Tracks: Daughter, Missy Elliott, & More
The DIY writers pick out the biggest and best songs from the last seven days.
Good noole, dear readers, and a happy Friday to you all. As usual, its been a busy week of new music, and up to their usual antics, artists have been releasing new songs left right and centre. We’ve picked out the biggest and best new songs to emerge this week, and there’s plenty to get stuck into. Missy Elliott is back - on a hoverboard no less - and Daughter continue to set the bar sky-high for their new album. That’s just for starters. In other words, this week has been chocka. For everything else out this week head over to the DIY Listening Hub, or hit play on our Essential Playlist.
Daughter - Numbers
Moving towards their second record ‘Not To Disappear,’ Daughter have made things very clear from the off; they’re more sonically ambitious than ever before.
Elena Tonra’s lyrics have always honed-in on disquieting details - the flickering and unsettling ‘Candle’ or the echoing cavern of ‘Medicine’ from Daughter’s earlier EPs being two such examples. That haunting, honed-in quality is ever-present on ‘Numbers’. Tonra flatly repeats “I feel numb,” before putting that numbness into more specific terms later on; “I wish my mouth would still taste you”.
Daughter might have diversified, packing as much punch with strangely organic swells of electricity as they do with goosebumpy plucked melodies, but crucially, Tonra’s distinct lyrical voice remains in its element. Rich, glimmering, and saturated with exploration, ‘Numbers’ continues to set the bar high. (El Hunt)
Menace Beach - Holidays are Heavy
Menace Beach are masters of the mix-up. Chopping and changing with little regard for that going on around them, their every move is a welcome left-turn in a field of chancers. Suitably then, while everyone gets glittery and merry with festive cheer, the Leeds grunge-poppers are bringing some gloom to the advent calendar.
‘Holidays Are Heavy’, the group’s latest release, is a psyched-out sludge-bomb, dousing its Christmassy sentiments in feedback and gut-wrenching bass. There’s the odd moment of uplift from a far-more-Halloweeny-than-anything synth line, meandering away in the background, but other than that it’s sludgy, psychy pop that defines this lot’s Nöel.
The sentiment’s a bit cheerier, mind. As the band’s frontman Ryan Needham explains, “I love the winter cause I like wearing scarves and chucking snowballs at buses. This song is about the fact that even if you cant buy presents and stuff for people you can always find a way to look out for each other at this time of year where not everyone is having a great time. I also somehow managed to make a chorus that I wanted to sound like Spiritualized, sound like Don Williams, but that’s cool. Heehaw.” (Tom Connick)
Missy Elliott - WTF (Where They From)
Segways have had a bit of a publicity makeover in recent months. Once the preserve of Arrested Development’s distinctly not-cool Gob, people have been riding their darned hoverboards across the country like they’re Marty McFly, and they’ve even been banned on the pavements. With more or less everyone getting in on the new trend for gyroscopic travel, it seems fitting - nay, perfect - that Missy Elliott has chosen to make her return on a neon-lit hoverboard seven years on from her last single. Once again she’s bested everyone by utilising them in breakdance routines, and ‘WTF (Where They From)’ is a single concerned with similar levels of trumping.
“Stickin’ out your tongue girl, but you know you’re too young,” Missy chides three lines in, reminding everyone who wasn’t already aware, that she remains a pioneering trend-maker, rather than a follower. Everybody in pop right now is in some way indebted to Missy, and everything she does - from popping up at the Super Bowl with Katy Perry, to headlining Bestival with no agenda or new material to promote but herself - is a major event. She digs at men approaching her with a “small stack,” because quite frankly, she doesn’t need them. She’s Missy flamin’ Elliott.
After all of the foundations she lays down, then, it’s slightly irritating when Pharrell Williams - whose production hallmarks power the track forward elsewhere - wades straight into ‘WTF..’ as a guest. “I come into this bitch like liquid,” he rants, kicking things off with some wholly unoriginal - and derogatory - rap spiel. That’s followed by a few loose philosophy namechecks, and a token illuminati reference. The whole thing is unnecessary. His usual ‘Blurred Lines’ level lyrical dexterity sits at odds with something otherwise brilliant, and this would perhaps be a stronger return if Williams stuck to production duties. Minus his unneeded interruption, though, ‘WTF (Where They From)’ plants Missy firmly where she belongs, on a hoverboard, and back at the forefront of music. (El Hunt)
Grimes - Kill V. Maim
If there’s one fact Grimes wants people to firmly understand with new album ‘Art Angels’, it’s that she’s more confident and in control than ever. A chopping and changing three years between records have done nothing to stunt her. Nor has inking a Roc Nation management deal, penning singles for gigantic pop stars, or becoming a superstar in her own right. The focus has been on this LP.
At the end of her nightmarish and gory ‘Flesh Without Blood’ video, the credits read: “Written, Directed, Edited, Colored, + Art Directed by GRIMES”. And across her brave, near-baffling but completely fearless new album, she gives timely reminders that this is all her doing. ‘Flesh Without Blood’ itself contains cowboy whip samples, and ‘SCREAM’ even has a sports whistle being blown in the background. Get in line, wait for orders, and listen to what Grimes has to say - that’s the motif of this record.
‘Kill V. Maim’ isn’t the only all-out, fantasy world banger to leap out of ‘Art Angels’, but it’s the most magnifying. Just when the next step doesn’t look like an option, she goes one further. Vocals go from enraged roars to a state of pitch-shifting bananas. It’s an odd state of joy that catches you like a spider’s web.
A zombie disco, crazy cyborg of a pop song, it’s the further depth of Grimes’ imagination to have been exposed to date, and it’s impossible not to follow every move like watching a mad plot unfold. Naturally, the song’s all about Al Pacino’s Goldfather Pt 2 character becoming a gender-switching vampire. “You gave up being good when you declared a state of war,” she chants, and make no mistake - this is Grimes at her most uncompromising, doing battle on her terms. (Jamie Milton)
Our Girl - Sleeper
The origins of Our Girl stem from a single track. Starting out with the intention of recording her own solo work with a trio of mates, Soph Nathan (who’s also one quarter of The Big Moon) wrote a song called ‘Our Girl’, a dreamy snapshot that’s as thought-inducing as it is wistful. With the group developing into a full band over the future months of its own accord, Our Girl grew from the trio’s first recorded work into the all-encompassing name. The transition suitably embodies their own progression. Our Girl have become a darker, more driven prospect.
Throughout, ‘Sleeper’ dwells within a focused, brittle atmosphere, Soph’s controlled and impassioned vocal the only remaining memory of the group’s earlier notions. This is far more dense, the wash of bright haze having morphed into minor distortion. Soph appears as a soothing conscience stuck within a dark mood, affected by anxious conceptions and their overwhelming ability to consume you; “It’s broken me / and I’m not even lonely / things don’t change so quickly / trust myself that they feel me.”
Being an active part in various projects has given Soph Nathan extra scope, and ‘Sleeper’ - intense and encapsulating - is a clearly marked progression. (Ross Jones)
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