Writing throughout the year can sometimes be a daunting experience, but as each month progresses, we get to experience different moments with different people. Last week, we got chatting to parents of children who were just starting school, many reminiscing on their memories from past school days. It brought us into the topic of youth which quickly moved us into the topic of university and adulthood. As I write this, many friends left home this weekend to start their new lives at universities across the world. It’s an emotional time for everyone but something that enables us to stay calm and reminisce with fondness on the past is music. Artists, songs, records and playlists all have a place in our hearts and this week, we have a host of new music that could provide a soundtrack for those meeting new friends this weekend. We hope you enjoy this week’s selection of Tracks of the Week just as much as we did.
Track of the Week: Isaac Gracie – “Silhouettes Of You”
Following the release of the dramatic title track of his upcoming EP, The Death Of You & I, Isaac Gracie releases a new single this week called Silhouettes Of You. Moving back to his gorgeous Jeff Buckley-inspired sound, the new track is an intense, slow-burning single that starts with just vocals and chilled acoustic strumming. Gracie’s pure vocals are something that have to be heard to gain the credit they deserve and a haunting backing vocal track whirls around in the background. A heartfelt track which blooms with the gradual increase of instrumentation, Silhouettes Of You is filled with passion which matches perfectly with a sublime string input to create one of Gracie’s best productions to date.
King Krule – “Dum Surfer”
Former British wondered King Krule dazzled with his debut record and this week he returns with the debut single from forthcoming second record The Ooz. Dum Surfer highlights King Krule in a new light, a considerably darker and demonic light. A slightly eerie introduction hints that Krule’s new material might not be as bright and shining as expected and as the slightly off-kilter guitar line trickles in, Krule’s demonic vocals stalk along the simple drum beat. There’s a seductive sleaze to this experimental single which contains a lengthy jazz-inspired instrumental section which is dominated with a flickering guitar solo. For some, us included, Dum Surfer was uncomfortable from start to finish but there’s a unique hold that the single has on you that’s impossible to shake off until the horn section draws the track to a close.
Confidence Man – “Better Sit Down Boy”
Brisbane dance-funk four piece Confidence Man are slowly taking over 2017 with their staggering live shows and infectious tunes. This week sees the collective produce yet another nonchalant dance track with a shuffling samba beat and weaving melodies Better Sit Down Boy explodes into a 2000’s era pop chorus similar to the likes of Girls Aloud, which is humorous to compare to but will be a surprising throwback for some listeners. Filled with a hyperactive rhythm section, the track’s vocals are commanding yet playful. Whilst there are dance group’s who have mastered the infectious quality that the genre can command, Confidence Man have opted for something different, choosing a more playful yet slightly ironic sound, that’s got to be applauded for.
Rex Orange County – “Edition”
It’s been an incredible week for Alex O’Connor aka Rex Orange County. He performed with Skepta at the Mercury Prize awards show on Thursday and was highlighted as “the vibrant and vulnerable songwriter his generation needs” by NME on Friday. He also released a new single, called Edition, which is a golden R&B track which highlights just how unique he is in the British music industry. Similar to the likes of Frank Ocean, the minimalistic track is about the breakdown of a relationship and sees O’Connor battling with whether to continue or end the partnership. The slight distortion in keys is just one element to the track’s sublime production. There’s no hiding the fact now, Rex Orange County is an artist on the verge of hitting the big time.
The Killers – “Some Kind Of Love”
Ahead of the release of fifth album Wonderful Wonderful, The Killers release a fourth single from the record in Some Kind Of Love, a floating, ambient composition dedicated towards singer Brandon Flowers’ wife, who is diagnosed with PTSD. The enchanting and mystic single is based on the motif from Brian Eno’s 1983 track An Ending (Ascent), which explains the presence of a sparse guitar line. Some Kind Of Love is a beautiful single, showing Flowers in a more vulnerable and personal light. His vocals are pure alongside the subtle drum beat and piano chord line, whilst Eno’s presence on the track is clear with minor 80’s pop elements. A deeply personal track for the Las Vegas rock band, it highlights the diversity of material that’s set to appear on the forthcoming record.
