October 30th, NMF!

Halloween is almost upon us, and a distinct lack of spooky tracks for this weeks highlights of horror. That being said, there’s still a few gems, including a new amazing from the big Lipa. Get into it.

Dua Lipa and Angèle Share New Song “Fever”: Listen | Pitchfork

DUA LIPA, ANGELE / FEVER

Ms. Lipa teams up with french chanteuse Angele to create another health conscious anthem on behalf of scientists around the globe. Is it a fever, or are you making me hot under the collar? Covid or Lust? Who knows? I cannot advocate for kissing and touching as a means of testing this, you’re much better off buying a thermometer, but best not to play this while you do because it’s a sweaty banger – a dead cert to boost that body temp.

Sad Songs by Route 94 feat L Devine on MP3, WAV, FLAC, AIFF & ALAC at Juno  Download

ROUTE 94, L DEVINE / SAD SONGS

You’ll know Route 94 for the unavoidable Jess Glynne epic ‘My Love’, released way back when in 2014. With little in the way of repeat success since, Route 94 has recruited little superstar in waiting Devine for what is easily the best Not-Actually-Clean-Bandit-Clean-Bandit effort in years. Certainly not reinventing the wheel, as is to be expected, but the little flourishes of untouched Final Fantasy-lite piano touches and Devine’s genuinely fantastic delivery make this as fresh as new Spring rain.

HANA – So & So Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

HANA / SO & SO

Grimes Protégé and general fantastic-when-she-actually-releases superstarlet HANA soars back with a song that legitimately sounds like it’s been pulled from the bottom of the ocean with three inch thick steel chains. Basically Evanescence’s ‘Lithium’ on a much sparser, bleached scale with blips where the big rock guitars would be, ‘So & So’ is an interesting choice to come back with but is an exciting glimpse into the creation of, hopefully, a whole new exciting world from HANA soon to come.

empress-of-youve-got-to-feel-amber-mark-1603824388

EMPRESS OF, AMBER MARK / YOU’VE GOT TO FEEL

The real shining glory behind Empress Of this year has been her stellar production efforts – her album, ‘I’m Your Empress Of’ was positively reeling with uniquely brilliant quirks and choices. ‘You’ve Got to Feel’ is a simple protest song that manages to feel even more because of those stellar choices. With an even greater choice of feature, which actually steals the entire song, it’s just a god damn addictive song right from the offset – even before the message sinks its teeth in.

LÉON - Apart | Album Review

LEON / DIE FOR YOU

As always with Leon, make sure you’re plugged in and truly ready for this in all of its intimate glory – it deserves no less. Pure, classic, solid songwriting delivered by the voice of an angel, ‘Die For You’ comes from her sophomore album, which we already know won’t get the acclaim and recognition it actually deserves, and it just explodes with heart.

What were your highlights of the week?

23rd Oct, NMF!

LEFT BEHIND | So Below

SO BELOW / OVER

There’s a definite blueprint behind So Below works, her glacial hypno-pop a mastery at this point, yet ‘Over’ (taken from her brand new album Left Behind, manages to play both blueprint and surprise. Undoubtedly the highlight of the album, ‘Over’ brings relentless synths to Maddie North’s typical otherworld delivery but it’s the melody that takes this up a notch – the sprightly juxtaposition with the production bringing everything else to life.

Wallows - Remote Lyrics and Tracklist | Genius

WALLOWS / COASTLINES

Wallows live and die by choruses so enormous it’s hard not to envision the crowds of fans chanting along to them after one solitary listen; the Remote EP is stuffed with them and is a waltz through some of the brightest alt-pop out there at the minute, but ‘Coastlines’ is a small window into a clearly exciting future. ‘Virtual Aerobics’ remains the best thing they’ve done, but ‘Coastlines’ proves there’s a little bit more to it all than the catchiness.

Cyn's "New York"

CYN / NEW YORK

Most new artists, as above with So Below, tend to find a fairly concrete blueprint to follow as opposed to experimentation. There’s an argument to be made about whether niche success affords it or requires a simpler dedication but either way, Cyn isn’t listening. Still very much under her remit of Katy Perry-esque delicate pop songs, she already has enough variety under her releases for each new one to be a surprise. ‘New York’ is a beautifully composed ballad to the concrete city, her vocals being the feature here, that departs pretty massively from the mildly successful ‘Drinks’ before it, but we can’t help but celebrate an artist unafraid to throw the kitchen sink around a bit.

