The final handpicked selection of new music from June signals an incredible six months since we first began reviewing and showcasing new music to you all. We couldn’t have imagined that we would be where we are right now and we are so grateful to have such a brilliant following. Most of all, we feel it’s important to mention just how sensational the music of the past six months has been. There’s never been a selection of such quality and thankfully this week continues to add even more surprises for you to hear. Here are our Tracks of the Week with in depth reviews.
Track of the Week: Lucy Rose – “Moirai”
Named after the Greek God of fate, Moirai was written to cover the topic of fate and destiny and the debate as to whether things do happen for a reason. Without a doubt, Lucy Rose is one of the most underestimated singer-songwriters in the UK and the emotive vocals she puts down on Moirai carry a perfect weight and tone that makes the track impossible to not be impressed by. A beautiful string section washes over the track, which tries to centre around the injustice surrounding lost love. Whether fate, destiny or happy coincendence, he weight of Moirai is balanced to perfection with piano, strings and vocals combining together to create something rather stunning and one of Rose’s best tracks to date.
St. Vincent – “New York”
The unpredictably wacky Annie Clark aka St. Vincent is an artists who remains refreshingly original. Returning with what seems to be the first single from her fifth album, New York sees St. Vincent shockingly drop the use of electric guitar, opting for a gorgeous ballad instead. Starting with basic Alicia Keys styled piano chords, Clark builds the track with a serene string section before progressing with an atmospheric whirlwind which gets carried by a subtle yet continuous bass drum. Lamenting for a lost friend or lover New York sees St. Vincent building up tension before cutting back down again a number of times which could signal where she is artistically or emotionally. It’s a furious, heart-wrenching tirade that is every bit as unpredictable as it is vulnerable and sparks even more excitement within us for what might yet be to come.
Arcade Fire – “Signs of Life”
The ever wonderful and crazily unpredictable Arcade Fire return this week with yet another stunning track, this time produced by Daft Punk member Thomas Bangalter. Signs of Life is every bit as funky and rhythmic as their first release of the year Everything Now. Handclaps are a prominent feature on the track and there are subtle similarities to Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk with the use of horns. Signs of Life is about the futility of seeking meaning in a meaningless world and whilst you can read deep into the meaning of the track, something undeniable is the groove that the track gives. Following on from the brilliant Creature Comfort, the space age disco rock track is another stunning message to everyone that they are at their best.
YVES – “You Wanna Know”
This week sees the emergence of noise-pop trio YVES into the limelight. Having slowly picked up momentum over the last year, the Swindon band release their latest track You Wanna Know this week, a punk pop spectacle with expansive drums upon a wave of guitar ridden feedback. From the intro, it is clear that the trio are holding no prisoners spared. Full of feedback, the vocals carry enough bite to stick out but unlike many starting punk rock bands, the musicality is tight and the expansion of instruments is refreshing. A brilliant release, which is sure to push the band onto greater things.
Noah Kahan – “Hallelujah”
Hailing from Vermont, rising singer-songwriter Noah Kahan is starting to make a name for himself with his emotive and powerful vocal dominated tracks. After the success of breakthrough track Sink, Kahan returns this week with a new track. Hallelujah is yet another vocally impressive track in which Kahan’s pure vocals and dominating falsetto startle listeners. Line “Sometimes the sunlight we find makes the day worth while” highlights the tracks theme of the constant effort to make sense of ourselves and the world around us whilst the track’s accentuated percussion leads the song into an even deeper direction musically. It’s another wonderful finished piece from the US artists and we can’t wait until he comes to perform in the UK.
Liam Gallagher – “Chinatown”
One of Manchester’s biggest heroes, Liam Gallagher continues his quest to dominate as a solo artist in his own right with the release of new track Chinatown. Whilst debut single Wall of Glass was a gnarly piece of rock perfection, Chinatown is calmer and more serene from Liam which takes a subtle acoustic guitar line alongside a continuous bass thump that makes up most of the track’s instrumentation and enables listeners to focus solely on Liam’s vocals. Despite being on a calmer, atmospheric rock track, Gallagher’s vocals retain the grittiness that we’ve loved ever since the beginning of Oasis. It is a simple, mellow offering from the younger Gallagher brother but that doesn’t stop it from being perfectly enjoyable.
