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Essential Listening: The week's best new music


Just because we’re all on lockdown doesn’t mean some gracious artists haven’t provided us with some tasty new music to sink our teeth into. This week’s Essential Listening is another treat guaranteed to kick start your weekend.

As major artists retire to their homes and have been serenading the world with covers and impromptu in-house concerts, comparatively smaller bands are being given the chance to shine during these dark times.

Below you’ll find some top-notch entries for your playlist including big hitters from The Strokes, Bon Iver and Gorillaz which all landed this week.

There’s also some raging new punk in the form of Chupa Cabra’s ‘Russian Models’ as well as some indie-pop delights from Alfie Templeman.

Further afield there’s some luscious notes from Willie J Healey and LT Wade as well as another mark of accommodation from Psychic Markers.

While the world may well have gone to pot at least, through it all, we still have some brand new music to enjoy.

The week’s best new music:

‘Russian Models’ – Chupa Cabra

‘Russian Dolls’ is straight out of the punk b-movie handbook and sees the zombie band deliver us a reminder of internet overlord. As the band put it, “’Russian Models’ is a fuzz-hymn to The Algorithm.”

“O Algorithm! You keep the world happy and complacent, for your love means I will not have to suffer anything I do not wish to see, like adverts for crackers, or images of Ricky Gervais or crackers.”

Aside from any political statement on our society the band may or may not be making on ‘Russian Dolls’ the track is bruising punk number that only speaks well of a highly charged outfit that is chomping at the bit.

‘Aries’ – Gorillaz ft Peter Hook

As part of the 2-D group’s ongoing Song Machine Series, where they invite collaborators into their studio to complete one song in 24 hours, Gorillaz have teamed up with Peter Hook.

The New Order and Joy Division bassist was joined by producer Georgia for ‘Aries’, in a statement about the new song, Gorillaz guitarist Noodle said, “Highly impatient and competitive, many Aries have the fighting spirit of your mythological ruler.”

‘Happiness In Liquid Form’ – Alfie Templeman

We don’t really need to explain why Alfie Templeman’s bubblegum joy ‘Happiness in Liquid Form’ is essential for days like today (and the foreseeable future). In lockdown everything can seem a bit grey, so we’re bringing you this colourful number.

“‘Happiness…’ is the most colourful sugary disco-pop song I’ve put out so far,” explains Templeman. “It came about so easily one day in the studio with Justin from The Vaccines and his right hand man Will and by the end of the day we knew we had something special on our hands. It’s a tough time for everyone right now so hope this brings a little happiness into people’s lives!”

‘Clouds’ – Psychic Markers

Psychic Markers have taken on a transitional mode of development in their years as a band. Melding genres of psych-rock with that of pop and a sprinkling of Krautrock is by no means an easy accomplishment. The introduction and exploration of electronic soundscapes on their new material have only elevated their immersive and, at times, overwhelming wall of sound.

On ‘Clouds’ they bring this immersive experience together with a touch of flagrant experimentation, always pushing and evolving.

‘Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus’ – The Strokes

‘Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus’ landed as the final nuggets of pre-release before their latest album New Abnormal landed on April 10th. We won’t put in any album spoilers for you but this new song sees the Strokes pursue their eighties idealism more fervently than ever before.

The song deals with the deliberation we all face in our normal life. To go out and socialise or not to go out and jack it all in. While at the moment we have that decision made for us, the song’s driving keys and pointed approach allows you not to dwell on the irony for too long.

‘Imagine Us’ – LT Wade

LT Wade, the solo project of former FURS founding member Liam Wade, has released his latest single ‘Imagine Us’ which arrives as the closing track from his upcoming album Requiem For The American Dream.

The new record, set for release on 24th April through Dopeness Records, sees Wade in reflective mood as he offers a social commentary on the death of the ‘American Dream’—a perspective viewpoint after he swapped his life in London for one in New York City.

‘True Stereo’ – Willie J Healey

‘True Stereo’, is another dose of this pumped-up pop as he approaches with a nuanced style of creation. The new song was born out of this very notion.

“‘True Stereo’ came from a good place,” says Healey. “I wrote it while trying out my friend Casper’s baritone guitar. I was like, ‘damn this sounds funky!’ I then transferred that tuning to a regular six string, which gave it a really warped sludgy sound. That baritone inspired the whole idea.”

The new album will look to continue the path Healey has laid out for himself. Constantly evolving and moving on to the next nuance, or the next angle from to attack. It will likely be his best work yet.

‘Things Behind Things Behind Things’ – Bon Iver

Justin Vernon has used his social media to share a session from his self-isolation for Bernie Sanders’ ‘virtual town hall meeting’ which not included a cover of Bob Dylan but also a brand new Bon Iver track too.

As more and more people continue to practice social distancing amid the outbreak of the coronavirus, some artists have taken to sharing some music through their social media channels in a bid to alleviate some of the imposing boredom.