Use Me: Amazon.co.uk: Music

PVRIS, RAYE / THANK YOU

Unceremoniously tagged on to the end of the deluxe version of their massively delayed third album, ‘Thank You’ hits as a Raye song more than anything else at first listen, but it informs the commercial perspective the band have been eyeing for a while. With songs as polished as this, but still retaining that angsty PVRIS vibe, it’s clear their future is still bright.

Terror Jr - Running From The Sun -

TERROR JR / RUNNING FROM THE SUN

With a pretty extensive catalogue prior to Felix’s exit from the band, Terror Jr have felt as though they’ve been struggling to find their identity again but, much like Cyn above, what it has afforded them is the ability to experiment. Cut to ‘Running in the Sun’ – an exploratory trek through a Drum ‘N Bass-lite pop wasteland. It’s a game of two halves – the opening a standard Terror Jr affair only for the beat and spoken-word section to cut through unexpectedly, something you’d be forgiven for thinking Charli XCX had a hand in at first.

October 2nd, NMF!

Spooky season is upon us, so while we wait for Kim Petras to drop another album that I may never actually listen to… here’s this weeks highlights!

Becky Hill - Space

BECKY HILL / SPACE

Certainly not one to watch in that she’s been part of the UK music scene for what feels like an age, but not typically carrying it all herself (Nevermind the fact she does actually carry every song that she’s a part of). ‘Space’ is pure and utter brilliance. From the beautifully fresh piano line to the astronomically belted middle 8, it really deserves the world.

I'll Be There-Beka-KKBOX

BEKA / I’LL BE THERE

This takes a little while to get going admittedly but when it does, which is conveniently exactly when it needs to, it hits like a damn train. Soulfully delivered melancholic vocal with a gorgeous Jess-Glynne light and frothy melody, it’s just a lovely little surprise in the middle of all these weekly heavyweights.

Dagny – Strangers / Lovers | Album Reviews | musicOMH

DAGNY / BYE BYE BABY

Yeah, I’m not entirely sold on these weird album campaigns that are treated like two EPs, especially considering the actual strength of the material here, but you should already know by now that Dagny was going to have at least one masterful highlight on either side of the album. The track in question is ‘Bye Bye Baby’ – a glittering goodbye reminiscent of Robyn but with that cutting sharpness we’ve come to know from Dagny so far.

The xx's Romy Madley Croft Drops Debut Solo Single "Lifetime": Listen -  Stereogum

ROMY / LIFETIME

There really is no greater feeling than finding something this good from an artist right out the bat. Obviously a sort of precipice not knowing whether they’ll continue or flail, but for that moment you can bask in having found a little slice of something super fresh and exciting. ‘Lifetime’ is a sort of beastly hybrid of Charli XCX/Cher/Trance/Dance that’s a bit hard to place which makes it EVEN MORE EXCITING!

Julia Michaels Shares New Song "Lie Like This": Listen - Stereogum

DAGNY / LIE LIKE THIS

Do you know what is a bit of a brilliant album? Fleshtone by Kelis. Do you know what is a bit of a banger single? Don’t Start Now by Dua Lipa. ‘Lie Like This’ is the latter filtered right through the former and it’s surprisingly fresh from Michaels, who has been at this point behind a dozen or more hits with her own name attached somewhere in the credits. Apparently leading to her first actual debut album, we’ll take more like this please!

Make sure to follow the dedicated playlist for weekly highlights!

25th September, NMF!

Terror Jr - Would It Make You Feel Better? - Reviews - Album of The Year

TERROR JR / WOULD IT MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER?

A lovely return to form for our Terrible delight here, but with something more of a Brit-pop Charli XCX/Daft Punk influence. Well damn, it works, arguably more than anything they’ve dropped in a while. Part of me craves that truly explosive Daft Punk vocoder ending that it sort of suggests, but the swift cut away just kind of forces you to hit replay, doesn’t it?

Baby Queen Announces Debut EP + Shares “Pretty Girl Lie”

BABY QUEEN / PRETTY GIRL LIE

Just a really good, really strong pop song here. Sky Ferreira filtered through Sigrid, it has those MUNA-lite reverb soaked riffs and a relentless beat that is just impossible to resist. This is the exact kind of song you save for a meteoric debut, except it’s Baby Queen’s fourth now, but it kind of sounds like the perfect Baby Queen debut so we’re pretending it is.