Tyler. The Creator Feat. Frank Ocean, Anna of the North and Steve Lacy – “911/ Mr. Lonely”
Following various media scandals over the past few years, Tyler. The Creator gets back up to pace with a new release this week, the double part track 911/Mr Lonely. Part one of the track is an upbeat tirade despite being filled with dark and depressing lyrics. Broken musicality matches with heavily jazz enfused rap whilst Steve Lacy and Anna of the North combine to create a soulful and impactful chorus. Effective distortion breaks the track up in parts to give the track a sense of a storyline and it’s the split of the two parts that carry the greatest difference. The second half of the track changes pace, moving to a snare heavy beat. Tyler’s love of cars continues to filter through into his lyrics and whilst there’s a considerable dose of depressing lyrics, the track is full of self-deprecation and wit.
The National – “Guilty Party”
Cincinnati band The National have been one of the most loved bands in this century. Their emotive portrayal of various feelings is staggering and latest track Guilty Party highlights the iconic nature of the band’s sound. A lengthy track, Guilty Party starts with a distorted electronic introduction, similar to the likes of early 2000’s Radiohead. Simple piano chords play over the top of the electronic layer to allow Matt Berninger to effortlessly layer on his emotive vocals. Lines “Another year gets away / Another summer of love / I don’t know why I care / We miss it every summer” follow the theme of latest album Sleep Well Beast which is that of failed marriage. Whilst balanced yet complex drums branch out across the length of the track, flittering of guitar fade in and back out again at various intervals in an almost Foals-esque fashion. Guilty Party is definitely a more sombre and serene production from the band but the hints of experimentation add a wild side to the band that we would love to see more of.
Tourist Feat. Ardyn – “We Stayed Up All Night”
William Philips aka Tourist returns this week following the successful debut EP U that was released last year with track We Stayed Up All Night which features one of our favourite twins Ardyn. The duo’s vocals mix with Tourist’s production to create a wonderful electro-pop mix that sounds as if Kate Bush had laid her voice down on a track of wavering, atmospheric synth lines to create something remarkably enjoyable. Tourist stated upon the release of the track that he wanted to make something that was more reflective of who he was and how his life had changed, and it’s clear to see in the joyous production of We Stayed Up All Night that the artist has moved to an better state of mind and we can only hope to hear more of the same in the future.
Mura Masa Feat. Christine And The Queens – “Second 2 None”
Guernsey born producer Mura Masa has been making remarkable strides this year and this week sees him team up with the unstoppable force of Christine & The Queens. Second 2 None sees Mura Masa opt for a more minimalistic tone to allow for Christine’s French accent to light up the track. The unique flavour of her voice makes he track distinctive and irresistible whilst the fast rising drum and bass sequence builds to ignite the chorus which oddly consists of vocal stutters from Christine & The Queens. Muffled production and lighter textured flute synths and chimes enable some subtlety to the track but it’s the guest spot from Christine & The Queens that makes the track special.
Bugzy Malone – “Bruce Wayne”
Whilst Grime has been dominating the country, the centre of the genre’s focus has been in London with Skepta, Stormzy and many more leading its revival. However up in Manchester, Bugzy Malone is starting to break away as one of the genre’s next big stars. Known as “The King in the North” by his fans, his latest track Bruce Wayne showcases Malone’s staggeringly perfect flow. Dark synths are layered like a bed for Malone to flow over upon and a simple, minimalistic instrumental breakdown quietens the track before Malone jumps back in with another repeat of the chorus. Intelligently written and insanely addictive, both rhyme and rhythm standout to create one of the best tap tracks of the year so far.
Freya Ridings – “Maps”
Hushed and haunting vocals dominate the slow piano interpretation of Yeah Yeah Yeah’s iconic track Maps. Sung in almost a whisper, the London singer-songwriter carries a cutting falsetto that matches the beauty of a serene string section that washes over the top of the track as the piano loop builds up intensity. As the track comes to a conclusion, Ridings’s hushed voice comes back into the fray and it’s impossible not to be impressed with the control and capability of this individual.
