The last few months have been both intense and exciting. Given the variety of music festivals and commitments, alongside some technical issues, you may have noticed a delay in our weekly music highlights. This week, we are delighted to inform everyone that we are back up and running, up to date with everything that’s been happening and ready for what’s around the corner. As we move further into the year, we start to think about our highlights so far. Many of the artists we’ve featured so far have a claim to 2017 but perhaps none other than the artist responsible for this week’s track of the week. Here are our Tracks of the Week with in depth reviews.
Track of the Week: Liam Gallagher – “For What It’s Worth”
2017 will be known for many things with regards to the music that it’s produced, none more so than the debuting of former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher’s solo material. Wall of Glass has already made a case to be track of the year, but this week sees Liam release a slow and sombre rock anthem, similar to the biggest Oasis ballads made and it’s an absolute stunner. An instant favourite for all Oasis fans, For What It’s Worth is a personal track for Gallagher, an apology directed towards ex-wife Nicole Appleton in which his snarling vocals come through as a raw yet classy narrative. Line “Cause I’ve been crucified for just being alive” is a completely honest reflection on the criticism that he’s received throughout his career. A sheer masterpiece of a chorus appears, in which Gallagher’s vocals take the forefront amongst a classic rock riff and simple drums, a chorus perfect for belting out across a festival field. Not since his Oasis days has Liam Gallagher released a track of this beauty and it’s a a reminder of how great the younger Gallagher brother is.
Queens of the Stone Age – “The Evil Has Landed”
Josh Homme’s last few years have been nothing short of busy with QOTSA’s last album shooting them to headline status at Reading and Leeds alongside producing and touring Iggy Pop’s glorious last album and making side project Eagles of Death Metal’s latest album. 2017, however, is the year for QOTSA. This week sees the band release their second track of the year, The Evil Has Landed, a sprawling rock track which mixes blues, rock and metal. An electric and dirty Led Zeppelin-esque guitar riff oozes sex, seduction and pure fun whilst the song’s irresistible groove and track development is astonishing and just highlights the pure creativity of the band. The track is a testament to Homme as a creative genius with his vocals purring with intent, an intent which is obvious to see from just the first line “Going on a living spree,” which shows that the frontman is ready for business. Perhaps more rough around the edges, The Evil Has Landed is a lengthy guitar showcase which ends with a rollicking display of rock and roll. As the testosterone fuelled outdo comes to a conclusion, it’s obvious that the single is a consequence free hit, highlighting the talent of a band who know they have the world at their feet right now.
Didirri – “Jude”
We’re blessed with a number of artists around the world who have the power to tug at our heartstrings. This week, Melbourne based artist Didirri releases his latest track Jude, a blend of nostalgic folk and cinematic surrealism which provides a window for us to look into his heart.With just a simple bass and quiet acoustic guitar, Didirri’s vocals are raw, honest and soul-barring. Jude is an exploration into the feelings that make people fall victim to their minds, with lyrics “My apologies for the delay / My head don’t work the same way” providing an important narrative to the personal and emotional functioning of the artist. There’s a slight Jeff Buckley quality in the tone of his voice as well as the natural style of recording which takes a splash of cinematic production alongside his enchanting vocals. The simplicity of Jude’s musicality is key in regaining an emotional stronghold over the track, which is by far one of the most impressive acoustic song’s that we’ve heard in a while.
Suzi Wu – “Taken Care Of”
By far one of the most outstanding rising stars for 2017, Suzi Wu stunned the music world with the release of her first solo single Teenage Witch and this week sees the London teenager follow that up with her second single Taken Care Of, a swaggering and dark track with snapping beats and pulsating vocals which drive the single. The spoken word introduction looks to be a characteristic of her music whilst the musicality is fairly restricted, allowing electronic elements and synths to drive the direction of the single which Wu described as being a narrative about realising that you can’t always be perfect and then finding power in the inability to be perfect. Personal imperfection aside, Taken Care Of is slowly establishing Suzi Wu as an artist starting to reach perfection.
The Horrors – “Something To Remember Me By”
Southend five piece The Horrors have been one of those bands that you feel have not quite reached their best yet. That is, however, not until now with the release of the euphoric track Something To Remember Me By. A synth pop masterpiece, the track sees Faris Badwan’s screeching vocals replaced by a calm. affectionate vocal delivery. A bittersweet and soaring chorus matches with one of the grooviest synth patterns around and the overall product is something of sheer bliss.
