It always seems to amaze us here at The Music Radar UK when we realise that we are compiling the final brilliant mix of tracks from a certain month. This week, we say adieu to August, a month which whilst might not have been hot in temperature, was hot for many other reasons, noticeably the amount of brilliant new artists that have emerged from the shadows to claim some light for their own. As some of the world’s most revered bands, singers, acts and DJ’s display staggering sets across the fields of Reading, Leeds, Creamfields, SW4, Victorious and many more festivals this bank holiday weekend, we can only wish that you have the best of times. Some of the artists on display this weekend have released new tracks this week and whether or not you have managed to hear them, we have some of them reviewed for you right here, so fear not, have a rest to pass the hangover of the last night and enjoy this week’s selection of Tracks of the Week.
Track of the Week: Foo Fighters – “The Sky Is A Neighborhood”
Taken as the second single from Foo Fighters’ forthcoming ninth album Concrete and Gold, The Sky Is A Neighbourhood puts the Seattle rockers firmly at the top of rock’s biggest bands right now. With a calm guitar riff and building backing harmonies introducing the track, Dave Grohl’s signature snarl is thrown straight into the mix alongside a simple but effective rock beat from Taylor Hawkins. There’s a lo-fi quality to Grohl’s vocals on this single, giving it a more DIY produced feel but the emphatic transition of effort and volume from verse to chorus shows that the Foo’s aren’t holding back in terms of quality. A dramatic single about life’s hardships, the chorus to The Sky Is A Neighbourhood is one of the Foo Fighter’s most addictive, with a stunningly powerful sound being controlled by the pounding guitar line. A restricted bridge just allows more impact for when the chorus comes back in and lyrically the song highlights the importance of sticking together as a community no matter what. Without doubt this is one of their most commanding singles, which holds an aura within it, making the track feel more like a victory march than a promotional single.
The Pale White – “Downer”
Newcastle three piece The Pale White have been one of our one’s to watch since they exploded onto the scene earlier this year. An effortlessly cool drum beat thunders across Downer, a single full of attitude and purpose in which a noisy guitar riff stalks across the single. With commanding vocals and a perfect groove, Downer is about cutting loose ends and throwing yourself into Newcastle nightlife. The frenzied chorus feels like a triumphant return from an established band rather than a hopeful indie rock single such is the glorious swagger that spans the track. There is no doubt of the sheer quality of the track which is a sublime offering from a band who took to have the world at their feet.
Taylor Swift – “Look What You Made Me Do”
Whilst rock might have the dominant releases this week, out of the blue came perhaps one of pop’s most important track releases in the comeback single Look What You Made Me Do from global star Taylor Swift. From the start, it’s clear that this isn’t the same Swift that stunned the world on her 1989 album. Events and feuds have changed Swift and the resulting track is a bitter yet brilliant production which is written as a satirical look at the fashion industry whilst also hinting at narcissism. An enchanting string introduction hints at what’s to come before Swift’s purposeful vocals straddle a dominant bass oriented beat. Taking unprecedented shots at her rivals Kanye West, Kim Kardashian West and Katy Perry, this isn’t the type of track you’d expect from one of pop’s most driven artists and the electronic drums on the single offer a new, more R&B centred approach for Swift. Opening lines “I don’t like your little games / Don’t like your tilted stage” are direct shots towards Kanye West and Katy Perry whilst the chorus uses the hook of Right Said Fred’s I’m Too Sexy whilst maintaining the track’s experimental feel, using stabbing piano chords to effectively build into the chorus. It’s a brilliant single highlighting revenge and rebirth, a rebirth into a stronger self but also a push into a new sound for Swift and we can’t wait to hear more of it.
Barns Courtney – “Never Let You Down”
One of the most enigmatic solo performers around right now, alt-rocker Barns Courtney releases new single Never Let You Down, a track which uses Courtney’s iconic twanging guitar riff alongside his soulful yet gravel edged voice. Barns Courtney has an ability to change the atmosphere and tone of the track with just a subtle shift in his vocal delivery. The uplifting indie pop chorus uses a simple keyboard repetition and whilst Never Let You Down might be one of his simplest tracks to date, it is one of the likeliest to become a hit, such us the addictive appeal of the track. There’s still an electrifying guitar solo which would impress even the harshest of critics and with more live dates to come, the future is only going to be great for Barns Courtney.
