Let me give you a timeline of events. On Sunday, I received a message from our fabulous Records Editor Meg Holland asking if I wanted to help her out as a Records exec. On Monday, I replied that I’d love to, but wasn’t sure exactly what the role entailed. On Tuesday, we met up to discuss what I’d be doing (as well as a wide array of weird and wonderful things, like Wolf Alice‘s recent trip to a Portsmouth pie shop and the interesting karaoke culture in Japan) and I agreed to help out as an exec. On Wednesday, we talked about how to do “This Week In Records”. And on Thursday, after giving me some great tips on where to go and what to do for this article, Meg unfortunately fell ill leaving me to finish off an article I initially thought I’d have only a small hand in writing (save some editing tomorrow morning I hope). So now I find myself at half past two in the morning (probably not for the last time) hurriedly rushing to give newly-released songs a first listen so I can give my thoughts on what’s worth playing this week before the 9am deadline. To say I did not see this coming is an understatement!
Regardless, we have plenty of fantastic music out this week, from Liam Gallagher‘s triumphantly bold return to a rap track from two of this year’s Love Island contestants (yes, really) and everything in between, so find our Spotify playlist, stick it on repeat, and settle down for another round-up of this week in records!
Liam Gallagher – As You Were
Can I just say how great it is to have both Gallaghers finally back with us? With Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds due to release an album just around the corner in November it feels like we’ll be once again getting that sweet indie rock’n’roll that’s high on both attitude and soaring choruses that has been somewhat lacking since the brothers’ split from each other and from Oasis back in 2009. But this week it’s all about Liam – and in his debut solo effort since breaking up Beady Eye in 2014 he demonstrates his raw talent for crafting stadium anthems and exquisite personal pieces alike. Just listen to the raw and wonderful ‘Wall of Glass’; the capricious ‘Greedy Soul’; the delicately reflective ‘Chinatown’. Liam: we missed you, but this has made the wait all so worth it.
JP Cooper – Raised Under Grey Skies
JP Cooper is one of those singer/songwriters that you can really get through their music. There’s an earnestness in his lyrics and a warm optimism in his vocals, encouraging you to feel as hopeful as he does. Tender opener ‘We Were Raised Under Grey Skies’ introduces us to the Mancunian through a charming narration of his early childhood; the ostensibly upbeat ‘She’s On My Mind’ paints a rather beautiful picture of heartbreak and regret; and there’s even time for a bit of gospel with Stormzy in the touching ‘Momma’s Prayers’. This one really is a gem, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Raised Under Grey Skies become the first in a series of masterpieces from the earnestly positive man from Manchester.
P!nk – ‘Whatever You Want’
We may be only a week out from P!nk‘s upcoming seventh album Beautiful Trauma, but that’s still enough time to drop one last single in advance of that highly anticipated record. More ‘Beautiful Trauma’ than ‘What About Us‘, ‘Whatever You Want’ demonstrates more of P!nk’s calmer side, slowing the pace and giving the pop queen room to breathe and argue over a seemingly impending breakup (“I feel like our ship’s going down tonight / But it’s always darkest before the light / And that’s enough for me to try”). It’s the third hit in a row from the American songstress (with some thoroughly impressive vocals and instrumentation to match), and it has me very excited for next week’s album.
Lewis Capaldi – ‘Fade’
Scottish singer/songwriter Lewis Capaldi has exploded onto the scene in 2017, with the strength of debut single ‘Bruises’ causing him to sell-out legendary Glasgow club King Tut’s back in January. Since then there has a been a steady trickle of tracks in the lead up to his debut EP Bloom later this month, with the latest being the typically delicate ‘Fade’. It might be the intimate piano, it might be the perfectly weighted vocals, it might be the heart-wrenching lyrics (“Girl you make my heart break more every day / But don’t fade away”), but something about this Bathgate native really speaks to the heart and I’m very excited to see where he goes next.
Gwen Stefani – You Make It Feel Like Christmas
Because it’s never too early to pick up a Christmas album (and because Michael Bublé hasn’t quite come out of hibernation yet), we have several picks this week for those of you who bring out the mince pies and mulled wine the moment that September turns its back on us and the nights start drawing in. Although the late Sinatra and Elvis will be releasing some remastered Christmas classics this week, our bet is that it will be Gwen Stefani‘s first holiday-themed record that you’ll be wanting to dance around last year’s Christmas tree to. Featuring the pop goddess’ takes on some old favourites (‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Let It Snow’, ‘Santa Baby’) as well as a couple original tracks (‘Never Kissed Anyone With Blue Eyes Before You’, the infectiously upbeat ‘You Make It Feel Like Christmas’ featuring Blake Shelton), this one will have all but the biggest Scrooges among us dreaming of mistletoe and turkey long before John Lewis sees it fit to grace us with another tear-jerking Christmas advert. Because hey, who doesn’t like getting in the Christmas spirit inappropriately early?
