While Adele’s still creating herself new records to break, the pop world might’ve taken itself a bit of a back seat this week (literally, why WOULD you even try to compete?), but that hasn’t stopped the new music from appearing. Jack White soundtracks the new Call of Duty trailer, HEALTH recruit September DIY In Deep cover act, Poppy, for their latest collaboration, Bodega announce details of a new album, Egyptian Blue continue to impress, and much more.
Jack White - Taking Me Back
One of last year’s standout TV moments was Jack White’s first-rate turn as a last-minute sub on SNL, as heroically bombastic as you’d expect - and with a bonus tap in honour of the late Eddie Van Halen. So it’s not like anyone’s exactly forgotten how hard he can go. But mere seconds into ‘Taking Me Back’, a track which perhaps incongruously for his persona in the public consciousness is released as part of the latest Call of Duty trailer, whatever might’ve fallen away since 2018’s ‘Boarding House Reach’ showed a somewhat more experimental side, returns with as much force as the in-your-face riff. A verse-as-hook, Jack spitting venom with his words; it takes the best of what solo Jack is about and smashes it into one four-minute beast. (Emma Swann)
HEALTH x Poppy - DEAD FLOWERS
This is, let’s be honest, a match made in heaven. Or hell, as the case may be. HEALTH’s intricately-layered industrial sonics are exactly of the kind Poppy has embraced on her last two records, and ‘DEAD FLOWERS’ sees them combine to hypnotic results. On the more ambient side of the LA noise rockers’ palette for the most part, knowing the tension will inevitably break - and break it does gloriously, Poppy’s muted scream emanating pure frustration - it makes for a mood and a half. (Emma Swann)
Bodega - Doers
Giving us a taste of their second album, ‘Doers’ sees Brooklyn’s Bodega refining their acerbic worldview with a noticeably more robust sonic presence. Channelling post-punk revival sounds - alongside just a touch of Beastie Boys-like vocal attitude - the group’s latest single takes off with a masterclass in dancy basslines. With lyrics taking aim at the surreal impact of the self-help industry through tongue-in-cheek Daft Punk references, they set a high bar for the rest of their upcoming album. (Varun Govil)
Bastille - No Bad Days
For their fourth album, Bastille have seemingly jumped in the concept deep end, after 2019’s ‘Doom Days’ saw them dabble with the idea. Where their last was a rough, although not always entirely clear timeline of an evening, this time they’re going full Doctor Who with the sci-fi imagery. Unfortunately, for a band who have known their way around a hook or two in the past, ‘No Bad Days’ is thoroughly unmemorable, its refrain of “there will be no bad days” sounding more like repeating a self-help script than a call to arms. (Louisa Dixon)
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs - Hot Stuff
Although one wouldn’t immediately pair the sultry sway of Donna Summer’s 1979 GRAMMY-winning classic with a cult porcine grunge band, you’d be intrigued to know that this was the singer’s seminal move into the heavier world of rock’n’roll, fortified with a scorching solo from Steely Dan guitarist Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter and neatly peppered with the nu-disco influence of the era. Pigsx7’s cacophonous cover spreads its wings wide with an initial deluge of fuzzed-out power chords, before the song’s signature melody rings out on phased guitar and frontman Matt Baty’s acerbic shouts deal with the bouncing verse while collaborators The Lovely Eggs join for a more distanced chorus through a radio mic before culminating in a violent, pining “I neeeeeed hoooooot stuuuuuf”. Treading the line somewhere between satirical, hedonistic and reverent, the Newcastle outfit somehow hit the nail on the head and deliver a refreshing take on an otherwise untouchable classic (guitar solo included). AND it’s for a good cause to boot. (Alisdair Grice)
Alex Lahey - Spike The Punch
Alex Lahey’s knack for penning a slacker-pop earworm has been well-known since the Aussie singer-songwriter broke through back in 2016, and was cemented by the time debut album ‘I Love You Like A Brother’ was released the following year. ’Spike The Punch’ doesn’t see her deviating hugely from the path she’s trodden since (self-deprecating ’til the end, this one) but it is a peppy, immediate number that’s a welcome reminder of what won people over first time around. (Bella Martin)
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets - Lava Lamp Pisco
The ink has barely dried on latest album ‘SHYGA! The Sunlight Mound’, and Psychedelic Porn Crumpets are already following it up. ‘Lava Lamp Pisco’ is their heaviest song for some time. Frontman Jack McEwan says the aim was for the song to see them re-embrace the Black Sabbath influences of the band’s earlier material, and it does so successfully for the most part. The crunching riffs sound far more akin to classic ‘70s rock than most of the garagey-sounding ‘SHYGA!’, and the song is accompanied by an excellent animated video by Gina Tratt. (Greg Hyde)
Egyptian Blue - Salt
Sounding like a more spaced-out Foals-Do Nothing hybrid, ‘Salt’ ties the mesmeric choruses of a power ballad from the former, and the intense-yet-intricate basslines of 21st Century post punk, culminating in an irresistibly crunchy track that highlights everything great about Egyptian Blue. The psyched-out, hi-hat heavy intro posits a version of the band verging on indistinct bedlam before being reined in by a tight rhythm section and vocalist Andy Buss’s snarling words Delving more left-field that previous releases, this shuffling, contorting track is writhing yet in control. (Alisdair Grice)
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