Rudimental Feat. James Arthur – “Sun Comes Up”
Taken as the first single from their forthcoming third album, Sun Comes Up sparks the return of Rudimental his week who team up on the track with former X Factor winner James Arthur. Initially written as a breakup song James Arthur’s raw, gravelled voice shines in this tropical dance giant from the UK dance collective. Rudimental allow enough space for Arthur’s vocals to make an impact but subtle tropical chimes and steel drum beats maintain the dance presence in the track. Lines “Suddenly the sun comes up / And I feel my love floodin’ back again” highlight the need to overcome adversity and act as a reminder that each day is a new start. Whilst new starts might be the band’s message on the track, it seems almost as if it’s also their message for their coming album with the track taking a note out of Major Lazer’s book, opting for a more dancehall styled approach to their music this year. There’s no doubt that the track is a complete summer anthem that’s born to succeed.
Youngr – “’93”
Dario Darnell aka Youngr is a rising pop singer from Manchester and latest track 93 shows the full potential of an artist likely to be making waves over the next year. A catchy, electro-pop track, 93 is about social media and having the control to not let it rule over your life. Line “Didn’t Snapchat, they just chit chat” shows the artist trying to remember how everyday life was before social media took over whilst distorted wobbles lie in the background as Darnell’s vocals dance easily to lead the track into a joyous direction. Perhaps not the most adventurous of tracks but 93 is most definitely an addictive pop banger.
Other Noticeable Tracks
Moses Sumney – “Doomed”: Pure vocals and swirling synths wash over this atmospheric track like a calm wave before mixing perfectly with Sumney’s naturalistic voice. It’s a monumental track that highlights how music can carry so much feeling without such complicated production techniques.
Dusky Gray – “Call Me Over”: Relaxed dancehall-styled track that retains an addictive sense of youthfulness to it, similar to that tracks from AlunaGeorge. Soaring female vocals harmonies wonderfully with the calm male voice which climax at a perfect chorus.
Dan Caplen Feat. Ray BLK – “Flat Champagne: Woozy and relaxed track from London based and classically trained artist Dan Caplen, whose glistening vocals create a warm and soulful feel-good chorus. Highlighting the importance of never giving up, the appearance of BBC Sound of 2017 winner Ray BLK’s is a highlight and is one of her best features to date, giving a polished vocal display similar to the likes of Erykah Badu, which clearly underlines her potential as a recording artist.
Harper – “Bad Luck”: Funky, Nile Rodgers-esque guitar line slinks across this rock-pop jam from one of pop’s future stars. Tropical chimes are incorporated into this well polished production and the addictive nature of the track signals to all that it’s going to be one that you won’t be able to get out of your head.
Lunice Feat. Denzel Curry, J.K. the Reaper & Nell – “Distrust”: Carrying a staggering level of swagger similar to the likes of Chance The Rapper, the latest track from Lunic uses deep toned bass to conjure up a dramatic effect whilst his lines flow cleanly and continuously. As the track develops, the electronic elements distort further and the end result is something dark, admirable and addictive.
Clean Bandit Feat. Marina and the Diamonds – “Disconnect”: Latest track from UK chart topers Clean bandit sees them shifting their focus to a more electronic state of production whilst enlisting the iconic Marina & The Diamonds. Marina’s vocals instantly lift the subtle dance track to a new height and the combination of vocals and electronic create a slight similarity to the 90’s club hits due to the tone of the synth lines. It’s a moment to just enjoy one of pop’s most wonderful stars collaboration with current chart sensations.
Hare Squead – “Flowers”: Jazz styled piano chords staccato to break the musicality of this R&B builder from Irish group Squead. The trio use various vocal layers which alternative between glimpses of horns and electronic effects and the refreshing rap verse expands the track past the unsettling chorus line.
San Holo Feat. James Vincent McMorrow – “The Future”: McMorrow’s vocals carries a vulnerability but San Holo’s ecstasy filled electronic production adds an element of futuristic love and positivity which climaxes with a soaring and ever-changing synth line.