It’s that time again! This week has seen Billie Eilish share a couple of newbies while her ‘Happier Than Ever’ world tour continues apace, news of albums from PVA, Skullcrusher and more, and Lucy Dacus take on an iconic pop culture moment. Here’s our round up of the biggest and best new music this week.
Keep your ears updated with what’s new via Essential New Tracks below.
Billie Eilish - TV
An understated, intimate surprise drop from the Glastonbury-headlining icon, ‘TV’ (one of two tracks offered up on a short ‘Guitar Songs’ EP) shows how effective it can be when the timeframe from writing to release is kept short. “The internet’s gone wild watching movie stars on trial / While they’re overturning Roe v Wade” narrates Billie over simple, sparsely-picked acoustic guitars. Released in six months’ time, it could appear too blunt; now, it acts as a direct, timely acknowledgement. Placed amid a stark list of lyrics that feel both personally and socially adrift, capturing the hopeless feeling of retreating from a world too full of complications big and small, it’s an affecting glimpse behind the scenes of music’s most relatable superstar. (Lisa Wright)
Muse - Kill or Be Killed
With their heads carved into stone like a rock Mount Rushmore for its artwork, ‘Kill or Be Killed’ - the latest from forthcoming ninth LP ‘Will of the People’ - finds Muse aiming for as mammoth and grand a statement as that image might conjure up. Of course, everything is dialled up to 11 as is par for the Muse course; Matt Bellamy’s vocals reach operatically up into falsetto, whilst its chorus is like a histrionic rock Les Mis. Replete with the sort of squalling metal guitars and punishing, relentless drums that barely pause for breath, it’s what the trio do best: gleefully massive theatrical overtures that try to distil an Olympic opening ceremony’s worth of pomp into five minutes. (Lisa Wright)
Lucy Dacus - Believe
Many have attempted to cover the Cher classic over the years, from Adam Lambert to DMA’s to Trixie Mattel, but Lucy Dacus stands out. This dream-pop spin on ‘Believe’ puts her vocals front and centre, and it feels as if they’re floating above the clouds. First debuted during her set at Pitchfork Music Festival last week, the singer-songwriter has brought it back for Spotify Singles, and unlike Cher’s original the cover is autotune-free. “I feel like you can tell that the structure of the song is very special”, said Dacus, and her version certainly is. (Adam England)
PVA - Hero Man
After emerging from buzzy South London a handful of years ago, PVA have mastered the art of rugged and rave-ready electronics. Treading into more personal territory, and ramping up the anxiety in the process, new cut “Hero Man” is overflowing with robotic basslines, wobbly synths and vocals that loop like a mechanical mantra. Taken from their newly announced debut album ‘Blush’, and tackling the feeling of being in “a relationship with yourself that is restrictive and closed off,” the new track feels as though it was plucked straight from a hazy dancefloor — and sees the trio more insurgent and more intimate than ever. (Charlotte Marston)
Genesis Owusu - GTFO
Genesis Owusu is totally in control. ‘GTFO’ sees the artist strip it down, jarringly so to begin with – the track begins with a barely-there texture, leaving Genesis’ words to ring out and shine. He’s magnetic, but in a gentle way as he muses “the Lord giveth, I forget the second part”. Reflective honesty characterises the verses, leaving the mantra of “Get the fuck out, get the fuck out” that forms the chorus to feel all the more outwardly powerful, a stunningly assured offering as Owusu moves into his next era. (Ims Taylor)
Phoebe Green - Just A Game
This is probably the most pop we’ve seen Phoebe Green go: ‘Just A Game’ is a real banger. Indeed, she said herself that it’s “probably the most obvious pop song” from her upcoming album, which made her feel “uneasy but excited” – the end result is a Future Nostalgia-era Dua Lipa meets ‘Mothers’-era Swim Deep indie pop bop. “Pull me in push you away / Ask me to stay” she sings before the emphatic refrain of “Takе off my clothes but don’t say my name / Keep your mouth closed, this is just a game”. (Adam England)
Julia Jacklin - Love, Try Not To Let Go
Always treading the line between extreme intimacy and laidback playfulness, Julia Jacklin’s latest offering “Love, Try Not To Let Go” is a track of contrasts. Taken from the singer-songwriter’s forthcoming album ‘Pre Pleasure’, Julia flits between gentle, breezy keys and more jagged drums as she careers towards a calamitous conclusion of cascading instrumentals and gauzy, layered harmonies. Flitting from heart-wrenching to feel-good in a beat, it’s the first track she’s ever written on a piano, yet sees the artist master her craft as uncompromising as ever. (Charlotte Marston)