Arcane Roots – “Indigo”
Returning this week with their second album, Kingston alternative three piece Arcane Roots haven’t released a record in four years and Melancholia Hymns appears to be a shining light on the trio’s career. Standout track Indigo is an emotive single in which a deep and atmospheric synth line blasts under a flickering electronic line. Andrew Groves’ vocals pulsate almost as a chant whilst an intricate guitar riff builds the track’s tension before a climatic blend of rolling drums and repeating vocals collide and then fade solemnly out. The lengthy single however, whilst appearing to be over with a fading of strings, allows a further two minutes for Groves’ pure and clear vocals to shine back amongst a sparse whirlwind of synths and effects.
Julia Jacklin – “Cold Caller”
Sydney based singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin is perhaps one of the best thing’s to come out of Australia this year. With enchanting, flowing vocals and swaying drums, Cold Caller is a typically refined and relaxed single from Jacklin which channels her folk roots in the refreshing mix of acoustic and electric guitar. A beautiful ode to her sister, Cold Caller was written during the pregnancy of Julia’s sibling and reflects on her emotional and physical maturity whilst touching on a fear of change. Delicate and evocative lyrics possess an intimate quality whilst an electric guitar solo ignites the ending of the single, further defining Jacklin as an artist to watch out for in the coming months.
Labrinth – “Misbehaving”
Timothy McKenzie aka Labrinth has already had an incredible career in the music industry, producing for the likes of Tinie Tempah and earning critical acclaim from music mogul Simon Cowell, before launching his own successful solo career. This week, he returns with new music for the first time since 2014 with Misbehaving, a swaggering and soulful single which starts almost as a throwback to breakthrough single Earthquake, with its deep, pulsating synths and a showman’s introductory vocals. Misbehaving bridges across funk, soul and pop and boosts the mix with the repetitive yet pulsating synth sequence. Towards the end of the single, the track breaks down into a relaxed piano bridge before returning to its playful and expansive combination of electronic synths and soul-filled vocals. An intriguing and risk-taking return, Labrinth is an artist with so much creative energy, that it’s impossible not to be excited by his return.
Jessie Ware – “Alone”
This week, R&B singer Jessie Ware released the third single from her recently named third record Glasshouse which is due to be out in October. Starting with a mellow piano introduction, the soulful single is instantly lifted with Ware’s shining vocals. Subtle gospel backing voices lift the track to a new level, one that is calm and serenely beautiful. Alone is carried by minimalistic drum beats which enable Ware’s enchanting and longing lyrics to make its desired effect on the listener. As simple hand-clapping adds a slower, more rooted groove, Alone is a perfectly romantic single from Ware, establishing her as one to watch in the coming months as she continues to make her long awaited comeback.
Fall Out Boy – “The Last Of The Real Ones”
Illinois rock band Fall Out Boy have already made their mark on the year with two diverse and at times utterly confusing singles. This week sees the four piece continue to deliver their expansive and dynamic sound with The Last Of The Real Ones, a track dominated by a bouncing piano line and a thundering and urgent chorus which pounds its way across the single. Patrick Stump’s vocals take a more direct delivery whilst the band’s ability to create soaring rock anthems is undeniable. Deep drums and soaring synths push the track into a greater dimension and whilst it might be perfect for head-banging, it looks to be a certified hit for fans across the genre.
JP Cooper Feat. Stormzy – “Mumma’s Prayers”
Manchester born singer-songwriter JP Cooper’s debut record Raised Under Grey Skies is set to be released in less than a month’s time and this week sees the singer team up with grime star Stormzy for a softly-sung piano led ballad in which Cooper’s soulful vocals match with Stormzy’s half spoken-work, half rapped lyrics. Gospel synths add an uplifting quality to the duo’s dedication to mothers around the world. The vocal back and forth routine between the two artists is perfect as the single builds to an uplifting celebration of family with a soul and gospel infused melody. An ingenious collaboration which pushes the two UK artists into new territories, 2017 is full of surprises.
