Photo: George Muncey

Tracks: slowthai, Dream Wife, Stormzy and more

The biggest and best of this week’s new releases.

Convention tells us the music industry decides to stop bothering long before December hits – it’s possible this week is that final push, before tinsel and sleigh bells take over. There’s a brand-new fiery number from slowthai and even more righteous rage from Dream Wife, Stormzy spills another from his forthcoming record, and much more besides.

To keep your senses updated with all things new, see below. For what we’ve got to say about the cream of the crop, read on…

slowthai – I Know Nothing

The combination of heavy guitars and slowthai’s increasingly agitated delivery makes ‘I know nothing’ a damn-near perfect aural representation of frustration as has possibly ever been created. And just as brilliantly as those elements match, the on-paper dissonance between the words he’s saying – “Some people ain’t comfortable with their sexuality / It must be awful to wake up and live a lie” - and the ferocity of the way he’s choosing to say it amplify the message twofold. An idea of what’s to come from him, or just a smart way to sell headphones, it’s great either way. (Emma Swann)

Dream Wife - Leech

While Dream Wife’s Rakel Mjöll does indeed possess one of the greatest screams in indie rock, even better is that on ‘Leech’ she knows just when to bring it out. The track, at once a scathing takedown and plea (“Just have some fucking empathy,” goes its refrain), is a constant push-pull between considered explanation (think Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)’ if it were about slimy dudes in music) and letting rip, showing the trio off at their absolute best. (Bella Martin)

Stormzy – Firebabe

If he’d not essentially admitted the fact on his recent TV special with Louis Theroux that she’s pretty much the inspiration for most of forthcoming album ‘This Is What I Mean’, the internet sleuths that matched the title of this track to the fact Stormzy’s ex Maya Jama was in fact astrologically-speaking, a Leo – a ‘fire’ sign – would’ve been punching the air. A massively understated number – the theme of him wearing light clothing continues, this time matching the concrete walls and mid-century furniture of an empty space that’s presumably intended to match his emotions – it’s seeing a man who’s thus far been portrayed – or portrayed himself, the lines of that one are a little blurry, naturally – as a tough guy put it all out there that’s so affecting. Big Michael allowing himself to be small, if you will. (Bella Martin)

Manchester Orchestra – No Rule

‘No Rule’ was written during the recording sessions for Manchester Orchestra’s sixth album, ‘The Million Masks of God’. The clean production job by frontman Andy Hull, lead guitarist Charles Robert McDowell, Catherine Marks, and Ethan Gruska possibly places Andy’s slightly vocals too high up in the mix, however, the piano, drums, and post-rock-flavoured guitars are undoubtedly well-recorded and have an undeniable sonic power and impact to them. (Greg Hyde)

Thomas Headon - Georgia

The video for this track features various situations in which Thomas Headon is surrounded by fans, and it’s very easy to see why. With The Jam’s bassline, Stealers Wheel’s acoustic guitar, and lyrics right from the McFly school (“I wouldn’t say that she’s got good taste / She always hates the guy she’s dating”) the cheeky Australian songwriter’s knack of pairing familiarity with relatability – and charm – is always going to be a winner. (Louisa Dixon)

Black Honey – Heavy

Black Honey return with a groove on this third release from upcoming LP ‘A Fistful of Peaches’. ‘Heavy’ offers uplifting choruses with ethereal vocals soaring over the top and an extremely catchy melody to sweeten the deal. The new polished sound of this track gives an insight to the new direction of the band, as they evolve away from their usual trebly, Western-inspired guitars and crunching bass lines. That’s not to say this isn’t chock full of all the charming Black Honey elements that we’ve come to know and love. (Ross Carley)

dEUS - Must Have Been New

Much-loved Belgian rockers dEUS have returned with ‘Must Have Been New’, from a forthcoming eighth album, ‘How to Replace It’. The song’s lush, piano-driven arrangement, complete with choral backing vocals, works well as a counterpoint to returning member Mauro Pawlowski’s chiming, wistful guitars and frontman Tom Barman’s forlorn, regretful-sounding lead vocals. The song’s distinctive, waltzing rhythm was apparently devised by keyboardist Klaas Janzoons and drummer Stéphane Misseghers during recording sessions. If dEUS intended for the track to generate intrigue around ‘How to Replace It’, they have done. (Greg Hyde)

Iggy Pop - Frenzy

At the ripe old age of 75, with a free bus pass nestled in his leather trouser pocket, Iggy Pop is still more pissed off, more volatile, more fired up than most wimps a third of his age. Having spent much of 2019’s ‘Free’ LP indulging in more sedate pleasures, ‘Frenzy’ finds the original godfather of punk back at his visceral best - barking Pixies-style missives over gnarly, grizzled bass c/o Guns n’ Roses’ Duff McKagan. Screw growing old gracefully; legends grow old whilst yelling “I’m in a frenzy, you fucking prick”. (Lisa Wright)


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