In this edition of Tracks of the Week, we’re introducing you to some of the music that has kept us going through what has been an undeniably drab seven days. Although there are certainly glimmers of hope beginning to form, with vaccines being rolled out and the great Jackie Weaver single-handedly uniting our divided country via Zoom (yes, she has got the authority), we’re still in need of some decent new tunes to keep our spirits up for that bit longer. Read our top picks for this week below and follow our Tracks of the Week playlist here.
Du Blonde (Feat. Ezra Furman) – I’m Glad That We Broke Up
Why we love it: Du Blonde’s latest offering is a blast of fuzzy guitars, no-nonsense production and a vocal melody that sounds plucked straight out of The Supremes‘ back catalogue, which in our book is a very good thing. The dueting vocals of Ezra Furman and Beth Jean Houghton marry beautifully in this track, creating a palpable sense of narrative within the narrow confines of a two-minute pop screamer. ‘I’m Glad That We Broke Up’ is taken from Du Blonde’s forthcoming album Homecoming – we can’t wait to hear more.
Sara Wolff – Bad Thoughts Compilation
Why we love it: ‘Bad Thoughts Compilation’ takes a head-on look at those deary, solemn days we’re all subject to from time to time: “Those times you can’t get out of bed, you’re in a rut, sleep too long, don’t eat properly, scroll on your phone too much, worry your friends won’t like you, then stay in even longer.” Through gentle instrumentation that recalls Adrianne Lenker‘s solo material and delicate vocal phrasing, the track reassures and soothes. Sara Wolff’s latest single seems particularly pertinent given the current restrictions many are living under right now, providing a welcome antidote and a sense of calm.
Roller Derby – Can’t See You
Why we love it: Full of yearning and melancholy, Roller Derby’s latest single takes us on a journey of love and loss, underpinned by tight songcraft and the alluring voice of lead singer Philine Meyer. The synth patterns evoke an irrepressible sense of nostalgia, whilst the anthemic chorus lends a nod to contemporary acts such as Alvvays and Beach House. Formed in Hamburg in early-2020, this young band have a great deal of potential, making them an exciting proposition for the future. We hope to see them this side of the Channel as soon as possible.
The Chills – Monolith
Why we love it: Honour the monolith! Speaking of the inspiration for their latest single, The Chills‘ frontman and all-round musical talisman Martin Phillipps states, “There are hard but important truths in our history. I know it’s often said that you learn from those lessons or you’ll end up repeating the mistakes. So one should consider the ancient ways. Belittle them at your peril.” The chant-like vocals and angular bass lines certainly deliver a sense of foreboding, a call-to-arms even, that makes for a rousing listening experience. Building on the band’s impressive back catalogue, their new album Scatterbrain will be released in May via Fire Records.
Maja Lena – Birch
Why we love it: Written as a response to a period of change in the artist’s life, there’s a sense of resoluteness that seeps through ‘Birch’; an elegance in the face of adversity. Maja Lena‘s forthcoming debut album deals with the lessons we learn in times of upheaval, in both a personal and wider context: “It’s about starting a new phase of life and love, yet also knowing that this elation could be snatched away at any given moment.” With her latest single, Lena relates her experience to that of the birch tree, shaken by the winds but unequivocally grounded in her resolution, as she writes, “The Birch tree here is a symbol for this feeling, and its branches moving in the wind resemble a feeling of freedom and excitement.”
Rostam – These Kids We Knew
Why we love it: Known as one of the founding members of Vampire Weekend, and the producer of their first three albums, Rostam Batmanglij has worked with bands and artists such as HAIM, Clairo, Lykke Li and Maggie Rogers. His latest solo single, ‘These Kids We Knew’, addresses the effects of global warming and its impact on future generations: “I was thinking of three generations while I was writing this song. There’s a generation of adults who don’t see global warming as their problem because they think they won’t be impacted by it. Then there’s a generation younger than mine, who will certainly have to deal with what is happening.” Written in a fever-dream state whilst recovering from Covid-19 last March, the track is both arresting and contemplative, urging us to meditate on our behaviours and take action.