Jan 15th, NMF!

It’s been a quiet month so far on the music front save for the current biggest song in the world, ‘drivers licence’ coming out of the blue and connected on a level we’ve not seen in a while. This week is anything but quiet though, mostly due to Pale Waves’ little gem. Let’s get into the highlights:

Pale Waves – Easy Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

PALE WAVES / EASY

Coincidentally the moment Pale Waves leaned into their influences and embraced what is a very obvious link to classic 00’s Avril Lavigne, the quality of their music has veered upward. ‘Easy’ is so good that I’m tempted to call it career defining, I’d even go as far to say it’d be able to revive the Lavigne comeback quite easily. As 1975 as it is Lavigne, it’s just an inspired romp through gorgeously nostalgic 00s melodies that never once feels false. You’ve done it, Pale Waves. You’ve found your sound.

LEONY / FADED LOVE

The problem with samples of such ubiquitous songs is that it often seizes the song before the artist can even grasp it, leaving nothing much than nostalgia. ‘Faded Love’ is not that. Used in such a way that the melody starts to chew in before you remember exactly what it is, it makes me wonder why Dragostei Din Tei hasn’t been picked up much earlier. If Zara Larsson had this behind her she’d be worldwide in minutes.

Danny L Harle Harlecore

DANNY L HARLE / ON A MOUNTAIN

Taken from his upcoming debut of sorts Harlecore, ‘On a Mountain’ is an absolutely fearless romp through classic dance. The reserved and clean Imogen Heap-esque delivery is quite a stable for PC Music, let alone Harle, and it’s a masterclass of how a throughline even without compromising on the hardcore production. Classic dance music is fearless, and this is already a classic.

KITTEN / DO U STILL LOVE ME?

Kitten have a good ten years under their belt now, so I’ll be surprised if you’ve not bumped into their music in some capacity before. Though the line-up might have shuffled around throughout their time, they have slowly settled back into consistent and regular releases – their latest potentially their greatest yet. Inescapably HAIM but still retaining their own warm and unique style, the only thing left to hope for is that this falls into an album at some point.

Fickle Friends – IRL Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

FICKLE FRIENDS / IRL

Swallowing the mild ire at waiting so long for a measly 5 track EP, ‘IRL’ continues the evolution of Fickle Friends’ perfectly matured Reading-Festival-Paramore vibe. Unnaturally charming, ‘IRL’ decries the communicative issues of modern teenage life – lying awake waiting for the screen to flash again. Hardly a generational exclusive though, this is going to be one of the big ones on the stage – trust me.

16th August, NMF!

MUNA / STAYAWAY

‘Stayaway’ has been out for just over 12 hours and I’m already positive that it is going to end up in my top five of the year, if not the top 2. The sophomore slump is a real issue for many artists, and considering MUNA’s debut album showed itself to be one of the most impassioned and well constructed debuts in the last ten years, the pressure really was on to not only recreate that but to elevate it. ‘Stayaway’ is the kind of song careers revolve around, melodically a masterpiece and lyrically devastating, it’s hard not to find something new to love with each listen. That’s if you can stop repeating the gloriously powerful pre-chorus. If this was the 00s, I’d have the lyrics plastered all over every single online profile I inhabited.

Leaving you was easy, now I’ve got to do what’s hardI’ve got to stay away.

MILEY CYRUS / SLIDE AWAY

Authenticity is a much sought after thing that simply cannot be fabricated and shows itself at the sparsest of moments, like Demi Lovato releasing the heartbreaking ‘Sober’ before her publicised relapse or Ariana Grande referencing her exes shortly after Malcom’s death, Miley channels her recent split with long-term-flame Liam in the devastating ‘Slide Away’ – a song about recognising the two worlds both of you inhabit have shifted so far away that they are now unreachable. Considering Miley’s career has been filled with a plethora of characters, it is simply remarkable to see her peel away the layers and present something so visceral. We haven’t seen this since the raw, and incredible, Dead Petz… experiment – which really felt like the real Miley Cyrus shining through. Hopefully between this and ‘Mother’s Daughter’, she’s more ready than ever to occupy that character completely.