Chris & Kem – ‘Little Bit Leave It’
Although Stefani’s album has perhaps been released too early, it’s hard to say whether this collaboration track between Love Islanders Chris & Kem should have been released at all. On the one hand, it’s a ridiculous rap wannabe with no musical or lyrical value and a nonsensical hook. And on the other hand, it’s a ridiculous rap wannabe with no musical or lyrical value and a nonsensical hook! It’s hilarious and dreadful and a painful reminder that in our modern meme-obsessed world, spending seven weeks on sun-baked island in front of the ITV cameras can give you enough exposure and fame to actually create this kind of monstrosity, all at the same time. I’m surprised I’ve found this much to say about it actually. Please don’t give it a listen.
The Magic Gang – ‘Alright’
The Magic Gang have rapidly become one of my favourite bands over the last few months, with their bouncy, upbeat riffs and hooks cheerful enough to put a smile on even the most depressed postgrad’s face (I have actually seen this happen) not forgetting their fantastic stage presence central to their charm. Ok, ‘Alright’ isn’t actually a “new” single – it’s a re-release of the song included in their 2015 ‘No Fun’ single, this time with a faster tempo, louder chorus and remastered instrumentation – but it’s still a fantastic addition to their already stellar library, even if slightly more downbeat than their typical fare. But there’s still much to be gleaned from that guitar solo at the 77-second mark, and it’s certainly well worth a listen.
Charlie Puth – ‘How Long’
I’ll be honest, I’d forgotten about Charlie Puth since freshers 2015, when mega-hits ‘See You Again’ and ‘Marvin Gaye’ were played to death at literally every pre-drinks I went to. Don’t get me wrong – they do their job party tracks, with just the kind of choruses that really make you buzzed for the night to come. But you know that feeling where you drink too much of a kind of alcohol and just can’t touch it any more? Yeah that, to me, is Charlie Puth. Turns out he’s now working on a follow-up to 2016’s Nine Track Mind, with ‘How Long’ being the second single dropped in advance of the upcoming Voicenotes. It’s a decent track, if you’re into that sort of thing – bouncy, seductive, and with just the right hint of Bruno Mars‘ trademark brand of R&B-come-pop, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this one populating pre-drink playlists for the next few weeks or months, even if it has nothing on his earlier hits. Still, worth checking out.
Selected Other Releases
The Darkness – Pinewood Smile
Gabrille Aplin – Avalon EP
Giggs – Wamp 2 Dem
High Contrast – Night Gallery
Kelela – Take Me Apart
Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down
Rationale – Rationale
Zak Abel – Only When We’re Naked
AJ Tracey – ‘Quarterback (Secure The Bag!)’
Aquilo – ‘Thin’
Blessed – ‘Howlin’
The Breeders – ‘Wait In The Car’
Craig David – ‘For The Gram’
Felix Jaehn – ‘Like a Riddle (feat. Hearts & Colour, Adam Trigger)’
George Glew – ‘Home Love’
Grace VanderWaal – ‘Escape My Mind’
James TW – ‘For You’
Jessie J – ‘Not My Ex’
Kamille – ‘Body (feat. Avelino)’
King Krule – ‘Half Man Half Shark’
Lauv – ‘Easy Love’
Louis The Child – ‘Right To It (feat. Ashe)’
Maroon 5 – ‘Help Me Out (with Julia Michaels)’
MiC LOWRY – ‘Can’t Lie’
Ludacris – ‘Vices’
Ruddy Mancuso X Poo Bear – ‘Black And White’
Shakka – ‘Heart The Weekend’
Tasha Sultana – ‘Mystik’
Tremors – ‘Scar’
The Van T’s – ‘Bittersweet’
Weezer – ‘Weekend Woman’
Wretch 32 – ‘His & Hers (Perspectives)’
This Week In Records: Playlist Edition
Follow our shiny Spotify playlist and all this musical newness will be right there in time for breakfast every Friday morning.