Listen Tracks: Tame Impala, Florence + The Machine, Angel Olsen and more

The biggest and best of this week’s new music.

If we’d asked most of you, dear readers, to place your bets on which No Doubt track Florence would be turning her vocal cords to, it probably wouldn’t have been ‘Just A Girl’ the majority chose. But that’s what our Flo has done for a forthcoming TV show. It’s a slightly bigger screen that’s got Tame Impala unleashing their new one, ‘Wings of Time’ has been written for the soundtrack to an upcoming Dungeons & Dragons film. There are some new songs from purely audio releases too, as Angel Olsen previews her new EP, The Xcerts team up with BFF Sam Carter from Architects, Christine and the Queens announce a new record, and much more.

To update ears and eyes with everything worth hearing, see Essential New Tracks below. For what we’ve got to say on the pick of this week’s pops, read on…

Tame Impala - Wings of Time

If we’re totally honest, it doesn’t take that much imagination to create a mental image of Kevin Parker donning full ‘70s maximalist prog regalia. So that being recruited to write a track for the soundtrack to the new Dungeons & Dragons movie allowed him to “indulge in [his] long time love of fantasy prog rock” got Tame Impala taking it back in a different style to usual - urgent, lolloping drums echoing a horse’s gallop; guitars that threaten to navel gaze any minute - is something that ends up making complete sense. There’s a delightful tongue in cheek nature to it all, too, Kevin and songwriting partner Nicholas Allbrook acutely aware of their own ridiculousness. (Bella Martin)

Florence + The Machine - Just A Girl

Helping to mark the return of thriller TV show Yellowjackets, it feels rather apt that Florence + the Machine would take on a cult classic like No Doubt’s ’90s smash ‘Just A Girl’. And what a transformation it is; gone is the bratty bubblegum pop of the original, and in its place, comes a more bewitching - and slightly creepy - rendition. Unsurprisingly, Florence Welch is as commanding as ever, giving the track an altogether dark edge. (Sarah Jamieson)

Angel Olsen - Nothing’s Free

Tinged with melancholy, and her vocals barely there, Angel Olsen’s latest is - to be blunt - utterly heartbreaking. The addition of a moody saxophone and warmth of an organ keeps ‘Nothing’s Free’ from being a pit of misery, mind, the former complementing Angel’s well-flexed jazz-influenced vocals, the latter comfort. Lyrically, things might not quite be as the song’s protagonist wished (“Here it comes / No way to stop it now / I’m broken”), but there’s a light in there, somewhere. (Louisa Dixon)

Christine and the Queens - To be honest

Even without the knowledge that ‘To be honest’ is the first taste of a twenty-track opus that he himself has described as “an operatic gesture,” Christine and the Queens’ latest feels like a dramatic opening salvo. Musically, the song builds to an anticlimax; the lack of payoff demanding more. It’s at once familiar - the beginning dripping with well-worn chord changes and rhythm, plus the repetition of the title - and on edge - Chris’ accent and fluctuating emphasis offering a contradiction to the musical safety. But there’s also a brightness to it: whatever the sonic build is aiming for, it’s a positive. (Louisa Dixon)

The Xcerts - Ache

Fresh from releasing their vibrantly chaotic ‘GIMME’ earlier this year, The Xcerts’ latest offering is another lesson in alt-pop brilliance. Teaming up with Architects’ vocalist - and longtime friend of the band - Sam Carter, ‘Ache’ arrives as a kind of scuzzed-up but euphoric reminder to look out for the glimmers of hope (“I’m picking flowers in the churchyard / I’m seeing beauty in the darkness waving”) in the darker moments of life. Defiant in its message, and still deliciously catchy, this one will be stuck in your head for a while yet. (Sarah Jamieson)

Baby Dave - Sounds Good

You can practically picture the gleeful face of Baby Dave - aka Isaac Holman of Soft Play (fka Slaves) - upon receiving the series of bonkers voice notes from a doberman trainer that make up the framework of this, his first new track since last year’s debut LP ‘Monkey Brain’. On that album, Holman honed the art of purposefully rudimentary songwriting; simple, lo-fi production holding up funny, deadpan observations on the strange nuances of life. ‘Sounds Good’ takes it one meta step further, Holman responding to and debating the merits of his voice noter’s suggestions in real time. It’s surreal, hilarious, and a small stroke of genius. (Lisa Wright)

Róisín Murphy - Coocool

Continuing her run as queen of leftfield disco, ‘CooCool’ sees Róisín Murphy return with what’s both a soul-tinged number that oozes retro warmth (think matching polyester suits and synchronised dancing on old Top of the Pops footage) while using language to stay coy: cooing? a stuttering cool? repetitive? or just cuckoo? Quite possibly all of the above - and majestically so. (Bella Martin)

Berwyn - Bulletproof

Going some way to prove that sentiment can be lost in bluster, the gorgeously simple ‘Bulletproof’ showcases BERWYN’s ability to place his vulnerabilities front and centre. “If you need me to / I would die for you,” his message repeats, directed to his nearest and dearest, the accompanying visuals a collage of family photos through the years, delivered atop an unfussy acoustic guitar-led melody, the light backdrop underlining the artist’s sincerity. Even the most frozen of heartstrings will be tugged. (Louisa Dixon)

Miya Folick - Mommy

Don’t let the early looping guitars of ‘Mommy’ fool; Miya Folick’s latest is deceptively cutting; by the time the swirling sonics have accompanied enough direct, emotionally-charged lyrics, the repetition leans towards darkness. There’s an emotional tension in the contrast between Miya’s mother’s story (“I ask her what her parents were like / She says that she doesn’t know”) and her own (“If someone asked me to describe her, I’d recall everything”) - the singer has anecdotal evidence; the first time she delivered the line “Mommy gave me jars of orange blossom honey,” came on an evening where she’d brought a jar of the sticky stuff for Miya’s throat. (Bella Martin)

Baxter Dury - Aylesbury Boy

Very few people, you suspect, get as much pleasure out of language as Baxter Dury. It’s not just in the actual words he chooses - strange, singular descriptions of “potato faced ancestors” and “Burger King trousers” that smash ideas together to paint entire warped worlds - but in the playful ways his particularly London twang wraps around them too. It is worth listening to ‘Aylesbury Boy’, the hip hop-tinged first cut from forthcoming LP ‘I Thought I Was Better Than You’, purely to hear him pronounce the word “Kensington”. When the slippery characters that populate the scene go “yah”, you can picture them immediately. Seven albums in and Baxter still sticks out like the most delightful sore thumb. (Lisa Wright)

Tags: Tame Impala, Listen, Features, Tracks

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