Feb 5th, NMF!

It’s been a quiet few weeks but our first February NMF brings some damn gems.

ALLIE X / GLAM!

Having developed both her sound and persona tenfold since her first foray into big bold and brash pop, Allie has been having of a turn of nostalgia by indulging into that past a little once more. ‘GLAM!’ might be an old leak but good god, it’s enormous. Her songwriting skills have undoubtedly progressed in time but there’s just something about past Allie X that really cuts right through in seconds.

MARTIN GARRIX, TOVE LO / PRESSURE

Neither Garrix or Lo are typically known for their subtlety, so when it comes to a duet between the two you’d be forgiven for expecting a balls-to-the-wall Sia/Guetta experience. ‘Pressure’ is the exact opposite of that – an exquisite blend of 3AM club-closing bass and Tove’s yearning for touch. It’s kind of a match made in heaven.

KITO, VANJESS, CHANNEL TRES / RECAP

Production is Kito’s forte. If you haven’t heard her yet, you’ll probably have heard a song that she’s had a hand in, most particularly behind BANKS’ phenomenal ‘Gimme’. Deep and warm like a dip in the tub, her production style felt ahead of the curve a year or two ago… it’s here to define the year now.

NEIMY / KNIFE OUT OF MY BACK

One look at Neimy’s Spotty Fry and you’ll see an abundance of covers with millions of streams each, her and Jubel’s cover of ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ almost at a measly 200 million. ‘Knife out of my back’ might not have enough bulldozing originality to completely usurp that, but it’s a delicious little nod to an artist that has more to give than just those covers. Let’s keep on eye on her.

REZZ x PVRIS / SACRIFICIAL

With such a distinctive sound and vocalist, is there any escaping any song featuring PVRIS sounding a certain way? Having gone to extreme lengths to develop their identity and sound from the initial Paramore-lite debut, there’s an admirable consistency when it comes to the core of PVRIS songs. In essence, ‘Sacrificial’ sounds like Skrillex took a turn on one of their album tracks, and it works better than you’d think.

Do make sure to check out the playlist for more weekly highlights! Trust me, there’s some deep gems there.

27th September, NMF!

CECILY / AWAKE

Her Spotify ‘about’ section might be about twenty years too late in that it actively namechecks her as a counter to the ‘Britney’s of the world’ (Someone might want to tell her management that Billie Eilish is the new thing?) but ‘Awake’ is brilliant enough for me to completely disregard that. The Julia Michael’s style verses lead you to believe this is heading one particular way, only for a huge Chvrches chorus to bound in with the most satisfying of stabbing synths. Don’t go, don’t leave! she begs, and honestly I feel like never leaving. What a bloody good song.

ALLIE X / FRESH LAUNDRY

There’s a hidden secret among the deepest pop fans, and her name is Allie X. Constantly releasing the tightest of pop songs, she’s been tapped by Troye Sivan and even ripped off by Taylor Swift, and yet her name continues to be that criminal secret reserved for pop lovers. ‘Fresh Laundry’ isn’t going to change that, and you could argue that if her last effort wasn’t able to do that then it might never happen, but it is the most exciting she’s been in years. The constant state of refinement is astounding in retrospect, ‘Fresh Laundry’ sounding both at place with her almost five year old material and also a hyper-polished version of it, it’s soft and introspective in all the right ways. Opening up her dream-pop to a much warmer palette, it’s understated and frankly brilliant.

KITO, EMPRESS OF / WILD GIRL

Kito’s expressive production skills have started garnering her some mainstream attention, in particular being picked up by BANKS for her amazing lead single ‘Gimme’ this year, but luckily there’s still plenty of talent still in the locker for herself. Teaming up with the criminally underrated Empress Of, ‘Wild Girl’ is a Tove Lo meets BANKS understated banger that I’m desperately hoping is leading to another EP. Whilst it doesn’t quite hit as hard as last years EP, HAANI, the production still bubbles and froths in all the right places.

LIZ, AJA / LOTTERY

00’s nostalgia might be bubbling beneath the mainstream but anyone with their finger on the pulse will realise the wave that is building, with the likes of Slayyyter and LIZ surfing the high tide. ‘Lottery’ is almost entirely early Britney, to the point where you can visibly imagine this fitting on her sophomore or even Blackout. This is an influence Liz has embraced, with her citing Britney, the 00s and the MIA-Nadia Oh as inspiration, and ‘Lottery’ revels in it. We won’t talk about the feature, which almost torpedoes the whole thing, but luckily the chorus shines through.

FLUME, VERA BLUE / RUSHING BACK

Sometimes the best pop music isn’t afraid to get a little abrasive, choosing a sonic palette that screeches a little instead of basking in familiarity. Flume already demonstrated a masterful production touch in his 2019 mixtape, Hi This Is Flume, and the pop singles he’s released around it use similar production choices well whilst maintaining the strength of a melodic pop song throughout. Drafting in songwriting excellence Vera Blue, who herself is moving away from her folk roots to explore a more electronic route, means there’s a big beating heart at the center of this all – her familiar vocal pulling it back in as the production veers wildly. It’s a masterful collaboration of the two.

Also this week:

Franky Wah has recruited Robinson for a really dreamy trance song, ‘Hide’.

Elohim continues to release material that isn’t as good as her debut, but it’s still great in a Tove Styrke kind-of way. ‘Paradise’ is a bop.

Charlotte Lawrence is releasing more ASMR pop with ‘Navy Blue’, a gorgeous ballad that has the tiniest of verses and the biggest chorus.

‘Extra Fries’ by ILIRA is the exact song we need for bulking season, even if it sounds like she’s written it over the backing of every other song of hers?