Music

4th October, NMF!

Spooky season has settled in, bringing with it cold wind and montages of latte’s in foggy cafes all around the country. What better way to soundtrack your pumpkin spice than with some brand new pop music?

KACY HILL / MUCH HIGHER

Dreamy storytelling meets the most expansive of synth’s in Kacy Hill’s magnificent ‘Much Higher’. Make sure to give it the time to sink in, headphones and all, because the beating heart behind this is just so encapsulating. Taken from her upcoming album, ‘Is It Selfish If We Talk About Me Again’, it balances around mid-tempo range whilst teasing an explosion that doesn’t hit as you’d expect; instead aiming for the heartstrings, the layered lyricism and pounding drums a war chant before the final bridge brings it all crashing back in. Delightful.

LOREEN / WALK WITH ME

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again until the world starts to hear it: Loreen is one of the greatest artists we have the privilege of watching evolve. Her journey from Eurovision winner to alternative rocker was exhilarating enough, but after teasing a much darker dance sound and now following it up with this brooding cover, we see yet again that she means to swallow the sound and regurgitate it back whole in her own way. Evoking her past cover, ‘Under Ytan’, it positively pulses along without worrying about conventional structure – and it sounds like floating on a bed of glass into the stars – her vocal another instrument of epic proportions. As always, she is an unrelenting steamroller of confidence and visionary talent.

HIGHASAKITE / CAN I BE FORGIVEN

‘Can I Be Forgiven’ is a song of two halves, and you won’t know unless you give it the time to switch up. Many times we hear bands and artists discuss their intention to switch up their sound without any substance to back that up. We wait for a slow shift, a glacial change of instruments or experimentation. How I wish they’d take a leaf out of this book, with what is the perfect package to showcase an evolution of sound – blending their songwriter folkish roots with an electronic explosion halfway through, quite literally guiding the listener into the new world they intend to create. It’s breathtaking to behold.

KING PRINCESS / HIT THE BACK

We haven’t had a song as good as this so explicitly about anal sex since Troye Sivan sung about his blooming self. The fact that there’s a fantastic little pop song behind it just makes it even more delectable, and the thought of innocent public members singing about letting their lover ‘hit the back’ is pretty iconic. The best thing about this though is that chorus, made even sweeter by the contrast in density between it and the verse. Opening up as a sickly sweet love song, it’s a delicious surprise when the funk-pop chorus swings in with a clenched fist.

ICARUS, RAE MORRIS / DREAMS OF YOU

You’d be forgiven for abandoning this Stockholm Noir-esque dance song before Rae Morris even comes in, but you’d be missing one hell of a gem. Like a classic trance song, it gives itself time to unravel itself around you in waves, unloading a subtle but defiant chorus of synths and Rae’s typical string-like vocals. It’s one hell of a duo, even for someone who has never typically enjoyed Rae Morris, that hits the ground running and doesn’t let up. By the time it hits the four minute mark, the blissful ecstasy of blips and bloops are almost transcendental. It’s almost as though it was built to soundtrack every drug fuelled mind escape, channelling that tunnel of emotions into sound.

October has brought with it a delight of nostalgic epics and some seriously melancholic wonders, so do make sure to give the playlist a quick spin. You won’t regret it.

Music

May 3rd, NMF!

This New Music Friday is brought to you on a Saturday, mostly because humans have not yet developed the ability to survive without sleeping and my body sporadically decided that it needed to collapse and sleep for an extended period of time. Luckily for us, great music is a continuous certainty:

THE MIDNIGHT / AMERICA ONLINE

The Midnight have, in my mind, established themselves as absolute production royalty. For a while now they’ve been dropping consistently evocative and excellently produced tracks like ‘America Online’ that successfully blend video-game synths, Deadmau5-esque house music and a brief time-trip back 30 years. Now that isn’t necessarily a perspective that hasn’t been tapped out by the masses, but ‘America Online’ is a perfect example of why they’re doing it so well – their amalgamation of sounds manages to summon so many nostalgic memories, it’s like I’ve literally been sucked into a Nintendo 64.

LUNA SHADOWS / lowercase

Luna Shadows takes aim at bisexuals everywhere that refuse to conform to typical grammar rules. Luna Shadows occupies a space somewhere between So Below, BANKS and Cappa – that defiant and epic production coupled with a great pop sensibility and a characteristically pointed vocal. ‘lowercase’ is one of those terribly exciting first singles that comes out of nowhere sometimes and shows an artist is ready to tell you something. What also helps is that the chorus is just as huge as the amount of character on display.

BANKS / GIMME

In a completely unsurprising move, BANKS has recruited the phenomenal Kito on the first step to her third album. Now anyone that listened to Kito’s latest EP will understand why that is so unsurprising, as not only was the material’s influence clear as day but it managed to elevate what was once unique to Banks’ production entirely. ‘Gimme’ is crisp, dark and an instant hitter – immediately sounding like a classic Banks song whilst also introducing some very welcome dance elements. At the heart of it we still have that clawing, sexual Banks song – Gillian’s characteristic vocal as angsty and powerful as ever despite some difficulty making out the words themselves. It’s a masterstroke pairing and the best thing she has released in years.

MOLLY HAMMAR / WORDS

Put simply, ‘Words’ is just a simple and very, very good pop song. Not necessarily delivering anything different, but with a chorus and a bass-line that would sound good blaring from every radio around the country. It should surprise absolutely nobody to know that she’s another Scandinavian talent, the production bringing to mind Janice and Sabina Ddumba, it’s just yet another example of Stockholm producing the damn goods.

