The more 2017 progresses, the more we think how fortunate we are to have escaped 2016. Week by week we have been given stunning selections of new music and this week is no different. With an eclectic list of established artists and rising stars, all having released new tracks this week, there is something for everyone to listen to. Here are our Tracks of the Week alongside in depth reviews.
Track of the Week: Katy Perry Feat. Nicki Minaj – “Swish Swish”
The third single from Katy Perry’s upcoming fifth album Witness sees the US pop star continue with her new, expansive direction of pop. Swish Swish is a fierce blend of pop, hip hop and house which takes the bass line from House legend Maya Jane Coles’ What They Say. Starting with a simply structured piano line, the track diverges to a deeper groove, one of an infectious nature that embeds itself within the listener. Lyrics “Swish, shish, bish” see the singer cooly pushing off any problems, with the track rumoured to be about pop rival Taylor Swift. Nicki Minaj provides a brilliant guest verse in which lines “Don’t be tryna double back / I already despise you / All that fake love you showin’ / Couldn’t even disguise you” delve further into feuds with Taylor Swift as well as rapper Remy Ma. It’s an addictive release from Perry and one which increases our expectations of her upcoming album.
Muse – “Dig Down”
Legendary rock trio Muse surprisingly make a return this week with new track Dig Down, a charismatic and uplifting anthem that seems almost a mile away from the thundering rock of their last album Drones. With a range of effects and synths, the electronic production takes the band closer to the material of The 2nd Law with a prog rock feel. Line “Dig down and find faith” is a rallying cry to all that despite all that’s happening in the world, we can stay united. Matt Bellamy’s vocals explode with passion and urge whilst the trio manage to blend in beautifully a string section that adds another dimension to a band who have really tried everything throughout their incredible career. Ending in emphatic style, Dig Down deserves to be heard live given the majestical sound that the band have managed to conjure.
Lana Del Rey – “Coachella – Woodstock In My Mind”
The sensational Lana Del Rey released the third track from her highly anticipated upcoming album this week and it’s a ballad of extreme contrast in thought and emotion. With a minimal electronic beat Coachella – Woodstock In My Mind was written coming back from this years Coachella Festival. Mixing the free spirit of the famous festival with the ever growing tensions between North Korea, the track prays for unity, continuing the singer’s unique sense of intimacy. Del Rey commented that the track was written to let people know that there will always be hope in uncertain times and that whilst she realises that her contribution to the situation “Could be as small as hoping,” the prayer for peace might contribute to the possibility of it in the long run. Touching on watching singer Father John Misty’s set at Coachella with his wife, alongside references to Led Zeppelin, the track contrasts the joy and timelessness of such an event with the inevitable, growing thoughts that conflict could happen. The track has the potential to be a historical song for the next generations such is the message running through it, and with Lana’s gorgeous vocals, it’s one of her most impressive and heartfelt tracks so far.
Phoenix – “Ti Amo”
French indie band Pheonix are no strangers to synth pop and latest release and title track of their upcoming album Ti Amo shows just why the band are one of the most revered artists in the world. With a pulsating beat, the track takes the hustle and bustle of Italian summers alongside a swirling gust of atmospheric disco. It’s a joyous track from the French indie giants which sees them proclaiming lyrics in a variety of languages. Ti Amo is an explosion of thought and creativity, and a sign that the band are back to their very best.
Mura Masa Feat. Desiigner – “All Around The World”
Alex Curran aka Mura Masa is one of the most hyped electronic artists in the world at the moment and this week sees the artist team up with rapper Desiigner for new track All Around The World, the third release from the artists upcoming debut album. A bouncing electronic track, the latest release takes Desiigner completely away from his normal style of rap, seeing the rapper producing an effortless flow on the track alongside Mura Masa’s wide production style. It’s an electronic anthem and one of the best collaborations this year.
Selena Gomez – “Bad Liar”
Former Disney Channel star and US pop sweetheart Selena Gomez returns this week with the release of new track Bad Liar which details the hardships in trying to disguise true feelings for someone. Most noticeably, the track uses the bass line from Talking Heads’ classic track Psycho Killer which changes the perception of the track to something slightly different from Gomez but also very infectious. A very minimal beat leaves enough space for the top line to grow as the track progresses and whilst many may spend time trying to dissect who exactly the track is about, it’s a different, more intelligent take on pop from Gomez but still remains seductive and approachable.
