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.
We’ve got debut solo single ‘Simmer’ and first taste of forthcoming album ‘Petals for Armor’ from Paramore’s Hayley Williams, a second track from Creeper’s recently-announced second album ‘Sex, Death & The Infinite Void’, the return of Happyness, new Ezra Furman thanks to her ‘Sex Education’ soundtrack release and much more.
For what we have to say on this fortnight’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.
Hayley Williams - Simmer
Given Paramore’s transformation from pop-punk heroes to pop powerhouses over the past decade, and her steady line in recommending artists she’s enjoying, when Hayley Williams announced her impending solo material, the only certainty was that it’d feature her voice. ‘Simmer’, the first taste of debut album ‘Petals For Armor’, sees her taking cues from ‘90s trip-hop, pairing restrained vocals with skittish beats, and using hypnotic guitar loops to echo the bottled-up anger of its message. And not unlike its title (itself cleverly repeated in quick succession come the chorus, as if both mantra to herself and a cry for help), ‘Simmer’ is a perfect slow-burner. (Emma Swann)
Creeper - Annabelle
If you were expecting the next track from Creeper’s new album to be ‘Born Cold’ mk II, well, that was never really going to happen. Displaying their penchant for playful pomp and circumstance, with ‘Annabelle’, the goth-pop six-piece give us a first real taste of the dramatic flare that’s clearly embodied within their next record. Leaning on their more classic rock influences - nabbing a little from Bowie here, a touch of Queen there - it’s an enticing peer inside the world of ‘Sex, Death & The Infinite Void’ and the mysteries that lie within. (Sarah Jamieson)
Happyness - Vegetable
Happyness have come back from the brink. After a three-year hiatus during which which the band re-jigged their line-up and experienced ‘real life’ - Jonny Allan went through a breakup, while Ash Kenazi came out and started to embrace drag - the London band have returned with the jangly, ’90s-style ‘Vegetable’. Described by the band as ‘that vegetative state of post-self destruction when you think you’ve been on top of the world’, it’s bittersweet and uplifting in tandem. There’s a familiar feel to the wry Elliott Smith style of the lyrics, alongside their droll delivery: “Even as the rain gets on my back, I know I’m bound for nothing.” Happyness don’t need to conform, and you don’t, either. (Cady Siregar)
Planet 1999 - Party
Planet 1999 are being angled as ‘the first band to sign to PC Music’, and on last year’s ‘Spell’ they sounded slightly shoegazey, setting themselves apart from the label’s usual caffeinated output. Second single ‘Party’ is a more comfortable fit with their new pals, as it’s built atop a scaffolding of popping beats and major chord melodies. The dreaminess is still intact and works delightfully, making us feel like we’re at the vibrant titular event but shyly hanging over in a corner, observing the frivolity all around, tempted to talk to people - yet equally contented to just soak up the joyous atmosphere all around. (Rob Hakimian)
Mitski - Cop Car
Mitski’s first offering since 2018’s ‘Be The Cowboy’ comes in the form of ‘Cop Car’, a cut of dark ‘90s alt rock taken from the soundtrack to horror movie The Turning. It’s an unnerving yet entrancing listen, beginning with a tense guitar and hi-hat build over which she murmurs “I get mean when I’m nervous like a bad dog,” before ramping into a storm of sludgy guitar and piercing synth drone. A brief respite comes only for her to deliver the track’s chilling final lines: ‘I’ve preemptively blocked all the exits / So I will burn in this movie theatre’. When the instrumental bursts back into life, it’s as if in cruel, haunting celebration. (Mia Hughes)
Ezra Furman - Every Feeling
Having been one of the standout songs from season one of ‘Sex Education’, Ezra Furman’s ‘Every Feeling’ is now destined to soundtrack your life. It’s bare, with super-simple lyrics and mainly acoustic instrumentation, but it cuts deep, circling around the now-iconic line “I wanna feel every feeling in the book tonight,” shunning hurt, hate, sadness and shame along the way. Its simplicity basks in the gut-wrenching desperation of being on the verge of giving up, making it impossible not to share the intense aching and yearning in Ezra’s voice. Caution: may induce tears. (Will Strickson)
Waxahatchee - Fire
‘Fire’, the first single from Waxahatchee’s new album ‘Saint Cloud’, was dreamt up during a long drive across rural America, Katie lost in the intermingling of nature and her thoughts. At the other end of the drive she started writing ‘Fire’, a song for herself about the spiral of shame that follows bad decisions, but observed with the wisdom and compassion of a seasoned and newly-sober songwriter. ‘Fire’ starts with her reliving painful moments, but comes to a place of self-forgiveness that allows her to feel like “a bird in the trees”. With the beautifully clean alt-country production giving ‘Fire’ the necessary grace, we make that journey with her. (Rob Hakimian)
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For all its celebratory tone, tonight feels like the start of something bigger.
It follows their sold-out one-off ‘When The Sun Comes’ show at London’s Roundhouse last week.
The five-day festival also played host to Creeper, Placebo and more on its opening night.
Debut album ‘Degradation, Death, Decay’ will come out next month via Big Scary Monsters.