It’s Friday, it’s sunny (at least in London, sorry not sorry), and this week has seen more big hitters unleashed than any week in a fair while. First, Chvrches gave us the first taste of ‘CH4’ with ‘He Said She Said’, then Wolf Alice came along and blasted pretty much everything out of the way with the massive ‘Smile’, Sports Team offered us new cut ‘Happy (God’s Own Country)’, plus there’s a gigantic new’un from Little Simz.
For what we’ve got to say on these and more - read on! To keep your devices updated with the best new tracks each week, subscribe to Essential New Tracks on Spotify, here.
Wolf Alice - Smile
Is there anything more satisfying than when an already-brilliant band writes the song you’ve always dreamed of them making? We would say ‘no’, but we’re too busy thrashing around to the absolute MONSTER that is ‘Smile’: Wolf Alice’s greatest moment to date, and an offering that acts as a gloriously defiant, sass-filled anthem for those sick to death with society’s judgemental bullshit. Bubbling up and crash-landing with a sledgehammer riff that’s bound to cause serious injuries when mosh pits are back in action, Ellie Rowsell’s quietly snarling, almost half-rapped lyrics are perfection - a series of unapologetic, pissed-off put downs, capped off with a crowning, “If you don’t like me, then that isn’t fucking relevant”. Cue mic drop. Cue gloriously gnarly guitar line. Cue Wolf Alice’s continued world dominance. (Lisa Wright)
Chvrches - He Said She Said
Returning with their first new music since 2018 album ‘Love Is Dead’, Chvrches are back with a banger. An electro-pop slammer, with a bit of hyper-pop flair, their latest is driven by Lauren Mayberry’s powerhouse crystalline vocals. From its first line (“He said: You bore me to death”), the mesmerising track follows a tongue-in-cheek exploration of stupid shit men have said to Lauren IRL, topped off by its huge chorus of “I feel like I’m losing my mind”. In Lauren’s own words: “Being a woman is fucking exhausting and it felt better to scream it into a pop song than scream it into the void.” And this is the perfect pop song to scream along to. (Elly Watson)
Sports Team - Happy (God’s Own Country)
Our fave indie-rock six-piece returned this week, giving us a glimpse into their new rarities and B-sides limited edition vinyl ‘Plant Test’, with fun and feisty new track ‘Happy (God’s Own Country)’. Recorded last year, Sports Team’s energetic latest is a classic ST banger. Infectious anthemic melodies paired with cutting commentary described by the group as “a sort of Cold War Steve collage, a cut and paste diorama of cronyism, cottagecore and window-dressed Toryism”, ‘Happy…’ also comes paired with a brilliantly mad Wicker Man-inspired video. What’s not to love, eh? (Elly Watson)
Little Simz - Introvert
Easily the most majestic of introductions to a record 2021 has seen, if not the boldest, ‘Introvert’ does anything but make like its name. Sprawling, thunderous orchestration reverberates around Little Simz’s bars - impassioned, expressive and completely to-the-point on the personal (“Angel said, ‘Don’t let your ego be a disturbance’ / Inner demon said, ‘Motherfucker, you earned this”) and political (“Knocking down communities to re-up on properties / I’m directly affected, it does more than just bother me”). The slinky chorus courtesy of West London singer Cleo Sol acts as counterpoint, while the compelling spoken-word outro from actor Emma Corin echoes the rapper’s gravitas while amping up the drama for a suitably theatrical close. (Emma Swann)
Biig Piig - Lavender
Buoyed by an Eyes Wide Shut-indebted, kinky as hell video thats finds a blonde Biig Piig getting spanked in the midst of a decadent orgy scene, there’s little room for confusion as to where the lusty throb of ‘Lavender’ is coming from. However, there’s something about Jess Smyth’s intimately hushed yet confident delivery, and the nocturnal, slinking beats around it that means that, though BP’s latest is a deliciously sexy thing, it’s also strong, classy and completely in control. The first taste of an incoming EP, it’s a direction that feels completely, assuredly her own right now. (Lisa Wright)
The Chemical Brothers - The Darkness That You Fear
There’s a hefty chance every third song released between now and the foreseeable future will lay some claim to representing “hope” and “the end of all this” or whatever terms have become vernacular in your particular small corner of the globe, but whether that’s the intention of The Chemical Brothers’ latest, or just by virtue of their existence having long represented such things as ‘being in places with other people and being happy’, ‘The Darkness That You Fear’ kinda does just that. Sonically bright - more softly hypnotic than anything harder, this time - and with a hippyishly positive refrain, there’s a gentle euphoria emanating from the dance veterans’ first new track since 2019’s lauded ‘No Geography’. (Emma Swann)
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