Music

14th August, NMF!

MILEY CYRUS / MIDNIGHT SKY

‘Midnight Sky’ might just be the best Miley Cyrus song ever, and that’s a big feat for someone with such an eclectic back catalogue. Between this, the Ronson collab and her last two singles, Cyrus is really establishing herself as a tour-de-force when it comes to these gritty disco-pop bangers.

EVANESCENCE / USE MY VOICE

You won’t find too many people talking about Evanescence nowadays compared to their bigger days, but ‘Use My Voice’ is an important rallying cry from a female fronted rock band still pushing on 20+ years. Quite unlike anything they’ve done before, it’s an instant roof-raising anthem that you just know they were dying to perform live.

OFF BLOOM / WHAT WE DO

Christ, I love me some good off-kilter music production. Here we have a mutilated country-bedroom-pop riot that is just so charming from start to finish. Understandably a lot of people might be turned off by the quirkiness and the short length, but this is also the exact quirky Britney Spears album track that stans would outwardly champion for single status.

GIA WOODS / INTO IT

Slinky delicious melodies abound, ‘INTO IT’ is all about that god damn chorus. God, there’s something about songs that know they have a killer hook and they just revolve around it. The way her voice glides from high to low on ‘I shouldn’t do it but I’m into it’ send shivers down my spine.

SO BELOW / FEAR

If you’ve already been into So Below, you’ll adore this. Glacial understated pop music that just bubbles and bursts with this dark underlying bass, here we have a study about how fucking stupid ageism in the music industry is. With those trademark stretched vocals and a pulsing electronic synth that rips through right at the end, it’s a damn blinder with a message – the best kind of music.

CMP / MULHOLLAND

For every established artist, there’s the little guy trying to burst through. And that’s why I started this blog, to keep an eye on new and upcoming music regardless of where it’s placed on the New Music Friday Spotify playlists. ‘Mulholland’ is the title track from CMP’s new album, which is due out soon, and it’s that blissful indie soundtrack song I usually feature on here anyway. It’s a good one!

That’s the highlights for the week! At least give the Miley song a spin, it’s such a corker. As with CMP above, hit up my socials if you have a new song and you would like me to take a listen!

Music

July 17th, NMF!

BEABADOOBEE / CARE

‘Care’ is everything you’ll need for this heatwave-rocked summer, its delicious indie melody a perfect vibe for throwing down your car windows and throttling towards the beach. Of course, it might be worth jumping on Street View and taking yourself there digitally to avoid the mass of people also making the move to the sands, but we have to take joy where we can find it now. Luckily ‘Care’ is going to take you there whether you want it to or not.

ELLIE GOULDING / HOW DEEP IS TOO DEEP

It’s really hard to imagine Ellie’s label being pitched with some of the songs on the album and still deciding she had to go away and work on commercially vanilla singles that won’t even make it into the main body of work. Despite the complete state of a rollout for the album, Goulding comes along and proves once again why she’s still a guiding British star. ‘How Deep is Too Deep’ is more Delirium than Bright Lights, but the flourishing production and her eye for a brilliant chorus makes it one of her best. And let’s be honest, she can write these brooding, scolding anthems with her eyes closed now. Try the entire album, it’s a wonder.

YAEGER / CATCH ME IF YOU CAN

Whispery pop girls on Spotify need all they can to bring themselves out of the blur and showcase what they can bring. Yaeger has a way to go to step out of that upcoming Swedish popster lens, despite having a handful of really interesting and brilliant singles to her name already, but ‘Catch Me If You Can’ is an exciting step forward towards her own spotlight. That slinky opening synth is divine and almost steals the song itself, but the real gem of this is that Tove Lo/Lolo Zouai coolness oozing through everything like nitrogen.

CXLOE / 12 STEPS

Speaking of all those anonymous Spotify girls, here comes one of the best of them. CXLOE has been dropping so many damn bangers that it’s hard not to get frustrated to see an album rocking the charts, but luckily she still pulls in the streams. ’12 Steps’ continues in the steps of her previous three singles – being complete utter stompers that fullbred-label artists would die for – and yet like all the best singles it feels like it manages to be just a bit greater than the last. If the next one can top this, I’ll eat my hat.