The Killers – “Wonderful Wonderful”
Ahead of next month’s highly anticipated next album, Las Vegas heroes The Killers release the third single and title track of new record Wonderful Wonderful which is a cinematic and more expansive single than the previous two releases. A rousing horn kickstarts the track before a deep, underlying bass comes to forefront with Brandon Flowers’ vocals containing a haunting and surrealist quality to them, enchanting listener as a thumping distortion of an electric drum beat pounds its way along the track. It seems as if the Vegas four piece have opted to embrace elements of classic rock and shift it far into the future, with a glowing orchestral melody, similar to Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain rising above the chorus, which eventually erupts with total dominance. A shredding guitar line finally comes through in the bridge, but it’s the eclectic nature of the single that stands out most. It’s not the standard singalong anthem that everyone hopes for from the band but it’s creative and shows another dimension to The Killers.
Ofenbach & Nick Waterhouse – “Katchi”
Despite the majority of the summer having already gone, there’s still enough time for an addictive dance track to infect our ears. This week French DJ duo Ofenbach team up with US jazz musician Nick Waterhouse for the insanely addictive single Katchi. From its wonderfully fun doo-wop chorus plus blaring horns which lighten up the track, the trio have managed to create a playful yet soulful piece of music which oozes funk from start to end. Waterhouse’s vocals are powerful and rich whilst Ofenbach’s bouncing musicality creates an instant mood booster.
Liv Lovelle – Won’t Say Too Much”
We’re always lucky to see new artists making a name for themselves each week and this week is the time for pop singer Liv Lovelle to put her name into the spotlight. Debut single Won’t Say Too Much is a seductive yet swaggering combination of pop and hip hop, almost like a more advanced Iggy Azalea production. Urgent and powerful verses appear rapped whilst Lovelle manages to demonstrate her vocal ability in the brilliant chorus which builds up momentum and atmosphere before launching into an ecstatic synth dominated drop, sending the track into the stratosphere. A diverse single, Liz Lovelle is a name to watch out for.
The Rhythm Method – “Something For The Weekend”
Ever since The Streets broke through at the beginning of this century there’s been a slow stream of cheeky, off the kilter acts producing brilliant and quintessentially British tracks. Punk duo Slaves have had the majority of our attention over the past few years but this year might be the birth of a new duo. London duo The Rhythm Method caught our attention last year with their iconic spoken word singles and this week sees them release perhaps their best to date. With a funky guitar line matching the sun rich keyboard chords, Something For The Weekend has charming half rapped, half spoken verses alongside a warm toned chorus which infuses jazz, soul and hip hop. The cheeky single is boosted by golden horns and a brilliant guitar solo which is layered against a variety of backing vocals. The duo have always displayed a playful and humorous side but Something For The Weekend, with it’s sexual humour woven deep into the track, is a single perfect for the summer and their best track to date by some distance.
Angus & Julia Stone – “Chateau”
One of our favourite brother-sister duo’s Angus & Julia Stone return this week with a silky smooth new single Chateau. A delicate build up introduces Angust Stone’s warming vocals which combine beautifully with the laid-back guitar melody. Julia Stone’s vocals have a childlike innocence to them whilst sudden sparks of string instrumentation come in at various intervals in the song. Chateau is an affectionate and warm single which highlights a rare occasion when both male and female vocals work as well individually as they do combined together.
INHEAVEN – “Stupid Things”
Ahead of next week’s self-titled debut album release, Brighton indie rock quartet INHEAVEN have released a calmer and more blissful single called Stupid Things. Inspired by their love of the big screen, the single is full of affection as it tracks the course of a relationship. A continuous drum beat provides some attack against the warm harmonies. Bassist Chloe Little stated that the single was a song for daydreamers due to the decision to hold back vocally. Whilst the band’s vocals are normally ferocious, the choice to restrict the range has done wonders for the song, giving it a sense of airiness and allowing the harmonies to blend perfectly. A perfectly produced single with Springsteen-esque guitars amplifying the track in a majestic way, Stupid Things shows INHEAVEN to be one of the UK’s best new bands and their debut record is a must listen to next week.
Jack Savoretti – “Whiskey Tango”
Having finally broken away from the Paolo Nutini shadow, Jack Savoretti returns this week with new track Whiskey Tango, an uplifting single with a simple guitar riff which carries an addictive quality to it. The single talks about the singer’s will to take the right decisions, but always failing at it, causing his love to fall to pieces. Savoretti’s rich and deep gravelled vocals run golden as usual whilst a bouncing chorus sees calypso styled percussion adding an intriguing flavour to Savoretti’s sound.
