Good afternoon, dear readers. With the discarded costume efforts of Halloween fading down the chute of history, and with sparklers rearing their golden fizzy faces ahead of the weekend ahead, all of our favourite bands have been getting in on the festivities.
From the first taster of Formation’s long-awaited debut album, to ace new cuts from The Japanese House, INHEAVEN, and Eat Fast, there’s more going off here than the local fireworks show.
For our verdicts on all of this week’s biggest and most exciting tracks, all you need to do is scroll down. And if you’re itching to check out everything else out this week, step this way for DIY’s Listening Hub, and our Essential Playlist.
INHEAVEN - Treats
In a DIY interview from last year, INHEAVEN spoke about their mission statement in frank detail. “We felt frustrated that there wasn’t a band we could grab on to. Let’s make that band up - the one we’re waiting for, the one we want.” Since then, they’ve gone several steps further in mimicking the look, sound and purpose of a previously-imaginary band they once dreamt up. At its best, new single ‘Treats’ could be a fictional repurposing of INHEAVEN’s rock heroes, nodding to Pixies, Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins in a fuzz-emblazoned headrush. Instead, it’s the latest chapter in their increasingly exciting story, where pipe dreams are becoming a reality.
The song’s led by an enraged and enlivened Chloe Little, who spits about why “we’re suffocating,” how she doesn’t want the world “left like this”. Lyrics roll over each other like limbs tangled together, lamenting on climate change, fear and paranoia. Politically-minded but instantly universal, it’s the sound of INHEAVEN finding their spark after opening a new box of matches. ‘Treats’ is the most grandscoped and purpose-filled they’ve ever sounded. (Jamie Milton)
Abattoir Blues - Fading
There’s a gang mentality to Abattoir Blues and their Brighton cohorts that’s brought to the fore on ‘Fading’. All shared vocals and huge chants, it’s a consistent highlight of their incredible live show - ’Fading’ takes on a new life on record, though.
Their stripped-back, calmed-down new sound finds room to breathe. Where live showings find frontman Harry Waugh furrowing his brow so hard it could rival the Himalayas for peaks and craters, ‘Fading”s recorded guise depicts a subtler display of anger and emotion. It’s the best evidence yet that Abattoir Blues have cut several windows in their blanket fort, and shed some light on that previously all-encompassing darkness. (Tom Connick)
Formation - Powerful People
When London brothers Formation started out, they were followed move-by-move by LCD Soundsystem comparisons. Sure, early material had more than a hint of James Murphy about it, and they were suckers for a cowbell. But as they’ve progressed, it’s become clear they’re simply addicted to huge, all-enveloping grooves; the kind Murphy applies himself to. Every Formation song has the potential to gallop away for hours, but their trick is in how they contain grand-scoped pop into three minutes.
‘Powerful People’ is sharp as a dagger; a groove-led call to arms about the purpose of collectives. It’s no coincidence an accompanying video finds Will and Matt Ritson hanging out with UK Bike Life, wheelie-sporting thrillseekers often derided as “yobs” or “thugs”. ‘Powerful People’ relates to how togetherness and linked forces can help make the world a better place. Formation have always sounded like a band crying out for thousands to follow their every step - this is the closest they’ve come so far to hitting that magic formula. (Jamie Milton)
The Japanese House - Good Side In
When musicians talk about their ‘process’ it can sometimes result in a bit of a snoorefest, to be honest. But you could probably hear Amber Bain talk about it for hours. Every one of her The Japanese House songs sounds like the result of constant tinkering, flashes of inspiration and post-production shifts. Explaining how it all works would be like sharing a top-secret recipe, but ‘Good side in’ gives indication of how it all comes together.
The track shifts with ease from frosty, plucked acoustics to Bain’s multi-layered vocal trademark, then to chopped-and-screwed empty space. Every element is handpicked from a different world, threaded together like it’s no big deal. The same applies to the rest of her ‘Swim Against the Tide’ EP - a huge step-up in every sense - but never has the ‘process’ been so front-and-centre. (Jamie Milton)
Eat Fast - Public Display Of Affection
It didn’t take long for Eat Fast to prove themselves capable of churning out fuzz-drenched bangers. Early singles like ‘Stammer’ and ‘Fenham Dreadlock’ put their pin in the North East’s map, but on ‘Public Display Of Affection’ they prove themselves to be capable of looking far outside their hometown’s grit and glory.
“If you really love me won’t you fuck me like you hate me / Let’s get married in a corner shop” they yelp from amongst their static-shock waves of noise. A unifying ode to modern day non-romance, primed to be shouted from the rafters, it’s another dizzying strike, rooted in the confounding state of British youth. (Tom Connick)
Maggie Rogers - Dog Years
‘Dog Years’, the second track from 22-year-old pop prodigy Maggie Rogers, is perfect at picturing a scene. Through pan-tap percussion and breezy synths, it instantly conveys first loves, shared moments and hours rolling by without a care in the world. Or to be specific, in Rogers’ words, it’s about “a day I skipped class to stay in bed and make frozen pizza with a boy I loved,” which is pretty much as good as life gets, let’s be honest.
Intimacy is expressed at every opportunity, from Rogers’ promise of “if you’ve had a bad week, let me sing you to sleep” to a dreamy, Chromatics-nodding build explored in the synthwork. ‘Dog Years’ sounds both like a shared secret between two people, and the kind of eureka moment capable of soundtracking break-ups for an eternity. (Jamie Milton)
Day Wave - Wasting Time
Since 2015 debut ‘Drag’, very little has shifted in Californian Jackson Phillips’ formula. Bright, breezy songs about seeking escape set the agenda. And although he’s progressed from Beach Fossils-nodding songwriting for a sharper pop edge, latest Day Wave track ‘Wasting Time’ isn’t a step one way or the other.
Perhaps that’s harsh on a newcomer who’s yet to even reveal a full-length. And like fellow Oakland-residing dreamer Hazel English, Phillips has a serious eye for hooks that, within an album, could blossom into something different. But when he sings “I know I’ve done this before,” it’s a timely reminder that he seems to be repeating himself. (Jamie Milton)