The best (and worst) new singles: Bombay Bicycle Club, Xylouris White and more
04.09.2019

The best (and worst) new singles: Bombay Bicycle Club, Xylouris White and more

Bombay Bicycle Club
Words by Augustus Welby

Algiers and Lower Dens also make an appearance.

Bombay Bicycle Club – ‘Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)’

In the five years since Bombay Bicycle Club’s last record, frontman Jack Steadman launched his revolving door hip hop and soul project, Mr Jukes. BBC’s newie is, by contrast, a lean indie rock song that eschews the need for striking novelty. It’s marked by melodic simplicity and a hooky lead guitar line. Lyrically, Steadman zooms in on the insanity that encircles someone in the throes of infatuation. BBC haven’t sounded this good in years, if ever. 

Label: Mmm…Records

Xylouris White – ‘Tree Song’

Jim White and George Xylouris – who’ve both been making singular, uncompromising music for decades – have been enjoying a mid-to-late career purple patch since conceiving Xylouris White in 2013. ‘Tree Song’ is a brooding meditation centred on Xylouris’s laouto playing and devotional vocals. The duo’s forthcoming record is titled The Sisypheans in reference to the figure from Greek mythology condemned to push a boulder up a hill for eternity. Songs like this provide relief from the everyday hustle in the face of existential absurdity.

Label: ABC Music

Algiers – ‘Can the Sub_Bass Speak?’

Punk jazz. Art rock collage. Performance poetry. Noise rock catharsis. These are all conceivable descriptors for ‘Can the Sub_Bass Speak?’, the potent new missive from Atlanta’s Algiers. Over a fiery, unkempt arrangement, Franklin James Fisher offers an angered exposition on race, music and identity. Standout lines include “Where are you from? No, where are you really from? No, where are you really from in Africa?” and “But you know Bob Dylan created rap?

Label: Matador Records

Lower Dens – ‘Galapagos’

It’s hard to talk about Lower Dens without talking about atmosphere. Even as the band have ventured into widescreen sing-along territory, it’s the textures encasing Jana Hunter’s lead vocals that speak most persuasively. In sync with their Baltimore kin, Beach House, ‘Galapagos’ brings together stately guitar lines, synthesisers and subtle electronic programming to grab you like a strong but non-frightening wave, pulling you further into the surf.

Label: Ribbon Music