Round-up Tracks: Wolf Alice, The Maccabees & More

The DIY writers pick out the biggest and best new songs from the last seven days.

Good noole, dear readers, and a happy Friday to you all. As usual DIY’s scribes have put their heads together, had a squabble, had a tiff, and picked out the biggest and best new songs to emerge this week. Wolf Alice have unleashed another monumentally massive single from their fast-approaching debut album ‘My Love Is Cool’ on the world, The Weeknd is back with his craziest song yet, and that’s just for starters. For everything else out this week head over to the DIY Listening Hub, or hit play on our Essential Playlist.

Wolf Alice - You’re A Germ

“We’re here to fight,” announces Ellie Rowsell in a dark storm within Wolf Alice’s debut album ‘My Love Is Cool’. It’s around this point that a statement of intent evolves into something bigger, dwarfing all expectations. Wolf Alice aren’t just here for a punch-up - they’re here to take over.

‘You’re a Germ’ has been a fire-starting staple of the band’s live sets for the past year, switching flailing limbs into something more ferocious. A beast and fan favourite on stage, that doesn’t prevent the dial from being switched to 1000 on record. Across this album, Rowsell channels characters. She’ll go from innocence to devilish ferocity with the flick of a switch. This song unleashes her inner monster. Spitting out every word with perfect malice, she targets a “creep” who “twists my insides”. Whoever happens to be the subject of this song - they’re probably crawling into their skin right this second. “You ain’t going to heaven, ‘cos I’m dragging you down to hell,” Rowsell chants. One last insult (“You’re a dodgy fucker as well!”) and she cackles into the distance. A mix of the sinister and spectacular, ‘You’re a Germ’ is just the tip of the iceberg for a game-changing debut. Get ready. (Jamie Milton)

Refused - Dawkins Christ

A lot has changed in the 17 years since the release of seminal album ‘The Shape of Punk to Come,’ but Refused still clearly have an appetite for an atmospheric intro. Opening with ethereal chanting and a slow-burning crescendo of guitars and drums, new track ‘Dawkins Christ’ recalls the band’s anthemic 98’ song ‘New Noise’. But, while ‘New Noise’ always felt like a wild dog straining against a leash before bursting forth, ‘Dawkins Christ’ is an entirely different beast. In the years they’ve been away, Dennis Lyxzén and co. have been honing their edge, bringing a more focused approach to ‘Dawkins Christ’ as a lesson in controlled aggression. Now, the feral beast’s replaced by a disciplined but deadly attack dog.

While the aggression may be more focused than the last time Refused assaulted our ears, there’s no questioning its presence on ‘Dawkins Christ’. Dennis Lyxzén’s vocals are as ferocious as ever, while the guitars stab in and out with needle-like precision. For some, the reincarnated Refused of ‘Freedom’ will never hold the same significance as they did on ‘The Shape of Punk to Come’, but with ‘Dawkins Christ’ they’ve sent a clear message. They’re still at the top of the game that they helped to shape. (Stuart Knapman)

The Maccabees - Something Like Happiness

For a strange moment on ‘Something Like Happiness’, it actually sounds like The Maccabees might be happy. Orlando Weeks seems to be leading his group through a jolly bro-down, all “woah” chants and raised fists. But as it turns out, Weeks is just singing about someone else. When he says “you just know where to go / it must be like nothing else,” he’s imagining what it’s like to ease through life on a perfect whim. In that sense, this is default mode Maccabees, offering out a seesaw of emotions without resolutely sticking to one or the other.

As opposed to ‘Marks to Prove It’’s ferocious build, ‘Something Like Happiness’ dives straight into the centrepiece. Its finest moments pop up when the song unfolds, revealing a gorgeous, twinkling mid-section that’s among their most treasured moments. “It must be like nothing else,” they bellow out in unison, once again standing several feet apart from every other band in the country. (Jamie Milton)

Gulf - Out Here

Local band Gulf impressed at Liverpool Sound City earlier this month, bringing their slick, glimmering take on psych to a stage just opposite their harbour-side practice space. ‘Out Here,’ with its rolling drum flourishes, was a set stand-out, and now it’s the Scouse outfit’s next single. Muggy and humid, with a soaring melody that isn’t a million miles away from the growing stadium ambition of a second album Foals, frontman Mark Jones’ lilting vocal collides headlong with daydreaming guitar lines, to tantilising effect. (El Hunt)

HEALTH - STONEFIST

HEALTH set themselves a fair few aims in the last six years. One was to finish a Max Payne soundtrack (a three month job which took over a year to finish). Another was to make another fucking record (they put it off before doing the Max Payne work and then putting it off again). But more than anything, they wanted to refine and go further with the melodic edge they lent to noise with ‘Die Slow’, a standout from their second LP ‘Get Color’.

This fully-charged, uncompromising outfit showed a new side with that record. For every piercing death charge, there was light at the end of the tunnel. And so even though it’s taken them over half a decade to release ‘Death Magic’, the goal remains absolute. ‘STONEFIST’ is the firmest sign yet that they’ve achieved it. Strip the song of Jake Duzsik’s glossed-over vocals - top of the mix more than ever - and you’re left with a chugging industrial club track that might sneak around in Berlin Berghain’s grimiest, most free-thinking corners. But it’s Duzsik that flips the rulebook and spins a pop web. “Love’s not in our hearts,” he sings, every note being rinsed with sweltering electronics. Like watching the apocalypse, thinking it could look a bit more spectacular and getting down about it, ‘STONEFIST’ is harshness with a sad, sweet edge. It’s everything HEALTH set out to achieve. (Jamie Milton)

The Weeknd - Can’t Feel My Face

As far as romantic sentiments go, “I can’t feel my face when I’m with you, but I love it” surely takes the biscuit for sheer originality. Like a Lionel Richie love song on pingers, Abel Tesfaye’s characteristically high throughout ‘Can’t Feel My Face,’ but this time he’s fuelled by someone rather than substance. Infatuation bubbles through every leaping bass-lurch and crispy snare whack, and out of the heady daze, The Weeknd crafts his most joyful song to date. (El Hunt)

Tags: The Maccabees, Wolf Alice, Listen, Features

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