It’s finally the end of the week, and we have a brand spanking new edition of Tracks - our weekly round-up of the biggest and best new tracks around.
There’s Arlo Parks’ spellbinding take on Radiohead’s ‘Creep’, another new track from Fontaines DC’s forthcoming second album, new music from Shamir and more.
For what we have to say on this week’s biggest and most exciting tracks, scroll on! And if you’re itching to check out even more, subscribe to our Essential New Tracks playlist.
Arlo Parks - Creep
It might well be the millstone around its creators’ collective head-carriers, but even the most dedicated ‘Amnesiac’ evangelists must concede that there’s something about ‘Creep’ that’s allowed the song to be so enduring, popular and, well, relevant decades on. Recorded for short film Shy Radicals - a satirical manifesto to overthrow “extrovert supremacy”, Arlo Parks’ take is suitably subdued, making magnificent use of that near-whisper of a vocal and all the emotion it can carry over minimal piano to spine-tingling effect. Sure, it’s something that on this description alone might seem little more than John Lewis advert mush - a classic case of it shouldn’t work, but it really, really does. (Emma Swann)
Fontaines DC - I Don’t Belong
The recently-released title track from hugely-anticipated forthcoming second album ‘A Hero’s Death’ might have rattled in on needling guitars and cries of “Life ain’t always empty,” but don’t go thinking Fontaines DC are the same hopeful young whipper-snappers that dreamt of being ‘Big’ not so long ago. Instead, ‘I Don’t Belong’ shows a bleaker, more battle-worn side to the Dubliners, Grian Chatten’s maudlin vocal laced over guitars that weave together to create a rolling atmospheric wave, lapping gently at the toes of both defiance and despair. It’s easy, given the quintet’s rapid rise, to read into the repeated titular assertions of their latest as a purposeful ‘fuck you’ to the shackles of success; perhaps it is a little too, but ‘I Don’t Belong’ also shows a band resistant to pigeonholing, whose second full length looks set to surprise in more ways than people might have imagined. (Lisa Wright)
Shamir - On My Own
Making his breakthrough in 2015 with top banger ‘On The Regular’ and dance-heavy debut ‘Ratchet’ before making an about-turn to lo-fi indie with subsequent records, by the sounds of ‘On My Own’, Shamir’s forthcoming full-length will combine the best of both. Despite what its title might suggest, this is less lockdown album, more paean to singledom - and it’s a total bop. Marrying his fuzzy, lo-fi guitar sounds with that pop nous of his earlier material, this first track from the record is a gloriously hook-heavy delight. (Emma Swann)
Gorillaz ft Octavian - Friday 13th
Continuing their Song Machine series, Gorillaz shared episode four ‘Friday 13th’ earlier this week. A hazy vibey number, the new track features Octavian, whose smooth vocals glide effortlessly over the dreamy synth beat-heavy backing. Shared alongside a poignant psychedelic visual, the video ends on a powerful quote from American novelist James Baldwin, highlighting the song’s message of finding light amongst the darkness. A mesmerising new cut driven by Octavian’s brilliant flow and sing-song drool, the latest Song Machine episode is a clear indication of why you should keep binge-listening to it. (Elly Watson)
Bully - Where To Start
Between the sharing of demos, unfinished work and home recordings - and also the large gaping hole where live music once stood - there’s felt to be a dearth of riffs during lockdown. Thank fuck for Bully. The first single from Alicia Bognanno’s forthcoming third album, ‘Where To Start’ has all the heady chaos, emotion and, well, noise of her past output - but there’s also a sprinkling of something brighter - the chorus a little more punchy, the message a little more pointed. More of this please. (Emma Swann)
Nancy - Call Me On Your Telephone
Forgive mysterious Brighton eccentric Nancy for the fact that he has shamelessly ripped off Bowie’s ‘Fashion’, for there’s enough technicolour joy and magpie-like energy within ‘Call Me On Your Telephone”s two-and-a-half minutes that you’d suspect Dave himself might let him off with a slap on the wrist and a cheeky wink. A wild romp of squelching riffs, celebratory “woo”s, random bits of French and the general aura of a glam-rock Willy Wonka from decades past, it’s a ludicrous concoction that’s oodles of fun. Just don’t tell the lawyers. (Lisa Wright)