Listen Tracks: Charli XCX and Chris, Sleater-Kinney, Squid and more

All the biggest and best tracks of the week, rounded up and reviewed.

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 Charli XCX and Chris’ massive teaming up on ‘Gone’, newies from buzzier-than-thou types Squid and Working Men’s Club, plus another teaser of Sleater-Kinney’s forthcoming St Vincent-produced album and much 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.

Charli XCX & Chris - Gone

Charli XCX, queen of collaborations, having previously recruited the likes of Troye Sivan, Lizzo and MØ, has teased that upcoming album ‘Charli’ will feature the strongest line-up yet. Calling on the pop prowess of Chris, ‘Gone’ is an irresistible forerunner.

While Charli’s signature trick is often a three-minute trip through hedonism, ‘Gone’ is altogether different. After announcing the track on twitter, she’s said that ‘Gone’ is about “feeling shy and anxious and unstable, and trying to break out and free yourself of those feelings”. (Sophie Walker)

Sleater-Kinney - The Center Won’t Hold

Sleater-Kinney made the papers this month after long-time member Janet Weiss quit unexpectedly. The drummer had been a staple of the band since 1996 - so it seems fitting that the band’s latest single is titled ‘The Center Won’t Hold’.

Fortunately, the track is far from a teary goodbye. Instead, the St. Vincent-produced number sounds like Sleater-Kinney reborn. Opening with a lurching call-and-response clank that Nick Cave would ogle at, the experimental piece eventually erupts with Corin’s wailing vocals piercing through a roar of screeching guitars. (James Bentley)

Squid - The Cleaner

A generation brought up on frenetic dance-punk has grown up and are making their own go of it. But Squid have arguably been the first to carve their own lane with it, capturing mid-20s existential crises in the catchiest fashion.

Latest single ‘The Cleaner’ is a chaotic slice of oddball joy, with its cowbell, spidery guitars and Ollie Judge’s incredible bark that’s somewhere between Luke Jenner and Fred Schneider. Just when you think you had Squid pegged down, ‘The Cleaner’ comes along, clocking in at over 7 minutes, and throws you all over the shop with whiplash-inducing twists and turns. (Chris Taylor)

Ezra Furman - I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend

“I thought it was time we had an ‘Earth Angel’ for the queers,” explains Ezra Furman about latest single and precursor to upcoming album, ‘Twelve Nudes’, ‘I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend’. Fraying at the edges with desperation, his voice raw and emotionally blown-out, the track, he describes simply, is “a romantic song of transgender longing.”

He sings of the internal struggle of “ditching Ezra, and going by Esme”, and in a witty - but nevertheless touchingly emotional - way, “Honey, I know that I don’t have the body you want in a girlfriend / What I am working with is less than ideal / But maybe, baby, it’s not all about what you thought that you wanted / It’s about the way I can make you feel.” (Sophie Walker)

Working Men’s Club - Teeth

There’s certainly something in the water down in the Calder Valley. Between Working Men’s Club and The Orielles, we’ve recently been treated to two young bands living on an eclectic musical diet and.

‘Teeth’ brings Working Men’s Club’s krautrock love to the forefront. Robotic drum machines and gloomy Joy Division-esque guitars drive Sydney Minsky-Sargeant’s Mark E Smith slur higher into the fug. It’s the sound of a dark, sweaty club; eminently danceable but also thrillingly dangerous. (Chris Taylor)

Tags: Charli XCX, Christine and The Queens, Ezra Furman, Sleater-Kinney, Squid, Working Men’s Club, Listen, Features, Tracks

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