The start of the academic year is always a chaotic period for many people. In a world which is ever-changing, one thing that will remain a constant is the quality of new tracks that we receive each week. As Autumn starts to fall, there is a wide selection of tracks set to soundtrack the next period of the year. Here are our Tracks of the Week with in depth reviews.
Track of the Week: HMLTD – “Satan, Luella & I”
One of the country’s most popular rising bands, HMLTD have a huge underground following with their eccentric, gender fluid approach to pop and this week’s latest release Satan, Luella & I highlights the swaggering yet playful quality of a band with no boundaries. With a thumping key line and the occasional blast of a brass section, the single is surrounded with a sense of chaos from the commanding vocals of Henry Spychalski whose Freddy Mercury-esque attitude gives the track a punk feel. The kaleidoscopic pop track is ambitious and dramatic, with calmer backing vocals smoothing the single in the chorus. A brilliantly original piece, Satan, Luella & I is a sign of brilliant things to come.
Jessie Ware – “Selfish Love”
With her second track of the summer, Jessie Ware turns to a seductive new sound on Selfish Love. Perfectly atmospheric and definitely sultry, the Benny Blanco and Cashmere Cat produced song contains a slight Latin texture with a Bossanova-esque groove. Jessie Ware’s gorgeous tone fits perfectly with the dubbed guitar to give the single a classic feel. Oozing style and sophistication, Selfish Love is one of Ware’s best tracks so far and bodes well for the next album.
Sløtface – “Backyard”
One of our favourite new bands in 2017, Norwegian pop punk band Sløtface are a band to watch out for. With a stream of brilliant singles already under the belts as well as an incoming debut album in less than two weeks, the band have released latest single Backyard which highlights the pop punk roots of the group. Haley Shea’s clean vocals switch from commanding and raspy to upbeat and innocent. A rough guitar strum cuts right through the track in which elements of Paramore, Wolf Alice and Jimmy Eat World can be seen upon. Impressing drums crash further along the track whilst a general angsty and argumentative attitude makes Backyard one of the Norwegian group’s best tracks.
Elijah Miller – “Coffee Man”
Whilst you may not be accustomed to the emotive sounds of Elijah Miller, a listen to his latest record The Garden will quickly shift your focus towards the Bedford singer-songwriter. One of the album’s standout singles, Coffee Man, highlights an innocent yet broken quality to Miller, whose powerful and raw vocals are apparent from the very start of the track. Its broken guitar sequence adds a serene ambiance which fits perfectly aside the singer’s voice. Miller picks out the perfect moment to introduce further elements into the single, from hauntingly pure background harmonies to a simple bass drum thump. A spacious bridge section which consists simply of guitar is the introduction to what becomes a clattering mix of drums and electric feedback. Returning to sparse vocals at the end, Coffee Man closes in perfect fashion. Whilst musically atmospheric, it’s Miller’s vocals which stand out on this single and highlight the singer-songwriter as an artist to watch out for in the coming months.
Ten Tonnes – “Cracks Between”
Ethan Barnett aka Ten Tonnes is one of our standout newcomers in 2017. The indie singer-songwriter teams up this week with ex-Macabees member Felix White for latest single Cracks Between. The soulful rock single carries a slight edge with the guitar whilst the clattering and ever changing drum rhythm adds another layer of unpredictable indie rock sheen over the song. Written as a light hearted look at a break-up, Cracks Between builds to a joyful sprawl of guitar and drums. A must see in the coming months, Ten Tonnes is one of the country’s most promising artists.
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – “Over Everything”
Perhaps one of 2017’s most unexpected moves, the announcement of Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile’s collaboration album was one of the most exciting things that we’ve heard in recent months. Two defining artists in the so-called indie slacker category, Vile and Barnett have already proved to be sensational lyricists and musicians and their first track together Over Everything highlights just how good they are. Relaxed and drawn out, the calm single is full of meticulous and obscure observations as guitars build up together to a climax which soars for over two minutes. The slacker vibe that’s given off is undeniable yet irresistible and moments of wonderful harmonies highlight the ease of Vile and Barnett as musical collaborators. Their mind’s seem to intertwine in the track and it’s hard to pick out just who is responsible for various creative flourishes. A perfect visual track, Over Everything is just the first taste of an album that we expect to define the genre in which they have shone in over the last few years.
