Release Roundup: Boys, Bears, and Brexit

by Harry Lindsey, Aug 02, 2017

Charlie XCX, Macklemore, and Mick Jagger are amongst the winners and losers of this week's new releases.

Charli XCX - Boys

Harry Lindsey: I'm quite a fan of Charli XCX's brand of pop music, she consistently provides some of the best, weirdest, hyper-plastic, luscious pop bangers, Vroom Vroom being her crowning jewel, a song that never fails to get me unashamedly pumped. All of this made me really want to like this new track, and I do, there's a lot to love here, but that mario-getting-coin sound is so unbelievably grating to me, it really keeps me at arms length from fully enjoying this. That being said, the sugary-sweet production is mostly a delight, Charli's vocal delivery is effortlessly playful and the video has such a wonderful female-gaze in it's portrayal of boys, making this a highly enjoyable pop moment. 7/10

Martha Cleary: Let me first join basically every other person on the internet in applauding Charli XCX for the creation of this track and the video. I still love Brendon Urie as much as I did when I was 14. I’m low-key Instagram obsessed with star of Slaves, Laurie Vincent and his adorable punk af son Bart and I didn’t know how much I wanted to see Mark Ronson and Ezra Koenig hanging out until it happened… PLUS Tinie Tempah and a dog, Carl Barat and Mac Demarco and and and there’s so many!

Ok so, it’s possible that the first few listens of this track were just me gazing at the video, but it actually started to grow on me. It’s catchy pop simplicity, and as usual Charli XCX has nailed it. Sorry if you feel objectified boys. 10/10

Macklemore ft Lil Yatchy - Marmalade

Harry Lindsey: This is sad. From the opening piano chords you can tell Macklemore is desperately hoping this song will be as impactful as DRAM and Lil Yatchy's Broccoli, but Macklemore feels more like a vacant, cold moon compared to the literal embodiment of sunshine that is DRAM. Lil Yatchy has a perfectly fine, charismatic feature, but it does nothing to detract from the depressing sound of Macklemore using Lil Yatchy in a lame attempt to drag himself back to a realm of relevancy. 2/10

Martha Cleary: Marmalade is the track Macklemore envisaged people listening to the morning after the night before (that had been soundtracked by Can’t Hold Us.) The auto-tuned sounds of Lil Yatchy add to how lazy this track is. However, I could see it appearing on the soundtrack of a Shia Labeouf film and probably working out quite well. 2/10

BADBADNOTGOOD - In Your Eyes (Nosaj Thing remix)

Harry Lindsey: Slowed-down and spacious, Nosaj Thing heightens the allure of one of my favourite cuts from BADBADNOTGOOD's IV. The dark, menacing bass paired with warbling synth lines and downtempo drums is a delight, albeit maybe a little too laid back for it's own good. Still, a perfect tune for a party nearing it's end. 7/10

Martha Cleary: Nosaj Thing’s remix strips back the track that originally appeared on last year’s IV, leaving a down tempo soulful track. The winding melodies intertwined with vocals from fellow Toronto up-and-comer Charlotte Day Wilson make for another successful release for the Canadian four piece. 8/10

Grizzly Bear - Neighbors

Harry Lindsey: Grizzly bear, the band that you only ever see written about and never hear anyone actually talk about or play, are back! There's a lot going on here that requires a few repeated listens to even get a good grapple of. Ed Roste's vocals hover delicately over an abundance of twanging guitars and meandering horns, making this one of Grizzly Bear's best tracks instrumentally in a while. There's an uneasiness to this song; it has an inability to sit-still.

It's restless and making me feel like it's crawling around my ears, rather than sinking into my memory. It's definitely a technically impressive listen, but there's a discomfort to it that makes me want to push it away and return to Charli XCX's Boys instead of listening to it again. 6/10 

Martha Cleary: Personally, I just like Grizzly Bear. I haven’t been blown away by any of their releases since 2009’s Veckatimest, but they release consistently good tracks. Ahead of the release of their new album, Painted Ruins, Neighbours is a tasty teaser. However, there is almost too much going on in the track; the huge mix of instruments and styles make it feel busy where uncomplicated-ness would’ve worked better. 6/10

Purity Ring - Asido

Harry Lindsey: There's something about Purity Ring's sound that feels immediately dated. Not that it's nostalgic, or harking back to a different era of music, but that it comes out the gate immediately sounding like it's going to age poorly. Maybe it's the now established Purity Ring vernacular of generic, Tumblr-ready, poetic allusions, "Your fortuitous spine/Opened up like a marionette," or their style of dull, trap-tinged synth pop that makes it feel so immediately uninteresting, either way, the product is reverberated to death and consequently left feeling lifeless. 4/10 

Martha Cleary: Asido works with beautiful simplicity, as the latest offering from the bands Shrines release. Instead of the electronic climax you’re expecting in the chorus of this track, producer Corin Roddick builds tension using fragmented softer sounds as Singer Megan James bluntly utters the words “feel as lonely as I do”. Haunting and brilliant. 7/10

Mick Jagger ft Skepta - England Lost

Harry Lindsey: This is absolute dog shite. The current state of British politics can often make you feel like you're being crushed by an anvil. Mick Jagger and Skepta have somehow translated that sensation of mind-numbing bewilderment and pain into this lifeless piece of false anarchic drivel. If you want a song that reflects contemporary British politics and society at large, listen to Kate Tempest's Europe is Lost. They're the same length of time, but there's more nuance, understanding and truth in 1 second of Tempest reflection of contemporary Britain then there is in this nearly 5 minute long abomination. 1/10 

Martha Cleary: The Rolling Stones released a great album last year. However, since then Mick Jagger has apparently taken it on himself to become as close to the real life embodiment of Bill Nighy in Love Actually as possible. This track (one of two he released last week) is Jagger… well I’m not really sure what he was going for here. It’s a song about England losing at football (and a comment on society today?) It has a completely out of place Skepta verse in it.

It sounds a bit like Robbie Williams, and a bit like the recent Stone Roses releases. However, while All for One sounded great when sung by a stadium of chanting fans, I can’t quite see this track catching on. Thing is though, he’s Mick Jagger – he can do what the fuck he likes and he’ll still be cooler than us all. 3/10

Rating Roundup:
Charli XCX - Boys 8.5
BADBADNOTGOOD - In Your Eyes (Nosaj Thing Remix) 7.5/10
Grizzly Bear - Neighbors 6/10 Purity Ring - Asido 5.5/10
Macklemore ft Lil Yatchy - Marmalade 2/10
Mick Jagger ft Skepta - England Lost 2/10 

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