Royal Blood – “Hook, Line & Sinker”
Having debuted the track live at Reading Festival in 2015, Royal Blood finally release the recorded version of Hook, Line & Sinker, the third single from the band’s highly anticipated second album How Did I Get So Dark? Mixing a blues tinged riff noticeably hinting at the stylistic input of Jack White with Ben Thatcher’s stomping beat, the track is furious and ferocious. The most commanding vocal performance from Mike Kerr, there are elements of the track that span across a variety of rock groups, from metal to blues and there’s no denying that the duo have managed to boost the volume of their sound even more. Possible the most merciless track from the Brighton duo so far, it’s a pleasing reminder that they are one of rock’s most important artists.
Courtney Barnett – “How to Boil an Egg”
This week sees the return of the iconic Australian singer songwriter Courtney Barnett with the release of track How to Boil an Egg. A jangly, relaxed piece of contemplation, the track is an old ditty in which the singer plays all the instruments on. The song is about taking accountability of her own irresponsible and bland life by speaking of the mundaneness of everyday life. With a shuffling beat mixing perfectly with the additional twang of guitar, there’s a strong message hidden within the song about having to figure life out for yourself whilst lyrics “Pull yourself together, pick myself apart / Nothing lasts for never, so be still my beating heart” are incredibly self-reflecting. Whilst refreshingly new, it’s a classic piece of songwriting that only Barnett is capable of producing and we are so glad to finally have more music from her.
Plan B – “In The Name Of Man”
Ben Drew aka Plan B returns this week for the first time in five years with track In The Name Of Man, a soulful, emotional piece that sees the artist move back towards the R&B of The Defamation of Strickland Banks rather than the harder rap of Ill Manors. The track sees the artist in a vocal give and take with the gospel tinged backing choir whilst the track, suspicious and anxious, takes the paranoia that surrounds today’s society with lyrics “What are you up to? / What’s your game?” The track with its variation in electronic production subtly hints towards Amy Winehouse’s unique style whilst standing out as the artist’s most vocally impressive and raw release to date.
King Nun – “Sponge”
One of the country’s most promising newcomers, King Nun have earned a reputation as riotous guitar loving rockers but latest track Sponge sees the band opt for a slightly restricted track in terms of guitars, allowing instead for an effortlessly swaggering melody to come to the fore. Sponge is a fiery headbanger oozing class and charisma and hints at the band’s brilliant stage persona. Taking an offbeat groove, the track has everything you could possibly wish for from a rising band and for an act starting out properly this year, the track highlights the sheer talent of the group. One of the best rock songs of this year so far, King Nun are a band to watch out for.
Nick Mulvey – “Unconditional”
British singer songwriter Nick Mulvey returns for the first time since 2014 this week with the release of track Unconditional, which sees the musician adding a more diverse quality to his music. With calm yet persistent electronic beats, there is an increased sense of sophistication from Mulvey with the singer looking to branch out from the beautiful acoustic based tracks from his Mercury Prize nominated debut album. Whilst slightly more experimental, Unconditional retains the sense of intimacy that Mulvey’s vocals and guitar have always been capable of delivering and with rising horns to close the track in a beautiful feel good way, it’s a blissful and lifting return from the talented singer songwriter.
Vistas – “Strong Swimmer”
One of Scotland’s finest rising bands, Vistas released the thundering indie rock track Strong Swimmer this week which sees the band producing fast paced, dance floor rock similar to the likes of Sundara Karma. Strong, fully packed drumming carries a similarity to influences Biffy Clyro whilst Prentice Robertson’s vocals are uplifting with a subtle Scottish tang. It’s a wonderfully made single and sees the Edinburgh group making big strides in 2017 with more hopefully to come soon.
