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!

Music

November 22nd, NMF!

Here are the highlights for this week’s New Music Friday, an eclectic mix that’s bound to contain at least a little fuel for inner thoughts. We’re starting to approach a pretty exciting point in time where artists, such as Harry Styles and Maggie Rogers, are kicking off their new campaigns. So let’s get into that:

YAEGAR / I TRIED

It’s difficult being a rising pop girl in the era of Spotify, especially considering the comparisons of female-kind are common enough, but it’s difficult having to establish your own blazing identity so clearly in each song. How do you go about it? Sometimes you’ve a vocal inflection which kind of does the work for you, sometimes you build on another artists work with a similar sound and sometimes you have to put the work into the production – the most immediate way to identify yourself. Yaegar has been kind of smashing all three, identifying herself as one to absolutely watch. ‘I Tried’ is an Alexandra Burke/Zara Larson hybrid that made me gasp with the first play, with a succinct melody and house-meets-pop production. It’s a real damn highlight.

RINA SAWAYAMA / STFU!

Hilariously having spoken about the troubles of defining your identity in this new social generation, you have an artist that has absolutely no trouble doing so. If you didn’t like the Poppy track a few weeks back, I’d give this a swerve. It doesn’t necessarily do anything she hasn’t already been doing, but the hybrid of nu-metal and shiny pop is a perfect fit for Rina’s aggressive sweetness. Arguably her best work since ‘Alterlife’ because of the sheer confidence on display, much like ‘Alterlife’, it’s just impossible to ignore Rina at the center here, and it takes real character to bring sweetness to the harsh, but it’s so easy for her here.

LOLO ZOUAI / MONEY DIAMONDS ROSES

‘Money Diamonds Roses’ might be the best song of the week, but it’s not designed to tell you that on first listen. I can already tell this will steep itself in me, each melody and haunting verse unfolding slowly, with production that sounds just so fresh and engaging. There’s something creepily horror-esque about the production, only aided by her stretched coos, and quite honestly by time the three minutes is up you’ve felt like you’ve travelled through a whole new world. Some creepy abandoned fairground with this blaring out of the speakers.

THE JAPANESE HOUSE / CHEWING COTTON WOOL

This is about as intimate a ballad as you’re ever going to get, but I beg of you give it a chance. It’s a real delve into a melancholic mind, and blissfully so, with such a perfect minimalism that keeps you in that crisp atmosphere the entire time. A beautiful but unconventional love letter, it really does encapsulate a love so clean and pure.

NIIA / WHATEVER YOU GOT

If you have bled Mark Ronson’s recent output dry and are looking for something else, it’s right here. A gorgeous blend of soulful piano before the funk drives in, immediately placing itself here in 2019 with the recent trend, there’s a gorgeous sense of authenticity in it, as though Niia has always sung these kind of songs. It’s such a perfect influence that I’m really hoping it’s not a one off.

That’s it for the highlights, but there’s a few more hidden ones you should give a try;

Alma has revisited what she tried to do with ‘Cowboy’ to a much better resolution with ‘Bad News Baby’.
HAIM continue their quality resurgence with their best ballad yet, a folk classic already, with ‘Hallelujah’.
Violet Days new song ‘Lovers or Losers’ follows a blueprint you’ll feel like you know on first listen, but it’s still a real cracker.
Also a few people have started releasing Christmas songs so keep well away from them!!!

Music

15th November, NMF!

What a stellar week. Something about the cold of winter imbues the subtlest of melodies with melancholy, and I’m here for it. BUT don’t fear, there’s also a few classic bops here to keep you warm too.

BILLIE EILISH / EVERYTHING I WANTED

You would be forgiven for assuming this is going to be more of what took Billie to the top, namely the bravado filled stomper that is ‘Bad Guy’, but you’ll be taken aback when you see it’s much more akin to her delicately devastating moments like ‘Lovely’ and ‘I Love You’. There’s a deep melancholy to the delivery and lyricism, admitting dreaming about her own suicide, even with the uplifting chorus. It’s a masterclass in less-is-more with captivating flourishes in the production, underlining what is a gorgeous ballad with a proper beating heart. Lovely.

LIZ / INTUITION

I’m almost aghast at just how much influence Liz is prepared to instill through her recent output, each one sounding further placed in time than the last, and ‘Intuition’ is just… well, it’s spellbinding. Quite honestly I’m prepared for her to not receive the acclaim she deserves but for this sound to slowly creep its way into the mainstream anyway. Ride that wave, Liz. We’ll remember you at the fore-front with Rina.

