There is quite literally more new music than anyone knows what to do with right now - and this week has seen some mighty returns. There’s the first track from Harry Styles’ recently-announced ‘Harry’s House’ and its (predictably) beautifully-shot video; Sports Team managed to sneak a comeback in there, with news of a second full-length from them; Angel Olsen also revealed details of a new record, plus new Warpaint, Vince Staples, Class of 2022 alum Lauran Hibberd… it doesn’t stop.
To feast your eyes and ears over the best new songs (if we say so ourselves) the Essential New Tracks playlist is below - for words on some of ‘em, read on.
Harry Styles - As It Was
As both artist and human, Harry Styles is an arched eyebrow; a sideways glance; a quick wink when nobody’s looking. That is to say, able to be utterly charming in every which way (disclaimer: this is complete conjecture - have not yet met him in person), yet ultimately, give away absolutely nothing. He announced third solo album ‘Harry’s House’ last week with just the record’s ‘70s decor-influenced sleeve; he teased this lead single with a clip of him sequinned and flexing in London’s Barbican and so few musical notes it told us precisely zip about the track’s sound.
‘As It Was’, as it goes, is as if Kevin Parker produced The Strokes. Take the New Yorkers’ key elements on record: the familiar chord changes; the vocal rhythm; even the somewhat scattershot lyrical couplets - and filter it through Tame Impala’s arsenal of shimmering synths and blissed-out vibes. And the fact that Harry doesn’t go full-pelt vocally until close to the end of the whole thing, and yeah, who COULDN’T be excited for what’s to come? (Emma Swann)
Sports Team - R Entertainment
On debut ‘Deep Down Happy’, Sports Team spent their days considering suburban flights of fancy and provincial ennui. They went fishing and then to the races; on their best tracks, the sextet exhibited a knack for Pulp-esque social commentary, full of mundane familiarities skewered by wryly-observed specifics. ‘R Entertainment’ - the first track from forthcoming follow up ‘Gulp!’ - broadens the blinkers and adds a little more abstraction second time around, addressing the chaotic endless timeline scroll via purposefully random tangents of thought. Musically, however, it’s business as usual. Read: propulsive guitars, percussive jangles and Alex Rice’s signature strangled cries. (Lisa Wright)
Angel Olsen - All the Good Times
Two years after her acclaimed ‘Whole New Mess’, Angel Olsen previews sixth LP ‘Big Time’ with the bewitching ‘All the Good Times.’ Recorded shortly after the death of her parents as well as her publicly coming out as queer, Angel reflects on both via this minimalistic track. Backed by a dreamy organ melody and twinkly piano chimes dripping with nostalgia, this is a quintessential entry in the songwriter’s catalogue, and a touching tribute to love in all forms. (Sarah Taylor)
Vince Staples - Rose Street
Vince Staples’ new album, ‘Ramona Park Broke My Heart’, promises to invite listeners into the Long Beach neighbourhood the rapper grew up in. On its second single, ‘Rose Street’, he reflects on how this upbringing made love and vulnerability inaccessible to him. “I don’t sing no love songs / don’t ever sing no love songs,” he raps, before detailing how he’s “only bringing flowers to the homies’ graves.” All packed inside two-and-a-bit minutes, it’s a closer window into an artist who’s letting us in for the first time. (Will Richards)
Spector - Felony
Spector’s swaying, often brutally honest presentation is present and correct on ‘Felony’ - if a little more melancholy than usual. An extension of 2022’s ’Now Or Whenever’, this bonus track is a bobbing ode to platonic love, playing out the narrative of mistakenly kissing your friends and later realising that you are in fact, just friends. It marries Fred Macpherson’s endearingly dry vocals with a minimal disco-pop soundscape, dousing them both in expansive production and that casual Spector charm. (Alisdair Grice)
Liam Gallagher - C’Mon You Know
If you took a scientific look back at the lairiest moments in modern history, ‘England doing alright in an international tournament’ and ‘anything related to Liam Gallagher’ would probably rank Top Three. Imagine then, the seismic vibrations on the beer-o-meter when Liam swaggers out to the repeated mantra of ‘C’Mon You Know’’s “I think it’s coming home again” during his forthcoming Knebworth return (because surely, this MUST be the set opener), thus tapping into the exact meta explosion of both his own career and the football/music axis as a whole. Honestly, it’s quite frightening even to imagine. (Lisa Wright)
Katy J Pearson - Talk Over Town
Katy J Pearson says ‘Talk Over Town’, the first preview of second album ‘Sound Of The Morning’, was written to try and make sense of her meteoric rise, and how she’s changed from “being Katy from Gloucester, but then being Katy J Pearson who’s this buzzy new artist.” Suitably, the glorious six-minute track sounds like a journey, with its buoyant rhythm section and chugging acoustic guitars providing a sense of forward movement. The track’s lyrics might deal with the difficulties of this whiplash-like change, but the blissful music behind it makes it seem like a breeze for her. (Will Richards)
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