TROYE SIVAN / EASY

Troye Sivan’s greatest strength is knowing exactly how his music and voice ought to sound, even at the behest of those that may want something more full-bodied with typical pop production (Looking at Petras here). ‘Easy’ then is one of his best, a beautifully subtle piece of bedroom pop that gives him total space and control to glide around the sparse beat like he’s haunting our dreams. It doesn’t sound like a hit, and that’s what’s so GREAT about it. Whilst Bloom was a very good indulgent fantasy moment, it seemed to position Sivan’s bedroom style as though it was a Teenage Dream. Not everything can be, and that’s okay.

AND THAT’S THE HIGHLIGHTS of a very strong week, let me know if there’s anything you found that screams highlight and let me know if you’re dropping anything in the future to come!

Music

10th July, NMF!

Today and all of today we will be found SMILING and nothing else.

KATY PERRY / SMILE

‘Smile’ has been sitting in the vault for a while but now, along with one of the best album covers of the year, the missile of positive proportions has been unleashed. Perry has been through a lot over the years and yet, luckily for us, the material since has been amongst her best yet. A healthy mix between ‘Last Friday Night’/’Birthday’ and ‘This is How We Do’, this is the Katy that the world needs. Now more than ever.

ZARA LARSSON / LOVE ME LAND

A somewhat divisively short one here at a brisk two and a half minutes not including the gorgeous little opening, but Zara has that unrivalled ability to make things sound so sensually cool. ‘Love Me Land’ is exactly what you’d expect from Zara Larsson but also it manages to inject an icy coolness you’d see in the likes of Tove Lo’s ‘Cool Girl’ or Lovato’s ‘Cool for the Summer’. Somehow managing to sound like a hit and a risk, it’s an exciting one for sure.

ELLYSSE MASON / I DON’T WANNA DANCE

Click above if you’re craving a hefty slice of dreamy 80s synth-pop with a husky songstress at the helm of it all. Yes it’s a completely packed soundscape, it even has that trademark switch up low pass middle-8, but it’s so damn good that I demand it slots right into those wistful playlists you’ve got going.

RAYE / NATALIE DON’T

Natalie joins Jolene in writing scathing fictional victim pieces for waiting room magazines as Raye decries her lost man at her hands. It’s another interesting departure of strings and emotion for Raye, who the public will know for barely-anonymous dance bangers. God, can we give this wonderful woman her deserved classic solo hit now please?

LIGHTS / DEAD END

I’m still trying to figure out whether this was released ten years ago and it’s just found its way to a re-release now, but either way the icy cold passive delivery of the ‘Dead end, dead end, dead end’ at odds with the desperate rock-ish chorus is so good it damn well knocked my speakers over.

REMEMBER TO KEEP SMILING!

Music

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!

Music

10th April, New Music Friday!

This past week has involved little more than the new Empress Of album. Have you listened to it? You really should, it’s a masterclass in production and quirk. As for this week, god we have some right bangers. Last week is old news, let’s get going.

CHARLOTTE OC / FALLING FOR YOU

You should know by now that Charlotte OC has a fantastic voice, one of my favourites out there right now. But the best thing is she knows exactly when to use that gusto and when to hold back. Her greatest strength are these incredibly subtle hooks that quietly worm their way into the brain. There’s always time for a big ‘Into You’ banger, but ‘Falling for You’ is going to last a lifetime because of that subtlety.

KIESZA / CRAVE

Imagine a world in which Katy Perry snapped this up as the real followup to ‘Never Really Over’? Easily the best thing Kiesza has put out since ‘All of the Feelings’, which actually only came out a few weeks ago… Needless to say, this dreamy 80s euphoria suits her from the ground to the heaven and it deserves all the success ‘Hideaway’ once earned.