Isaac Gracie – “The Death Of You & I”
Quite possibly the most underrated singer-songwriter in music, Isaac Gracie has thrilled all in the past few years with his gorgeous Jeff Buckley styled tracks. Premiering the title track from his latest EP, Gracie returns with his most electrifying song to date. The Death Of You & I, carries a distinct latin flavour with sultry, tango styled percussion. Slinking spaghetti-western guitars get proceeding underway before a cataclysmic drop sees Gracie’s screeching vocals explode like nothing we’ve seen before. His most diverse track yet, The Death Of You & I sees one of music’s most talented gain an even greater sound.
The Sherlocks – “Blue”
A week before the release of their hotly anticipated debut album, Sheffield four piece The Sherlocks release another track to tease fans of what can be expected next week. Blue is a huge Courteeners-styled arena anthem, with bold, rolling guitars and crashing drums leading the single whilst Kiaran Crook’s heartfelt vocals are charismatic and heartfelt. Perhaps not as raucous as previous releases, Blue is a more complete single which establishes The Sherlocks in a market alongside The Courteeners and Stereophonics. A brilliant track, their debut album looks to be one of the debut records of the year.
Rhys Lewis – “Be Your Man”
Singer-Songwriter Rhys Lewis has been one of the biggest prospects hurtling out of Oxford. As he gears up for a big European tour, Lewis releases his latest single Be Your Man, a downbeat and emotional piano driven song about being in a relationship with someone who is still not over their ex-lover. Lewis’ vocals appear hurt and raw whilst the strength of his voice is a testament to his natural ability as an artist. Lyrics “Well I could kiss you like he did / Bet you wish I had his lips” carry a richness in tone that you don’t find in most singer-songwriters and the song, whilst noticeably stripped back, stands out for its weighted effect.
Daughter – “Burn It Down”
Written to open the video game Before The Storm, indie folk trio Daughter return this week with the intense and dramatic Burn It Down. Sounding similar to a blend of Lorde and Florence Welch, the track starts with dark and haunting vocals before dramatic, sweeping synths and swirling guitars enter the fray underneath Elena Tonga’s vocals. Out of nowhere an intense electronic rattle sparks life into the single which finishes with a Yeah Yeah Yeah’s styled climax. Playing on the natural division of good and bad within someone’s head, Burn It Down is the perfect comeback track, offering a slice of their fragility whilst providing enough chaos to enchant listeners.
Pale Seas – “Someday”
Ahead of the release of long awaited debut album Stargazing For Beginners in October, Southampton indie rock band Pale Seas have released their third single this week with the soothing yet tight Someday. Starting with a drum beat not so different to that of Arcade Fire’s Keep The Car Running, the four piece take a catchy Stereophonics styled riff before a soaring chorus sparks life into the band’s latest work. A purposeful indie rock track, Someday is just another reminder of the talent of this rising band.
Vistas – “Hold Me”
One of the biggest rising bands in the country, Edinburgh four piece Vistas shot to the attention of many with their breakthrough debut single Strong Swimmer. Following on from that track was going to be difficult but it seems that they’ve delivered another stunning hit in Hold Me. A powerful slice of indie rock, Hold Me sees soaring vocals carrying a rich Scottish tone whilst the simple crochet drum beat provides the perfect foot stomping rhythm. A defiant and uplifting anthem, Hold Me has a gloriously energetic chorus with an addictive indie rock riff, similar to the likes of Sundara Karma. A bright and bouncy single, Vistas are continuing show their potential as one of the one’s to watch.
Tori Amos – “Up The Creek”
Returning this week ahead of the release of her 15th studio album, Tori Amos releases a driving electro-pop track, dominated by virtuosic piano and synth strings. Up The Creek sees purposeful verses and a haunting chorus being narrated by Stevie Nicks-esque vocals which whirl around with a hippy vibe. Whilst a dark electronic pulse adds a sense of urgency, Up The Creek stands out more for being explicitly political. Line “Arm against those climate blind” hits out against the current environmental crisis whilst the playoff between the electric guitar solo and the bouncing, uncontrollable piano line reaches a dramatic climax. Featuring vocals from her daughter Tash, the track’s rhythmic intention is applaudable, whilst folk elements from within the chorus take the song in yet another direction. A piece of real experimentation, Up The Creek proves that Amos is back and more creative than ever.
