It’s that glorious time yet again dear readers, it’s Friday afternoon! The clocks are ticking their way towards another gilded weekend of desperately hanging onto the final straggling threads of the summertime, even as the nights draw closer, and drizzle rules all. Luckily enough, a load of our favourite musicians have been busy writing new songs to soundtrack the struggle.
This week alone, Sad13’s busting bullshit once more, Yak are making a glorious racket, and The Flaming Lips have penned a blimmin’ banger about talking mushrooms. That’s just for starters too.
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.
Yak - Semi-Automatic
Yak don’t have a pause button or a restrained bone in their bodies. Debut album ‘Alas Salvation’ remains one of the year’s no-limits standouts, and they’re squeezing in one more double a-side single before the year’s out. Don’t rule out a Christmas single, either.
‘Semi-Automatic’ possesses the same unhinged spirit and organ-drenched noise as their debut’s best moments. Frontman Oli Burslem’s non-sensical chants are front and centre, too. The production is richer and more tightly-wound, perhaps, but beyond anything this is another lap on Yak’s victory march. They’re steamrollering forwards at an insane rate, and chances are they’ll remain a mainstay in 2017. Nothing can stop their ascent. (Jamie Milton)
Sad13 - Devil In U
Sadie Dupuis’ debut solo album ‘Slugger’ is quickly establishing itself as a record that packs plenty of life-affirming punches. The first taste came in the shape of the consent-celebrating ’Get A Yes,’ and then there was ‘<2’ (complete with a parody beauty workshop video). Sad13’s latest, ‘Devil in U’ meanwhile is a call to arms, urging people to bag up all the poisonous people in their lives, and lob them out with the trash.
Over a strange synth-burbling waltz, Sad13 sings about keeping her puppy groomed, and reading books all the way through to please somebody who seems like a fairly unsavoury character - “cos that’s what an angel would do”. Witchy scenes and wax filled cauldrons fill each verse, and ‘Devil in U’ has evidently been sipping some fairly potent grog from a nearby magic goblet. Stuck and frozen in the grip of a draining influence - as if under a spell - Sad13’s scenes might be mystical, but she’s singing about real, negative relationships; the dangerous ones where you try to change for fear of upsetting the boat.
“Mercury reversing when you don’t approve,” Sadie sings, and for anyone who’s not as up on their astronomy as the horoscope-loving Speedy Ortiz vocalist, when Mercury is in retrograde, everything involving rational communication basically goes to shit. Bringing back the dialogue into clear focus once again is something ‘Slugger’ seems to do very well, and the moral of this story is simple. You don’t need bad people. You’re far, far better than that. (El Hunt)
The Flaming Lips - The Castle
After several years of galavanting around clutching dolls, producing vinyl injected with blood, and performing from giant space station structures, it’s interesting to hear The Flaming Lips ringleader Wayne Coyne reverting to something that feels a little more anchored. Harking vaguely back towards ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’ with its gentle, ebbing feel, and tangible song-structure ‘The Castle’ isn’t completely unleashed into the winds of unbounded experimentalism; unlike other Flaming Lips cuts.
Mind you - being a Flaming Lips song, after all - ‘The Castle’ is still pretty out there. In his usual high-drifting lullaby, Wayne Coyne somehow starts out singing about a woman, and ends up singing surreal stories of dragon-riding characters lost in a world of poison apples, and talking mushrooms (presumably they don’t have CityMapper there) instead. Blimey. (El Hunt)
Glass Gang - Luxury
It’s impossible to predict Glass Gang’s next move. When starting out, the Brooklyn trio made mystery-laced pop. Now they put identity and character first. And on recent single ‘Wild Light’, they bathed in delicate production and lightly-plucked, reverberated guitar notes. Whereas on ‘Luxury’, they opt for the complete opposite. It opens with a cascading blast of Crystal Castles-like noise and never looks back.
On each of their early songs, Glass Gang give the impression of a band experimenting with different identities. If that’s the case, ‘Luxury’ is their gambit at bloodthirsty, vampire-toothed menace. “Line ‘em up!” they bark repeatedly, like ordering an execution, a wall of synths bidding for a guestlist spot at HEALTH’s zombie discos. Just when they look to have been figured out, Glass Gang have thrown another curveball. They’re one of pop’s most unpredictable, twisted talents. (Jamie Milton)
Tkay Maidza - Simulation
Jauntier than a sherbet-infused space hopper, ‘Simulation’ has all the makings of a diamond-sharp arrow, aiming straight for the bullseye. After teaming up with Killer Mike for the heavier ‘Carry On,’ Tkay Maidza’s inclination for piling bubblegum choruses atop popping candy backdrops grows stronger still here. Though her melodies may be saccharine, the final product packs an almighty punch.
Trilling little bursts of synth whizz all over the shop like firecrackers, trading blows with trebled-up beats, and multicoloured bursts of combustion. “If I break the rules, will you play?” asks Tkay Maidza, more rhetorical than anything else. Later on, “she’s living on the run”. Filled lyrical signs point towards an artist that gets a kick out of bending the rules, this is also an absolute belter of a pop song. (El Hunt)
The Flaming Lips - Live at The Forum, London, UK, January 22, 2003 BBC Radio Broadcast Pink Double Vinyl