Happy (belated) Valentine’s to all who celebrate – and those who don’t. In that spirit, here are some tracks from this week that you’re bound to love, featuring Lana Del Rey, Caroline Polachek, Inhaler, Dry Cleaning, and plenty more where that came from.
Lana Del Rey – A&W
The latest track from Lana Del Rey’s forthcoming album, Did you know there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd.? dropped this week. Clocking in at over seven minutes, it’s one of her longest to date (although it doesn’t match the nine-and-a-half-plus minutes of ‘Venice Bitch’); as such, it has ample room to be filled with almost every signature Lana move that’s been crafted over the years. Referring to both the American fast food restaurant chain and “the experience of bein’ an American whore”, it’s both a retrospective nod to her previous work and a tantalising look ahead to the new album.
Caroline Polachek (feat. Grimes and Dido) – Fly To You
Caroline Polachek released her sophomore album Desire, I Want To Turn Into You this week. An album that twists and turns through many sounds (which is both the impressive thing about it and its most challenging aspect), ‘Fly To You’ is the epitomise of that. With elements of breakbeat and the occasional Spanish guitar-playing, not to mention the addition of Grimes and Dido, it’s a track with many layers that never lacks ambition.
Dry Cleaning – Swampy
Some bands do irony; no one does it like Dry Cleaning. With Florence Shaw’s poetic wordsmithery at the helm, the South London outfit take the mundane and – doesn’t make it extraordinary – but twists the knife into the absurdity of it all. Their debut, 2021’s New Long Leg, and their last album Stumpwork, with its pubic cover album, were a masterclass in this. ‘Swampy’ picks up where they left off. Who else could start a track with “Bean bags, bingo, and a Playstation 5” and get away with it?
Inhaler – The Things I Do
Inhaler likewise released their second album this week, with Cuts & Bruises being the follow-up to 2021’s chart-topping It Won’t Always Be Like This. Where they revelled in being young on their debut, they’ve taken a mature turn for the better on their latest album. ‘The Things I Do’, with fuzzy guitars underpinned by twinkly piano, also sees frontman Eli Hewson straining with his words – you can tell he means it. And if that’s a sign of things to come for Inhaler, bring it on.
Beabadoobee – Glue Song
Recently described by one of our reviewers as “Gen Z girlies’ matriarch”, Beabadoobee does sweet, soft singing like no one else right now. It’s gentle but melodic enough never to be dull – as demonstrated neatly on her album last year. ‘Glue Song’ is her latest lovestruck offering, held together by delicate acoustics and even some horn work. It comes ahead of Bea’s tour support of none other than Taylor Swift as part of her highly in-demand Eras Tour.
Sam Akpro – Trace
Written at the tail-end of Sam Akpro’s previous EP, Drift, ‘Trace’ is of the same dizzying, almost sinister musical headspace of Wu-Lu. Not only does the track come ahead of Akpro’s second, eagerly-anticipated second EP, but it has arrived with a memorable music video that maps out the artist’s hometown of Peckham in a visual that looks somewhere between 2D and 3D.
The Aces – Always Get This Way
Alt-pop four-piece The Aces have dropped ‘Always Get This Way’, along with the news of their brand-new forthcoming album, I’ve Loved You For So Long, set for release on 2 June. Bright and polished on the surface, their latest track takes on anxiety with the band’s Cristal Ramirez explaining she “was in the worst mental state of my life when we wrote ‘Always Get This Way.’ Filled with anxiety, and having panic attacks almost every night, it took everything in me to make the 45-minute drive to the studio that day.” The euphoric result is undoubtedly an ode to coming out the other side.
Orbital (feat. Dina Ipavic) – Day One
Electronic legends Orbital dropped their tenth album today, Optical Delusion. They’ve undoubtedly been around the block a few times, but their latest record explores the dystopian world we find ourselves in. Whilst not a consistent, banger-after-banger project, some classic Orbital tunes in there add to the Hartnoll brother’s heady, whirring canon. ‘Day One’, with Dina Ipavic’s high operatic-like vocals, is undoubtedly one of them.
Ava Lily – Happy Switch
Rising star Ava Lily, meanwhile, offers reflections from the singer’s early days of sobriety when she says, “I was just tired of feeling all my feelings… A lot of stuff bubbles to the surface when you get sober, especially at night.” The track exemplifies Lily’s relatable lyricism and sits beneath a composition of breezy, RnB sensibilities.
Hak Baker – Telephones 4 Eyes
If you know Hak Baker, chances are you’ll love him. With his trusty guitar and wordsmithery, he disassembles the world around us one tune at a time, either calling out the police, the fat cats or the fact of being skint. So when it was revealed that he’d teamed up with on-fire producer Dan Carey – the mastermind behind Fontaines D.C. and Wet Leg’s number-one albums last year – there was more than just anticipation. The result, as expected, is a clanging, punk-oriented work of brilliance. Go on, Hak, give it some.