One of the great joys of writing about music is the ability that it gives you to listen and discover new music. Each week we try to bring you a selection of the best new releases to try and inspire you to find something new. This week is no different and the selection of new music continues to include returning stars and rising talent throughout. Here are our track’s of the week with in depth reviews.
Track of the Week: The National – “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness”
Cincinnati indie rock band The National return this week for the first time since 2013 with the first single from their upcoming seventh album Sleep Well Beast. The track sees the five piece with a more urgent sound, taking stark piano shifts and staccato guitar which appears at various sections of the track in a scuzzy yet sharp form. Bryan Devendorf’s subtle yet thundering drums help lay the foundation for Matt Berninger’s iconically rich and emotive vocals. Lyric “Why are you hiding from me / We’re in a different kind of thing now” underline the strangeness of the world and the ability of people’s ideas and perceptions to rapidly change overnight. An abstract portrait of the weird time we’re in, the single has a hibernating quality to it, almost a dark before the dawn type sound. Towards the end, there is a wonderful guitar solo which matches beautifully with the repetitive piano line and is almost reminiscent of Spoon. It’s purely a gorgeous piece of alternative rock music, which twists and changes throughout and expands our hopes for the forthcoming album.
Miley Cyrus – “Malibu”
Global icon Miley Cyrus returns for the first time since 2015 with a calmer, more personal single. Malibu takes the US pop star on a different direction, with it’s quiet and calm start reminiscent of a soft rock and country track. There are glimpses of electronic influences but the track carries a surprising pop rock feel to it. Vocally calm and sedate, lyrics “We are just the waves that flow back and forth / Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning / And you’re there to save me / And I wanna thank you with all my heart” let Cyrus’s thoughts come to the fore whilst her vocals slowly dance around the track. The main message of the track comes from the ever evolving relationship between Cyrus and fiancé Liam Hemsworth. Lines “I never wold’ve believed you if three years ago you told me / I’d be writing this song” highlight the time in the couple’s relationship in which they split up, but the uplifting quality on the track is a subtly beautiful quality. It’s an interesting sign of what might be to come and is a romantic ode to warm the hearts of everyone alike.
Joel Taylor – “Two Sides”
Joel Taylor is a rising Australian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and latest track Two Sides highlights the sheer quality that the artist possesses, on a track that has a huge chance of gaining vast amounts of new fans. Starting with delicate and gentle acoustic guitar, Taylor’s raw, emotive vocals plus the subtly warm gospel backing vocals combine beautifully whilst the calm piano progression is boosted by the use of drums which kickstarts a swinging rhythm to the track. With faint horns as well, Two Sides has a distinctive old fashioned flavour to it and it’s one that sounds so impressive that we could listen to it for ages.
Chase & Status and Blossoms – “This Moment”
This week saw one of the UK music’s most unlikely collaborations occur as Stockport indie giants Blossoms teamed up with dance kings Chase & Status. From the startThis Moment sounds like a classic Blossoms track but with added drums and deep, rousing synths. A shuffling drum beat is ever present whilst Tom Ogden’s direct vocal delivery swaggers across the track. The dance trio restrict their own sound to allow for Blossoms iconic groove to shine until the harder synth drop at the chorus shows that Chase and Status are on the track, such is the restriction that the trio placed upon themselves. It’s a touch of class all around and defies all expectations, banishing any preconceived reservations.
Calvin Harris Feat. Future and Khalid – “Rollin”
Superstar DJ Calvin Harris returns this week with the third single from upcoming album Funk Wav Bounces Vol.1, which continues the DJ’s trend of huge collaborations. With rapper Future and singer Khalid, the track slides along an electronic summer groove which sees high pitched womping synths injecting an addictive energy to the track. Khalid’s warm vocals ooze style whilst Future’s brand of psychedelic rap adds another element to the track which sees another different side to Harris and it’s one we hope to see more of in the future.
This Is The Kit – “Moonshine Freeze”
This Is The Kit are a indie folk band from Bristol and Paris. This week sees them release a Jessie Ware styled track which calmly breezes along at a beautiful pace. Moonshine Freeze started as a children’s clapping game that got stuck in lead singer Kate Stables’ head and remained there for some time that the singer decided to base the title track of the band’s forthcoming fourth record on. The synth folk track features The National’s Aaron Dessner and about how we deal with change and the ability to relate and react to people across a variety of circumstances and situations. The track is lyrically dynamic but blissfully beautiful and a signal for what might be to come.
Milk Teeth – “Owning Your Okayness”
Gloucestershire punk rockers Milk Teeth release relentless track Owning Your Okayness this week. It’s a bouncing, energetic rock track with a gnarling riff that thrashes across the song and sees bassist and vocalist Becky Blomfield full of attitude and confidence. The thudding bridge builds suspense before unleashing the swaggering chorus whilst the song’s rampant enthusiasm magnifies the importance of standing up for yourself. It’s a glorious heavy punk rock track that sees the band in a new light.
