With it now being June, festival season is well and truly underway. Last weekend saw Germany kick the season off with massive rock weekenders Rockavaria and Rock im Revier, both in their first year. Alongside huge swathes of upcoming festivals comes a whole list of anticipated albums, amongst them Muse’s Drones (out 5 June), FFS’ self-titled debut (also out 5 June) and Florence + the Machine’s comeback record How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. For this edition of New Music Roundup, we’ve lined up some tracks from the summers’ most anticipated records to give you an idea of what to expect the coming months.
MUSE – REAPERS (Taken from Drones, out 5 June via Warner Brothers)
Reapers, the latest ear shattering offering from Muse’s upcoming album Drones, is another step deeper into the concept which the Teignmouth trio have curated for their seventh studio album. The album, which comes out on Friday 5 June (in certain territories), follows the “journey of a human, from his abandonment and loss of hope, to his indoctrination by the system to be a human drone and eventual defection from his oppressors”. Reapers is bathed in heavy riffs, pounding drums and distorted bass, as Bellamy sings of drone warfare. The opening riff is swiftly accompanied by Bellamy’s urgent sounding vocals, as he sings about killing fields, cross-hairs and the CIA. The outro is massive, encompassing a headbang-worthy riff, police sirens and robotic voice which declares, “here come the drones!” Muse may be going back to their roots on Drones, but on Reapers they’re as grandiose and epic as ever. And thank god for that, because this is the Muse that we all fell in love with all those years ago.
Listen to Reapers here.
GHOST – CIRICE (Taken from Meliora, out 21 August via Loma Vista Recordings)
Anonymity is a key element of Swedish sextet Ghost. Their anti-priest vocalist Papa Emeritus III (who replaces predecessors Papa Emeritus I and II on new album Meliora) is all things satanic as he parades across stage subjugating the audience alongside his bandmates, the five Nameless Ghouls. Upcoming third studio album Meliora, Latin for ‘better’, comes out on 21 August, with lead single Cirice having already been unveiled yesterday. An opening salvo of eerie sounding acoustic guitars and piano is swiftly followed up by a menacing riff, making for a long, drawn-out introduction to the song. Once the song fully picks up pace by means of a doom-laden riff, it’s very clear that Ghost are back at their best. “I feel your presence amongst us, you cannot hide in the darkness” sings Emeritus, before asking, “can you hear the rumble that’s calling?” Cirice does lack some of the darker lyrical elements older songs possess, yet this is made up for by the extremely powerful instrumental combinations. Be ready to worship Papa Emeritus III, because Ghost are back.
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE – WHAT KIND OF MAN (Taken from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, out now via Island Records)
Florence Welch may have broken her foot jumping from the stage at Coachella in April, yet that hasn’t stopped her from pulling out all the stops when it comes to live prowess. Instead of cancelling shows until her foot heals, Welch has taken to sitting on a stool during her (still spectacular) live set. Comeback album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful has proven that Welch has still well and truly ‘got it’, with recent single What Kind of Man exposing her magnificent vocals better than ever before. “What kind of man loves like this?” asks Welch during the brass-laden chorus as handclap beats and fuzzy guitars intertwine in the background. The song eventually soars to extremely high levels as Welch yet again makes her mark in grand fashion. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful looks set to be one of the albums of the year, something which you can’t deny upon first listen.
FFS – CALL GIRL (Taken from FFS, out 5 June via Domino Records)
Franz Ferdinand and Sparks collaboration FFS may have only been around for a few months, yet they’ve already attracted plenty of positive attention from music critics and fans the world over. Recent single Johnny Delusional was all the right shades of absurd pop, with the rest of the album following in a similar vein. Album track Call Girl sounds like a funkier version of Tonight… era Franz Ferdinand, with Alex Kapranos taking helm of most vocal duties. “Come on and pick up the ring” asks Kapranos as a fuzzy synth line underpins his remarks. FFS are the only band out there right now who are mixing elements of absurd pop and indie rock effortlessly, with celebrated duo Sparks’ influence on all tracks definitely audible. Franz Ferdinand have made friends, and they’re all so arty.
Listen to Call Girl here.
SLAVES – CHEER UP LONDON (Taken from Are You Satisfied?, out now via Virgin/EMI Records)
If their live show is anything to go by, then Slaves are nothing short of absolutely mental. New single Cheer Up London proves just this, with Isaac Holman’s disturbed laughter preceding a dirty riff courtesy of Laurie Vincent. “Put another 0 on your paycheck, are you done digging your grave yet?” asks Holman during the chorus, before declaring, “you’re dead already! Dead, dead already!” over manic riffs and percussion. If this isn’t mental enough, then the accompanying music video should do the trick for you. It’ll see men dressed as polar bears, a giant London bus and former EastEnders actor Shaun Williamson all parade through London’s Burgess Park alongside the Kent-duo. Cheer up London, because Slaves are coming.
Listen to Cheer Up London here.
JAMIE XX – GOSH (Taken from In Colour, out now via Young Turks Recordings)
Rising electronic musician Jamie XX (of The XX fame) has just put out new studio album In Colour to massive critical acclaim. Its opening track, Gosh, encompasses top-heavy bass, two-step drums and vocal samples which flitter across the course of the track. “Oh my gosh” repeats one such vocal sample in a strong East London accent, harking back to the Wandsworth origins of The XX. The phrase “UK massive” eventually sparks the conception of a new, drawn-out melody which swallows the track whole by way of its massive sound. The majority of Gosh is instrumental, save for the vocal samples, shifting extra focus onto the sprawling melodies and dark, brooding basslines.
Listen to Gosh here.
Check back in two weeks for new roundup.