26th June, NMF!

Let’s start off with a question – apparently that’s a real commitment to site engagement. This month has had its fair share of difficult moments with shining gems throughout, though for the most part it hasn’t hit quite like the start of the year. I considered turning these into monthly rounds of hidden gems, so let me know if you would digest music highlight much better that way. With that out of the way, let’s settle into this week’s jewels.

LÉON / AND IT BREAKS MY HEART

An old adage goes that certain voices are so good they could ‘sing the phonebook’ and you’d still get swept away by them. That quality is always present with Leon, her thick emotion a gorgeous fit for her steady and stable pop songs. ‘And It Breaks My Heart’ shows an artist that just gets the music they want to make, the melodies they enjoy, the lyricism that strikes. The vocal takes this where you need it to go, but it’s those sweeping Del Rey strings that makes it so grandiose. Seriously, give us an album.

JESSIE WARE / WHAT’S YOUR PLEASURE?

After an age of waiting, Ware’s album dedicated to sensual dance has finally dropped. The title track, seen above, is the epitome of those lust-tinged beats and classic Ware touch. Positively dripping with sex appeal and reverb, it’s hard not to imagine her a siren, cooing out into the waves. And we’re pulled right in.

VIOLET DAYS / THIS YEAR’S SUMMER

Considering the actual state of 2020’s summer, it’s certainly a brave choice of Violet Days to embrace the title – ‘This year’s summer, everything will change’ Hansson sings breezily, and there’s no denying that. With the harrowing shadow of lockdown in her sights, what we actually get is a beautifully bright departure from her usually murkier output. There’s a lot of this out right now, immediately recalling Dagny, Call Me Loop, Carly Rae, Katy Perry – but something about that driving guitar riff and that second half of the chorus really sets this out as a highlight.

GRACE DAVIES / JUST A GIRL

I always find it interesting when certain prolific titles get reused simply because the immediate thought is always those much bigger songs. Here we have Grace Davies going head to head with No Doubt and Gwen herself, though instead with a Sia-esque anthemic exploration in authority and self-love. Out of all of the emerging girls right now, Davies seems like the one to watch in terms of buzz. ‘Just a Girl’ might not play any unique cards, its driving kicks and harmonious chorus immediately familiar to any slight pop connoisseur, but amongst the more lightweight offerings of the week, it really has a chance to shine.

CARLIE HANSON / STEALING ALL MY FRIENDS

The distinction between ‘eras’ is ever blurring, especially when it comes to smaller acts that can afford to release tracks more recently without the expectation of an album (or they’re held in purgatory hell until they’re allowed to release one). Since her surprisingly brilliant EP ‘Junk’ last year, Carlie has put out a series of songs that have each racked up a few million streams each, and the latest is a beautiful introspective moment that would usually be reserved for an album closer. It’s moments like this when I can’t help but celebrate how streaming has changed music because it allows these quieter moments their own time to shine. And it is gorgeous. Dedicated to the destruction caused by drugs to her life, it’s all about that guitar, melody and voice, and it’s giving us a window into Hanson’s artistry that you might never get with curated lead singles.

As always, the Spotify playlist is updated weekly whether a highlight post goes up or not, so make sure to give it a follow HERE!

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