Everything Is Recorded Feat. Sampha – “Close But Not Quite”
Richard Russell is one of the music industry’s most important figures. As the boss in charge of XL Recordings, he is responsible for some of the world’s biggest artists from Adele to Jack White to Radiohead. Everything Is Recorded is the latest project of Russell’s which sees the XL Recordings chief taking the leap of faith and releasing his own music. Taking a sample of Curtis Mayfield’s Close But Not Quite, the track takes R&B star Sampha’s stirring vocals and places them amongst a beautiful, minimalistic beat. Its delicate piano past adds to the tightness whilst the combination of Sampha and Curtis Mayfield’s sample emphasises a certain slickness to the track. Together, the song is a beautifully refined and produced piece and showcases the craftsmanship of one of music’s most talented generals.
Sundara Karma – “Explore”
The Reading indie four piece released one of the best albums of 2017 so far at the start of the year but that’s not managed to stop the band from holding back their musical creativity. New track Explore sees singer Oscar Lulu’s distinctive vocals soar over the track, which takes Sundara Karma’s own brand of indie rock in the verse before unleashing a stunningly catchy chorus. Reminiscent of Hot Chip, Klaxons and Foster The People, the chorus is more of a swaggering indie electronic track which, with its higher backing vocals and Pulp-esque disco vibe, makes the track one of the band’s more poppier releases so far and one that’s impossible not to dance to.
Sub Focus Feat. ALMA – “Don’t You Feel It”
Drum’n’Bass DJ Nick Douwma returns this week with the repetitively catchy single Don’t You Feel It. Featuring rising singer ALMA, the track continues along the new club styled track direction. Its variety in production matches perfectly with ALMA”s pop-infused soaring vocals. A house styled verse meets synthy pop choruses which jangle aside the track’s repetitive “Don’t you feel it to, don’t you feel it to” chorus. The track is a more refined, complex production which belongs in clubs around the world and has a huge chance of rapidly spreading across the global charts.
Nick Murphy Feat. KAYTRANDA – “Your Time”
Formally known as Chet Faker, Nick Murphy releases track Your Time, a collaboration with the renowned and adventurous Canadian producer KAYTRANDA. Lyrics “You’re the only reason that I made it here tonight” highlight a more kindred spirit which completes the transition from Chet Faker to Nick Murphy whilst the slow, atmospheric blend of soulful electronic music remains as beautiful as ever.
YONAKA – “Wouldn’t Wanna Be Ya”
Rising rock band YONAKA are a band that everyone needs to keep on their radar. Latest track Wouldn’t Wanna Be Ya is a swaggering, almost arena rock vibe that’s reminiscent of artists like Drenge and Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. Its huge opening is packed with swirling electric guitars whilst towering vocals add to the adrenaline charged, heavyweight sound of the band. The beat stalks across the track, adding a thunderous groove and together the band emit a sense of freshness into the UK rock scene.
Rejje Snow Feat. Joey Bada$$ and Jesse Boykins III – “PURPLE TUESDAY”
Irish rapper Rejje Snow released a taster of what you can expect from his highly anticipated debut album this week. PURPLE TUESDAY takes a mellow old school R&B beat whilst Snow’s lyrics are bold and perfectly weighted, looking back at the past and towards the future. With Jesse Boykins III’s smooth vocals fitting with a simple piano trickle, the track is one of the most balanced productions of the Irish rapper’s career so far.
Hanne Hukkelberg Feat. Ingrid Helene Havik – “The Whip”
Norweigian singer songwriter Hanne Hukkelberg returned for the first time since 2012 this week with track The Whip, a uniquely extravagant alternative pop track that combines personal experiences with an observation of society. The deep, underlying synth ripples with such an intensity that the bass controls the direction of the track. With additional vocals from long term friend Ingrid Helene Havik, there is an inherent sense of mystery throughout the track with the Nordic singer’s biting vocals and vast production allowing the song to flow in many eclectic directions. The Whip’s infectious rhythm ends the track in gorgeous fashion and confirms the singer as one of the most innovative in the industry.
Felix Jaehn Feat. Hight and Alex Aiono – “Hot2Touch”
German house DJ Felix Jaehn teams up with British DJ Hight and US singer Alex Aiono on the newly released anthemic Hot2Touch. Fanfaring brass synths introduce the dance track, which takes Aiono’s stylistic pop vocals and punching piano chords and combine the two to create a masterpiece crossover track between the pop and the dance world. Reminiscent of DNCE’s Cake By The Ocean, the funky bass line adds to the addictive quality on the track and makes it one of the party anthems for the summer.
