Features Tracks: Katy Perry, Parquet Courts, Yuck, And More

DIY writers pick their favourite tracks of the last seven days.

This week has been quite eventful, hasn't it? There's been a tense head-to-head clash between two of the biggest pop stars in the world right now, and that's only the main attraction. All manner of bands have released music all at once, and it's hard to know where to start. This week has been a bit like an exclusive nightclub, a rush hour tube, or a place at Nine Inch Nails' super intimate gig. Everyone who is anyone has been trying to cram a new release into the past 7 days.

It could all be a bit much, but luckily, the DIY writers are the finest gold-sifters in town. Picking through the sheer sensory overload, here's the finest selection of the whole lot, all delivered piping hot with words, videos, the works. Enjoy!

Katy Perry - Roar

The secret to great pop is something that has been sought for more than 50 years by all manner of weird and wonderful musical icons. Really though, it’s incredibly simple. All you need is some reliably daft, slightly clichéd lyrics, a running time of no more than three and a half minutes and, most importantly, a ruddy great big key change. Katy Perry knows the secret to an unequivocally amazing song and her ‘Roar’ is like a red rag to a bull for anyone seeking near pop perfection. The song is full of life affirming clichés and is carried by Perry’s strangely endearing bellow - but it's incredibly joyous at the same time. If you’re still unconvinced, the hairs on the back of your neck standing up at that glorious key change should do the trick. (Martyn Young)

Yuck - Middle Sea

Yuck are back to their scuzziest, fuzziest and loveliest best. After flirting with shoegaze on ‘Rebirth’ they have dumped that trait on their new single ‘Middle Sea’ in favour for their old love affair – 90’s alt rock riffing. It is hooktastic as the layers of sugary fuzz are rampant, whilst there is also the surprise factor of that spectacular trumpet section, but best of all is Max Bloom’s vocal that sit above everything else effortlessly. Originally, Daniel Blumberg leaving the band may have been a voice of concern, but freeing Bloom up as the main songwriter and frontman seems to be a blessing in disguise, as he is steering them into new and very exciting territory. (Samuel Cornforth)

Kim Deal- Are You Mine

There's always room in the world for another slightly angsty anthem to soundtrack lonesome duvet-snuggling and heartache, and it doesn't come more bittersweet than Kim Deal's latest solo outing. With a tambourine lifted straight from 'Pale Blue Eyes' and gently picked guitar chords, this does have more than a smidgen of Velvet Underground about it, but no complaints. 'Are you mine/ are you my baby?' lulls Deal softly, with yearning harmonies and a painfully stripped-back exposure. If Kim Deal continues to put out solo stuff this irresistible, I might just get over her break-up with Pixies. (El Hunt)

Wolf Alice - She

It's no secret: Wolf Alice have been wowing punters and critics across the country for the past 12 months. Previous singles ‘Fluffy’ and ‘Bros’ showcased a knack for gritty, bad-tempered pop-punk. 'She' continues the trend. By far the heaviest track in the group's locker, the song revolves around a rolling, distorted bass riff. As soon as Ellie Rowsell’s sweet vocals enter, we’re also introduced with a counter guitar riff, reminiscent of something found on a Public Image Ltd record. Wolf Alice are going big here, pulling no punches in the process. They've put every redeeming element, every brief moment of angst, into making an impact on ‘She’. It hits hard - vaguely reminiscent of early PJ Harvey in places - and it'll leave you feeling a little whole lot emptier once it finishes. It's all in a triumphant screech, entering three minutes in, piercing the foreground. In turn, it leaves room for Wolf Alice to step forwards as one of the country's brightest prospects. (Michael-James Dent)

Parquet Courts - You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now

Who called Parquet Courts slackers? Earlier this year the fantastic ‘Light Up Gold’ got an official release, and they're already back with new material. ‘You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now’ follows on perfectly from its predecessor, its core showing off the same ramshackle punk that was so exhilarating on the debut. After a few months of discontentment at some of the more repetitive aspects of the industry that accompanied success (interviews especially), it seemed Parquet Courts might disappear back into obscurity with a challenging and confrontational follow-up to their breakthrough release. Thankfully they haven’t - this new offering is every bit as good as fans had hoped for. (Samuel Cornforth)

CURB - How Are You Now?

It's almost as if lead singer Tom O'Ryan is biting his tongue as he sings the line 'I wanna waste your time, like you wasted mine', holding back on really letting rip on whoever has wasted this man's precious minutes. The guitars are far from restrained as they switch from Pixies-esque noodles to full on distorted chunks of chords. Despite the overall alt-rock vibe, the band doesn't forget to throw in the catchy elements that make this song a real grower. This is a most excellent first offering from this emerging band. (Jack Parker)

Bill Callahan - Expanding Dub

‘Expanding Dub’ is something of a departure for esteemed US folk artist Bill Callahan. The track is a dub reworking of ‘Javelin Unlanding’, a song from his forthcoming ‘Dream River’ LP. While the deep and doom laden dub echoes are a new feature in Callahan’s music they perfectly complement his dark and mysterious lyrics. His famed sonorous baritone delivers just lines referencing ‘worldwide armageddon’ like the narrator of a particularly unsettling western horror. Combined with his echoing voice the swirl of panpipes and a marching beat combine to make a track that is wonderfully dark and richly alluring. It exists in its own portentous dream state. It’s an intriguing way to trail a new EP from an endlessly fascinating and compelling musician. (Martyn Young)

Crystal Stilts - Future Folklore

Crystal Stilts have gone all boogie woogie on us. Well, not exactly, but the jangly guitar work and frantic pace of ‘Future Folklore’ is a refreshing twist from their monotonous post-punk that still manages to infest Brad Hargett’s deadpan delivery. Clocking in at a mere two minutes, this foot stomping gem is over as quickly as it begins. Bu, boy does it show Crystal Stilts in a confident mood - just imagine the band all dressed up pouting in the mirror, before hitting the roller disco and strutting their away across it. ‘Nature Noir’ is shaping up to be very interesting indeed. (Samuel Cornforth)

Get your copy of the latest issue

Records & Merch

More like this