Making a mark on the year is something that many artists dream to do, especially rising ones. Throughout 2017, we have seen a staggering amount of new artists break through into the mainstream, many of which have started to build a platform in which they can progress even further. This week’s Tracks of the Week highlights a number of rising stars who look to make their mark on 2017. Alongside these new artists are some of music’s best, including some who have returned unexpectedly but thankfully for our enjoyment. Here are our Tracks of the Week with in depth reviews.
Track of the Week: LCD Soundsytem – “tonite”
The staggering 2017 comeback of disco rock mega-band LCD Soundsystem will standout as a defining moment in 2017’s music news. Having already released two tracks, the New York outfit return this week with tonite, the third single from their upcoming album which is to be released in two weeks. Kicking off with a repetitive, pulsating synth and electronic beat combination, similar to that of Daft Punk, the track builds up slowly before introducing more and more lines of rhythmic influences that combine for an atmospheric climax before fading back out into the underlying starting beat. Opening line “Everybody’s singing the same song” highlights the derivative nature of current pop music whilst “Oh sure it’s ruling the airwaves / What remains of the airwaves” hits out at the surge in streaming over recent years. James Murphy’s iconic vocals weave perfectly atop the beat and as the track progresses it becomes more urgent both vocally and instrumentally. Ending on a wave of bitterness and fear of getting older, Murphy has once again created a true dancefloor track that goes right back to their original sound.
Pale Waves – “Television Romance”
It’s already been an incredible year for Manchester’s indie pop newcomers Pale Waves. Having had their debut single There’s A Honey being produced by giants The 1975, the group toured with the band and return this week with a new single, Television Romance. With shrill guitar feedback kickstarting the track, there’s an essence of The 1975’s arena styled indie pop right from the beginning. Shimmering, summer-ready vocals boost the addictive chorus which is about someone having an interest in you, but the feeling is not reciprocated. As the vocal line layers up in the final chorus before breaking off into a climatic ending, there’s a real sense that Pale Waves could become the next big thing. An uplifting and brilliant production, Television Romance looks to gather even more love for the band from adoring fans.
Ardyn – “Throwing Stones”
Over the course of the year, we have become more and more infatuated with alternative pop duo Ardyn, who are sibling duo Rob and Katy Pearson. Melodic and gently stabbing synths pulsate across latest track Throwing Stones right from the beginning. Katie’s shrill Kate Bush-esque vocals are phenomenal and combine beautifully with the vocals of her brother whilst the chorus is an intertwining mix of perfect harmonies and subtly rising guitars which create an addictive flow to the section. Inspired by feeling disillusioned with the current state of politics and unrest in the world, Throwing Stones is a perfect mix of guitars, synths, electronic beats and vocals which combine to make a startling and atmospheric single, produced by previous collaborator Tourist. Another golden track from the Gloucestershire duo, Throwing Stones looks set to become a new favourite.
Flyte – “Faithless”
We’ve had our fair share of brilliant rising bands over the course of the year so far, but Flyte are something else. Providing us with a sound like no other, the four piece had us enticed with their last release Cathy Come Home and this week sees them bring out yet another single, Faithless which was originally out in 2013. The track starts with a flourish of piano before fading into a Beatles styled verse, which stays as melodic as the band’s previous tracks, swaying along with their calming backing harmonies and simple yet emotional chorus. A brilliant guitar solo towards the end provides the only moment of individuality on the track which is pleasant but with Faithless, it’s the communal spirit of the band coming together that makes it so great. Elements of space give the track an aerated quality and the single as a whole is so breathtaking due to its simplicity.
Wolf Alice – Beautifully Unconventional”
Ahead of the highly anticipated release of second album Visions of a Life, Wolf Alice release their third single of 2017 this week called Beautifully Unconventional. Written about one of singer Ellie Rowsell’s friends, the track is dominated with a direct and chunky guitar line whilst Rowell’s vocals cut across the chorus with enough bite. Perhaps one of the simplest tracks that Wolf Alice have produced so far, Beautifully Unconventional is a rallying cry for both fans and the band. A short but catchy single, it highlights the diversity of the band’s upcoming record given the distinctly different sounds of the two previously released singles.
Maisie Peters – “Place We Were Made”
This week’s music releases highlights the effect of online platforms such as YouTube on the current industry as one of it’s most popular rising singers, 17 year old Maisie Peters, releases her first single as an artist. An intricate acoustic track, Place We Were Made is a tribute to Peters’ hometown with a beautiful and sweet melody which highlights her ability as an artist. A coming of age single, lyrics “All that I know is / No matter how far away / This is the place we were made” are sung with a vulnerable yet warm tone. A beautifully serene background string section washes a breath of calmness over the track, which is a delightful debut release from the young singer-songwriter.
