Photo by Owen Howard
This week has been, in Bristol especially, a week for great for albums. ‘But Christian,’ I hear you cry, ‘this isn’t a list compiling the best albums’. Don’t worry, I’ve found all the best singles for you as well. You’re welcome:
First Aid Kit – You Are The Problem Here
A departure from First Aid Kits usual sound, ‘You Are The Problem’ is an angry, visceral and vital punch out at sexual assault. The heavy biting guitars are the perfect background for the blunt and hard-hitting lyrics. The band say of the song: “After reading about yet another rape case where the perpetrator was handed a sentence which did not at all reflect the severity of his crime we felt upset and vengeful. We were, and are, sick of living in a society where the victims of rape are often blamed for the horrible thing that has been done to them. Our message is clear and should not be controversial in the least: if you rape, you are the problem.” Go out and buy it now; all their proceeds from this song to Women for Women International.
Slonk – We’re Both Going to be Fine
We featured the demo of this raw and powerful track a few months ago, and I was blown away by it, even in its lo-fi form. Fleshed out however, the track from Bristolian solo artist Slonk is tender, charged and heart wrenching. Whilst the first half focuses on the tiny remnants that linger after a relationship dissolves, it’s the uplifting cry of “I’m a big boy now” that is the pivotal moment in the track; with violin and the added vocals of Oliver Wilde and Fenne Lily, everything combines to create something perfect.
Chastity Belt – Different Now
True to the song title, the first cut off new album I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone feels different. More intricate and tender than anything on their last record, the song also feels more serious. It’s like the band have allowed us past the facade of dark comedy that peppered their previous work, instead showing a more intimate and fragile face.
Frank Ocean – Chanel
What have we done to deserve this? Which Rap God has decided to force Frank to bless us with another song, and so soon after Blonde. Whoever did it, I thank them. I thank them wholeheartedly. Because ‘Chanel’ is wonderful. Sonically more similar to Blonde, but less lo-fi, it exhibits Frank’s ability to dip in and out of sing-rapping and his perfect song writing.
Pwr Bttm – Answer My Text
“I sweat out seven pound in water-weight just asking for your number” detail PWR BTTM on this new song which, as you’ve probably guessed by the title, doesn’t end well. The band channel the nervous agitation that we’ve all felt staring incessantly at a phone screen, waiting for your crush to text back into a funny, relatable garage-pop song that hits the nail on the head with its witty lyrics and catchy chorus.
Van Zeller – All Or Nothing
Bristol four-piece Van Zeller have been fairly quiet in 2017 so far, after their explosive 2016. But with the release of ‘All Or Nothing’, and also ‘You Can’t Lose’, the band have stuck a foot forward for being one of 2017’s most exciting new bands. Both songs, released on Flying Vinyl, are garage-rock steam trains with gang-sung choruses and leviathan-sized guitar licks. It was hard to choose which song to but on this list, but ‘All or Nothing’ just nudges ahead due to turning a sentence I thought I’d never hear, “Take me back to Maidenhead”, into a huge chorus.
Dream Wife – Somebody
With spikey post-punk guitars, ‘Somebody’ feels more controlled than Dream Wife’s last single ‘FUU’, but with this latest single, the passion lies in the lyrics. “I am not my body, I am somebody” vocalist Rakel Mjöll sings with both strength and fragility over choppy Gang of Four like guitar. By containing all their previous madness, Dream Wife have created something special.
Wesley Gonzalez – I Am A Telescope
The telescope comparison is merely the tip of the weird iceberg of 70’s pop that ex-Let’s Wrestle frontman delves into on this new single. Beautifully retro, it’s almost hard to listen to and not imagine a giant pair of sideburns and flares.
Ho99o9 – United States of Horror
This curve ball from the rap group find them chucking away the sparse industrial beats that littered their debut, instead maximising their sound. It’s bouncing synths are almost stadium ready and is buzzing with a nu-metal sense of grandeur. A bold step into the big time for the group. Well. Kind of.
Idles – Slow Savage
I’ll round off this week’s list with a final track off the recent Idles album. Possibly one of the most successful album to be released by a Bristol band in a while, and also an album which feels incredibly poignant and necessary in our current climate. ‘Slow Savage’ is the last track, and is slower, quieter and more introspective than the others. It’s the perfect end to one of the year’s best albums so far.
Check back next week for more tracks of the week