It’s that time again. By which we mean, time for 2024’s first weekly round-up of new music. This week saw our Hello 2024 series kick off at the Old Blue Last; new albums from The Vaccines, Marika Hackman and Bill-Ryder Jones are mere hours old; Paramore aren’t entirely gone after all; and there is yet more festival news trickling in daily.
To read about our pick of the week’s new releases, read on. To update your senses with even more new music, subscribe to our Essential New Tracks playlist below. And if it’s super new artists you’re after, see this week’s Neu Bulletin, and the Neu Playlist.
Sheer Mag - Moonstruck
That ‘Moonstruck’ has its roots in a disco record and a lyrical motif of the warm glow of a nascent crush goes a long way to describing just how bouncy, cosy and perfectly pop it sounds. There’s still plenty of the ‘70s classic rock sounds that Sheer Mag have so marvellously made their trademark, but here it comes with a pep in its step: the chorus could just as easily make its way into a Harry Styles single, say, while the middle eight would sound right at home in a sitcom theme of yesteryear. It’s a radio-ready bop. (Emma Swann)
Fat Dog - All The Same
Where debut single ‘King of the Slugs’ introduced Fat Dog as twisted sonic adventurers via a seven-minute epic that could largely be filed under ‘completely bonkers’, its follow up shows that the band can pack in just as much ominous hedonism even when operating in narrower confines. Clocking in at less than half the run-time of its predecessor, ‘All The Same’ favours relative brevity over sprawling exploration. But from the gnarly, synthetic, industrial beats that underpin the track to the strangely euphoric crescendo that peaks midway through, Joe Love and co know exactly how to distil a seething sense of energy that feels like being trapped in the pulsing heartbeat of an underground club - somewhere in the middle ground of fun and scary. (Lisa Wright)
The Smile - Friend of a Friend
With all the piano-led sparsity and rapidly building tension that Radiohead have long made their trademark, The Smile's latest glides effortlessly toward a cataclysmic conclusion of screeching strings (which come courtesy of the London Contemporary Orchestra) via jazz drums, always-climbing keys, and vocals that rise and fall like a murmuration of starlings in a bright new dawn sky. Stunning work from some of the brightest musical minds of their generation.
Jamie xx - It’s So Good
Written for Chanel's new COCO CRUSH film, Jamie xx's first release in over a year is a South American-infused house jam. Building on 2022’s euphoric ‘LET’S DO IT AGAIN’ and bouncing ‘KILL DEM’, ‘It’s So Good’ is an intricate and evolving track full of natural samples, steel drum and gritty energy. Tangible elements of 'In Colour' are present, but with the ever developing strength of his solo identity. Do not be surprised if you hear this played out and remixed come the summer. (Matt Brown)
MGMT - Nothing to Declare
On this latest teaser of forthcoming album 'Loss of Life', MGMT lean towards Americana, almost embracing agrarian pastures while echoing the likes of Kevin Morby and Kurt Vile. Still, the duo certainly haven’t fully forgotten their psychedelic side, and despite nods towards more earthly sounds, ‘Nothing To Declare’ still has ripples of their wondrously freaky luminous celestial-space-pop that’s almost akin to an alien crash landing into the prairie grasslands, and then forming a band with the locals. (Brad Sked)
Waxahatchee - Right Back To It
Waxahatchee’s 2020 album 'Saint Cloud' didn’t just mark a sonic departure - from indie-rock to country - but one of mindset too. Where her previous material lingered on topics of toxic relationships, searing regret and rippling anger, 'Saint Cloud' left room for grace, growth and well-earned wisdom. The warm and pleasingly twangy 'Right Back To It' picks up where Katie Crutchfield left off, speaking to the comfort of reigniting a long-lost friendship (“settle in / Like a song with no end”). Backing vocals from Wednesday guitarist MJ Lenderman deepen the sense of communal charm established by Katie's rich voice and evocative imagery. (Tom Williams)
Bombay Bicycle Club ft. Matilda Mann - Fantasneeze
Fresh off the back of last year's 'My Big Day, comes the first from forthcoming Bombay Bicycle Club EP 'Fantasies'. More straightforwardly pop, guest vocalist Matilda Mann’s voice sits gorgeously here alongside that of Jack Steadman. It’s easy to get lost in the luscious harmonies and melodies: far from feeling like leftovers from their previous record, the EP is looking as if it'll be a fine companion piece to it. (Christopher Connor)
Lynks - CPR
Lynks’ first track since announcing their ‘death’ at the start of the year is the aptly-named ‘CPR’, which breathes vibrant life into the eccentric masked genre masher. Dark, sexy and hypnotic, ‘CPR’ continues a rich run of form, with sardonic wit and charm once again in full effect as they take aim here at men with a saviour complex. (Jack Terry)
Future Islands - Say Goodbye
Continuing to build momentum for their seventh LP due later this month, Future Islands share ‘Say Goodbye’ – a markedly poignant look at a relationship on the verge of collapse. Tinged with melancholy, the song sees Samuel T. Herring’s crooning vocals float above a sea of electronic instrumentation. “I just need to make this world seem right / You just sleep tight, ‘til I’m on your side”, he utters, as swirling synths and pulsating tones culminate. The Baltimore band may be almost two decades on, but they’re still finding innovative ways of immersing listeners into their glistening sonic world. (Emily Savage)
Bodega - Tarkovski
It's business as usual for BODEGA on 'Tarkovski', the track a searing groove-laden post-punk monster that serpetines into fuzzed out indie-rock: a pit-ready tinnie-spiller for the summer's sun-cooked festival fields. BODEGA have a reputation for bringing out the fun times, and here the New Yorkers are at their maniacal caustic best. (Brad Sked)