30 Seconds To Mars – “Walk On Water”
Following several high-profile movie roles, Jared Leto returns to front US rock giants 30 Seconds To Mars, with the trio releasing new single Walk On Water. A meditative introduction relaxes listeners ahead of what is a huge sounding rock single which embraces the band’s traditional sound alongside new electronic elements. More of a synth-rock sound, Walk On Water is a slight shift into the mainstream but there’s also a brilliant anthem quality to the new track, similar to Imagine Dragons and Fall Out Boy. Lyrics “The far right, the left view / Breaking all those promises made” carry a harsh political edge whilst gospel enriched backing vocals build an atmosphere next to the thumping drum beat. Leto’s vocals are strong and gravelly and the marching drums and booming synths encourage us to stand up for togetherness rather than building walls between each other.
The Modern Strangers – “Hot Rain”
Tunbridge Wells brothers The Modern Strangers have had a brilliant 2017 so far but this week sees the reaching their best, with new single Hot Rains providing high energy guitar pop full of synths alongside a purposeful indie rock beat. As well as slight similarities to Bloc Party, there’s an escapist 80’s sheen that washes over the blissful single. A brilliant offering, The Modern Strangers have a mature yet groovy sound.
Other Noticeable Tracks
Model Aeroplanes – “Fever”: Dundee four piece Model Aeroplanes offer a thumping and urgent new single with a grunge based riff that spans the track. A twinkling synth line and bouncing groove adds a sparkling sense of electricity which runs beautifully throughout, aided by Rory Fleming-Stewart’s vocals.
Demi Lovato – “Tell Me You Love Me”: The former Disney star showcases her vocal strength on this heartsick yet powerful pop single which infuses horns, electric guitar and synths in an uplifting and hard-hitting chorus.
Superwalkers Feat. Dominique – “Three Times a Lover”: Glowing 90’s pop track from Swedish duo Superwalkers which blends Dominique’s dreamy vocals with an addictive bass line and mellow synths. A blissful summer comedown track that oozes style and rhythm whilst providing a calm backbeat to a warm evening.
Beck – “Dear Life”: Ever the unpredictable, Beck returns this week with bouncing piano track Dear Life in which heavy piano interchanges with a scuzzy guitar riff. Dominated by the jaunty piano line, Dear Life is an upbeat single which masks complex and deep rooted lyrics with the good-natured vibe in its musicality.
Hudson Taylor – “Feel It Again”: Uplifting comeback single from Irish duo Hudson Taylor which embraces their folk pop roots and rhythmic acoustic guitar sound amongst a charmingly addictive chorus
Jadu Heart – “I’m A Kid”: Slow yet blissfully groovy single from the eccentric rising duo, whose sound branches so many genres, it’s impossible to pin down their sound. With psychedelic and woozy guitars layering themselves upon a simple electronic drum beat, latest single I’m A Kid is their best offering so far.
Ray Dalton – “If You Fall”: Slick and soulful pop track from former Macklemore collaborator Ray Dalton who finally steps out for his own solo career. A blissful synth filled dance chorus exudes a sense of euphoria whilst hiding the feelings of despair about love that Dalton had whilst writing the single.
Noah Cyrus – “Almost Famous”: Stripped back acoustic track from the younger Cyrus sister, who’s stepping into her own light this year. Noah Cyrus describes the desire to be in a relationship whilst knowing that she’s not ready for one. It’s an honest ballad that tugs at the heartstrings and shows a stunning maturity to the rising singer.
LÉON – “Body”: An upbeat yet relaxed synth-pop track which resembles something from the 80’s sees LÉON’s vocals take the forefront. The deep rawness of her voice is a beauty to behold and highlights an artist starting to reach a new high point in her career.
R3HAB Feat. Khrebto – “You Could Be”: Euphoric dance single from Dutch DJ R3HAB and rising Russian producer Khrebto which uses a sharp electronic drum march and tinkling keys before spiralling synths build the single up to a melodic yet brilliant breakdown which works perfectly with there hypnotic and crisp vocals.
Marmozets – “Play”: Ferocious offering from Bingley rock five piece Marmozets which uses crashing drums and an intricate yet dominating riff to give off a fierce single full of attitude. With Becca Macintyre, they have a vocalist capable of bringing punk into the mainstream whilst the heavy rock breakdown appeals to their more devoted fan base.
Kah-Lo Feat. Riton – “Fasta”: Nigerian born singer Kah-Lo shines on this carnival ready anthem, produced by frequent collaborator and dance giant Riton. Dancehall vocals layer upon Riton’s house beat which creates a seductive piece from a singer with huge future potential.