THIS week marked the return of rock giants The Strokes and Biffy Clyro who both unleashed new music into the world. Check out their new tracks below alongside new offerings from Swim School, Orla Gartland, The Byson Family, Parliamo, Slouch, Kohla and more.

Swim School ‘how it should be’ 

Yesterday we were delighted to bring you the premiere of Swim School’s brand new single ‘How It Should Be’. Described by the band as “an expression of the pure happiness that comes with leaving a dark time behind”, a vibrant sense of optimism and hopefulness beams from its bright guitar lines and shimmering melodies. “This is how it should be” Alice Johnson sings on the chorus, as if the clouds have just parted and the sun is beating down on her face. Carefully crafting a sound that is as uplifting and vibrant as it is deeply alluring and instantly memorable, Swim School have triumphed yet again.

The Byson Family ‘Only Love Can Give’ 

Comprised of Phil Campbell (formerly of The Temperance Movement) Mick McDaid (Paulo Nutini) Allan James (Jon Fratelli) Christian Fleetwood & Chris Russell (The River 68s), The Byson Family are a Glasgow supergroup of sorts, formed of a shared love of songwriting, vintage rock & roll and Americana. ‘Only Love Can Give’ is their second single and it sounds like it has arrived straight out of a bygone era. Led by Phil Campbell’s distinctively rustic vocals, it’s a twanging, yearning piece of blues that is indicative of their wide-ranging experience as musicians as well as their fierce chemistry as a five-piece.

Parliamo ‘Six Ways from Sunday’ 

A band we’ve had on our radar for some time now, Parliamo kick off their headline tour with a SXSW fundraiser in Room 2, Glasgow tonight. With appearances lined up at New Colossus Festival in New York, SXSW in Texas, Stag and Dagger, Liverpool Sound City and more, 2020 is shaping up to be a landmark year for the group as they bring their bold, catchy and anthemic tunes to new crowds and far-reaching destinations. Their latest single ‘Six Ways From Sunday’ is rollicking, unruly track driven by the twin guitar assault of Calum Simpson and Finn Freeburn Morrison and the animated vocals of Jack Dailly.

“It’s about a young couple, the girl gets pregnant, and the two decide unanimously that she should get an abortion,” says Dailly. “They struggle with the trauma of the ordeal, they avoid crying by laughing and jesting at what their religious grandparents’ reaction would resemble, and they ponder on what could have been different had they been older and readier.

The Strokes ‘Bad Decisions’

Just a week on from making a leftfield return with ‘At The Door’, The Strokes are back with something that’s a bit more recognisable for the diehards. ‘Bad Decisions’ is a straight-up indie banger, harking back to the spiky, unkempt sound of their earlier material and featuring a glorious chorus.

Biffy Clyro ‘Instant History’ 

Scottish alt-rock heroes Biffy Clyro have returned with their biggest pop single to date called ‘Instant History’. A track that marks a massive shift away from the jagged guitars and pummelling rock & roll we’re used to hearing from the trio, ‘Instant History’ is heavy with synths and dance-tinged vibes as they gear up for their most eclectic record to date, produced by Rick Costey. It’s a left-field return from the Scottish outfit but one that will still go down well with fans thanks to its huge, anthemic chorus, empowering lyrics and dramatic atmosphere.

“‘Instant History’ is the biggest, most slammest pop moment we’ve ever worked on,” lead singer Simon Neil said in a statement. “And thematically it’s a good pointer for what the album is about: learning from mistakes and realizing how you can move things forward. Things can be similar although they’ll never be the same, but let’s not be scared of that.”

Slouch ‘P.O.V’

After unveiling ‘In Your Mind’ and ‘Duplicity’ last year, Glasgow’s Slouch are back with another rousing single to add to their collection called ‘P.O.V’. Building on the foundations put in place by those two previous outings, the track bursts to life with an onslaught of vibrant synths and strong guitar lines. Sitting somewhere between the synth-heavy euphoria of New Order and indie swagger of Interpol and The Strokes, Slouch wear their influences on their sleeves but they do so with confidence and widescreen ambition.

Shambolics ‘Sandra Speed’

Signed to Alan McGee’s Creation 23 label, Shambolics’ gradual ascendence continues with a sold-out show at Saint Luke’s next month on Saturday 14th March. The band’s latest single ‘Sandra Speed’ continues indie-rock’s long held tradition of immortalising real-life characters in song by telling the story of a girl fallen on hard times. “I wrote the song in our studio staring out the window and seeing the very thing happen right outside.”  reflects frontman Darren Forbes. “The song is about a vulnerable girl who has mingled with the wrong crowd and lost herself.” The vivid tale is told via Shambolic’s swirling, reverb-washed brand of indie – full of vibrant melodies, big choruses and a starry-eyed indie nostalgia. 

Kohla ‘Flux EP

Kohla has topped off a particularly prolific period of releases with the arrival of her debut EP ‘Flux’. Containing each of the four singles she released in 2019, the EP acts as a nice bookend to what has been a real purple patch of creativity for the singer as well as a neatly packaged introduction for those listeners who have yet to become acquainted. Kohla displays a cool and brooding confidence across the EP, entrancing and beguiling on ‘T O U C H’, ethereal on ‘Pxrxdise’ and bolder and more experimental on ‘_Gorgeous’. Find it on Spotify here.

Orla Gartland ‘Freckle Season EP’

Recently revealed in the second wave of artists set to play TRNSMT Festival this summer, Orla Gartland has released her second EP ‘Freckle Season’ today, featuring recent singles ‘Heavy’, ‘Figure It Out’ and ‘Did It to Myself’. The five-track compilation is a striking example of her talents and lyrical prowess – from fiery and defiant on ‘Figure It Out’ to somber and powerful on ‘Heavy’. Taking influence from Regina Spektor, Joni Mitchell and more, it’s her ability to word relatable situations so painfully accurately and with a healthy dose of Irish sarcasm that has garnered her cult hero status among younger listeners. Listen to the EP here.

Talk Show ‘Stress’

Driven by a rare sense of purpose and brooding intensity, Talk Show continue to bowl us over with each release. Their latest offering ‘Stress’ is a captivating piece of post-punk – layers of guitars pile on top of one another to a shrieking crescendo while frontman Harrison Swann’s vocals are stern and commanding throughout. With pulsing bass lines and a new wave jangle thrown in for good measure, it’s arguably their finest release to date.

Sports Team ‘Here’s The Thing’

Sports Team announced this week that their long-awaited debut album ‘Deep Down Happy’ will arrive on 3rd April via Island Records. The new fans have all been waiting for came hand in hand with a brand new single called ‘Here’s The Thing’ – an absolute killer of a track that sums the band up perfectly. It’s a rollicking and unpredictable slice of indie-rock that baulks at modern day rhetoric and self-prescribed hope, yet is delivered with enough self-awareness that it also showcases their vulnerability and need to stay afloat in these maddening times. It’s the kind of unruly, colourful and precocious kind of track that Sports Team are all about.

The 1975 ‘The Birthday Party’

The 1975 unveiled the latest preview of ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ this week with the release of ‘The Birthday Party’. Shaking up expectations for the new record yet again, the track finds the ever-evolving outfit take on a kind of understated, conversational style against a twinkling backdrop, matching digital elements with a country twang and gusty sax solo. Matty Healy is the sober narrator, reflecting on society’s relationship with intoxication and crossing paths with friends and strangers partying and having dead-end interactions. It’s a strangely hypnotising track that reveals darker undercurrents from time to time.