16th April, NMF!


Combining forces to give us understated summer song of ’21 are Sivan and Mcrae, the latter known mostly for the huge TikTok fuelled ballad ‘You Broke Me First’. Luckily this takes a page from Sivan’s book, the dreamlike delivery and production a perfect extension of his latest EP In a Dream. Hopefully they have a huge hit on their hands here, as it recalls the slow-head-worming capabilities of summer songs of old like ‘Dancing with a Stranger’.


The cappucino-morning vibes of Ralph finds new infectious Carly Rae-esque shades in ‘Tommy’, a relatively simple but instantly memorable hook filled subtle banger that hits somewhere between Katy Perry’s ‘Small Talk’ and Carly’s ‘Boy Problems’. Serving as the opening to her next EP (or album, we hope) it’s a perfect reintroduction of Ralph’s endless commitment to not only creating music but serving experiences such as the video above. That’s someone who loves what they do, folks.


Experimenting comes at quite a cost for bands like Fickle Friends who have spent many dedicated years crafting a fanbase that knows exactly what they like and what to expect. Quite smartly then, Fickle Friends have been subtly ramping up their influences and introducing new depths to their music – most notably here in the far less polished to sharp edge production, the cutting lyricism and the slightly effervescent vocal. It’s all very familiar but new, and amazing.


Trap beats and hi-hats rarely blend well with production that aims to be expansive as opposed to inward and minimal but if there’s anyone that can pull off bringing it into a cinematic landscape it’s VÉRITÉ, the blend of contemporary quietness blended conspicuously with what sounds at the heart like an enormous off kilter power ballad. What it results in is moments where the vocals feel like they are bursting through the confining cracks of the production, which is haunting and spine tingling all at once.


An abrupt hard-left shift into prior territory for Marina, who briefly dabbled in absolutely neutering a uniqueness that once afforded her Tumblr Royalty status. ‘Purge the Poison’ doesn’t always succeed, the melodies of the chorus at odds with lyrics that on paper have the ability to cut through just as past songs like ‘Hollywood’ once did. The chorus however should serve as a reminder of why Marina is still here and what she still has to bring. An altogether chaotic running takedown of capitalism, American imperialism and conspiracies against covid – who else has the gall to ram all of that into one song? Nobody.

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


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.


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


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 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


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.

November 20th, NMF!

Right well it’s a bloody great week this week, so let’s not wait any longer with meaningless opening drivel. Get into this.

Raye: Euphoric Sad Songs review | Music | The Guardian


Avid music fans will clock the sample immediately but, you might not know it from the intro, the song is cleverly built around it as opposed to structured only around it. If there were any justice in the modern pop scene, RAYE would have a flightless career where this could bother the radio and charts, but still she feels like a bit of a hidden secret because of it. The new EP needs you to check it out, like immediately, but for now let your body sink into this smooth bop.

Heaven & Hell by Ava Max: Amazon.co.uk: Music


Ava Max is doing that thing where you drop extra songs after the album has come out and tack them on as a deluxe edition but… this might be better than everything on the standard album? The girls really cashed out on sample checks this week, didn’t they. Unlike RAYE, ‘My Head & My Heart’ is built entirely around its sample and somewhere Alice Chater is fuming for not picking it up first. It’s cheap as hell but it still sounds so damn good.

Thinking About You – Off the Record


Give this the minute it deserves because once that smooth glitter fades away and the bass line takes centre stage, the song comes at you like a hammer to the face. And the best thing is that it gets even better, culminating in a perfect pop standard last 30 seconds glitterbomb of excellence.


Slowing it right down like a school disco DJ, Nikkita comes in like a storm cloud on the horizon. Dropped into my contact box ten days ago, I haven’t been this bowled over by a vocal in years. Vocals are subjective really, so you’ll either be into it or not, but the way they’ve coupled this devastating delivery with its enormous swelling orchestra feels like being hit by an ocean wave. One of those rare ballads that feels like it could just be you and the song left in the world, you’ll really not want to miss this one.

Loved You Once - Single by WANYI | Spotify


Also dropped into my contact box is this silky romantic dedication to a love since lost, the words at odds with the dreamy production. Bringing a huge chorus reminiscent of classic Steps into the future, WANYI swerves from her usual upbeat Carly-Rae esque pop to prove a nice strong ballad isn’t out of her remit. Particularly noteworthy are the deliciously soft vocals, so much so that it’s pretty damn easy to fall into this.

This is a bit of a stacked week, so make sure you’re checking out the dedicated playlist for the best weekly music. You really won’t want to miss the Fickle Friends track, not the Lastlings one for that matter. Trust me.