BILLIE / PILLOW TALK

Billie continues to fascinate me with each new release; her music is the opposite of timeless, each one the equivalent of a time machine for the mind. ‘Pillow Talk’ is no different, from the GBA synths to the distant vocal and trance-lite bridge. At the center of it all is an artist that perfectly understands that voice and image, creating these little time warp bops.

FRAWLEY / HARD BOY

Imagine having the balls to sample ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ for your debut single? Deciding to strip down what may be one of the most recognisable choruses of all time for your own? If not commendable then it’s unfortunately stupid. Whether it succeeds or not is not for me to say, but I did feel compelled to list it due to the above – I want to know what people think. Is it a great way to kick yourself off or… the worst way ever?

There’s PLENTY more this week that I’ll briefly get into:

Ina Wroldsen has returned with ‘Body Parts’, a somewhat Sia-by-numbers ballad of self-empowerment.

Mags has dropped a new EP, conversations I’ve had with myself, of which ‘play it cool’ is the best. It’s really good at establishing more of who she is than who she is trying to be. Give it a listen.

Iggy Azalea is back with ‘Started’, another “I’m rich, b*tch” anthem that deserves credit again because the music video shows someone who is so completely dedicated to their craft despite the success it receives.

Shawn Mendes is back with the simple but cute ‘If I Can’t Have You’ with a music video all about trying to muster up the energy to go to the gym. His albums are where the great material is, so we’re excited.

Check out Froyo with ‘Blue’ if you’re into classic Busted punk-pop.

And as always there is plenty more to be found on the below playlists WEEKLY:

Uncategorized

March 8th, NMF!

DAYA / INSOMNIA

“I keep on hoping to find you reaching in between the sheets.”

It’s been eighteen years since Kylie Minogue changed pop music as we know it with the undeniable ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’, and yet it still remains a milestone in pop music production. ‘Insomnia’ wears its inspiration on its sleeve, an almost direct homage to the undeniable bouncing beat and relentless obsession of ‘Can’t…’.

Insomnia itself is a creative topic that has been mined to near-death, and frankly the glamorisation of mental health disorders is a worrying trend for 2019, but the way Daya ties it all together with the theme of obsessing over a lover, completely unable to sleep without them on your mind, as well as the clear reference to classic Kylie? An absolute stellar knockout single. This really feels like a momentous release for her.

CHARLOTTE OC / BOYFRIEND

“I don’t even want a boyfriend, so why the hell am I still sitting here holding your hand?”

Charlotte OC has been quietly delivering downcast Folk/R&B tinged pop for a few years now: her rich and slightly smokey vocal perfectly matched to the stripped production. Her previous single, ‘Satellite’, marked the shift in sound to a more electronic, sparse style – and her skill for crafting a melody shone even brighter with it. Considering ‘Satellite’ slowly crept up to being one of the strongest tracks of last year, ‘Boyfriend’ is the LONG AWAITED follow up for us and…

It’s bloody brilliant: a perfect blend of her previously established sound with a timeless, Leon-esque funk. Just as we thought, Charlotte OC’s secret strength is crafting melodies that don’t necessarily sound instant, instead they slowly find their way into every corner of your mind.

CALL ME LOOP / BODY LIKE YOURS

“He’s so close to perfect, I couldn’t ask for more…”

Consider me frustrated that Call Me Loop hasn’t broken through to the mainstream yet considering her penchant for delivering perfectly crafted pop songs that are notoriously easy to digest whilst also switching things up just enough to keep it interesting. ‘Body Like Yours’ is taken from her latest EP, Drama, which ditches Loop’s previous singles such as ‘Love the Lie’ and ‘Give ‘N’ Take’ for one cohesive package. Lyrically exploring the painful contrast of head vs heart, ‘Body…’ showcases Loop’s expertly refined touch when it comes to pop music. Instant. Hooks. Everywhere.

RIA MAE / NOT YOUR TYPE

“If you don’t like my style, I’ll tone it down.”

File Ria Mae under the Betty Who/Call Me Loop categories for artists that just cannot seem to break through despite the quality of their material. ‘Not Your Type’ is positively encapsulating, a true Carly Rae Jepsen-esque production masterpiece that would sound right at place on a Katy Perry album. The parent EP, Stars, may struggle to find its sound a little but there’s a confident pairing in ‘Not Your Type’ and Ria’s delivery that absolutely deserves to be pursues more. Ria, keep on making these!

DAGNY, STEVE AOKI / HIT YOUR HEART

“You know I’m coming back to you like a bullet.”

You’ll have found, more than ever, Steve Aoki’s name attached to various pop starlets over the past few years. It feels like a real attempt to push his production style out into spaces his music usually wouldn’t permeate, and for the most part it has resulted in brilliant weird pop collaborations like ‘Lie to Me’ and ‘Are You Lonely’. It’s always refreshing to see dance music collide with pop, especially if it manages to pierce the mainstream enough to shift the landscape a little.

‘Hit Your Heart’ doesn’t feel like a landscape shifting epic, but it does sound like it’s at least trying. Where else will you find an abrasive Icona Pop vocal, a classic Britney Spears breakdown and blaring trumpets in the same song? Dagny has already proven she can deliver excellent and surprising pop music too, if ‘Love You Like That’ is anything to go by, so this is yet another string to her versatile bow.

If you’re not following the playlist, then don’t expect to find the good stuff on Fridays. Seriously, do it.