JADA / ON ME

What you might not know is that Danish popstar Jada dropped one of 2019’s best albums last year, called I Cry A Lot, which brought together understated dance with a gorgeous R&B/pop flair. It sounded truly fresh then, and Jada is just building on that perfectly. ‘On Me’ basks in 90’s pop glory, with great big stabs and a soaring girlband melody, and sets Jada as one to watch for a second year running. In fact, it’s hard not to imagine a certain Ms. Grande looking to this for her future sound.

Taska Black & Emily Vaughn – Easier Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

TASKA BLACK, EMILY VAUGHN / EASIER

Admittedly I very almost skipped this during this weeks highlight search and I would have been way worse off for doing so. There’s quite a few clearly dance inspired songs out this week, which threatens to dilute the pool a little, but god there’s a really beautiful song inside of this. Not only does Emily Vaughn also have a fantastic voice, she’s perfectly suited to these organic piano led mid-tempo mixes. I have a feeling this is going to sneak it’s way up the Best of 2020 playlist as the year carries on.

Where Do We Go - Single by Sval | Spotify

SVAL / WHERE DO WE GO

Slower songs usually get a bad deal when it comes to highlights simply because they, by design, usually need a little more time to really hit, so when you find one that already kind of hits after just a few plays, you know you’re onto a good one. Sval has been quietly releasing some damn good tracks already, so I knew to pay attention, but if this monster of a chorus doesn’t force your eye, I don’t know what will. Beautifully harmonised vocals and a sledgehammer chorus, what more do you want?

That’s it for this weeks highlights, but as always it doesn’t end here. Make sure to check out the full playlist for ALL of this New Music Friday’s very best:

18th September, NMF!

Sam Smith – Diamonds Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

SAM SMITH / DIAMONDS

As though they could ascertain our fears that the label had demanded more MOR balladry despite the bangers we have heard so far, Smith returns with a catastrophic impact in the form of ‘Diamonds’ – a sickly smooth continuation of that classic Sam Smith formula meets the dancefloor. It’s as effortlessly brilliant as Dua Lipa’s recent output.

Ava Max Shows Promise on Debut Album 'Heaven & Hell': Review

AVA MAX / BORN TO THE NIGHT

Evil album artwork choice aside, Ava’s new album is out and it deserves at least one listen. You’ll find in it some pretty sweet and easy pop, which has its place in the world as much as anything else. ‘Born to the Night’ takes The Weeknd’s 80s formula and spins Ava’s lopsided wig all over it and, as regressive as it might be, it’s a blast.

SOFI TUKKER, NOVAK, TAX.X / EMERGENCY

Sofi Tukker’s name on any piece of work almost guarantees a keyboard-mashing-blessed-Madonna mix designed for a dark bedroom confined rave. ‘Emergency’ might be the only time you hear Simon Says incorporated into any song, let alone a dance song, but Sofi Tukker are so fucking good at this that it just… works.

Liverpool's future superstar Pixey unleashes her monster new single "Just  Move" | Best Fit

PIXEY / JUST MOVE

GOD it’s so exciting when new artists come out with something that sounds like they’ve been around for years. ‘Just Move’ has the charisma of a rippling sunset on a field full of sunflowers; the guitar licks, fluctuating melody, the drum beat… it’s all infectious. Hard to see how Pixey doesn’t make a huge surge out of this.

I don't wanna talk about me - Stereo Jane

STEREOJANE / I DON’T WANNA TALK ABOUT ME (R3HAB REMIX)

A rare occurrence of remix improving the original song without actually doing much here. In fact, it only takes a few listens for your brain to be tricked into thinking this was always how the song sounded. I mean it’s essentially a bootleg remix, but that twangy electronic bass just takes this chorus somewhere much bigger.

HERE ARE THIS WEEKS HIGHLIGHTS, GET INTO THEM:

11th September, NMF!

SWIM FOR IT / GET WHAT YOU WANT

As shameless of me as it is, do you know I make music too? All created in my little bedroom, check it out if you’re a fan of breezy male-driven pop.

BEABADOOBEE / WORTH IT

Sometimes songs just sound like the close of Summer, carrying with them the imagery of a thousand indie movies. Beabadoobee has mastered the art of emoting through sound, ‘Worth It’ being her freshest song yet. It just sounds like an open car ride through soft sunlight.

