Tracks: Tame Impala, Mark Ronson, Kevin Abstract & more
All the biggest and best tracks of the week, rounded up and reviewed.
It’s Friday, and we have a brand spanking new edition of Tracks - our weekly round-up of the biggest and best new tracks around - for you!
Leading the way this week are Tame Impala, who return with ‘Borderline’, their insanely catchy disco bop and second preview of an upcoming new album. They’re joined in this week’s round-up by Mark Ronson, who teams up with Lykke Li on new track ‘Late Night Feelings’ from an upcoming album of the same name.
With reviews of new ones from Kevin Abstract, Mattiel, Amyl & The Sniffers and more also involved, it’s a bumper edition.
For our verdicts on all of this week’s biggest and most exciting tracks, all you need to do is scroll down. And if you’re itching to check out everything else out this week, step this way for DIY’s Listening Hub, and our Essential Playlist.
Tame Impala - Borderline
When Tame Impala returned to SNL to play new song ‘Borderline’ last week, it made a certain but soft impression. A disco bop with few rough edges, it was a pleasant if largely unremarkable return. On record, though, the track comes to life. It’s still a swaying, unobtrusive thing, but Kevin Parker’s vocals shine through gorgeously when aided by its glossy studio production, and packs plenty more punch than its live premiere.
Often merely a textural addition to the smorgasbord of sounds on a Tame Impala song, Kevin’s vocals take the reigns on ‘Borderline’, providing all its hooks and personality. When the track folds out into a latter section, his vocals are full of contemplation, positivity and charm.
“Will I be known and loved? / LA really messed me up” he states over an effortlessly catchy, rhythmic vocal melody, before settling upon some kind of resolution at its end: “Shout out to what is done / RI.P, here comes the sun”. It’s the gorgeous, life-affirming sound of enlightenment. (Will Richards)
Mark Ronson ft Lykke Li - Late Night Feelings
If the massive, Miley-featuring ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’ set a fairly ridiculous bar for Mark Ronson’s next project, then ‘Late Night Feelings’ – the title track from his forthcoming, imminent album – doesn’t so much try to match it as go off in a totally different direction. It’s one that feels a little more true to the super producer’s established sonic palette than the former track’s big, emotive country balladry; here, bolstered by Lykke Li’s sad-eyed coo, low slung basslines and a vague disco shoulder shimmy are the order of the day. It’s got more than a dash of Nile Rodgers funk, but brought up to date with the singer’s bewitching, singular vocal. The fact that she is, presumably, crooning a very classy booty call only adds to the vague flutter of mysterious nighttime drama about it all.
Having penned some of the biggest smashes of the last decade, ‘Late Night Feelings’ isn’t going to be ol’ Ronny’s big time moneymaker single, but it’s an enticing, solid reminder that, away from ‘Uptown Funk’ and his more high profile hits, the musician can pen subtle, slick bops just as well. (Lisa Wright)
Kevin Abstract - Joy Ride
A lot has happened since the release of Kevin Abstract’s last solo material, 2016 album ‘American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story’ - you know, the breakout of his band Brockhampton to being one of the buzziest concerns on the planet, no big deal - but on his return with three-track EP ‘ARIZONA baby’, he sounds no less youthful or exuberant.
Highlight ‘Joy Ride’ features, as with the whole EP, surprise production from Jack Antonoff alongside Brockhampton’s premier desk wizard Romil Hemnani. Punctuated with horns and a playful, skipping drum beat, ‘Joy Ride’ is the sound of the rapper breezing his way into a new era. Where last year’s Brockhampton LP ‘iridescence’ was dense and feared drowning in emotion and intensity, ‘Joy Ride’ drives away without a care, a lot of emotional weight lifted and a lot of fun to be had. Get in the car. (Will Richards)
Mattiel - Keep The Change
Twinkling into life with a plinking hook reminiscent of ‘Hong Kong Garden”s xylophone calling card, ‘Keep The Change’ – the first cut from Mattiel’s forthcoming second effort ‘Satis Factory’ – reannounces the Atlanta singer with a newfound sense of buoyant fun. On her self-titled 2018 debut, nostalgia and the kind of bluesy, rootsy guitar kicks that Jack White would – and did – lap up were the order of the day; here, her influences are still rooted in the same sepia-tinged era, but it feels lighter, more playful. There’s hand claps a-plenty, a video of the singer dancing merrily around an abandoned warehouse and a sense that, while Mattiel is still a talent the musos will lap up, she’s also got a bit more of a twinkle in her eye than you might have guessed before. More than satisfactory, then. (Lisa Wright)
Pottery - The Craft
Montreal five-piece Pottery, newly signed to Partisan Records, were a blistering highlight of this year’s SXSW, and one of DIY’s top picks from our week out in Texas. “The quintet are impossibly tight,” we wrote after the set, “cribbing from bits of Television and Talking Heads but updating them with sharp, slick, modern twists; their patronage from recent tourmates Parquet Courts, essentially, makes a great deal of sense.
All these teachings feed into brilliant new single ‘The Craft’. The latest preview of a debut EP, the track has a brilliantly rustic, retro feel to it. Vocalist Austin Boylan’s voice veers from spiky and vicious to droney chanting without warning, a flexible and intriguing frontman of a band just as exciting. (Will Richards)
Bleached - Shitty Ballet
If you’re used to the Bleached of yore - with their affinity for loud, scuzzed-up punk - ‘Shitty Ballet’ may come as somewhat of a surprise. An intricate, stripped back affair predominantly played on soft but scratchy acoustic guitar, it’s a more lilting effort than the likes of ‘Can You Deal’. Still wonderfully sugar-coated, it shows off the lesser explored side to their talents but it’s in the track’s last few moments - which explode into frenzied life as the full band take things over - that the band we know and love triumphantly re-emerge. (Sarah Jamieson)
Amyl & The Sniffers - Got You
With the band calling ‘Got You’ “one of the “sweetest” songs on the album”, you could be forgiven for conjuring up images of sickening displays of affection. Luckily, this is Amyl & The Sniffers we’re talking about here, and even by the own definition - they also claim the track is “less punky” - their latest offering would still rip most songs a new one. A propulsive, rhythmic offering, it’s tailor-made for chant-a-longs and, with its witty declarations and interpretation of romance, it gives a whole new meaning to the art of the love song. (Sarah Jamieson)
The Raconteurs - Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)
Jack White is well known for popping a cover or two on his various outlets’ output, right from Son House and Dylan tracks featuring on The White Stripes’ debut. And, just as any other he’s put his name to, this take on a Donovan 1965 B-side couldn’t be by anyone else. In fact, it’s only when the cacophonous noise kicks in towards the end of the track with mouth organs, strings and whatever else they could find that it’s evident which of Jack’s projects it is. Pun unintended, there’s nothing new to glean from this, but that isn’t stopping us getting excited for what’s to come any time soon. (Emma Swann)
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