The last few weeks haven't exactly gone as planned. At least I can blame the cold that I was fighting for a good week and a half on the Irish weather; even if I'm not supposed to be dealing with that sort of stuff at this time of year, it makes for a convenient scapegoat. Between knee injuries, stomach bugs and copious consumption of Lemsip, my health has been taking a few knocks - and that's come on top of adjusting to both a new working schedule (more of that) and a new sleeping schedule (less of that).

This is all the more reason for me to focus on listening to the best new music the week's had to offer. I actually have the capacity to write about it again, too. I wasn't just blindsided by my recent health woes; several of the tracks that make up this week's New Music Friday selection came completely out of the blue. Hopefully you'll find this latest batch of fresh new tracks to be just as surprising...



Magistrates - 'B.T.P.A.'

You would be forgiven if you didn't remember Magistrates; I thought they had long since ceased to exist, and I was half-right. They split toward the end of 2009, but became active again in 2011, and are now steadily moving toward the release of their debut album (!!!) next year. Ahead of that comes said album's lead single, 'B.T.P.A.', the Essex band's first new material in almost 4-and-a-half years.

It's a laid-back synth-pop track that's driven by busy electronic rhythms and a muscular bassline, sprinkled with call-and-response harmonies and topped off by a fantastically peppy chorus. Think of a broken-hearted Friendly Fires ("Burning the pain away, the flame of our love evaporates") and you're about halfway there. It's as confident and striking as their early singles, and suggests that 2014 will be a landmark year for the quartet. So many bands burn out or break up before they can realise their full potential; thankfully, it sounds like Magistrates are making the most of their second chance.



Mount Fabric - 'Books'

Speaking of potential, here's another band that are full of it. Their debut track 'Salamander' got them a mention in here earlier in the year - and, in case you missed it, there was a second track uploaded around that time called 'Heuristic Fits' - but their earlier material has well and truly been put in its place by their fantastic new single, 'Books', a song about 'the political side of science and research'.

Some bands need to write about those things, after all, and in Mount Fabric's own words, 'everyone else has got relationships and loneliness covered.' The Manchester band's latest effort is a dramatic, post-rock-tinged track that gets a lot accomplished in less than 4 minutes, building on its foundations of sombre piano and haunting vocals before erupting in a cathartic wall of noise and making a mockery of its lo-fi sound. Its homespun recording quality is a mark of the band's love for doing everything themselves - and they'll sound even better once they enter an actual studio, making them hot prospects for next year.



Museum of Love - 'Monotronic'

The last of my highlighted tracks this week is an example of what happens when one ex-member of LCD Soundsystem teams up with part of The Juan Maclean - the latter of whom get two mentions this week, as I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to feature their house-tastic new single. This collaboration sounds nothing like you'd expect it to, so leave any preconceptions at the door before stepping into the Museum of Love.

The duo - Pat Mahoney and Dennis McNany - are signed to DFA Records, who will be releasing their debut album early next year. There are some interesting collaborations in the pipeline; if I were a betting man, I'd put some money on James Murphy popping up somewhere. Current single 'Monotronic' is just the two of them, though; it's full of loping beats and tightly-wound melodies. I'm detecting a slight pyschedelic pop influence as well - see what I mean about expectations? Mahoney's vocals are impressive, as is the moment when the track switches gears (around 3:40 in) and picks things up for an energetic finish. It features a noticeably different vibe from lead single 'Down South', and it's looking like the as-yet-untitled album will be a diverse affair. Roll on 2014.



This week also features new music from The Juan Maclean, Eagulls, Drowners, Joel Compass, Parlour, Deleted Scenes, Blanche Blanche Blanche, Future Death, Holy Strays and Post War Glamour Girls.