CHARLI XCX / FOREVER

First of all, do not listen to this on cheap iPhone earphones if you do not want tinnitus. Secondly, can we accept now that Charli XCX might be the perfect pop star? She certainly is for our quarantining. ‘forever’ was thrown together at light speed, which makes it even more incredible. Truthfully the production is just a sly bit too much at the verses but that chorus might be her best in years.

MOYKA / SPACES

Can’t come to the phone right now, just being transported into outer space because of those opening pads. Zara Larsson meets Lorde meets Robyn brilliance. Name a better inspiration trio, I’ll wait.

ISAAC DUNBAR / BOY

Every now and then a fantastic openly queer love song comes along and I realise how little of them actually find themselves being pushed amidst the endless releases. That actually makes them feel more special for now, because god this hit me as I sit here desperately missing my own boy right now. It feels so good to hear it sometimes.

PLENTY more this week to dive into, get your teeth wet here:

Music

New Music Friday: February 27th!

Ms. Lipa has crash landed her epic dance-pop album a week earlier than expected so I forgive you if you can’t bring yourself to listen to anything else, but for those who might still want the other highlights (Of which there are plenty)… let’s go!

DUA LIPA / COOL

The Dua album is brilliant. It’s brilliant smushed together and it’s brilliant picked apart. ‘Cool’ is one of the best, it’s dreamy production a perfect match for her. Also if we’re being honest it’s that opening that makes this so masterful.

LITTLE MIX / BREAK UP SONG

Little Mix’s performance ability has often been at odds with their musical output, veering from fantastic pop to doo-wop nots. ‘Break Up Song’ couldn’t have dropped at a better time considering how similar it is to Dua’s sleek retro leanings. Time will tell whether that will be this singles detriment, but as it is this is one of their absolute best bangers.

GABRIELLE APLIN / MY MISTAKE (REWORK)

The world continues to sleep on Gabrielle Aplin, one of our strongest songwriters. ‘My Mistake’ is originally a heartbreaking sledgehammer of a ballad but god damn, it has one hell of a chorus. Aplin has smartly took it and put a proper donk on it and… it slaps.

ISA / GRAVITY

Here’s another one that really slaps. I couldn’t really tell you what Isa’s shtick is anymore but this is the kind of song Selena Gomez would pick up and turn in to hit with relatively little effort.

GLOWE / OVERWHELMED

One way to get yourself into these musical highlights is to surprise. Is there anything better than a good pop surprise? ‘Overwhelmed’ starts as a Julia Michaels song and switches gears pretty instantly into a brooding epic. The two actually work really well together, really showcasing that feeling of sudden overwhelming emotion. Synths are God’s work.

Music

New Music Friday: 7th February!

Well it’s gay christmas because one look at the playlist and you will see Agnes, Dagny, The Pussycat Dolls, Tove Lo, Aly & AJ, Halsey, Marina… all in one week! Let’s dive right in.

DAGNY / COME OVER

Dagny is a songwriting genius, it’s why Katy Perry looked to her to create the greatest song of all time, ‘Never Really Over’. ‘Come Over’ picks up where she left off – that sublime sugar sweet pop music and relentlessness that she just seems to excel at. I really, really, really need her in the studio with Perry right now.

AGNES / GOODLIFE

There aren’t many artists around that have had as interesting careers as Agnes, who already dropped an amazing EP out of the blue last year. Ditching the experimental 80s vibe of the EP, ‘Goodlife’ turns to STRINGS, and god she sounds gorgeous on it.

THE PUSSYCAT DOLLS / REACT

It’s finally here. Though the wait was certainly worth it for that saucy music video, wow. Penned by the shining talent Call Me Loop, ‘React’ finds PCD crash landing into 2020 with a contemporary ‘Buttons’ of sorts. It’s sexy, it’s smooth, it’s a total rush.

CYN / LONELY GUN

Admittedly Cyn’s output has veered between sounds so much that I never know what she’s going to do with each release, but even with that I couldn’t have expected ‘Lonely Gun’. Taken from the Birds of Prey soundtrack, it is a total RACKET and is all the better for it. A KT Tunstall-style banger with horns, Cyn certainly couldn’t make herself any louder.