Danger Mouse Feat. Run The Jewels & Big Boi – “Chase Me”
The legendary producer Danger Mouse teams up with highly political rap duo Run The Jewels and OutKast member Big Boi for a unique track made especially for upcoming action film Baby Driver. From the start, Run The Jewels’ verses mix perfectly with the swaggering and enriched apocalyptic bass that sounds almost like a bank heist. It’s an interesting move to hip hop from Danger Mouse with the track also sampling the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion song Bellbottoms. It’s a wonderful, highly energetic track that’s born for an action film.
Liam Payne Feat. Quavo – “Strip That Down”
This week sees the fifth and final member of One Direction, Liam Payne, start a solo career. Strip That Down has a distinctive R&B and hip hop flavour running directly through it whilst line “I used to be in 1D, now I’m out, free” hints that the singer now has the creative freedom to write what he wants. Reminiscent of Ed Sheeran and Justin Timberlake, the track carries enough attitude to pull Payne away from the boyband pop of One Direction and with the help of the in-demand Migos rapper Quavo, the track is a well accomplished debut.
Francobollo – “Worried Times”
Rising London band Francobollo might not be a band on your radar right now but after listening to new track Worried Times, they will stay with you for a long time. Fretting vocals sound hurried and alarming whilst 80’s synths dance their way around the track in various places. Heavier guitar injects itself into the track halfway through, sounding more like Biffy Clyro than the Wolf Alice vibe that is carried through the majority of the track. Quieter pauses come and go along with the shriek of urgent guitars. Its frenzied ending completes the uniqueness of the track and proves the band to be one of the most diverse new bands in the world. It’s a wild blend of a variety of genres including grunge, indie, synth pop and rock and we hope to see more of the same very soon.
Camila Cabello – “Crying in the Club”
Former Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello stepped into the limelight for herself as a solo artist this week with the release of Crying in the Club, an emotive pop anthem about lifting yourself up after a downfall. The track is a perfectly polished dance song which lyrically shows the frailty of Cabello emotionally but projects a message of strength, intensity and hope that shows that everyone can overcome the difficulties faced in their lives.
Oh Wonder – “Heavy”
A fourth track from South London duo Oh Wonder’s upcoming second album has been released this week. Heavy is a colourful synth driven track that combines the duo’s iconic harmonisation with a contrast of musical textures. Slight piano moments twinkle in and out of the track whilst euphoric synths fade amongst the ever constant beating synth. With line “I could hold you endlessly, ultralife just you an me” referencing their upcoming second album Ultralife, the track has a more uptempo feel to it whilst also enfusing some slight jazzier moments. It’s a highly accomplished track from one of the UK’s more promising and popular exports.
Other Noticeable Tracks
Raye – “The Line”: The Charli XCX collaborator releases a huge pop anthem, full of springy beats and a sing-along chorus whilst highlighting society’s double standards towards women when going out.
Henry Jamison – “The Jacket”: Gorgeously honest vocal performance from new singer songwriter Henry Jamison with similarities to Noah & The Whale. The track’s folk tinged rawness is something primal whilst lyrically it soars to new heights.
Matrix & Futurebound Feat. Calum Scott – Light Us Up: English drum and bass giants team up with rising singer songwriter Calum Scott whose raw vocal approach contrasts perfectly with the dance duos rougher beats and uplifting synths. It’s an uplifting track from the artists which sees them developing their sounds.
Rhys Lewis – “I Know The Feeling”: Soulful blues rock from rising Welsh singer songwriter Rhys Lewis which sends a message of strength to those who need lifting up from hard times. His rough vocal style spreads a defiant message of warmth and highlights his intimate songwriting talent.
Blood Red Shoes – “Bangsar”: Swaggering guitars and big attitudes are present on the latest offering from Brighton rock duo Blood Red Shoes. Its wild production and vast array of synths along with the tracks eclectic backing vocals makes for one of the duo’s most experimental pieces.
Mt. Wolf – “Soteria”: Beautifully serene vocals from London based trio Mt. Wolf has the atmospheric indie rock of The National and Sigur Ros and puts it into one gloriously developmental piece of music.
Bugzy Malone Feat. DJ Luck & MC Neat – “Through The Night”: Rare collaboration from one of Grime’s most important artists sees the rapper in full flow, throwing his weight around the grime scene whilst calling out some of the genre’s biggest stars. Full of bravado, the track is a fully confident pledge of self confidence.