It’s March already and now we are starting to really get into the part of the year that shows us who is going to dominate the music scene for 2017. We’ve already seen new releases from The xx, Stormzy and Ed Sheeran and have had hints of what is to come from Katy Perry alongside rumours of new music on the way from Kasabian and Royal Blood but this week is dominated by two huge artists coming back with new music in 2017: Lorde and alt-j. Here are our tracks of the week alongside in depth reviews.
Track of the Week: Lorde – “Liability”
The return of the New Zealand sensation that is Lorde was enhanced even more this week with the release of Liability, a stunningly raw piano ballad. Lyrically the song tackles issues that many people have faced and looks directly at the way people handle both themselves and other people. The opening verse sees the breakdown of a relationship due to the character Lorde is “She’s so hard to please / But she’s a forest fire”. The chorus beautifully tackles the self reflection on relationships with line “So they pull back, make other plans / I understand, I’m a liability” showing Lorde at her most vulnerable and honest. Throughout the track, there is a sense of powerlessness and vulnerability that so many pop ballads lack and for us is in contention for song of the year. It’s an absolute triumph and a must listen to.
alt-j – “3WW”
After three years out, the alternative three piece returned on Monday with the lengthy, hypnotic 3WW. The track, five minutes in length, starts with a laid back Ben Howard styled 90 second instrumental before launching into ritualistic calm vocals from Gus Unger-Hamilton. Joe Newman takes over vocals on the next verse which sees the feelings of longing and lust thrown into the fray. The duo combine vocals in a powerful, rousing chorus which sees the topic of love being picked apart. The line “Oh, these three worn words” refers to the overuse of “I love you” and the damage that can be done. Line “I just want to love you in my own language” also hints that some people’s portrayal of love to another might not be the best way. Joe Newman’s verse oozes classic alt-j with the brilliant line “Well, that smell of sex / Good like burning wood” touching on danger, sex, lust and excitement. The band create the tale of a boy around a campfire and elevate it to such incredible proportions. Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell guests on the track with a seductive Lana Del Rey type verse which entices as well as hinting at the destructive nature of love. Together, the track is an extraordinarily made piece of music and is alt-j at their most creative and sexiest.
MiC LOWRY – “Whiskey Kisses”
Liverpool five piece MiC Lowry are one of the biggest upcoming R&B groups in the world right now. Whiskey Kisses is the second single released by the group and is a smooth, uptempo dance track. The song, with its funky off beat chorus is about the effect that one person has on the person in focus within the song. The track hints at the addictive nature of an individual which rather unsubtly leaves us addicted to the groove of the song. It’s another brilliant single which establishes the band as one to watch in 2017.
Isaac Gracie – “Reverie”
Quite simply, you need to listen to this singer. London troubadour Isaac Gracie has been in our ears for a few years now and new track Reverie is a perfect summary of the capabilities he has as an artist. Compared to Jeff Buckley, he has an outstanding vocal range and this song highlights it. The track is slow, emotional and stripped back to just guitar and vocals. At times, the track reaches climaxes that could be compared to Coldplay’s Chris Martin but at other times he weaves into a different direction. It’s an outstanding piece of songwriting, singing and emotional portrayal.
Fleet Foxes – “Third of May / Ōdaigahara”
Six years since their last album, the reformed Fleet Foxes minus drummer Josh Tillman aka Father John Misty return with the elaborately expressive Third of May / Ōdaigahara . The track is a hugely personal song for the band, with the date in the title referring to the date of their last album release six years ago. The third of May is also the birthday of band member Skyler Skjelset, whose relationship with singer Robin Pecknold is the subject of the song. The track is a mix of classic Fleet Foxes but also intense experimentalism. The sound is bigger and bolder than before, and lyrically sees Pecknold longing for his fellow bandmate, asking for forgiveness and to move back to their original friendship. It’s a elaborate, beautiful track from the band and we are so glad to have them back.
gnash – “i could change ur life”
Garrett Charles Nash aka gnash is a LA alternative DJ who takes influences from a multitude of genres. i could change ur life is a wonderful, relaxed track that leans on pop-punk influences like blink-182. With a simple guitar opening, gnash half raps the verses in a way similar to Travie McCoy. It’s a subtly uplifting song that references many consumer brands but pushes them away for the rawness of love. It’s a lovely song from an intriguing artist.
D Double E Featuring. JME, Wiley, Chip, Lethal Bizzle and Baseman – “How I Like It (Remix)”
The Boy Better Know member enlists big name Grime artists for a new version of How I Like It. It’s catchy, polished and sees more MC’s step into the spotlight now it’s finally there for the taking. It’s just another example of Grime taking over the UK.
Will Joseph Cook – “Best Friend”
There are an increasing amount of wonderful male singer songwriters in the UK at the moment but one of the most underrated is Will Joseph Cook. His relaxed, joyous music is something that isn’t heard enough at the moment and new track Best Friend is a great example. Its bouncy, loving nature is helped along with beautiful lyrics designated to a special person.