We are staggeringly almost halfway through 2017 already and the standard of music we have had in the past five months is something we could have only dreamed of. As festival season approaches, the world’s biggest and best artists will be travelling around the world to perform to thousands of people. In light of recent events, we feel that it’s necessary to point out that no matter what happens, we will fight through it. For the people who died having seen their idol Ariana Grande perform in Manchester and for the people who died whilst just wanting to have a great night out in London, we need to continue living our lives to the fullest. The barbaric beliefs of Islamic extremism will never prevail over the love and unity of our society. Instead of destroying us, we are stronger than ever and we will continue going to see our favourite artists, some of which are on this list here. Here are our Tracks of the Week with in depth reviews. We hope you enjoy and in the meantime, stay safe and keep living your lives to the fullest.
Track of the Week: Arcade Fire – “Everything Now”
Canadian alternative rock gods Arcade Fire return this week with the news that they are going to release their upcoming album Everything Now at the end of July. The title track from that album is a grand, sweeping track that captures the experience of being alive in all its flaws and glory. An accented piano groove underlies the opening instrumental flutter whilst a simple guitar strum provides the base of the majority of the track. Win Butler’s vocals carry a more uplifting quality compared to previous records and the slight disco vibe of the repetitive “Everything now / Everything now” background chant appears almost like a mantra. What’s so refreshing is that there are subtle differences that that band have chosen to add but still there is an underlying sense that this is a classic Arcade Fire track that will live in the memory of fans for a long time.
Lorde – “Perfect Places”
The New Zealand superstar returns this week with another teaser ahead of her upcoming second album Melodrama. Perfect Places is an uplifting album based on a minimalistic beat and an infectious melody. Following the events of teenage parties and portraying them in a euphoric manner, line “Every night, I live and die” shows the persistent emotional change within the mind of the artist. Whilst building in atmosphere as the track moves along, the promotion of a teenage party lifestyle amongst long and wild nights gets flipped on its head in the closing verse with the singer rejecting this party lifestyle as destructive and only a temporary release. A wonderfully impressive song, the party anthem highlights a core theme of the upcoming record which is Lorde’s dealing with growing up.
Liam Gallagher – “Wall of Glass”
Finally this week we are treated to the debut solo single from former Oasis singer Liam Gallagher. Wall of Glass is a rousing guitar track with an addictive harmonica melody. The harmonica filters in and out throughout the track but when it comes in there’s a huge wave of excitement that flows through the song. The scuzzy guitar solo remains stealthy whilst Gallagher’s sneering vocals are commanding throughout. A strong rock debut, Wall of Glass has elements of The Rolling Stones through it but ultimately this is a display of true determination from the former Oasis singer, one that sees him reconnecting with the rock from his Oasis days and it’s something glorious to finally see.
Seeb Feat. Greg Holden – “Boys In The Street”
Norwegian dance group Seeb took the world by storm when they remixed Mike Posner’s Took A Pill In Ibiza and this week sees them release what has the potential to be another worldwide hit by releasing a remix of Greg Holden’s Boys In The Street. Telling the story of a father learning to accept his gay son the track highlights the generational difference in the world and the necessity to adapt to current times. An atmospheric build up from Seeb reaches ecstasy in the chorus with its dramatic synth changes and droplet sound effects, whilst the group keep Holden’s powerful vocals with minimal distortion. Lyrics “The way that you act isn’t good for your health / My son, stop kissing boys in the street” highlight one of the most important issues in world society and as a whole Boys In The Street is most certainly a brilliant LGBT anthem. The track carries such an important message that it’s impossible not to applaud everyone involved.
Bruno Major – “Places We Won’t Walk”
North London singer-songwriter Bruno Major might not be someone you’ve heard of right now but after listening to his latest releases, he’ll become someone you won’t forget. Latest single Places We Won’t Walk is one of the artist’s mellowest tracks to date, wth the song representing a delicately intimate piano ballad. A reminiscing piece of beauty with gorgeous vocals, the stripped back nature of the song highlights Major’s diversity as an artist and shows he has an ability to put his complete soul into the songs that he produces. It is lyrically stunning and a perfect example of how lyrical tracks can be wonderfully uplifting and we just hope that we can have more of the same in the coming months
The Japanese House – “Somebody You Found”
The second single from Amber Rain aka The Japanese House’s upcoming Saw You In A Dream EP is a magnetically beautiful track. Produced by members of The 1975, Somebody You Found sweeps a sense of calm serenity with distorted vocals and a lush guitar loop mixing with apologetic lyrics. Line “Did something Change? I don’t care anyway” shows the carefree attitude amongst the younger population whilst the pre chorus lyrics “My mistake, I made this about me / And I wrapped you around me like a blanket / I hate it, I hate myself” signal distress amongst the artist. An alternative emotional track, Somebody You Found is a staggeringly mature piece which sets the platform for The Japanese House to become one of the world’s biggest potential stars this year.
