It’s been a big week for music in more ways than one; fresh off the back of the Grammys last weekend, awards season continues as we head straight into to the annual glitz of the BRIT Awards tomorrow. That’s not all, though! It’s also been a stellar week for new music, with returns coming thick and fast from the likes of Squid, Jessie Ware and BENEE, who’ve all served up first tastes of their newest projects.
Elsewhere in this week’s Tracks, we celebrate the hottest collab on the block - PinkPantheress and Ice Spice, to be specific - and shine a light on new bangers from the likes of Dream Wife, slowthai and more.
To update your eyes and ears with what’s new, see Essential New Tracks below. For our pick of the week’s pops, read on.
Squid - Swing (In A Dream)
The first preview of upcoming second album ‘O Monolith’, ‘Swing (In A Dream)’ sees Squid return rejuvenated. Tense and claustrophobic, the track was inspired by a dream had by the band’s frontman Ollie Judge, which featured Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s painting The Swing. A daunting, anxious retelling of the occasion while also expressing nodding to the climate crisis, ‘Swing (In A Dream)’ remains true to Squid’s essence while also presenting a darker and domineering sound. (Katie Macbeth)
Dream Wife - Hot (Don’t Date A Musician)
If there’s ever a time to shout along with tongue firmly entrenched in cheek, then it’s when the world’s collapsing in front of our very (exhausted) eyes. With timing as impeccable as their tempo, the second cut from Dream Wife’s forthcoming third album ‘Social Lubrication’ is packed full of wit, mayhem, and some super-sensible advice. “Don’t date a musician,” repeats Rakel Mjöll in the song’s joyously immediate chorus, before flipping what one might expect her reasoning to be on its head. “They’ll think you’re competition.” And in a smart lyrical twist on the biblical concept of ‘physician, heal thyself’, it’s not just us listening she’s aiming the mantra at: “So I think I’ll be celibate for a few months or days / And then a damn guitar pick flicks my way.” Watch out for those bartenders, though. (Emma Swann)
PinkPantheress ft. Ice Spice – Boy’s A Liar Pt. 2
A collaboration you didn’t know you needed - yet one that makes so much sense - has arrived in the form of ‘Boys A Liar Pt.2’; a joining of forces between PinkPantheress and current it-girl, Ice Spice. Produced by PinkPantheress herself alongside Mura Masa, the track calls out an unfaithful man who keeps leading girls on, while sonically transporting listeners back in time to the 2000s. Feeling more like a conversation between two best friends with different opinions on dating, Ice Spice’s casual, confident rhymes mould with ease around to the hypnotic vocals of PinkPantheress. (Katie Macbeth)
Jessie Ware - Pearls
Everybody say thank you to Jessie Ware; the present day queen of the disco is back, and with new track ‘Pearls’, is flexing a shimmering new muscle on the dancefloor. “Let me go! / Let me dance!” she demands, and dance she will. With her vocals at her silkiest, ‘Pearls’ is a glamorous, disco-pop endeavour, enveloping and all-encompassing in its insistence that one gets lost in its buoyant keys and promise of release. (Neive McCarthy)
slowthai - Feel Good
Introduced as the album set to put his indie-punk credentials front and centre, ‘UGLY’’s latest cut ‘Feel Good’ is ripped straight from the pages of Gorillaz’ infectious handbook (and not just because it’s only missing an ‘Inc’ to join it). Purposefully, ironically jaunty and hung around a ludicrous earworm of a hook, its author might not be in as high spirits as a surface-level listen might suggest, but with a little help from Shygirl on whispery backing vocals and a central guitar riff made for mosh pits, slowthai’s unlikely to be down in the dumps for long. (Lisa Wright)
Gilla Band – Sports Day
Previously only available with physical copies of the band’s 2022 album ‘Most Normal’, ‘Sports Day’ is, in essence, the B-side to single ‘Eight Fivers’. Written about announcing embarrassing facts down a distorted microphone, the track is propelled by a slowed-yet-heavy drumbeat that partners with a wailing guitar. It starts slow, to make way for Gilla Band’s signature sound, merging experimentation with genre-defying chaos. (Katie Macbeth)
Bakar - Good News
Almost a year on from the release of ‘Nobody’s Home’, Bakar has returned with the gorgeous ‘Good News’. He’s always been at his best when there’s an edge of longing in his voice: desperate confessions of love, yearning and adoration see him transform into a powerful poet. On ‘Good News’, he embodies those traits: to steadying kick drums and muted beats, he expresses that romanticism that has always nestled quietly in his lyrics and crafts the perfect pre-Valentine’s soother. (Neive McCarthy)
BENEE - Green Honda
There’s a million songs out in the world about finding The One, but where are the bangers about the realisation that you’ve dodged a bullet? Luckily, New Zealand’s BENEE has got you covered. ‘Green Honda’ is a thumping “dump him” anthem, all about knowing that sometimes you’re better off alone. “That was a waste of fucking time, you were a waste of fucking time,” she sings in the infectious and empowering track. If you need an anti-Valentines Day banger, look no further. (Elly Watson)