1. the courteeners
the manchester quartet made their glorious return last week with their single the 17th, and i'll admit that i wasn't sold on it the first time i heard it. bear in mind that this is a band i've seen live six times (seven if you count the acoustic show frontman liam fray did in 2013), so my expectations were ridiculously high. however, a few more listens seemed to do the trick and it now provides an excellent soundtrack for my weekly run/walk/jog, with its euphoric chorus making me feel like i can take over the world (pun intended). (side note: how has it been six years since that song was released? god i'm old.)
2. florence + the machine
another one of my favourite ever artists made her return to the music scene last week with the release of three songs for the latest final fantasy game, and they didn't disappoint. my favourite one is actually a cover of ben e. king's classic track, stand by me, now given the florence welch treatment as her trademark harps can be heard in the background. this track somehow conveys both a sense of jubilation and commiseration and i can totally imagine it being a part of the soundtrack for muriel's wedding. seriously, what is it with me and weddings lately? perhaps it's one episode too many of say yes to the dress, but i've found myself conjuring up every last detail of a wedding i don't even want; so far i've got the dress and location down pat, and i can totally imagine this being my ~first dance~ song too.
3. two door cinema club
this song actually came out at the tail end of july, but for some reason i only discovered it a few days ago. i've always been a fan of two door, having seen them live back in 2013, and it's safe to say their sound has definitely evolved since then. there's still remnants of the sound they explored in their last release, 2012's beacon, seen in the joyful trumpet refrain in their latest track bad decisions, though they still retain the original guitar-heavy sound from their first album released all the way back in 2010 (did i mention that i feel really really old?). some people might be unhappy with their change in sound, but i feel like they've managed to satisfy the older fans as well as drawing in new ones, and i'm eagerly anticipating the release of their next album gameshow in october this year.
4. carly rae jepsen
queen of my heart carly rae did it again last week when she released her latest single, a collaboration with danny l harle of PC music fame. i love carly and i love PC music, so this really was a match made in heaven, something the lyrics of super natural also allude to. though i (and many others) were unsure how seriously to take PC music in the beginning, their work with pop heavyweights such as carly and charli xcx (more on that in a minute) has shown they're a true force to be reckoned with (case in point: i heard broken flowers playing in new look a few days ago, and if that doesn't cement their transition from underground electronica weirdos to bonafide pop stars then i don't know what does). also: i'm fairly certain that carly rae jepsen wants me dead, as she confirmed that her next album was inspired by donna summer, and though i personally think nothing can top 2015's E•MO•TION, this might just come close.
5. charli xcx
after read charli xcx's latest interview with the fader, i revisited her PC music-produced vroom vroom EP, released earlier this year, and i'm not ashamed to say that i teared up at several points while listening to trophy. it's refreshing to see how confident she now is about her foray into pop music as i totally resonate with how she felt like she had to like whatever other people thought was "cool" at the time, and her confidence has definitely grown since this 2013 grantland interview she did following the release of her first release, true romance (which still remains one of my favourite albums of all time). also, this interview in which she leaves a drunken voicemail for the writer is everything. seriously though, this EP is so, so good, and hopefully a sign of things to come for her next album. firstly, the video for vroom vroom is everything, and you need to watch it right here, right now:
also excellent is her collaboration with hannah diamond, titled paradise, which i totally thought i'd written about, but clearly i was wrong. this song should be terrible but it really isn't; perhaps in this age of ironic appreciation we can look past the fact that it sounds like something you'd find on a clubland compilation CD from 2007 and see it for what it really is: two young female musicians working together to push the boundaries of what pop music can be. i also love that it retains some of the gauzy, dream like synths found on true romance, a complete contrast to the next track, trophy. it would be hard to categorise this track: a bit of dance, a bit of pop, and a touch of what the wikipedia page for the EP describes as "UK bass", and that's exactly the point. if we really are living in a post-genre world of music, charli is most definitely dominating the scene.
the next few tracks i found through this playlist by the radical, and this is one of them. BANKS is one of those artists joining the ranks of those such as grimes, FKA twigs and charli xcx as she's not afraid to push the boundaries of what music can be. she garnered the attention of the music press last month with her video for fuck with myself, but it's her latest single gemini feed, a somewhat snide ode to an ex-lover, that i can't get enough of. you're passive aggressive, she sings repeatedly on the pre-chorus, and i know the frustration of trying to get through to somebody who just won't commit all too well. seriously, it's like she knew exactly what i've been dealing with lately when she dropped this single a few weeks ago, and i always love finding a song that can articulate everything i'm feeling in a way i never could.
again another manchester band who recently just scored a number one album, and it's not hard to see why. i was first made aware of this band last year when liam fray tweeted about them, and from the first listen i was hooked. their singles blown rose and charlemagne captivated my attention straight away, and featured on their self-titled full length debut, along with a few other tracks i've come to love, including getaway, my favourite room and my favourite track, honey sweet. this is the perfect summer song, so press play, get out there and soak up whatever's left of the sun (i for one am counting down the days until autumn finally returns). side note: i made a huge playlist of every song that reminds me of summer that can be found here.
8. beaty heart
this next band i'd never heard of until i found this playlist, but they specialise in feel-good, summer ready tracks, with my favourites being soft like clay and good bunch. their mix of poppy but somewhat experimental songs reminds me of foster the people and i'll definitely be listening to them way into autumn, winter and beyond when the temperature finally drops.
9. betty who
i finally listened to the australian singer's latest album, take me if you go, the other day after months of it being saved in the "your music" section of spotify, and though i wasn't thrilled with it overall, there were a few tracks that really stood out to me. i'd always loved her song high society, but album tracks glory days and all of you are just so infectiously catchy and make me feel what can only be described as infinite; the kind of electronic pop music most would have outlawed for being "uncool" back in 2009. is it the most groundbreaking, experimental music ever created? of course not, but i don't believe there's anyone out there who wouldn't want to get up and dance to it. cool or uncool, props to betty for keeping it alive and kicking; i know i'll have these songs on repeat for weeks to come as i dance wildly around my bedroom, stuck in a summer haze.
i hate to end on an odd number but that's it for this week, though a few extra tracks, as well as all these mentioned here, can be found in this playlist.