Now, dear readers, we don’t only have a long weekend to look ahead to (for those lucky enough to be able to enjoy it, at least) but there’s also been a veritable feast of new music released this week. For the pick of the pops head to Essential New Tracks on Spotify, for what we’ve got to say on the cream of the crop, see below.
Billie Eilish - Your Power
“I feel very vulnerable putting this one out because I hold it so close to my heart,” wrote Billie Eilish on releasing ‘Your Power’, the third single from the all-conquering pop superstar’s forthcoming second album. It’s easy to hear why - over minimal instrumentation, the singer adopts her near-whisper to tell a tale of a toxic relationship with a dangerous power imbalance. It’s probably not one to set the bank holiday weekend’s barbecues alight (there’s still previous single and certified bop ‘Therefore I Am’ for that), but it’s definitely one that’ll - quite rightly - make millions think. (Emma Swann)
Warpaint - Lilys
Some bands manage to weave themselves far enough into the fabric of modern music that their influence is constantly around even when they’re not. Five years on from third LP ‘Head’s Up’, it seems bonkers that Warpaint have been gone for a full half-decade, but comeback track ‘Lilys’ immediately picks you up and drops you back into their hypnotic, entrancing world: one that feels immediately familiar and testament to the lasting impact of the quartet. Rolling in on undulating beats and subtly predatory bass, the heady mix at the heart of their particular sonic alchemy is deliciously intact; vocals effortlessly intertwine, while a simultaneous aura of danger and seduction populates the dense yet nuanced layers they build. Like all good Warpaint songs, ‘Lilys’ is a track to fall into. (Lisa Wright)
black midi - Slow
The tendency to tether every remotely aspiring rock band to the descriptor “angular” seems to be becoming a thing of the past. Often, as in the shapeshifting craft of black midi, it’s probably more apt to think of it as curved; a precise, unfurling sonic arch setting off on a round trip. New single ‘Slow’ embodies this. Blurring, then dismantling, the lines between Tera Melos, ‘Discipline’-era King Crimson and Dillinger Escape Plan, with a hint of Kamasi Washington, it’s pure-cut prog theatricality. John “Spud” Murphy, who recorded the upcoming ‘Cavalcade’, plays a vital role in eking out the acrobatic subtleties that continue to set the London band apart. (Brian Coney)
Phoebe Green - IDK
Over the past 18 months, Manchester’s Phoebe Green has developed a knack for the kind of deadpan storytelling that sits adjacent to the current crop of speak-sing narrators (Dry Cleaning, Sinead O’Brien etc) but in a far more technicolour, pop-influenced world. The clever trick with ‘IDK’ is that it never feels like it’s trying that hard; synths putter as Phoebe monotones about being misunderstood. Yet the result is strangely brilliant: magnetic, cheeky and knowing all at the same time. (Lisa Wright)
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes ft. Joe Talbot - My Town
Frank Carter has never been much of a stranger when it comes to rough-around-the-edges social commentary, but there’s something even more carnal about the newest offering to come from his Rattlesnakes. Teaming up with IDLES’ Joe Talbot for ‘My Town’ - a blistering metaphor for the increasing solitude and disillusionment of pandemic life, and “our collective mental health falling apart” - their pairing feels like a combative match made in heaven, making for a truly visceral listen. (Sarah Jamieson)
Self Esteem - I Do This All The Time
Ever the knowing entertainer, Rebecca Taylor has spent a fair amount of Twitter time (half)jokingly berating the greater public for not acknowledging her obvious genius, but with ‘I Do This All The Time’ - the first taste of Self Esteem’s forthcoming second LP - you sense the singer won’t have to worry about those things for much longer. A spoken word monologue-slash-meditation that takes the exhaustion, frustration, pain, hope and humour of life in a warm embrace, it is magnificent: a track that will leave you winded by its relatability and nourished all at the same time. Come its redemptive, soaring chorus, you’ll probably have a joyful tear in your eye too. (Lisa Wright)
WILLOW ft. Travis Barker - t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l
Willow has been edging more towards guitars in recent years and ‘t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l’ continues this exploration. Developing the heavier sound of 2020’s ‘THE ANXIETY’, her new track is all gang vocals and moody guitar riffs, with an alt-fashion immersed, fish-eye heavy music video to match. With pop-punk icon Travis Barker on drums, the pacy and distorted track draws on Willow’s love of bands like Paramore and My Chemical Romance, as well as her mother’s nu-metal band Wicked Wisdom. Always an exciting and ambitious artist, Willow’s move into pop-punk may have been unexpected but it sounds entirely natural. (Eloise Bulmer)
Rejjie Snow ft. Cam O’bi and grouptherapy - Relax
With 2018’s ‘Dear Annie’, Rejjie Snow delivered a debut that marked him down as Ireland’s most successful hip hop export ever. Hitting a sweet spot between candid and disarming, it also signalled the coming of a contender on the world stage. Three years on, the 27-year-old returns with ‘Baw Baw Black Sheep’ in early July. It’s a release whose avowed no-fucks-given Rejjie chalks up to the heavy ingestion of a certain naturally occurring psychedelic compound. Right on. In sound and slant, ‘Relax’ distils that M.O. down to four minutes. Bolstered by the golden touch of grouptherapy and producer Cam O’bi, it’s sedate and cyclical in all the right places. (Brian Coney)
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