JULIE BERGAN / ONE TOUCH

Some big pop names in the credits for this, which means it has to be good, and luckily for us it is. Bergan sort of operates in a different time-space to everyone else, where her music lives in some timeless-nostalgic flux, and there’s even more of that here. Instantly familiar but fresh enough to stay exciting, it’s more sugar sweet bliss from one of the most consistent artists out there right now.

MP3: Kiiara & DeathbyRony - Numb (feat. PVRIS) - K2Vibes

KIIARA, DEATHBYROMY, PVRIS / NUMB

Kiiara is another consistent one, out there banging her drum to her own beat regardless of the circumstances. She’s always operated on this line between mainstream and underground production, flitting just enough into the former to break through, and there’s no doubt this sounds like her biggest push yet – notably because of the feature. It’s surprisingly understated though, almost in line with Ellie Goulding’s recent album’s darker moments.

FLETCHER's Anticipated EP 'The S(ex) Tapes' Drops Early | uDiscover

FLETCHER / SHH… DON’T SAY IT

Fletcher is lining herself up as one to watch in the next few years, trust me. ‘Shh… Don’t Say It’ is basically a brilliant Selena Gomez song taken directly from Stars Dance. Delivered casually enough to earworm rather than strike, it’s that monster bassline which does the real first impression work, but it’s the melody and delivery that’ll keep it sticking.

David Guetta and Sia Join Forces on New Song 'Let's Love' - Our Culture

DAVID GUETTA, SIA / LET’S LOVE

Admittedly this was a bit of a write off on first immediate listen, and it’s only with several more plays it’s unfolded to me. Part of that is probably because the chorus is the weakest part but the bridge is so good that it more than makes up for it. A complete different vibe for what you’d expect of this two but it’s those ‘This too shall PASS!’ moments that scream Sia through and through.

What were your highlights this week?

4th September, New Music Friday!

A little late on this one, but trust me this week is worth it. Let’s dig into those highlights:

Fickle Friends – What A Time Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

FICKLE FRIENDS / WHAT A TIME

If you know anything about Fickle Friends, you know they have already mastered the vanilla-sugar-high-Paramore production with sickly sweet chorus and chants. If you’ve seen them live, you know that whatever they front comes alive on the stage. ‘What a Time’ might not suit our current times (what’s there to be excited about right now!?) but it is their biggest and best song yet. Pure anthemic joy that pushes the envelope just enough whilst keeping it Fickle.

TALKING TO ME [Explicit]

LUNA AURA / TALKING TO ME

Luna is back with a vision. She knows the music she wants to make, she knows her sound – Sky Ferreira meets Pretty Reckless pulled through Carrie. She’s completely wiped her Spotify for these delectable pageant-gore image focused singles, which is a complete serve, and each one is bleeding out guitar riffs, atmosphere and attitude. Truly fantastic stuff here.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is LOVA-One-Day-Left.jpg

LOVA / ONE DAY LEFT

Speaking of best songs ever, LOVA also fires back with a breezy dedication to spending your last moments without regret. An obvious sentiment but who cares when the chorus is that damn good? Notably moving away from the plink-plonk production that once seemed to define upcoming Swedish pop, this strings and falsetto affair is far more Agnes than Styrke – and is all the better for it.

It's Only A Heartbreak by Dagny on Amazon Music - Amazon.co.uk

DAGNY / IT’S ONLY A HEARTBREAK

Queen of Consistency Dagny seems to have picked up the plink-plonks that LOVA left behind, luckily enough she’s got the songwriting chops for it to push through regardless. It’s hard to understand why Dagny hasn’t been picked up as songwriter extraordinaire by the greats yet when her touch for melodic hooks is this good. Heading towards a much calmer second half EP to the eventual album, we’re in for a treat from here on out.

Single Review: Foxes – Friends In The Corner | A Bit Of Pop Music

FOXES / FRIENDS IN THE CORNER

The girls really weren’t playing this week – each one said “I’m going to drop my best ever song” and meant it. ‘Friends…’ is Foxes’ best. It’s Foxes at her best; huge chanted chorus with piercing emotion, subtle chords and production, delicate vocal delivery. It’s both understated and defiant, owing to that enormous verse-chorus punch. Hard not to be bowled over by this one, truly, and if you haven’t by the second chorus you’ll be hit by that final bridge.