INA WROLDSEN / PALE HORSES

Ina is another artist that continuously surprises with the breadth of her releases. Whilst a respected songwriter already, she has had little success on her own terms, and though she’s dropped a few casual appeals to success, for the most part she’s able to experiment and play her own games because of it. ‘Pale Horses’ is one of her best yet; an initially bonkers drum beat soon gives way to an enormous chorus bolstered with strings.

SO there were our highlights of the week but as always more can be found in our dedicated New Music Friday playlist below!

Music

New Music Friday: 17th January

We’re back. The world is well rested and a whole new year of music is before us, with a few NMF’s under our belt, let me assure you that not much has been missed in the interim. If you don’t have time to check this blog out weekly, make sure to follow the dedicated Spotify playlist for weekly arrangements (Seriously I wake up at like 5AM just to update it).

THIS WEEK:

Gabrielle Aplin is back with the first properly good album of the year. Frankly her songwriting ability continues to astound me and anyone who can write a masterpiece like ‘Miss You’ deserves the world, but here we have proper good pop songs galore with off-kilter ‘Love Back’, the glimmering ‘Invisible’, the terrifyingly sad ‘Dear Happy’. It’s brilliant.

Luna Shadows has dropped the best Allie X song of the last few years. Fizzling production is the first thing you’ll notice, but its the chorus that’ll keep you there.

Rina Sawayama transcends time and space. Sometimes people are born to be popstars, you know? ‘Comme Des Garcons’ is a club-inspired bass-squirming letter to understatement. Following the brash ‘STFU!’, it’s just… keep me on my toes, Rina!

Halsey has a boring new album out that wasn’t always going to be boring but turned boring because she apparently wasn’t angry anymore. ‘Still Learning’ is really great so only continue this sentence if you’ve already listened to it once………………. Okay, so Ed Sheeran wrote this. He’s all over it, and it kind of ruins it, doesn’t it?

Ella Eyre can’t come to the phone right now, why? Because she’s DEAD.

Hayley Kiyoko rounds off her brilliant E.P/Project with the delightfully weird ‘she’. The verses are better than the chorus but they’re really good. So is the bridge.

Tove Lo‘s ‘Bikini Porn’ is the kind of song only she could release, and she’s recruited Finneas (of Billie Eilish family fame) to help. Unfortunately it’s not very good, but maybe it’s a huge grower? Admittedly ‘Disco Tits’ was exactly that.

Lauv is really good but trying to write about his new song is proving to be pre zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Music

December 6th, NMF!

Steamrolling right into Mariah Carey season, we have secured some broadly weird but faintly brilliant highlights for you. Forget the tinsel, dodge the baubles, it’s all about New Music Friday. A safe space from the sentimental drivel, I promise.

ELLEY DUHE / NATURE

Duhe’s experimental nature provides a constant excitement at the sight of her name. ‘Nature’ is not going to be what you expect, but it’s going to hit all the right buttons anyway. It’s a little Halsey, a little folksy, a little dancey, all these things you think wouldn’t go together at all, and it’s undeniable.

THE CHAINSMOKERS, AMY SHARK / THE REAPER

Here’s another mash of completely contrasting elements, working well again. You may already know Amy Shark for her sharp-as-nails songwriting skill and her work with Antanoff, and if you do you’ll know how out of the blue this collab feels. The Chainsmokers are as hit and miss as you can get, but when they get it right, and they get the right artist too, it’s a real hit. This doesn’t feel like a classic, but it does feel more interesting than anything they’ve done in years.

NF / PAID MY DUES

Okay, so you’re probably not going to be here for rap music. It’s a divisive genre. ‘Paid My Dues’, however, is quite simply brilliant. NF has been quietly carving a very impressive career, his clear rapping talent punching through every song, and ‘Paid My Dues’ shows exactly why. This isn’t the pop leaning chart-hitter complete with delicate melodic segments, of which he often releases, it’s a spitfire labyrinth of words that sets him up quite clearly as the Eminem prodigy.