Grace VanderWaal – “So Much More Than This”
It’s been just over a year since the child sensation Grace VanderWaal won America’s Got Talent, aged 12. This week sees VanderWaal release a new track that will appear on her recently announced debut album, set to be released at the start of November. A toe-tapping single, So Much More Than This uses an upbeat guitar line to lift the song up onto a delicate and calm cloud of simple yet joyous pop. Lyrically, the track is an honest reflection on her past and for someone so young, it’s impressive just how much professionalism and attitude VanderWaal can inject into her music. A great single, it shows that child stars do have the quality needed to make it into the music industry.
Post Malone Feat. 21 Savage – “rockstar”
Rumoured to be the first single from his upcoming second record, Post Malone returns this week with the release of rockstar, a track which balances spacious bars with the perfect amount of swagger. A minimalistic beat enables Malone to choose a variety of directions to move in whilst 21 Savage’s verse injects more attitude into the track. Whilst 21 Savage’s verse is good, it’s Malone’s intricate vocals and bars, with their addictive nature in tone, which stand out the most. Whilst the sophomore album has been delayed a couple of times, rockstar is the perfect track to get people hyped up for what is to come, hinting at a new direction for the New York born rapper.
Jacob Banks – “Unknown (To You)”
Whilst singer-songwriter Jacob Banks previously released track Unknown on his 2015 The Paradox EP, he returns back to that composition this week with a striking new arrangement for the track, which showcases his powerful vocals. Renamed Unknown (To You), the track blends mellow piano with subtle background strings, which do its job of remaining sublimely beautiful but also relatively downbeat. This allows Banks’ vocals to reach full potential, with a clear and powerful performance carrying a slight rawness as he extends his range further along the single. Building to a powerful climax, the track is more soulful than it’s previous form and is considerably more likely to become a hit now that his vocals have been given a greater platform to excel on.
BLOXX – “Coke”
One of our favourite new artists in 2017, BLOXX have blown us away with their brilliant indie-rock sound and ahead of upcoming tours supporting Sundara Karma and INHEAVEN, they release yet another new single in Coke. Mixing grunge and indie rock, the North London four piece opt for a more spacious sound than their previous tracks but opt to use a rifling riff to carry the single. Written around a time of confusion with growing up as an adult, the band manage to tackle naivety and youthfulness before building the track to a soaring conclusion. A more complete single production-wise, Coke continues BLOXX’s steam of great singles, proving them to be a band worth seeing in the coming months.
Other Noticeable Tracks
Bjork – “The Gate”: Deep and emotional return from legendary artist Bjork whose latest single tackles heartbreak, oneness and spirituality. Using multi-tracked vocal harmonies, harp-like synths, and a variety of effects and vocal distortions, The Gate is every bit as quirky a single as you might expect, but it hides some of Bjork’s originality in the delicately beautiful single about love and loss.
YUNGBLUD – “I Love You, Will You Marry Me”: Channeling rock, indie, punk and ska might sound like a horrendous challenge but for 19 year old YUNGBLUD, it’s a glorious mix. Taking elements from RAT BOY and Jamie T, the singer-songwriter showcases his personality in abundance, swaggering across the bouncing track, slinking and bouncing like a modern day solo version of Madness. Simply sublime, he’s a must see in the coming months.
Enter Shikari – “Rabble Rouser”: St Albans rock band return with a mashup of rock, electronica, drum and bass and jungle in the obscure yet wild Rabble Rouser. Whilst ferocious guitars violently build like in a traditional Shikari track, the normal huge drops are replaced with diverse and at times minimalistic electronic shuffles. Packed with intent and experimentation, the track perhaps signals a new sound for the upcoming record.
