Friday, 5 January 2018

Tracks of the Week (January 1st-5th)

2017 was a great year for music. We had excellent comebacks (Arcade Fire, QOTSA and Gorillaz), immense debut albums (The Big Moon, Declan McKenna and Sampha) and the return of King Kendrick with the impeccable DAMN. Oh, and we had the Gallagher brothers at each others necks for the most part of the year resulting in their best work since the break-up of Oasis.

So we come into 2018 in a positive frame of mind, much due to the fact that it should be finally the year that Arctic Monkeys come back and The 1975 are threatening to drop Music for Cars at any given moment. Not only that, in the past week, usually regarded as a 'quiet week' by the industry we've had new songs from Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake, as well as a very special version of Wolf Alice's 'Don't Delete the Kisses' remixed by Charlie XCX and Post Precious. Here are the best songs released this week...

The Vaccines - 'I Can't Quit' 

Yes, indie heroes The Vaccines kicked off 2018 with a 'Hottest Record in the World' on Annie Mac's Radio 1 show in the form of 'I Can't Quit'. I was a fan of The Vaccines last record English Graffiti, but I'm sure fans will be happy that they've seemingly returned to their earlier, punkier roots with this under three minute indie banger. It's everything that made people fall in love with The Vaccines all those years ago: spikey riffs with insanely catchy pop hooks.

Kid Wave - 'Twenty-Four' 

The first new song I heard in 2018 was Kid Wave's 'Twenty-Four' and, instantly, you could tell it was going to be a good year. The project of Swede Lea Emmery, 'Twenty-Four' is a retrospective look at the trials and tribulations of being a young person. It's somewhat different from her debut album Wonderlust, this time showcasing a gloomier mode of pop with Emmery's murky vocals cutting deep.

Superorganism - 'Everybody Wants to Be Famous' 

There's absolutely no doubt about it, 2018 is the year of Superorganism. Arguably the most exciting band around at the moment, the supergroup from all over the world have started 2018 with a bang. Not only announcing their eponymous debut album, but giving us another showcase of it with 'Everybody Wants to Be Famous', which is everything you could expect from the band. Giddy synths, languorous tribal vocals and barmy sound effects everywhere to be heard, it’s a whole lot of fun - and that's exactly Superorganism's USP.

FREAK - 'Everyone's the Same' 

Having embarked on a co-headline tour with King Nun, supported everyone from The Amazons and Black Honey and released a whole host of great music, it's fair to say that FREAK had a very impressive 2017. Now, they're back with 'Everyone's the Same', which is an injection of pacey guitars (that reminds me of Electric Six) and a catchy chorus. It's a two and a half minute burst of energy in a single and you can already see its live appeal.

Patawawa - 'Patagonia' 

If you want to dance, this one is for you. With the returns of the likes of Chic and Nile Rodgers and Jamiroquai, funk is back with a bang. With Thundercat, Childish Gambino and Barbudo holding up the fort in terms of new artists too, funk has never been better. Enter Patawawa, the Derbyshire who offer "beats to pump blood, glittered guitar riffs and basslines that bite". 'Patagonia' does all this and more, with its opening resembling Metronomy's 'The Bay' and an addictive bassline, catchy chorus and vocals to match Prince and MJ in their prime. If this single is anything to go by, Patawawa are set for a very exciting 2018.

BØRNS feat. Lana Del Rey - 'God Save Our Young Blood' 

Lana Del Rey had a very good year, all things considered, with the release of her fifth studio album Lust for Life. She's kick-started her 2018 with a very impressive guest spot on the latest single from Michigan pop prodigy BØRNS. Featuring a key change reminiscent of Brian Wilson, it's an excellent pop song with a cheery, contented nature to it. 

Sea Girls - 'Heavenly War' 

Sea Girls, the London-based quartet known for hits such as 'Lost' and 'Call Me Out', have released a brand-new single for the new year. 'Heavenly War' is a jolted, jarring pop song that reminds me of Seafret with its euphoric chorus. There's a contagiousness to the single that develops in your mind the more you think about it. It's truly an excellent ear-worm to start the year.

MGMT - 'Hand it Over' 

It's wonderful to have MGMT back, isn't it? Instead of their enchanted indie pop music that soundtracked the teenage years of many, they're back with a darker slice of gloom pop evocative of Tears for Fears and Visage. Their latest single - 'Hand it Over' - following on from their comeback single 'Little Dark Age', is a downbeat, dejected pop song that grows throughout its four minute run time. After a stodgy second and third record it's good to see that MGMT have found and are developing an interesting, different sound. 

Lady Bird - 'Spoons' 

Lady Bird's 'Spoons' is the first ever single to be released under Slaves Girl Fight Records, so you'd expect it to be a short, to the point punky single - and to an extent it is. But it's not Slaves that 'Spoons', a song about everyone's favourite cheap booze chain, sounds more like the noughties defining sound of The Streets than it does of Slaves. It's fiery, volatile, yet it still sounds unique and refined enough to have its own sense of style. Mightily impressive. 

Kendrick Lamar with SZA - 'All the Stars' 

Kendrick ruled 2017, plain and simple. You couldn't go anywhere without hearing his music or seeing his face, and rightly so, as DAMN. was one of the finest records of the year. 'All the Stars', a collaboration with fellow mega-star SZA, is the first material to come from Black Panther, the Marvel film showcasing an almost entirely black cast, which Kendrick is compiling. It's an explosive R&B tune with a rock-solid chorus that is sure to be massive for both artists.