at least they can run / Broke these chains just to put our hands up”) and musically smooth (Jorja’s vocal just as on point), if any indication of where she’s headed for LP2, it’s worth getting very excited indeed. (Emma Swann)
mxmtoon - bon iver
Following the release of ‘dawn’ earlier this year, mxmtoon has confirmed the EP’s flip side ‘dusk’ with brand new track ‘bon iver’. Inspired by the titular artist, ‘bon iver’ is a twinkling pop gem, seeing mxmtoon flex her ukulele skills and gorge delicate vocals. Setting the tone for the rest of the EP, which she has described as being more introspective than its predecessor, ‘bon iver’ is a cute AF track all about finding light within the darkness. The perfect track to soundtrack falling in love while the sun sets, mxmtoon has once again struck indie-pop gold. (Elly Watson)
Everything Everything - Violent Sun
Don't let the pulsing, relentless groove of this track fool you - everything about it is a show of fragility. Jonathan Higgs' lyrics, with the empowering heartbreak of the Killers' best work, reach into a beautiful falsetto that echo Thom Yorke's. And with textures borrowed from Beach House, he's allowed to spiral out over the densely packed four minutes and deliver one of Everything Everything's most poignant singles. A powerful reminder of the heart this band sometimes hides. (Nick Harris)
Marilyn Manson - We Are Chaos
The title track from Marilyn Manson’s upcoming LP ‘WE ARE CHAOS’ is certainly an anarchic listen, but perhaps not in the way you are expecting. Acoustically focused and indebted to The Beatles' brand of cathartic melancholia, it’s a significant departure from his usual shock rock output. It feels like the crooning Manson is inviting you to join a dysfunctional family rather than a violent uprising. The song is an aptly chaotic investigation into introspection, resulting in the ultimate brooding power ballad. (Jack Johnstone Orr)
Walt Disco - Hey Boy (You’re One Of Us)
A manifesto for the glamorous outsiders, Walt Disco's latest continues the Glaswegians' mission to present a sexy alternate reality where gender is irrelevant and everyone is perpetually dressed like they've just swanned out of the French Renaissance. “Once upon a time, we were boys like you...” croon the band a cappella as the curtain draws back, before the swashbuckling main event reveals itself – half Adam Ant chants, half sordid synths to add a little bit of naughtiness. Right now, the world could all do with taking a leaf out of Walt Disco's inclusive, celebratory book. (Lisa Wright)
Touché Amoré feat. Andy Hull - Limelight
Three minutes into ‘Limelight’, the urgent drums give way to Jeremy Bolm’s visceral screams. “It’s open casket, you’re all invited,” he bemoans, setting the scene for Touché Amoré's aptly-titled fifth studio album, ‘Lament’. Where 2016’s ‘Stage Four’ presented a candid exploration of the oft-conflicting realities of grief, ‘Limelight’ homes in on his support network and begins to embrace the closure they ultimately provide. Teaming up with Manchester Orchestra vocalist Andy Hull, Touché Amoré build on the expansive soundscapes that so beautifully underpinned their previous album’s pain, further highlighting the ebb and flow of life, and the ever-present friction between light and dark. (Ben Tipple)
Black Honey - Beaches
If the sweltering temperatures weren’t enough to make you feel claustrophobic, the sheer number of people beside the seaside on the cover image for Black Honey’s latest will definitely do the job. The kind of track that’d fit right in at an ‘80s teen flick disco - think Toni Basil’s pom pom-waving Mickey’ - it’s enough to have you headed for the closet shore. (Emma Swann)
More like this
The track is lifted from their upcoming debut EP.
For her new opus, ‘Whole New Mess’ finds Angel Olsen looking to the future but reaching back to the past, to an emotionally-purging set of recordings that would lead the singer to her rawest work yet.
This month’s issue also features chats with Tkay Maidza, Bright Eyes, Haiku Hands, The Magic Gang and more.
Our 99th(!) issue also features chats with The Killers, Declan McKenna, Tkay Maidza, The Magic Gang and loads more.