Here are the best alt. rock songs you'll hear this week, featuring Blur, Fall Out Boy, Olivia Rodrigo and more

Louder tracks of the week
(Image credit: Press)

We're back!

Last week, due to the fact that the entire Louder team were standing in fields/royal parks/castles watching live rock n' roll magic being created before our eyes, we put our regular Tracks of The Week feature on 'pause', but this week, ahead of an office outing to see Guns N' Roses in London Town, we're hitting 'play' once more, with a glorious selection of tunes taking in everything from the hard-hitting return of a former Disney princess, to a sinful second single from the best new band in Britain, via a glorious reworking of a time-stamped classic rock anthem.

But before we introduce these eight brand spanking new songs for aural stimulation, we are duty bound, and indeed proud, to present the winner's of our June 16 poll

So, hail to the kings that are Mutoid Man, with the Cave In/Converge/High On Fire 'supergroup' power trio collecting a tidy 57.89% of all votes cast for their desert rock stormer Siren Song. Second in line to the throne are The Hives, who bagged 24.21% of the vote for the garage rock banger that is Countdown To Shutdown, with the mighty Osees rolling in third (7.37%) with the title track of their forthcoming album Intercepted Message which John Dwyer calls “early grade garage pop meets proto-synth punk suicide-repellant.” Well done all.

Right, another week, another battle of the bands. And remember, regardless of what you were told in school, in this riff kingdom, it's the winning that counts not the taking part, so vote, vote, vote!

(No pressure though, you do you). 

Louder line break

Olivia Rodrigo - Vampire

The fact that Vampire racked up 2.1 million views on YouTube in its first four hours on the platform speaks volumes about the anticipation for Olivia Rodrigo's return. And the first taste of her forthcoming second alum album GUTS, due for release on September 8 via Geffen, is every bit as striking as Drivers License, the monster single which launched her career in 2021. Vampire starts off as a low-key piano ballad but gets much darker and heavier, as Rodrigo shares an all-too-familiar tale of an abusive relationship with a predatory older male figure.

“I used to think I was smart," she sings, "but you made me look so naive, the way you sold me for parts, as you sunk your teeth into me. Oh bloodsucker, famefucker, bleeding me dry like a goddamn vampire.”

In a new interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Rodrigo discusses the song, saying, “I think I listened to a lot of heavier stuff growing up and that's what I've always been drawn to. But I think in my regular day-to-day life, I don't get to express those feelings of rage and dirty shit and messing shit up. And I think in music, you have the freedom to express feelings that you don't get to express in your everyday life.”

An astonishing comeback.

The Last Dinner Party - Sinner

Sinner, the follow-up to The Last Dinner Party's stunning debut single Nothing Matters, is another idiosyncratic treasure from the best new band in Britain, pitched somewhere between Abba, ELO, Siouxsie and The Banshees, and David Bowie, with fabulously theatrical vocalist Abigail Morris singing, “There’s nothing for me, here where the world is small. But how you touch me, for that I’d leave it all.”

Fresh from their triumphant debut performance at Glastonbury festival, The Last Dinner Party have just announced an extensive UK tour with friends, and fellow stars-of-the-future, Picture Parlour for October: the fact that their London date, at the 1200-capacity Hackney club Earth, sold out in just three hours (a second show, on October 18 is on sale now) says everything about their momentum right now. A special band, at the start of what promises to be a fascinating journey.

Fall Out Boy - We Didn’t Start The Fire

Chicago emo kings Fall Out Boy have released a surprising cover - a take on Billy Joel's 1989 hit We Didn't Start The Fire, revamped with brand new lyrics about numerous culturally significant moments from across the past 34 years.

Where the original song tackles world history from 1949 to 1989, FOB's new version continues where The Piano Man left off, exploring newsworthy events from 1989 all the way to the present day, referencing everything from today's concerns about AI technology such as deep fakes, to historical moments in politics such as Donald Trump's double impeachment, to popular television programmes, such as Stranger Things, Twilight, Harry Potter and SpongeBob SquareParents. It's pretty bonkers, but then, not as bonkers as the things they're singing about, aka the world we live in.

Be Your Own Pet - Goodtime!

"I can't be that way no more, I've got two kids and a mortage... what the fuck?" So runs the chorus of Be Your Own Pet's exhilarating new single, Goodtime!

“The older you get, the more responsibility and compromise, the more people that depend on you - but there’s always a little bit of missing the freedom from when you’re younger,” explains vocalist Jemima Pearl of the theme of BYOP's second single previewing Mommy, their first album in 15 years. That's due in August, when the Tennessee garage punks will tour the UK.

Taking Back Sunday - The One

A song derived from the loss of bassist Shaun Cooper's grandmother over the Covid pandemic, the Long Island emo heroes have spun tragedy into a positive song about finding "some light through the darkness".

Driven by a powerful and upbeat melody, The One is an emotional and poignant return following a four year hiatus. TBS explain: "Devastated with overpowering sadness, he [Cooper] found comfort in writing music and initially titled the riff ‘Posivibes’...He never shared the story of the title or how that riff came together with us until after it was complete. Shaun didn’t want his story affecting the ultimate meaning of the song, because it’s actually an uplifting one.”

The Japanese House - Touching Yourself

If you think this fluttering pop ditty sounds familiar, and perhaps a little like The 1975, then you may be unsurprised to know that, the song - which features on The Japanese House's newly-released album In The End It Always Does (out today) - actually received input from the band's very own Matty Healy and George Daniel. Touching Yourself is both sad and seductive, and explores the experience of wanting to be intimate with someone who is unfortunately too far away. Awwww. 

Blur - St. Charles Square

Kicking off with a David Bowie-esque riff, the latest track from Blur's forthcoming album The Ballad Of Darren sees them embrace the same "discordant art-pop swagger" as their earlier releases. Curious and kooky, St. Charles Square brings together their trademark Britpop sound with a psychedelic edge, as frontman Damon Albarn sings strange lines such as: 'Cause there is something down here and it's living under the floorboards...Don't leave me here baby don't leave me completely / Cause I might not get back to myself at all'.

St. Charles Square is a place where the ghosts of monsters can be found," says Albarn. Best give that a miss on any upcoming holiday visits then.

ØXN - Love Henry

Well, this is different. 

The legend of Henry Lee, as recounted in the trad folk song Young Hunting, has been explored in song by Bob Dylan and Nick Cave/PJ Harvey, but the tale of Lee's demise at the hands of his spurned lover has rarely been told in such a tense and haunting manner as on the debut single from new Irish ‘doom folk’ quartet ØXN, who are described as "the missing link between Enya, Ennio Morricone, Richard Dawson and Neu!" For fans of 1973 folk horror The Wicker Man, Midsommar, Heilung and weirdness.

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.

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