Sløtface – “Nancy Drew”
Another one of Norway’s current rising exports, Sløtface are slowly taking over British music in style with the release of latest track Nancy Drew, a thundering rock piece that balances brash guitar with wild guitars. Swirling guitars conjure enough atmosphere to transport the song into a variety of dark and twisting dimensions which give a slightly emo rock and punk vibe to the track, reminiscent of Paramore when they first started. Nancy Drew sees front woman Haley Shea stand her ground as a fierce yet brilliant leader. Shea’s performance is so great on the track that it highlights exactly why we need more female fronted bands in music. Coming to a chaotic drum filled ending, the track establishes the band as one of the best rising artists of 2017.
Juanita Stein – “I’ll Cry”
The lead singer of indie rock band Howling Bells, Juanita Stein issues her best dose of solo music this week with I Cry. Haunting vocals reminiscent of early Lana Del Rey leave a puzzling message across the track. At times, there’s an innocence to Stein’s voice whilst at other moments there’s an slightly seductive nature to the charming essence carried on the track. A laid back guitar and drum combination sweeps across I Cry, which sees little glimpses of beautiful piano highs. One of the surprises of the week, Juanita Stein has managed to release a gorgeous piece of music that is sure to attract a lot more attention in the coming weeks.
Radiohead – “I Promise”
A surprise release this week, Radiohead dropped a previously unreleased track that was recorded over twenty years ago for the iconic record OK Computer. A loose acoustic twang introduces the track which despite having not been released until now, was performed live from as early as 1996. Lyrics “Even when the ship is wrecked, I promise / Tie me to the rotten deck, I promise” highlights a declaration of loyalty to a loved one, committing himself to them forever. Rolling snares help sweep the track along and as you might expect from a track recorded in their OK Computer days, I Promise is filled with beautiful strings and shining vocals from Thom Yorke. it’s so classically Radiohead that it’s impossible not to scream in delight. For fans new and old, the release of such a track is a beautiful gift from a one of the greatest band’s to have ever been around.
Peking Duk Feat. AlunaGeorge – “Fake Magic”
Australian duo Peking Duk are one of the most hotly watched artists in the world right now such is their ability to craft a perfect dance track. This week sees the duo release Fake Magic, their first track of 2017 which also features the sublime pop duo AlunaGeorge. Sublime vocals from Aluna Francis infect the whole nature of the track, which is a funky piece ready for dancefloors across the world and just when you think that you’ve heard the general consensus of the track, a thumping bass groove drops its way into the chorus with such an emphasis that it makes the song one of the most impressive dance tracks in a while.
Phoenix – “Goodbye Soleil”
French alternative rock band Phoenix have a tendency of dipping their hands in a mixture of genres, from synth pop to psychedelic rock and somehow they always seem to deliver something spectacular. This week’s offering from the band is a smooth, synth dominated track Goodbye Soleil which comes out just a week before the release of upcoming album Ti Amo. There’s a strong sense of the ’70’s with a funky, broken down guitar whilst singer Thomas Mars vocally dances on top of the playful and wavering synth line. Together Goodbye Soleil is a masterful throwback track to the relaxing days of the past and is a perfect way to entice us all ahead of next week’s album release.
Hey Violet – “O.D.D.”
Hey Violet are a five piece California rock band that released latest track O.D.D. this week, a track which sees them moving to a more poppy sound. Wild synths dance upon the chorus whilst the verses remain restricted, allowing singer Rena Lovelis to sing in her distinctive and seductive manner. Vocally similar to Halsey, the band’s latest single remains a pleasant surprise on first listening and with a catchy chorus amongst humorous lyrics, O.D.D. establishes the band as something to keep an eye on over the coming months.
Barns Courtney – “Golden Dandelions”
Barnaby “Barns” Courtney has been making huge strides in the music industry over the past year and this week sees the Aylesbury musician release track Golden Dandellions which gives us a flavour of what is to come on his debut record later on this year. On the track thundering drums whip up an atmosphere that prepares you for the staggeringly brilliant chorus which takes a dual pronged attack with its brash guitar and vocal delivery. Lyrics “And she said / Lay me down in golden dandelions / ‘Cause I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life” signal one of life’s most precious moments and the artist’s golden vocals carry a distinctive edge that help him stand out as a musician and artist that could rapidly increase his fan base with his coming album.
The War On Drugs – “Holding On”
Iconic Philadelphia rock band The War On Drugs released their second track of 2017 this week in Holding On, a throwback to classic rock in its lamenting vocal delivery and guitar line. There’s a real Springsteen feel to the track with Adam Granduciel’s vocals carrying a gravelled tone whilst guitars swirl amongst glockenspiel before the chorus spirals to a soaring piece of classic rock. As the six minute track comes towards its end, there is an increased sense of urgency in the vocals as guitars build up to electrifying proportion before fading out only as an alder rock song would have done. What’s admirable for the band is how perfect they are able to channel the rolling rock of the Springsteen era into a track in 2017, and it’s this ability both vocally and musically which allows the melancholic band to achieve such perfection.
