Round-Up Tracks: Wolf Alice, Death Cab For Cutie & More

DIY writers pick out their favourite new songs from the last seven days.

This week started life as a fairly regular affair. Things quickly escalated, though, given a helping hand by Madonna being yanked forcibly down a flight of stairs due to a faulty cape fastening. She might’ve come under a lot of fire lately, but by getting up and carrying on without even a hobble, Madge proved she’s still got ‘it’; whatever ‘it’ is. Music surprised us all, too. Wolf Alice have finally announced their debut album, leading it with the ginourmously fruity ‘Giant Peach’. Warpaint have been jamming, and there’s not one, but two tracks from bands with honey in the name. Scroll down to read about all of the DIY writers’ picks this week, and for everything else out recently, check out the DIY Listening Hub. There’s also our essential playlist for all you Spotify-ers to whack on at your house party/picnic of choice this weekend.

Wolf Alice - Giant Peach

Lots of songs have riffs in them, sure, but there’s a certain rare breed that seems to just oooooze riffing. It’s unmistakable when you hear it; the sort of song where every single melody line whacks you across the chops with a firm thwack and grows into something somehow larger and even more dangerous. Black Sabbath wrote a few of them on ‘Paranoid’; Led Zepplin had their moments as well. With ‘Giant Peach’ it’s a big old welcome to the club for Wolf Alice.

‘Giant Peach’ might not come with James chucked in for free, but it does arrive with the announcement of Wolf Alice’s long-awaited debut album ‘My Love Is Cool’ instead. What a door slammingly meaningful entrance it is too. Noodling and crashing, soaring over glammy synthesisers, and descending into fuzzed out barrages of noise at every turn, ‘Giant Peach’ is a lesson in rock star sleight-of-hand, and a far more contemptuous and snarling fare than Wolf Alice’s earlier EP releases. (El Hunt)

Death Cab For Cutie - No Room in Frame

There was always going to be a slight weight of expectation on Ben Gibbard to address his failed marriage on the new Death Cab for Cutie record - especially given that he dedicated plenty of ‘Codes and Keys’ to just how well it was going. He gets it over with nice and early on ‘Kintsugi’. The album’s opening hat-trick - ‘No Room in Frame’, ‘Black Sun’ and ‘The Ghosts of Beverly Drive’ - all deal with his ill-fated time living in Los Angeles, but it’s this track that confronts his divorce from Zooey Deschanel most specifically; “was I in your way / when the cameras turned to face you?”

Death Cab demonstrated both sonic and thematic maturity on the criminally-underrated ‘Codes..’ and they’ve carried it into this song with real verve; the lyrics ring with sad resignation, rather than anger or despair, and Chris Walla’s nuanced approach to the guitar continues, too - the track feels sparse, minimalist, with a signature Walla arpeggio in the middle-eight marking the first time he really veers away from deliberate restraint. ‘No Room in Frame’ isn’t wholly representative of the sound of ‘Kintsugi’ - it’s hugely varied - but it does speak to the way that Death Cab have been making their music since ‘Narrow Stairs’: precision is the name of the game. (Joe Goggins)

Warpaint - No Way Out (Redux)

Keen-eared Warpaint gig-goers might recognise ‘No Way Out (Redux)’ - it has already become a staple of the band’s live show. A murky, meandering jam dragged out of the depths of a muddy, lethargic swamp, stamping bass drums urge Warpaint’s beast forward, while fidgeting snares claw and grab at each plodding progression. Unhinged tension dominates, and it’s never clear where where Warpaint are going to take the jam next. It’s a trademark flourish that the band perfected last year on their self-titled second album.

Remember those Windows 98 screensavers that went continually took you around low-resolution brick mazes, turning dizzying new corners, spinning round in dead ends, and never getting to the middle? That’s the kind of pace that Warpaint capture on ‘No Way Out (Redux)’, their own centreless maze. Journeying from flat-to-the-floor ‘Blue Monday’ type rhythms, to intergalactic synth-hazes and frank admissions - “I thought I was done with you, I thought I was strong, I guess I was wrong” - this first release from “a series of new songs being released this year,” shows Warpaint at their most experimental and assured. (El Hunt)

Honeyblood - No Big Deal

Honeyblood’s tremendous debut was something noisy. Although not quite reaching the ear-splitting volume of their pre-LP releases, their self-titled album was at times, a furious, fast, jangly onslaught, in the best possible way, with big bastard choruses and sing-along melodies dotted across a scratchy, acerbic sound.

So it’s a bit of a surprise then, that their new track ‘No Big Deal’ takes more from the school of Pavement and Sleater-Kinney. A totally new guitar sound - a more trebley, reverby prospect - glistens on a melody that snakes into a far more unorthodox chord pattern than the Glasgow-based duo have previously utilised.

With a lyric that’s unerringly laconic, Stina Tweeddale showcases a vocal that’s slower and more transparent in feeling. “Can we slumber together” is sung in earnest, yet the writing - and the song title - displays total apathy. It’s an interesting contradiction, and Tweeddale seems to be growing as a songwriter, making the prospect of album two all the more alluring. This is a band that’s dealt with the stress of changing a vital component (new drummer Cat Myers makes an appearance here) and yet Honeyblood continue to be prolific, matching quantity with quality. (Euan L. Davidson)

Black Honey - Madonna

Madonna didn’t quite pull the whole ‘not falling off stage’ thing off at The Brit Awards, and while the new single from Black Honey shares a name with the cape-troubled artist, it runs with the sort of excited defiance that takes stairs two at a time. “I say a prayer for you because the whole world’s going to know what you do,” warn Black Honey, all bubbling vitriol and playful menace. It’s a threat that’s maintained, from the refrained snap of the opening until the sideways drawl of the vocal allure.

The uptempo surf breaks on the band’s devil may care attitude, making ‘Madonna’ a choppy, charming affair. With a nod to the late nineties and full access to the diary under their pillow, Black Honey have crafted a brazen, beautiful work of art held up by Blu-Tack. “You want Madonna to hang on your wall,” they accuse, but with a song as ragingly infectious as this, it’s a Black Honey poster you’ll be after in no time. (Ali Shutler)

Will Butler - You Must Be Kidding

For the past few days, Will Butler’s been asked to write songs on the spot about news headlines. He’s probably had some leeway and an opportunity to plan ahead, but for the most part he’s been penning instant responses, like an extensive set of reactionary tweets, only way more respectful. Best of the bunch is ‘You Must Be Kidding’, a simple-as-it-gets example of how Butler can bluster and beam his way into golden territory, sometimes out of sheer gusto. Part of the song stems from Butler’s first experience in Sao Paulo, during Arcade Fire’s ‘Funeral’ tour, where he began to witness the city’s water crisis first hand. It’s no coincidence that ‘You Must Be Kidding’ carries the same unhinged spirit as his band’s debut, coupled with the don’t-give-a-fuck mentality that makes his forthcoming ‘Policy’ debut so special. (Jamie Milton)

Tags: Wolf Alice, Listen, Features

Read More

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Stay Updated!

Get the best of DIY to your inbox each week.

Latest Issue

July/August 2024

With Fontaines DC, Kneecap, BERWYN, Wunderhorse and many more.

Read Now Buy Now Subscribe to DIY