Estrons – “Glasgow Kisses”
Welsh alternative rock risers Estrons have been slowly making a name for themselves over the past two years and this week sees them release one of their most intense tracks to date. Glasgow Kisses sees the four piece using a barrage of guitars to create a ferocious, nothing held back rock single. The wall of noise that appears throughout Glasgow Kisses is, according to front woman Taliesyn Kallstrom, is a nursery rhyme for adult life which studies the fear of commitment and how people protect themselves by hiding their emotions. Whilst not your conventional nursery rhyme, the latest offering from the Welsh band is a knockout single, projecting them to bigger and better heights.
The National – “Carin at the Liquor Store”
Taken as the third single from their soon to be released seventh album Sleep Well Beast, Caring at the Liquor Store is every bit as emotional as you might predict coming from Cincinnati five piece The National. A moving piano arrangement dominates the sparse track in which a simplified drum beat provides solitary moments of rhythm. An evocative ballad, Carin at the Liquor Store contains an element of defeatism in Matt Berninger’s broken vocals. Whilst a predominantly sombre guitar builds up to an arching solo near the track’s climax, the single is a perfect reminder that the US alternative rockers are the leaders of broken rock depression.
White Room – “The Blue”
Brighton indie rockers White Room might not have been on your radar so far, but after listening to the swaggering rock anthem The Blue, be sure to have them down as a band on the rise. Hints of Cage The Elephant run through their latest release The Blue, which acts as a fierce statement of intent for the band. A blast of synth introduces the track which drops into a chasm of percussion and guitar whilst synth elements combine with the shuffling drum beat. A variety of twists and changes, led by the influence of 60’s psychedelic rock shows that the Brighton outfit have found a sound of their own whilst the track’s climax is one of unpolished yet brilliant intent.
Other Noticeable Tracks
Marshmello Feat. Khalid – “Silence”: Stirring new track from EDM’s newest star and teenage sensation Khalid about flirting with the idea of having a relationship. Subtly shifting and snappy synths allow Khalid’s raw yet soulful vocals to soar on one of Marshmello’s best tracks to date.
Mina Rose – “Lemons & Limes”: Intriguing half-spoken, half-rapped single from rising South East London artist Mina Rose, which focuses on heavily dubbed synths and golden R&B vocals whilst Caribbean influences are noticeable, particularly towards the end.
WESLEE – “Bathwater”: Mysterious indie pop duo WESLEE release a spare and delicate new track, Bathwater, which contains hints of Oh Wonder in its delicate vocals, melodic keys and pulsing synths. A beautiful slow jam, Bathwater establishes the London / New York duo as a definite to watch out for.
Henry Jamison – “Sunlit Juice”: Folk tinged single from Vermont singer-songwriter Henry Jamison which tells a juxtaposed story of quitting drinking. Unfolding through its play on words and simple acoustic strum, the track questions the issues surrounding the ability and desire to quit alcohol, and it does so in such a relaxed and easy way.
Ryan Blyth Feat. Scrufizzer and Rae Hall – “You & Me”: Club giant from rising house DJ Ryan Blyth which uses Rae Hall’s soulful vocals to inject a 90’s vibe into the track.
Hinds – “Carribean Moon”: Perfect slacker rock track from Spanish heroes Hinds. A cover, originally by Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine, sees the four piece inject some life into the final few weeks of the summer whilst providing some much needed silliness into this week’s releases.
Avicii Feat. Rita Ora – ‘Lonely Together”: Comeback single from superstar DJ Avicii whose dreamy production and driving synths ignite life into the stunning summer anthem about a struggle with a collapsed relationship and being in a drunk state of mind which wants to revive the relationship. Rita Ora’s golden vocals make the track even more addictive and it’s a stunning comeback single from the Swedish artist.
Grace VanderWaal – “Sick Of Being Told”: Simple and uplifting summer track from the former America’s Got Talent winner, which follows her recent success in the charts. A rebellion song, the track contains raw and honest lyrics and cements VanderWaal as a world prodigy.
WiDE AWAKE Feat. Wiley – “Down Up”: Huge rave track from WiDE AWAKE which uses Grime legend Wiley’s fierce bars to spark conflict and lift the atmosphere of a single destined for mosh pits.
Garrett Kato – “Take It Slowly”: Beautifully pure and sincere harmonies from rising singer-songwriter Garrett Kato in which a hushed strum of an acoustic guitar is the only thing able to take you away from his honest lyrics. A relaxing piece from start to end, the warmth running through his vocals tugs at the heartstrings and establishes Kato as one to watch.
Deaf Havana – “Sickago”: Norfolk rock outfit reach stratospheric heights on new rock anthem Sickago. Eery synths introduce the single whilst powerfully raw vocals and a heavy drum beat stand out on track.