Tove Styrke – “Mistakes”: 2017 will be known for many things, but theme that’s becoming more and more apparent is the huge list of talent currently streaming out of Scandinavia, and Sweden in particular. Tove Styrke is the latest Swedish pop diva to emerge into the market this week, with the insanely catchy yet minimalistic electro-pop single Mistakes which comes across as a perfectly refined single fit for anyone to sit back and enjoy.
Martin Luke Brown – “Opolite”: Leicester born singer-songwriter Martin Luke Brown channels his electronic influences on the funky and rhythmic new single Opalite. Unexpected synths mix with enriched vocals to create a soaring yet still infectious chorus whilst the end product is one of a groovy and refreshed nature.
Gucci Mane Feat. The Weeknd – “Curve”: Standout track on the Atlanta-based rapper’s latest album which is carried by The Weeknd’s golden voice, dancing across the single in a fast paced yet swaggering manner. Gucci Mane’s staggered vocals drag along slightly but work well with the minimal beat but it is the guest spot that makes the track so great.
Lorde Feat. Khalid, Post Malone and SZA – “Homemade Dynamite (Remix)”: New Zealand star enlists R&B sensations Khalid and SZA and rapper Post Malone for an R&B remake of her Melodrama single Homemade Dynamite. Whilst fairly similar to the original version of the track, it’s Khalid’s rich vocals which ignite a new start into the single, highlighting him as one of 2017’s biggest successes.
Marilyn Manson – “WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE”: Brutally sinister new track from the terrifying yet brilliant Marilyn Manson. His latest offering prowls amongst a fierce guitar and synth build up before dropping into a sprawling mass of metal. Not for the faint hearted, this single is perfect for times when you just need to get angry.
Niall Horan – “Too Much To Ask”: The third single from the former One Direction member is a mournful piano ballad about wishing that a former loved one would regret the breakup as much as Horan. There’s a mature sound from Niall Horan on the new single, which has a certain catchiness to its soft rhythm whilst hoping lyrics depart to make way for a calm guitar solo.
The XCERTS – “Daydream”: Brighton trio The XCERTS return with a raucous and scuzzy pop number with simple yet thundering drums and soaring vocals from frontman Murray Macleod. A guitar-filled single, Daydream is a great punk-pop tune.
ADP Feat. Jeremih and Ebenezer – “No Good For Me”: Debut single from the former M.I.A and Krept & Konan producer which uses a heavy baseline and EDM infused production whilst R&B singer Jeremih croons about past relationship issues with an ex. A vicious lyrical offering, the track shines with Jeremih’s vocals and proves to be a brilliant debut offering from ADP.
Sarah Close – “Only You”: Written out of frustration with how a relationship is going, Isle of Wight singer-songwriter Sarah Close has been attracting a lot of attention over the past few months with her indie pop crossover music. Latest single Only You is a soaring electro-pop single showcasing Close’s vocal range alongside a thumbing beat and dancing synths.
Weezer – “Beach Boys”: Sun-soaked rock single honouring the legendary band of the track’s name, which as expected, is uplifting and fun, providing a dominant bass line whilst Rivers Cuomo’s vocals project an inner Brian Wilson essence on the track which is perfect for long, summer evenings.
Catherine McGrath – “Talk of This Town”: Country’s next big star, Catherine McGrath releases the first track from her 2018 debut album this week which acts as a response to doubters as she develops as an artist. Whilst remaining blisteringly fresh, the single channels some of the genre’s biggest stars and puts McGrath in the limelight as a star in the making.
Oscar and the Wolf – “Runaway”: The third single from Belgium’s own Oscar and the Wolf’s second album, Runaway describes how everything you desire has the potential to lead to destruction. Whilst dark in meaning, the track has a slinking bass groove and shuffling beat to lift your spirit.