The clocks have gone back and winter is imminent! That means that, whilst we work on our year-end lists, it’s time to look at some of the newest music which is going to be closing out our year. Read on for more.
COLDPLAY – ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME (Stream here)
Coldplay are back! Following plenty of patient speculation, the Devonshire quartet have announced details of their seventh studio album, A Head Full of Dreams. The album is preceded by Adventure of a Lifetime, which sees Chris Martin and co. head in an unarguably funky direction. Was the track produced by Nile Rodgers? Who knows, but it certainly sounds like his DNA is all over this song. Bassist Guy Berryman, often overshadowed by his bandmates, has time to shine here by means of an uber-funky bassline which holds the whole track together. The track’s riff came into shape after Chris Martin asked Jonny Buckland to outdo Sweet Child O’ Mine. Has he outdone the hard rock classic? No; rather, he’s put his own twist on the much-maligned jangly guitar riff which has been the soundtrack to hard rock history. Coldplay have ditched their depressive side and gone down a happy path, now it’s just a matter of time to see if A Head Full of Dreams follows that trend.
GRIMES – FLESH WITHOUT BLOOD (Stream here)
Electronic producer Grimes is back with new album Art Angels, an eclectic combination of absurd electro pop, fuzzy guitars and off-the-curve vocals. Flesh Without Blood, the record’s first proper single, is thus a sickly sweet collision of sounds which sees Grimes’ classic sound become reinvigorated and polished. “I don’t see the light I saw in you before” sings Grimes, real name Claire Boucher, over a mixture of sharp percussion, ambient keys and occasional guitar licks. Alongside the rest of Art Angels, Flesh Without Blood is one of the album’s poppier cuts which places more emphasis on happiness and mainstream sensibilities. However, it wouldn’t be Grimes without an absolute curveball of a record to her name, and Art Angels is exactly that. Welcome back, Claire.
CAGE THE ELEPHANT – MESS AROUND (Stream here)
Just as with five of the six artists we’ve selected this week, Cage the Elephant have also made a recent comeback. Following 2013’s stellar Melophobia, the Matt Schultz-fronted band dived into the studio with Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach, who served as producer on the December-bound Tell Me I’m Pretty. Mess Around is the first track to be lifted from the hotly anticipated album, sounding exactly like something would sound if Auerbach had some involvement. The track, which is supposedly not representative of the whole record, is an extremely bluesy affair, all the way from its fuzzy riff and background howls to the city namechecking verses (“Oh St. Louis, California” sings Schultz). It’s not what you’d traditionally expect from Cage the Elephant, but it’s certainly an exciting new peak into the future of one of next year’s hottest bands.
TONIGHT ALIVE – HUMAN INTERACTION (Stream here)
Another band who have taken up a new direction are Aussie pop punk outfit Tonight Alive. New album Limitless is due next year, and it’s seen the preceding promo campaign portray a new side to Jenna McDougall and co. Lead single Human Interaction almost completely ditches guitars and lays emphasis on McDougall’s soothing vocals, underpinned by subtle electronics. “Wish I could find the words to say” proclaims the frontwoman, before the second half of the song pummels into a distortion-led build-up over which McDougall sings, “and I will get better” repeatedly. Whether or not the whole album will be in a similar vein to the laid-back Human Interaction remains to be seen, however what we’ve heard so far is a definite breath of fresh air.
THE NEIGHBOURHOOD – PREY (Stream here)
Last week, viral stars The Neighbourhood released a brand new sophomore album in the form of Wiped Out!, which sees the outfit stick to a very binary, RnB-tinged path. Album opener Prey is one of the best tracks on said album, encompassing jangly guitars, swirling choruses and a huge outro. “Something is wrong, I can’t explain, everything changed when the birds came” sings frontman Jesse Rutherford during the pre-chorus, his vocals equal parts huge and subdued. Prey is just the start of an exciting story which The Neighbourhood present on Wiped Out!, with the rest of the album flittering between catchy RnB, off-the-wall indie and warbling electronics. The band may have spent most of their short career living on viral hit Sweater Weather, but 2015 looks set to be the year in which the band overcome their underdog status and rise up and join the likes of contemporaries The 1975 and The Weeknd.
PAUW – GLARE PT. 2 (Stream here)
Closing off our list this week is Dutch psychedelic quartet PAUW, whose debut album Macrocosm Microcosm is one of the finest in its field this year. The nine-song records culminates in epic closer Glare Pt. 2, which consists of seven minutes of pure bliss and euphoria. An opening flute melody helps the song piece itself together, with Brian Pots’ hazy vocals only appearing briefly as the second half of the song enters extremely hypnotic territory. Just imagine what Brian May would sound like if he was a psychedelic hippy, and then you’ve got the second half of this track. As everything bubbles up towards a grandiose end, PAUW prove themselves note-by-note that they’re one of the most buzzworthy bands around today. If Glare Pt. 2 doesn’t leave you in a happy daze, then you’re clearly doing something wrong.
Check back in two weeks for more new music.