Nothing But Thieves – “I’m Not Made By Design”
Ahead of the upcoming release of second album Broken Machine, Nothing But Thieves release their their third track of the year. With a strong and stealthy sound, a purposeful bass line thumps its way across the introduction whilst Connor Mason’s vocals ignite from the first note of I’m Not Made By Design, a track that rejects the notion of a “higher being” whilst embracing individuality. A deep drum beat keeps the track moving at a pace before a magnificent drop into the chorus sparks a chaotic combination of vocals, guitars and drums. Forever moving faster, I’m Not Made By Design entices and infects all that listen allows Mason the perfect platform to display the range of his voice. An arena styled instrumental section of whiling guitars and crashing drums climaxes at the very top of a screaming falsetto before fading into an abyss as the track comes to an abrupt end. A single of seismic proportion, the band have a sound that belongs in arenas.
Blaenavon – “The Monte Carlo Kid”
Less than six months since their incredible debut record That’s Your Lot, Hampshire trio Blaenavon return this week with the surprise release of a four track EP. The standout track for us on the EP, The Monte Carlo Kid, uses simple drums and a catchy guitar riff to draw you in. The melodic vocals of Ben Gregory rise and fall as the song progresses, combining with sighing backing vocals and a heavy dose of echoing from Gregory’s lead vocals which gives the track a dreamy quality to it. An air of complexity and mystery brushes over the song and the twists and turns of the single are unexpected, climaxing with an urgent mix of instruments and vocals at the finale. A huge track for the band, The Monte Carlo Kid highlights the uniqueness of the Hampshire trio and signals big things to come for the band.
Miley Cyrus – “Younger Now”
One of pop’s most controversial stars, Miley Cyrus continues her rejuvenated comeback this week with the release of the title track of her upcoming sixth album. Led by a dominating bass line, Younger Now sees a mixture of acoustic and electronic elements whilst Cyrus’ vocals soar with strength perfectly in the chorus. Verse “No one stays the same / You know what goes up must come down / Change is a thing you can count on / I feel so much younger now” details Cyrus’ switch to a new artistic direction but Younger Now isn’t a rejection of her past, it’s more of an acceptance and embracement of all that has happened. With the odd lo-fi styled production crackle, the synth-driven single highlights a staggering development of one of the most intriguing pop stars of this century.
Skip Marley – “Refugee”
Jamaican-born and Miami-raised singer-songwriter Skip Marley has been on our radar for some time now since his brilliant collaboration with Katy Perry earlier on this year. The grandson of the legendary Bob Marley looks to slowly be stepping out into his own light this week with the release of a new and more commercial centred track Refugee. Opening lines “I saw her on fences through all the borders / She’s been a lot of places, sharks in the water” show from the off that this is a highly political track detailing the current refugee crisis. With calm, soulful verses there’s a clear reggae influence running throughout the single which lifts up in the chorus with a wonderful trickle of saxophone. Refugee is a well rounded piece from Marley, which highlights his strength as an artist and as a spokesman for some of the biggest world problems that we are currently faced with.
Other Noticeable Tracks
Bastille – “Basket Case”: Beautiful string led cover of the iconic Green Day track by pop giants Bastille which evolves into a fast paced combination of drums and a litany of string instruments. A stunning orchestration, the cover highlights the sheer musical talent of the band whilst Dan Smith’s vocals soar towards the finale.
Nick Mulvey – “We Are Never Apart”: Refreshingly relaxed new single from Cambridge singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey which adopts a simpler acoustic guitar line whilst introducing additional strings, percussion and backing vocals. A spirited track, We Are Never Apart opens Mulvey’s more musically creative side, whilst remaining beautiful in its vocal delivery and musical arrangement.
Tom Tripp – Pamela: Seductive track from North London newcomer Tom Tripp which embraces smooth Weekend-esque vocals. Soaring vocals combine with a wonderful funk pop groove to create an infectious mix of soulful R&B.
The Beaches – “Money”: Scuzzy Strokes-esque single from new Toronto all-girl rock band The Beaches which includes a stunning fast paced chorus of gritty rock.
Sub Focus & Rudimental Featuring. Chronixx and Maverick Sabre – “Trouble”: Sublime dubstep track from drum and bass DJ Sub Focus and heavyweight dance group Rudimental who team up with Jamaican reggae singer Chronixx and the soulful Maverick Sabre. Taking a variety of elements from across the genre of dance, Trouble is a festival-ready anthem that moves at such a pace it’s impossible not to dance to.
Weezer – “Mexican Fender”: Summery new single from the brilliant rock outfit ahead of the release of their upcoming 11th album which uses a gigantic and addictive guitar riff before a huge pop rock chorus takes over. About a girl that singer Rivers Cuomo met in a guitar shop, the track sees summery backing chorus vocals mix against a fast drumbeat and guitar line.
Toulouse – “Hurtin”: Exciting New York newcomer releases a soulful, Motown inspired debut single which embraces elements across the world of music. Flourishes of big band instrumentation mix with serenely beautiful strings whilst an electric guitar solo follows Toulouse’s deep and driving vocals.
Ider – “Learn To Let Go”: London newcomers Ider find their hidden confidence and freedom in their latest single which uses calm synths, snapping beats and a relaxed guitar line. A soulful and high-spirited track, Learn To Let Go sees the duo reaching a bigger, more polished sound.