Pumarosa – “My Gruesome Loving Friend”
The latest single from their stunning debut record The Witch, My Gruesome Loving Friend sees London five-piece Pumrosa reach bigger and more affectionate heights. Electronic synths waver unpredictably before Isabel Monoz-Newsome’s vocals appear in enchanted fashion. There’s a distinctive Yeah Yeah Yeah’s quality to Pumarosa which is evident in the new single whilst swirling, atmospheric guitars are contrasted with other-dimensional synths. A commanding single, Pumarosa are leading London’s music scene into a new direction.
Joel Baker – “Save”
Nottingham born singer-songwriter Joel Baker has been poking through the surface of the music industry across the last few years but has yet to completely break his way through. This week however, sees Baker reaching new heights on the unconventional piano ballad Save. Baker’s raw vocals stand out from the beginning with half rapped half sung verses similar to those by Ed Sheeran. A beautiful single which laments for a loved one, Save is the kind of track that turns heads, with its infusion of pop and hip hop creating an addictive single.
Nothing But Thieves – “Broken Machine”
This week sees UK rock band Nothing But Thieves release the title track of the band’s second record which in turn is to be released next week. With a subtle introduction, Broken Machine is built around the hushed vocals of Connor Mason and a winding vocal synth effect. A sudden and urgent switch sees Mason’s vocals change to a distorted screech, similar to Matt Belamy is Muse’s Psycho. The sparkling single builds in attitude and swagger whilst retaining its instrumental simplicity. The repetitive and catchy bridge section highlights the development of the Brighton band, showing that they can make subtle and intricate music as well as atmospheric rock bangers.
Hurts – “Ready To Go”
English synth pop duo Hurts have already had an uplifting career filled with brilliant tracks but 2017 seems to be the year in which they return to their best. Latest track Ready To Go is a poppy, piano dominated single with funky moments of slinking bass. A soaring synth-driven chorus is uplifting whilst the dancing piano adds a pulsating rhythm to the track. Reminiscent to the shifts made by OneRepublic and Maroon 5 to a more pop centred sound, Ready To Go shows a new potential for the duo.
The National – “Day I Die”
Cincinnati’s finest rock band release yet another track this week in the melodic yet purposeful single Day I Die. Scratchy guitars and deep drums introduce the single as Matt Berninger’s vocals melodically dancer of the music, which is dominated by an ever-present synth line which sits subtly underneath the song. Line “They will meet me anytime and anywhere” shows the desirability of Berninger whilst the thumping drums from Bryan Devendorf add weight to the track. A cathartic riff swings midway through which is just another example of how The National can create some of the most beautiful piece of music. A mournful yet meticulous single, Day I Die is yet another piece of evidence of the glorious record that is soon to be arriving.
Other Noticeable Tracks
Maroon 5 Feat. SZA – “What Lovers Do”: Fun and upbeat pop track from US giants Maroon 5 in which Adam Lavine’s seductive tone is a joy to behold. Rising R&B star SZA adds a shining layer of raw talent over the top, highlighting her ability as a potential world-beater.
Bruno Major – “On Our Own”: Gorgeously restricted compilation from the sensational singer-songwriter Bruno Major which tops off his A Song For Every Moon collection. A heartbreaking account of his grandmother’s death, the single challenges Major both artistically and emotionally as we see him deal with love, loss and faith. The subtle string section adds another layer of emotive beauty and closes the track perfectly.
Opal People – “2 Channel”: Hazy electro pop single from the youthful yet intelligent duo Opal People. A breakup track in which the singer admits they are responsible for the breakup, there’s a psychedelic mist that falls upon the single which highlights Opal People as a creative duo with a considerable amount of potential still to reach.
Benjamin Francis Leftwich – “Rebellion (Lies)”: A cover of sublime beauty from the quiet yet brilliant singer-songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich, who takes the classic Arcade Fire anthem and strips it back to its very core.
Mr. Probz Feat. Anderson. Paak – “Gone”: Amsterdam DJ Mr. Probz enlists the world dominating Anderson. Paak on latest single Gone, a warm and groovy ride in which the DJ restricts himself in order to allow Paak’s jazz infused hip hop to reach it’s maximum potential.
Andreas Moe – “Free Fall”: Leading track from Moe’s recently released record, Free Fall is an uplifting pop single which is carried by a guitar based rhythm aside Moe’s warm vocals. A carefree single, Free Fall is a perfectly produced single from an artist to keep an eye on.