July. For many it’s a chance to enjoy the rare sight of sun or the unpredictably chaotic summer holidays with children. For music fans, July has always been a month of big summer anthems, festivals and new records. This July is no different, with a stunning selection of huge tracks perfect for long summer nights or that rare unexpected day of rain that the UK summer is always akin to. We hope you enjoy the start to what should be a great month for everyone and here are our Tracks of the Week with in depth reviews.
Track of the Week: Coldplay – “A L I E N S”
Following a string of releases over the past few years, Chris Martin and co are back again this week with a new track A L I E N S. This time however, it’s big, it’s experimental and it’s purposeful. Written with the help of Brian Eno, the track is about refugees fleeing their war torn homes and was released as a fundraiser to help save migrants on the Mediterranean Sea. From the off, there’s a sense that this isn’t just a standard Coldplay track as the unnerving yet brilliant introduction moves off straight away at such a pace that you struggle to keep up with it. Forever moving and unpredictable, there’s an element of Radiohead-esque electronic within the production whilst Chris Martin’s vocals weave slowly over the top of the shuffling beat. The jarring line “Diamonds ate the radio” highlights music’s typically materialistic hopes that are brought with radio success whilst the rare use of synths sees the band in a new light. This is one of the band’s most experimental tracks to date and it’s something of pure magic that contains deeply political lyrics that hit purposefully. A true triumph for the group, A L I E N S speaks out for those that rarely get the chance to speak out whilst proving to the industry that there’s still a lot of creativity flowing around the group.
Lewis Capaldi – “Lost On You”
The rise of UK singer-songwriters over the past few years has been extraordinary and it seems we have found another star. A simple piano ballad highlights the raw power of the young Scottish singer-songwriter. Line “I don’t wanna leave you lonely / But I’ve run out of love this time” details the breakdown of a relationship whilst the passion that runs through Capaldi’s voice is sheer perfection. There are a very small amount of artists who have the capability to enrapture their listeners with both their debut track and the follow on track but Capaldi succeeded with Bruises and now his vocals have blown all expectations to an even greater height. A stunning track from an artist destined for big things.
Wolf Alice – “Don’t Delete The Kisses”
Following the grunge-filled Yuk Foo, Wolf Alice return with the second track from their upcoming second album Visions of a Life. A cinematic wonder, Don’t Delete The Kisses is the band’s most synth-heavy track to date which uses half-spoken verses to tackle singer Ellie Rowsell’s fear of love and commitment. Lyrics ““What if it’s not meant for me? / Love” show Rowsell holding nothing back and all emotions are laid down on this track, which gives it an honest reflection of the band’s thinking. Rowsell’s vocals are atmospheric and supernatural whilst musically there’s a mix of the variety of directions that the band have taken so far. The ever building verses carry a pulsating and continuous synth which eventually builds to sheer ecstasy. More electronic in production yet still sparkling in quality, the surrealistic track showcases the creativity of one of the UK’s biggest and most loved bands pushing them towards a potential festival headline slot in the future.
Flyte – “Cathy Come Home”
London quarted Flyte have slowly been growing in popularity over the past three years and this week sees them release their most impressive track to date. Taken to be the lead single from their upcoming debut record Cathy Come Home is a swooning lo-fi, Beatles-esque track with a mellowed verse that contrasts a slower yet highly accentuated guitar and piano dominated chorus. About parents struggling to let their children out into the world, Cathy Come Home uses Elton John styled piano chords to produce an addictive sound in the chorus and together it’s a calm yet fun tribute to music of the past whilst firmly establishing Flyte as one of the band’s of the future.
Kesha – “Praying”
Against all odds, this week sees the return of US pop star Kesha for the first time since 2012 and the power ballad that is Praying is a clear message of defiance and strength directed at her long legal battle with producer Dr. Luke. The powerful piano led ballad rises and falls and highlights Kesha’s strength of character as lines “Well you almost had me fooled / Told me that I was nothing without you” highlight the situation she had to overcome. The sheer power and emotion that is projected from her voice is both moving and overwhelming and makes clear the message that you have to sometimes just let go and realise that you can’t control everything. To have overcome what Kesha has had to face over the past four years is a testament to her strength as an individual, whilst to release what she’s just released in Praying is a testament to her as an artist, and we are so glad to have her back at her best.
Tom Speight – “Old Flame”
A raw talent, Tom Speight has been on our radar for some time now and it seems as if it’s time for the rising London Singer-Songwriter to really start making a name for himself. One of his most mature tracks to date, Old Flame carries real hints of Damien Rice and Ben Howard in the tone of his voice as well as his approach to the guitar. Old Flame is a laid-back acoustic track perfect for those surreal campfire styled evenings in which Speight’s voice appears honest and pure alongside female vocals which harmonise subtly yet beautifully to create a wonderful track from a brilliant artist.
dodie – “6/10″
A sombre release from singer-songwriter Dodie Clark, 6/10 is, at its core, about a shy and insecure girl who feel lost in the world that she lives it. The quiet piano introduction starts off the track before Clark’s vocals come into the fray. There seems to be a speck of vulnerability that catches in the back of her throat as she sings, highlighting the emotion of the track and as the track builds up, an honest layered chant “I know that you don’t want me here” begins a section in which further layering of vocal lines seem to give the effect of a backing choir on the track. 6/10 is an element of simple beauty that emphasises the qualities which a combination of vocals, piano and strings can produce when brought together.