HAYLEY KIYOKO / L.O.V.E. ME

Another song that relishes in a classic sound this week is the toe-tapping ‘L.O.V.E Me’, sounding like a lost boy-band classic number one. It’s easily one of Kiyoko’s best efforts yet and also probably her most immediate, packed full of incredible hooks that, I’m hoping, will draw in listeners from everywhere and every age. It’s the kind of song you can imagine Little Mix snapping up with a heartbeat, but Kiyoko is center stage and imbuing it with everything it needs.

GRIFF / SOUND OF YOUR VOICE

Who knew one of the best songs of the week would invoke such strong memories of Super Mario in me? It’s those delicious little vocal snippets, the production sounded like some sort of Gameboy Advance jingle. It’s addictive enough as it is, then you’ve got such a great vocal delivery and one of the best choruses of the year so far. By the end of the three minutes I’m practically bouncing on the ball of my feet like Mario bopping his head into a question block.

ELLEY DUHE / GOOD DIE YOUNG

Elley Duhe has been my one to watch for a while, and I’m a total sucker for any moody and brooding bass-synth driven mid-tempo as it is, so how lucky am I that Elley has produced something that practically perfects that? Nobody quite sings like Elley, some gorgeous blend of Ellie Goulding and Sia, and she uses it to great effect with haunting belts and ad-libs. It also helps that this reminds me of So Below’s recent output, perfect for the dark and rainy nights, and I’m already making another playlist just for that now.

Music

25th October, NMF!

Spooky season’s penultimate week has arrived, along with it a pretty strong New Music Friday collection. Whilst nothing quite screams phantoms and ghouls, save maybe for the haunting Nina Nesbitt cover of Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’, there’s still plenty of highlight to dive into:

MURA MASA / NO HOPE GENERATION

Admittedly this trope of a generation left behind is fairly common nowadays, especially as those of us from that very generation starts making waves and having the audience to speak up on it, but Mura Masa has been quietly and expertly perfecting such a refined sound that moulds really well around it. The song relishes in a garageband-esque intimacy that wouldn’t sound amiss in a teen bedroom, cracking our necks as we scream along to it. The authenticity is what makes this so special, but the melodies and hooks it flits around on are just as divine.

CXLOE / DEVIL YOU DON’T

Commendation to anyone that writes around the phrase ‘Better the devil you know’ since Kylie Minogue already had one of the best songs of all time with that sentiment. Luckily for us ‘Devil You Don’t’ is sultry and seductive in all the right ways, opening as one song only for the chorus to switch up into something else entirely. CXLOE is on a bit of a run right now, her signature sound still a little murky, but this Allie X meets Spotify PopGirl mid-tempo is definitely more of the right thing.

PVRIS / OLD WOUNDS

PVRIS have, with the help of two phenomenal albums, established themselves as one of the finest female fronted rock bands of right now. ‘Old Wounds’, taken from their short new EP Hallucinations is more of what you expect and wish for from them: an intimate first half delivered with melancholic appeal, only for the shout-screaming to fade in with the anger. The way they unravel emotion with her vocals, knowing when to unreel the harsh production and when to keep it smaller, is one of the best things they’re doing right now.

AGNES / NOT DANGEROUS

Check out one of the highlights barely even having vocals in it this week, but that’s Agnes for you. You’ll know her for distilled Euro-pop like ‘Release Me’, which was a hit around the world, but what you won’t know is that following its success she has proven herself to be one of Sweden’s most intriguing artists – popping up every now and then with some of the most refined and interesting material of the year. This is taken from her new EP Nothing Can Compare and it melds perfectly with the rest of the material, the entire thing a perfect distillery of electronic music designed to get high to. Give it a chance.

TORINE / DANCING IN MY SLEEP

With Zara Larsson’s album shelved, and most probably scrapped, we’re forced to look elsewhere for material to fill that baby-Rihanna void. Luckily for us there’s plenty of songs taking the mantle, with Torine’s ‘Dancing In My Sleep’ in particular sounding exactly like the song you’d expect Zara to have followed ‘Ruin My Life’ with. Plucky strings, the stretchy chorus and mini breakdowns would sound right at home on both Zara’s first album and Rihanna’s LOUD.

Make sure you’re following the dedicated New Music Friday playlist to catch all the highlights in real time: