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. Rihanna finally got a bloody move on, releasing her long-awaited new album ‘ANTI’ and leading the whole thing with ‘Work’. Meanwhile, Katy B is back, and Rostam is wasting no time in cracking on with the solo material following his exit from Vampire Weekend. 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.
Rihanna - Work
The huge irony of returning with ‘Work’ - a track about, quite simply, getting shit done - is surely not lost on Rihanna after a three and a half year gap between records. Far from the club-ready, instantaneous banger that we all expected, ‘Work’ is intentionally lazy, Rihanna drawling elongated “lurkin”s and “workin”s in her brilliantly distinctive Bajan accent, over a stilted, lethargic dancehall beat; every vocal hook drenched in auto-tune, Drake’s guest spot equally meandering. It sounds a little like Rihanna’s 2005 debut album ‘Music of the Sun’ might’ve sounded; had she been more defiantly self-assured, and less arsed about outside pressure. This is neither ‘What’s My Name’ level euphoria, nor the gleeful, deliciously OTT ‘Pour It Up’. ‘Work’ is, simply, hard work to get on board with. Move beyond its repetitive, if infuriatingly memorable, chorus and it gives almost nothing away.
Far from giving any lasting indication of what we should expect next, it proves one point; ‘ANTI’ is an album against all expectations. In a world where we’re well used to perfectly formed pop songs dropping effortlessly into our laps from the well-oiled churning machine of chart-world, ‘Work’ is not the Rihanna track we think we deserve. That’s the point. (El Hunt)
Katy B - Honey (ft. Kaytranada)
The all-star cast for Katy B’s ‘Honey’ project / release / pretty-much-an-album is a who’s who of the electronic names causing a stir. Giants like Major Lazer and Four Tet share space with Hannah Wants and Sasha Keable. There’s even room for the newly-beloved Craig David. It’s all very now. With that in mind, ‘Honey’’s title track takes a surprise turn. Kaytranada is at the production desk, and he sends Katy’s underground roots back a decade or two. This is ‘90s to the core, coming off like something Will Smith would put his name to back in the Fresh Prince days. Smart and undeniably slick, it doesn’t break much new ground, but the rest of ‘Honey’’s tracklist suggests there’s more to come. (Jamie Milton)
Rostam - Wood
Following the news that Rostam Batmanglij, - one of the founding members of our favourite chino-wearing New Yorkers Vampire Weekend - has left the band to focus on other pursuits, this week saw the release of his first solo outing. Ringing with lurching echoing tabla pounds, hurried string flourishes, and sprinklings of sitar, ‘Wood’s palette is a diverse one, plucking from similarly Eastern territory to Batmanglij’s avant-pop side project Discovery. “Sunlight on your back, you’re dreaming..” he lazes, conjuring up whispering grass, shaded cherry trees, and a casual horse cantering across the mountainside for good scenic measure elsewhere. It’s no real surprise or revelation to hear Rostam Batmanglij - ever responsible for Vampire Weekend’s more orchestral moments - heading in this particular direction, but it’s a well-crafted, understated, and intriguing first glimpse all the same. (El Hunt)
LUH - I&I
Poor Ellery Roberts really needs some cough medicine, but a sore throat isn’t stopping the bloke from penning colossal pop songs. Alongside Ebony Hoorn, Roberts’ post Wu Lyf project LUH shares the same spirit as former bandmate Francis Lung. Both pen earnest ballads with epic production notes. The difference in LUH is a subtle electronic pulse, provided here by the Haxan Cloak. Dark, scary and prepared to strain every vocal chord going, it’s a brave introduction. (Jamie Milton)
Wavves - Dreams of Grandeur
Like a bratty and unruly toddler, Wavves’ new track ‘Dreams of Grandeur’ sees the band crash back onto the scene in all their surfy angst glory. Unlike a screeching infant, though, it’s a total ball listening to this on the tube, or at the supermarket, or wherever else your headphones might take you. ‘Dreams of Grandeur’ is a scuzzy lo-fi gem with charged up energy, drawling vocals and a fuzzy distorted outro.
The track features alongside a Best Coast cover of Nirvana’s ‘Dumb’ and is the first release from Ghost Ramp Monthly – Wavves frontman and all-round mastermind Nathan Williams’ subscription service.
‘The situation’s fucked, I’m not someone to run to’ moans Williams as he warns of demons and hints to John Milton’s Satanic epic novel ‘Paradise Lost’. Cheery stuff! It’s the infectious riffs and clattering drums that’ve come to define the rough-around-the-edges Wavves sound, that eventually pick his head up again. On ‘Dreams of Grandeur’ Wavves manage to sound urgent and arresting while still effortlessly maintaining their casual slacker nonchalance. If this Wavves riot is anything to go by, Ghost Ramp Monthly promises to serve up some real treats. Sign us up.(Ashleigh Grady)
Massive Attack - Take It There
Toast of trip-hop Massive Attack have teamed up with Tricky for their new single ‘Take It There’ - making the whole thing more Bristolian than downing a tinny of scrumpy jack on Clifton Suspension Bridge. Residents from beloved Knowles West, to the lofty reaches of Park Street are surely nodding their heads in vehement approval, because working together for approximately the millionth time, Tricky and Massive Attack are on booming, cavernous form. The pianos slam ominously, like they’re being played as a sinister haunted house welcome, while the drums scuff and idle along behind. The verses are unhurried and colliding, the words piling up into yet another percussive force. It’s what they do best. Oddly stagnant, lagging, and eerily looming, it’s good to have this lot back. (El Hunt)