HONNE – “Just Dance”
Returning with their new material since last year’s Warm On A Cold Night debut album, London electronic duo HONNE have opted for a completely different and considerably funkier sound than their brilliant debut record. Just Dance is much more upbeat than any previous production, with its smooth Formation-esque vocals weaving their way around the song. The clearly present slinking bass line helps boost the funk levels of the hit which the duo say is about losing your inhibitions. Relentlessly energetic, Just Dance is a vastly different path for HONNE but one that’s met with great appreciation.
The XCERTS – “Feels Like Falling In Love”
The first track from their yet to be confirmed fourth album, Feels Like Falling In Love is the first releases since 2014 for Aberdeen rock trio The XCERTS. there’s a real sense of euphoria on this track which is considerably cleaner than previous releases. Speaking of the track frontman Murray Macleod said that it was about discovering a pinhole of light in the dark and turning it into the sun. Whilst the explanation highlights the trio’s production of such a huge track, what can’t be explained is the addictive nature of it’s chorus, which has to be heard to be believed. A true feel-good rock tune, The XCERTS are back and better than ever.
Jade Bird – “Something American”
The opening track to her debut EP of the same name, London singer Jade Bird is an artist currently making big waves amongst the London crowd and track Something American proves just why that is. A mix between country music and Lana Del Rey, Bird’s pure vocals take the weight of the drum beat which allow her to switch the tone in her voice depending on the section of music that’s coming up. A simple sounding track it might seem like but there are numerous twists and turns that push the song on before a subtle string section weaves into the ending. With a variety of Nashville based producers lined up to help her, Bird looks set for big things so make sure you keep an eye out for her.
INHEAVEN – “World On Fire”
Ahead of their self-titled debut album release in September, South London four piece INHEAVEN release yet another piece of ferocious indie rock this week with World On Fire, a song which uses fast paced riffs and punk styled choruses similar to the likes of Slaves and Black Honey. The crashing rock track starts with a thumping snare before a barrage of guitars come to create a wall of noise in which singer Chloe Little’s vocals snarl upon in a perfect grunge tinged way. There are slight hints towards Wolf Alice’s heavier sound in the relentless chorus call of “Pray / Pray / Pray / Pray / Praying for the end of the world” and whilst the band are known for their more communal indie rock style, the track is a thumping call to arms. So far to date the London band have produced a long list of great tracks and World On Fire is yet another chaotic anthem born for sweat-filled gigs.
Skepta – “Hypocrisy”
Following his staggering year last year which included a Mercury Prize win, Skepta returns for the first time this year with a typically fierce piece of grime. Becoming one of the most recognisable voices in music is no small feat yet Hypocrisy both addresses his recent successes with lines “Just came back from the Ivors / And look at what we just collected” whilst also calling out critics that are still out there. Lyrics “They try to disrespect me / When they’re on line especially” tackle the many online commentators who called out his new fashion choices. Moving past the cringe play on words of lines “I’ve got fifteen different iPhones / But I am so not phoney,” there’s a vengeance in Skepta that perhaps we didn’t expect to still be there, but we’re not complaining and this track highlights the importance of both the artist and the genre to British music.
Other Noticeable Tracks
Rhye – “Please”: Vulnerable track from R&B duo Rhye in which Michael Milosh’s vocals plead to a lover to understand his state of mind but in the process says something harmful which leads the track into a sorrowful and remorseful apology. An emotional offering from the duo which is both delicate in delivery and intelligent in production, there are subtle psychedelic elements which highlight the future potential that the duo are set to offer.
Zedd Feat. Liam Payne – “Get Low”: Sultry club banger from German superstar DJ Zedd and former One Direction star Liam Payne which uses subtle percussion and a tropical synth line whilst Payne’s vocals add a soulful yet sexy vibe to the snappy summer anthem.
Dizzee Rascal – “Wot U Gonna Do?”: Fierce grime anthem from the genres first original star that takes a simple trap beat whilst lyrically firing multiple shots at members of grime’s elite without mentioning specific artists. Fast and ferocious, Rascal’s rhythm and rhyme are hard and nailed down perfectly. It’s unmistakably powerful and a great return to the genre.
James Hype Feat. Kelli-Leigh – “More Than Friends”: Energetic club mega-hit from UK DJ James Hype who exists singer Kelli-Leigh to help remix 90’s classic En Vogue slow jam Don’t Let Go (Love). Undeniably catchy, the fast-paced nature of the track is born for the dancefloor.