Rae Morris – “Reborn”
Singer-Songwriter Rae Morris returns this week with her comeback single Reborn, a track which sees the artist take a new musical path. On Reborn, a quirky alternating synth pattern rises and falls, constantly teasing the listener with the possibility of a huge drop. When the drop finally comes in, a whirl of euphoric synths match Morris’ rising vocals which contain a huskiness that draws you in. It is a powerful display of an artist that looks set to be reaching full stride and we look forward to what is next to come.
Dan Croll – “Bad Boy”
Tackling the common stereotype amongst teenagers, singer songwriter Dan Croll highlights how the “Bad Boy” stereotype comes down to a lack of confidence and always ends badly. The single, which is the latest release from his upcoming second album Emerging Adulthood, is an addictively glistening indie track which takes a simple drum beat and guitar line before igniting a chorus which highlights the vocal calmness of an artist who has all the space in the world to develop and perfect his wonderful sound.
The Cribs – “In Your Palace”
Wakefield punk rock band The Cribs returned this week for the first time since 2015. Their new single In Your Palace sees a more aggressive sound from the trio with a ferocious guitar riff alongside drums that clatter and crash. Lyrics “Gonna have to run / Waiting on someone” are forcefully sung, almost shouted by Gary Jarman, whose unpolished vocals are harsh, almost Strokes-esque, and match the scuzzy guitar from his brother Ryan. Together, it’s an interesting return from the band and highlights the fact that they have no desire to calm things down at any stage yet.
Major Lazer Feat. Travi$ Scott, Camila Caballo and Quavo – “Know No Better”
The superstar group of Diplo, Jillionaire and Walshy Fire aka Major Lazer return this week with the infectious and bouncing new release Know No Better. The dance power trio completely perfect the melody and synchronicity of the track whilst the guest collaborators take the track to another dimension. Former Fifth Harmony member Camila Caballo combines perfectly with Travi$ Scott and the two-ing and fro-ing of the two take the track to a different level. There’s a wonderful sense of complexity on Know No Better, with the pulsating synth line matching the oozing and fast lyrical flow of Travis$ Scott. At times it seems as if there is a maturity growing on Major Lazer’s superstar team but the chorus drop remains true to their original sound, reminding everyone just why they are one of the biggest dance artists in the world.
Other Noticeable Tracks
Hearts & Colours – “Shame”: Rising pop stars Philip Tillström and Nicolai Kjellberg aka Hearts & Colour released laid back pop track Shame this week, which with its rhythmic guitar line, carries a sexy, sultry groove with subtle Latin influences that make the piece something catchy and reminiscent of the rhythmic delights of Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes.
Vanic Feat. Clara Mae – Staring At The Sun: Infectious summer anthem from Canadian dance producer which sees him teaming up with singer Clara Mae whose vocals hypnotise throughout the track. There’s no holding back from the producer on this track which includes a huge amount of instrumentation to create an overall euphoric piece.
Albin Lee Meldau – Persistence: Rising Swedish troubadour Albin Lee Meldau takes elements from jazz, blues and rock on his latest single Persistence. His gravel toned voice adds a roughness to the track whilst musically the song is upbeat and matches the soulful jazz of his musical upbringing.
Mr Jukes Feat. Charles Bradley – “Grant Green”: Mr Jukes aka Bombay Bicycle Club frontman Jack Steadman releases another track from his new solo project which features the legendary singer Charles Bradley. Sampling Grant Green’s Ain’t It Funky Now, the track is a smooth jazz piece which remains effortlessly funky throughout.
Tom Speight – “The River”: London singer-songwriter Tom Speight delivers a warm and atmospheric track with The River which sees an odd sense of vulnerability from Speight but with additional vocals harmonising with the young singer, the feeling of the track shifts to a calmer glow. It’s a lovely, emotive piece which makes the London artists stand out.
Cosmos & Creature – “Bad Drug”: Rising Californian pop duo Cosmos & Creature channel progressive synths, funky percussion and warm vocals to create a catchy and bouncing pop track that proves irresistible to dance to.
Beth Ditto – “We Could Run”: The former Gossip singer returns with her second track from her upcoming solo album this week. We Could Run is a shuffling rock track with soaring vocals, taking a mixture of elements from the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Brandon Flowers to create an uplifting alternative pop track.
5 After Midnight – “Up In Here”: Huge pop floorfiller from last year’s X Factor finalists 5 After Midnight. The trio sample DMX whilst creating a track which spans across pop, dance and R&B. Produced by the brilliant MNEK, the group’s debut single is an infectious, bouncing bit of pop brilliance.
Olly Murs Feat. Louisa Johnson – “Unpredictable”: Remake of one the Essex singer’s tracks from latest album 24 Hrs sees Murs deliver a glistening pop track with the help from former X Factor winner Louisa Johnson. Simple, fun and easy to listen to, the track displays all the elements of a harmless pop anthem.