PVRIS / HALLUCINATIONS

The best thing about ‘Hallucinations’ is how it manages to subvert the typical PVRIS formula by blending their enormous, effect-soaked choruses with a surprisingly intimate production. Considering how well they do LOUD it’s simply delicious to hear Lyndsey’s vocals given the space, with only strings and a slight beat accompanying her. Of course, that doesn’t stop the ceiling-crushing chorus from fitting right in to place when you least expect it. With hints of BANKS and Florence, this era really feels like PVRIS taking the next big step for their artistry.

NORMANI / MOTIVATION

Everybody I know has been, rightfully, freaking out about Normani’s sudden reintroduction (mostly because of the star quality on display in the marvelously nostalgic music video). ‘Motivation’ needed a few plays from me before it sunk its claws in but it’s so god damn exciting to see such a huge pop culture moment being made from a debuting solo artist. There’s been a lot of swing for Normani over the past year and it seems like it’s allowing her to hit the ground running. Though that’s not to discredit her, as her charisma and confidence is pouring out of every ounce of the song. She knows this is it, and it sounds like it.

And if you don’t get it yet, just watch the video. You will.

HYPHEN HYPHEN / TAKE MY HAND

‘Take My Hand’ truly reveals its cards at the three minute mark, a cathartic implosion after several minutes of atmospheric teasing. Whilst this won’t be for everyone, and at times it sounds like the soundtrack to some buzzy and dark Netflix series, it’s a momentous release that sounds unlike anything else released this year. Between gasps for breath, bass that sounds like it’s going to burst open the speakers and their trademark chant-like vocals, this is the closest you’ll come to an out of body experience this year.

This week was simply fantastic, and there’s a whole bunch of other songs that could have made our highlights on any other week. Make sure to check them out and let us know what your highlights would have been:

July 19th, NMF!

Here are the best five tracks of this wonderful New Music Friday:

SAM SMITH / HOW DO YOU SLEEP?

Did I really expect a Sam Smith song to be my favourite of the week? When typically his songs would be reserved for insomnia drenched nights, ‘How Do You Sleep?’ is an exciting evolution of a newly expressive artist. The video, which is great, is an overt celebration of his queerness and I can’t help but be ecstatic watching Sam’s slow revelation that his queerness does not need to be hidden anymore. What’s best is that, even if this does have a high pitched trap-drop, this doesn’t sound a single step out of place? It’s effortlessly cool, an utter slow jam that we think is going to be huge.

SOFI DE LA TORRE / PERO NO

‘Pero No’ follows ‘Estamos Mal’ in reestablishing Sofi with her Spanish roots, continuing to showcase her exceptional songwriting skill in her native tongue. Now I’m not a fluent speaker, but that doesn’t stop me positively soaking in everything here – it’s succulent and warm, a melancholic and yet blissful summer bop thanks to her typical emotionally charged vocals. Again this is Sofi excelling at what she knows and is very good at.

CHARLOTTE LAWRENCE / WHY DO YOU LOVE ME?

With Billie Eilish on the way to being the next big thing, it was only a matter of time before someone starting to draw inspiration from her very unique sound. ‘Why Do You Love Me’ is going to be the first of many, and it’s so similar to something Billie would put out that it’s almost disturbing. The ASMR vocals, the plinky bass, the slightly demented chorus – it’s ALL here. I almost admire the sheer change in sound to this from everything before to be honest!

CHLOE MK / DAVID BOWIE

Immediately the title evokes Gaga and 80s driven pop music, and luckily the sonic build of the song does little to subvert that. Chloe has seemingly came from almost nowhere with perfectly crafted 00’s pop songs that remind me of the golden days of Gaga and the collection of stars, such as Natalia Kills, that followed her meteoric rise. ‘David Bowie’ is subtle and immaculate, doubling as a love song and a tragedy, and immediately sets Chloe apart from the other girls on the scene right now with its dedication and coolness. In a world of Ava Max’s, be a Chloe MK.

CHARLI XCX, CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS / GONE

Consider this a somewhat muted celebration of the new Charli XCX song, because we all know the type of electro-pop that she is capable of by now and unfortunately ‘Gone’ brings little new to the table. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, but I have heard Charli XCX do this song a few times before and for that it loses an initial spark. WITH that aside, it’s a hook driven distillment of everything Charli has come to represent, and Christine stops in for a quick vocal too. I’d never noticed how similar they could sound before, but it’s certainly obvious here.