Find ALL of this weeks highlights in our dedicated playlist below:

August 21st, NMF!

This week is huge. It is enormous. One of the best of the year, hands down. An eclectic mix of dance synth emotive bangery, get into the highlights!

GRANT släpper andra singeln 'Hell Yes, I'm Betting On You' från ...

GRANT / HELL YES, I’M BETTING ON YOU

Not only is this the best song of the week, it’s also one of the best of the year so far. Reminiscent of Katy B with that icy vocal on a subtle dance beat, its hard to fight the sheer amount of coolness coming out of this. It’s ‘About Work the Dancefloor’s edgier little sister, give it a stream NOW.

Agnes shares disco-inspired new single "Fingers Crossed" | Best Fit

AGNES / FINGERS CROSSED

For a while it seemed as though Agnes had deserted all of us, with no sign of her for years. Of course last year gave us her stratospheric return in the form of dance-bangers ‘Limelight’ and ‘I Trance’, but ‘Fingers Crossed’ is that string filled instant classic we feared she had walked away from. Quite honestly one of the best vocalists in the world right now and stil we get experimentation. Agnes is one of the greats.

Vera Blue, Lie To Me (Single) in High-Resolution Audio ...

VERA BLUE / LIE TO ME

‘Lie to Me’ doesn’t stray far from the Vera Blue sound established on her debut album ‘Perennial’, especially compared to the preceding singles ‘The Way That You Love Me’ and ‘Like I Remember You’, and its all the better for it. Now it does feel as though Blue found herself torn between two forms of artistry at one point, ‘Lie…’ treads a fine line between the commercial and more nuanced melodies. Glittering in all the right places with enough depth to sink into, this better be heading toward a sophomore.

DANNY L HARLE / DREAMING

Danny L Harle is a producer for the Gods, let’s get that clear. One day we’ll give PC Music the credit it deserves for championing the quirkiest and ‘cheapest’ pop music of our time. Because who gets to decide what’s cheap and what’s cool? ‘Dreaming’ takes those PC Music icy beats and collides with classic trance, the dreamlike vocal carrying us right into a frankly beastly breakdown.

DOWNLOAD EP: Troye Sivan – In A Dream (ZIP) | Mp3TopHits

TROYE SIVAN / IN A DREAM

The lockdown has seemingly given Troye the opportunity to showcase his artistry in all the best ways – no overt polish, no refined edges, just Troye. ‘IN A DREAM’ is a beautiful mix between his huge pop melodies and those softer moments of ‘Bloom’, even if it is a tad too similar to a certain Allie X song for her not to have a credit…

For some reason Spotify embed is being awful so we are featuring the beautiful artworks instead. That’s it for our main highlights but as always, there’s plenty more to find in our weekly playlist which can be found here:

7th August, New Music Friday!

A sweltering week made hotter by the damn hottest artists. Seriously, check out the highlights:

LUNA AURA / HONEY

There are so many Spotify tweens with capitalised names that create gorgeous synth-pop that I hit play here with a heavy set of expectations and instead found the most satisying guitar lick in 2020 pop music. LUNA AURA, consider me perched again for the first time since ‘Madhouse’. This is phenomenal.

LEON / CHASING A FEELING

Leon should have broken through by now, let’s get that clear. An astounding voice with songwriting talent that showcases the most intricate and gorgeous chorus melodies, ‘Chasing a Feeling’ is her best work yet. A real slow burning gem of a ballad that would feel right at home in a playlist with a dozen 80s classics. Stunning.

GRAACE / BODY LANGUAGE

Not to be mistaken with GRACEY, GRAACE (seriously stop the capitalising!) comes through with a song that feels right out of Indiana’s playbook (remember her?). The verses are a hard and interesting swerve of contemporary beats that feels fresh but also comfortably familiar!

SASHA SLOAN / LIE

Sloan’s HUGELY ANTICIPATED debut album is coming this year and ‘Lie’ serves as our first slice. There’s really not much new to say here considering her absolutely consistency regarding quality and sound, but I’ll welcome any more upbeat Sasha Sloan songs. Get lost in that smooth and sensual melody with us.

CARDI B, MEGAN THEE STALLION / WAP

Don’t even hit this if you’re not of an adult age because it’s easily the filthiest song I’ve ever heard. Let’s celebrate women celebrating their sexuality as men do, and consider the point well proven here. Pop music was made for events like this.

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!