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.

March 22nd, NMF!

DYNORO, INA WROLDSEN / OBSESSED

“I’m too invested, I can’t get obsessed with you.”

Ina Wroldsen is unquestionably one of the strongest songwriters of our current timeline of pop, each one of her songs is a showcase of fantastic and quirky melodies that swell and stick like any Abba great. Unfortunately that doesn’t immediately translate into success, and as such we’ve seen Ina invest in collaborations in a bid to get her name out there. Luckily her songwriting skill bursts through just as sharp as that vocal, perhaps one of the most recognisable voices on the airwaves right now. ‘Obsessed’ is Dynoro trying to recreate the club hit masterpiece ‘Breathe’, with an extra tint of Ina’s usual melancholy. I’m obsessed.

WILL YOUNG / ALL THE SONGS

“Only takes a spark to light this flame.”

Will Young’s Echoes remains a contemporary masterpiece and a necessary listen for LGBTQ men looking for talent that can represent our absolutely valid experiences. Living your life as a queer person, participating in queer circles, it’s easy to forget just how rare it is for people like Will Young to even be here. Of course, his sexuality is integral to his character but not his success, and ‘All the Songs’ is a fantastic return to that wistful and dreamy pop of Echoes. The video is an incredible exploration of his sexuality and a total liberation in reclaiming his image. In a world where queer talent is snubbed and blurred, it feels so good to hear and see him back with this fire again.

RAINSFORD / PASSIONATE

“Cutting your hair, I kept a piece of it.”

Rainsford’s ‘Rendezvous’ is a timeless classic that would fit right at home on Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream album, seriously go stream it now. ‘Passionate’ picks up where ‘Rendezvous’ left off; it’s a quirky and off-kilter exploration of obsession with bouncing synths, a pulsing bass and a gorgeously deep vocal. Think Postal Service meets Paperwhite meets Allie X, and you’re halfway there.

TOUCH SENSITIVE, KITTEN / UNCONDITIONAL

“You nod your head but your heart is frozen.”

I remember discovering Kitten in 2013; the fantastically weird ‘Like a Stranger’ capturing me immediately with it’s bizarre intro, electro-rock eighties production and a deeply affected vocal bathed in reverb. Consider my surprise seeing them team up with EDM producer Touch Sensitive, expecting the warm opening synth to give way to a fairly non-descript dance song. Imagine the further surprise then when the song unravels into an exciting line-blurring between two completely different worlds.


NIMMO / EVERYTHING I WANTED

“I need life to excite me at night and every single morning.”

‘Everything I Wanted’ summons Kelis-Fleshtone era David Guetta with its stabbing piano chords and drifting pads, and Nimmo’s La Roux-like vocal bouncing above it like a stone skipping on the water. Honestly at times I imagine this could be the La Roux follow-up in another reality, the similarities are astounding: the piercing and emotional delivery, the nostalgic production, the dancefloor ready beats. Hopefully we won’t have to wait years and years for an album from this pair, though.

LPX / BLACK & WHITE

“Who am I fooling? In the end I’m only human.”

LPX is breaking away from MS MR with the force of an atom bomb; her self fronted music relentlessly emotional, the production aggressive and her voice tinged with angst. ‘Black and White’ heads the new EP, Junk of the Heart, and sacrifices a little of that anger for an inviting warmth. Where the likes of ‘Tremble’ and ‘Tightrope’ were more Icona Pop shout-punk-pop, ‘Black and White’ feels more akin to Amy Macdonald – which is in no way a bad thing. This is character progression, the building of an artist that has so much to give – especially if this catchy mega-hit-in-waiting has anything to do with it.

Alan Walker is back, this time with Disney chanteuse Sabrina Carpenter and Farruko for his very own attempt at an exotic Despacito/Taki Taki style banger, ‘On My Way’.

Masters of quirky production, Sofi Tukker, have had their edges trimmed to deliver a dance-pop classic, ‘Fantasy’, that would fit right in on a Eurovision stage.

Zeina is trying to warn you about some serious damage heading her and her boo’s way in ‘Killer’, a surprisingly chill ballad considering the subject matter.

With a voice of gold, Sinead Harnett, returns with a spunky Jessie Ware-esque ballad, complete with handclaps.

Marina has a new album coming soon and so far ‘Superstar’ is the only song worth getting excited for. ‘Orange Trees’ is such an enormous misfire, kicking off with an out-of-place Garageband ‘OoOoOooOrange’ refrain and a breezy dedication to love. It just… doesn’t work. Sorry.