KREWELLA, NUCLEYA / GOOD ON YOU

‘Good On You’ packages Krewella’s Pakistani heritage into their well-developed blueprint in an effort to deliver a timewarp into a much simpler dancefloor past. Palatable dance music with a bit of bite is their aesthetic, and at this point it’s exactly what we’ve come to want from them, but it’s a welcome cultural touch that gives it a little bit more dimension than usual.

TEYANA TAYLOR / WE GOT LOVE

Teyana’s ‘We Got Love’ is her spunkiest output yet, a dancefloor anthem that aims for the same heights of Lizzo’s ‘Truth Hurts’ and evokes Janelle Monae’s Prince-lite epics. And I could totally see it making it for the same reasons. In fact it’s so good that I can barely imagine a world in which this doesn’t take off.

BODIN / SOMEBODY

Yes, he’s Scandinavian. It’s CHVRCHES goes to Melodifestivalen, a pure sugar rush with the exact dreamy synths you’d expect and a chorus better than you expected. Excuse me while I go binge on this like glazed donuts.

Music

November 29th, NMF!

Compared to recent weeks, we have a weaker effort to sift through this time. Luckily there are a few gems in the rough for our highlights as we head towards the close of the year. Check them out:

ASHS / PARANOID

You may already know ASHS as Alyssa Reid, having had brief success in 2011 with ‘Alone Again’. Initially intended to be somewhat of a side project, Alyssa has decided to put ASHS at the forefront and… well, it’s a good job because quite honestly the songs are brilliant. ‘Paranoid’ is a breath of fresh air, it’s Terror Jr meets So Below with a more grounded touch, an absolutely infectious epic. At the heart of it is a stunning R&B ballad with an equally gorgeous melody, but its the production that builds on that created world. An absolute win from every angle.

CAPULETS / SWEET ENOUGH

It’s going to take a lot to rebuild Xenomania’s lost legacy, and unfortunately their excessive pop touch hasn’t been quite the same since the era of Girls Aloud, but every now and then there’s another snap of genius. ‘Sweet Enough’ is brilliant because it actually focuses in their typically sporadic style, culminating in a classic Eurythmics styled epic dragged into the 21st century. There’s still a lot of air in the system, and it’s crying out for a fuller vocal, but the production deserves the commendation because we need more of this Xenomania.

DEVON BALDWIN / FIRE

Devon should already be on your radar, especially considering I push her at every opportunity. Already delivering an EP worth of masterfully produced mid-tempos in 2019, ‘Fire’ picks up where she left off in a much warmer capacity. Her icy production and ethereal vocal is trademark at this point, and in that regard ‘Fire’ delivers everything you need from a Devon song; atmospheric production that only amplifies the breathtaking delivery in front of it.

MALOU PRYTZ / IF IT AIN’T LOVE

Taking inspiration from The Saturdays, this time with correct grammar, Malou provides the bubblegum you need to get you through the week. Though the delivery gives you a sharpness the likes of Carly Rae usually trade for a genre-trade wisp, the production is exactly as bouncy as you need it to be. Designed to be cranked out of the car window, this is a welcome splash of sugar in a pretty sour week.

PETE TONG, HER-O, ZARA LARSSON / WITH EVERY HEARTBEAT

Well, would you look at this. A cover of one of the greatest songs of all time is a highlight of the week, but just as much for its own reasons. Zara Larsson fits the role of Robyn to a T, delivering a heartbreakingly good vocal, and there’s even a full orchestra version on the album too. This is a song that never ages, never tires and ultimately anyone could toy with and still have a great result, but there really is something to be said about how much emotion this still manages to translate and pull through. Now I’m craving a remix with Zara leading!

We’ve uncovered a massive 28 highlights this week, which can all be found below in our Eyes On NMF Playlist, so do check it out for any that you might have missed and give it a follow. That way you’ll never miss a great song!