Imagine Dragons – “Whatever It Takes”
The third single from Imagine Dragons’ forthcoming third studio album EVOLVE sees the band take a switch in pace. Whatever It Takes provides the opportunity to see singer Dan Reynolds’ speed of delivery, in which fast paced verses propel the band into a new direction. Lyrics “Falling too fast to prepare for this / Tripping in the world could be dangerous / Everybody circling, it’s vulturous” portray anxiety, which matches perfectly with the rhythmic flow of the verses. The rousing chorus is classic Imagine Dragons, uplifting and booming with drums whilst highlighting the importance of being the best regardless of obstacles, a theme which is slowly becoming common within the latest string of releases. It’s another well rounded single from the band and the hype ahead of their upcoming album is only set to get bigger.
Machine Gun Kelly Feat. James Arthur – “Go For Broke”
Cleveland rapper Machine Gun Kelly is being tipped to become one of the biggest music stars in the next few years. This week sees sees the rapper teaming up with British pop star and former X Factor winner James Arthur, whose raw vocals light up the track, making the final outcome one that could potentially be a worldwide hit. Lyrics “We made it to the bar ‘cause we need to heal up” project the hardships faced whilst developing both personally and musically but still the track carries a feel-good vibe through the blissed out guitar and beat. Magine Gun Kelly’s versatility as an artist allows him to move access a variety of genres and there are strong elements of Gym Class Heroes and Twenty One Pilots through the track. It’s a soothing, uplifting celebration of progress and highlight’s the potential of the rapper.
Matt Maltese – “No One Won The War”
Upcoming singer songwriter Matt Maltese is one of the most talented rising stars in the UK with his honest style of songwriting gaining many fans. Produced by The Maccebees’ Felix White and featuring The Coral’s Bill Ryder-Jones on guitar and organ, the track is led by a sombre piano line which relays vulnerability and a sense of innocence. Electronic effects clatter sharply within the song which is captivatingly emotional and about the continuing cycle of conflict in the current world. It’s a stunning piece of music from one of the UK’s most promising artists.
Linkin Park – “Invisible”
The continued pop direction for Linkin Park continues this week with the release of latest track Invincible coming one week before the release of their upcoming album. The track, simple in production, takes a looping guitar riff and a basic rock beat whilst vocally dancing across the track. Whilst simple musically, the track carries a strong message lyrically. Written by Mike Shinoda, lyrics “I was not mad at you / I was not trying to tear you down” highlight a parental change, one which becomes increasingly more difficult to manage as children become older whilst lines “I’ll pick you up right off the ground / If you felt invisible, I won’t let you feel that now” show that everyone will need a helping hand in their lives. Whilst musically not incredibly impressive, the warmth of the lyrics resonates throughout.
Banks & Steelz – “Who Needs The World”
The unlikely combination of Interpol’s Paul Banks and Wu-Tang Clan rapper RZA continues this week with the release of the lamenting new track Who Needs The World. With emphatic electric guitar dancing across the track, the duo choose to highlight the issues of global warming and taking shots at rising consumerism and greed. With beautiful strings layered on the track, it’s the most complete track that the duo have released so far and we hope to see more of the film score styled sound in the future.
Other Noticeable Tracks
KWAYE – “Little Ones”: London based and Zimbabwe born singer-songwriter releases a thumping new synthpop track which fuses the genre with R&B. Vocally stunning, the singer doesn’t hold back instrumentally or vocally which makes the final product one of an infectious nature.
Nadia Rose Feat. 67 – “Wat Up”: Heavy hitting rap track from rising Croydon rapper Nadia Rose and rap group 67. Full of bravado, Rose’s lyrics flow with unlimited confidence reminiscent of Azealia Banks. One of the most impressive UK rap tracks of 2017, both artists shine throughout, allowing their talent as lyricists to flow perfectly.
Jaymes Young – “Don’t You Know” : With swaggering synths and an uptempo and vocal combination, LA musician Jaymes Young’s latest release Don’t You Know spans a variety of genres including pop, dance and electronic and has one of the most emphatic choruses of the year.
Coasts – “Let Me Love You”: Uplifting new track from indie pop band Coasts which fuses it’s message of support with electronic synths and a wonderful dance based chorus.
Cosima – “Dreams”: Peckham singer Cosima reworks the Fleetwood Mac classic, opting for a more minimalistic sound. Slow, progressive keyboard chords provide the only instrumentation on the track which allows the singers soulful and rich vocals to soar on this stunning cover, modern cover.
Mount Kimbie Feat. Micachu – “Marilyn”: Overtly percussive and experimental new track from the relaxing electronic group signals a new direction for the group, opting for a calm, atmospheric and melancholic feel to the track’s that they produce.
Picture This – “Never Change”: Rising Irish duo Picture This take a relaxing acoustic opening on new track Never Change before letting drums kick in, transforming the song into a soft rock piece of beauty, reminiscent of Kodaline. The urges to keep true to oneself which adds to the touching honesty that the duo provide.
Tom Walker – “Karma”: Manchester born singer songwriter Tom Walker has already made a name for himself in 2017 as someone to keep an eye out for. Latest track Karma has a strong Justin Timberlake and Jamiroquai vibe running through the track. His vocals carry a distinct edge whilst the production is a throwback to the late 90’s boyband era.