September 20th, NMF!

SASHA SLOAN / SMILING WHEN I DIE

Understated intimacy is so hard to do well, especially concerning songwriting. It’s ever too easy to create something that hits like a sledgehammer but there’s a real talent in balancing on the line between it, knowing when to hold back and when to let the words and melody do the talking. ‘smiling when i die’ might just be Sloan’s best work yet because not only is it immaculately produced but it is also poised to obliterate with powerful lyricism. Sloan’s secret weapon may be exposed to all now, her adaptive skill in refining depression and anxiety into relatable couplets, and with big artists like P!nk recruiting her for their own design but ‘smiling…’ helps showcase a whole new side to that songwriting style – one of delicate contrast amongst the honesty.

TOVE LO / STAY OVER

Vagina Queen Tove Lo has dropped her understated latest album, Sunshine Kitty, and despite not really feeling most of the promo tracks it really only takes one listen to understand what she’s trying to achieve and one more to realise she pulls it off perfectly. ‘Stay Over’ is the most instant of them all, with her wistfully persuading a broken lover that staying in her arms for the night is the best decision he could make. As usual with Lo’s immaculate storytelling, she isn’t afraid to play the bad guy. Disregarding his actual need to repair for the sake of her own whim is a questionable feeling, but we’ve all been there. We all believe we could be the saviour, or that our love will be all-encapsulating enough to repair any present damage, and ‘Stay Over’ captures that perfectly with its dark and melancholic bedroom-pop style.

GEORGIA / NEVER LET YOU GO

Already making waves with the wild and nostalgic 80s banger, ‘About Work the Dancefloor’, Georgia seems perfectly poised to take the mantle as next big rising UK starlet. Though taking a different path to ‘About…’, ‘Never Let You Go’ still revels in its influences, sounding like an artist that has spent years building the confidence to release these epic reminiscent bangers. The greatest asset to them all so far is how well the production plays alongside the melody, the voice as important as the instrument, but there’s a real driving force in the middle of it that sounds so palatable and ready for any radio station to pick up right now.

CAROLINE POLACHEK / SO HOT YOU’RE HURTING MY FEELINGS

  1. Take Sara Bareilles, Imogen Heap and HAIM and place them in the blender, spice appropriately.
  2. Sprinkle with a slight pinch of sexual confidence and a hefty amount of mutual attraction.
  3. Toss in razor sharp lyrics and a tongue planted firmly in cheek.
  4. Blend, though not enough to make it too serious.
  5. Pour into two bowls, serve alone in a quiet room lit by candlelight alone with the sound of your cats in the window.

What a fucking song.

Stick with me every week, around this time, for the very best of the week. Also this week look out for:

Cyn is back with her new EP Mood Swing and ‘I Can’t Believe’ is wonderfully weird and certifiably incredible… after thirty seconds.

Lauv has released the same song again but if you like him, you’ll love it. Quiet and lovely, it’s called ‘Feelings’.

The new Sofi Tukker EP contains one of their most subtly brilliant songs yet, ‘Ringless’.

Bebe Rhexa has repurposed Xtina’s ‘Beautiful’ into a feminist power anthem for Maleficent 2 called ‘You Can’t Stop the Girl’.

Mabel and Tiesto have a hit in their hands (SURELY) with the bizarrely structured ‘God is a Dancer’ which is great but not as good as ‘God is a Woman’ or ‘God is a DJ’.

July 19th, NMF!

Here are the best five tracks of this wonderful New Music Friday:

SAM SMITH / HOW DO YOU SLEEP?

Did I really expect a Sam Smith song to be my favourite of the week? When typically his songs would be reserved for insomnia drenched nights, ‘How Do You Sleep?’ is an exciting evolution of a newly expressive artist. The video, which is great, is an overt celebration of his queerness and I can’t help but be ecstatic watching Sam’s slow revelation that his queerness does not need to be hidden anymore. What’s best is that, even if this does have a high pitched trap-drop, this doesn’t sound a single step out of place? It’s effortlessly cool, an utter slow jam that we think is going to be huge.

SOFI DE LA TORRE / PERO NO

‘Pero No’ follows ‘Estamos Mal’ in reestablishing Sofi with her Spanish roots, continuing to showcase her exceptional songwriting skill in her native tongue. Now I’m not a fluent speaker, but that doesn’t stop me positively soaking in everything here – it’s succulent and warm, a melancholic and yet blissful summer bop thanks to her typical emotionally charged vocals. Again this is Sofi excelling at what she knows and is very good at.

CHARLOTTE LAWRENCE / WHY DO YOU LOVE ME?

With Billie Eilish on the way to being the next big thing, it was only a matter of time before someone starting to draw inspiration from her very unique sound. ‘Why Do You Love Me’ is going to be the first of many, and it’s so similar to something Billie would put out that it’s almost disturbing. The ASMR vocals, the plinky bass, the slightly demented chorus – it’s ALL here. I almost admire the sheer change in sound to this from everything before to be honest!

CHLOE MK / DAVID BOWIE

Immediately the title evokes Gaga and 80s driven pop music, and luckily the sonic build of the song does little to subvert that. Chloe has seemingly came from almost nowhere with perfectly crafted 00’s pop songs that remind me of the golden days of Gaga and the collection of stars, such as Natalia Kills, that followed her meteoric rise. ‘David Bowie’ is subtle and immaculate, doubling as a love song and a tragedy, and immediately sets Chloe apart from the other girls on the scene right now with its dedication and coolness. In a world of Ava Max’s, be a Chloe MK.

CHARLI XCX, CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS / GONE

Consider this a somewhat muted celebration of the new Charli XCX song, because we all know the type of electro-pop that she is capable of by now and unfortunately ‘Gone’ brings little new to the table. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, but I have heard Charli XCX do this song a few times before and for that it loses an initial spark. WITH that aside, it’s a hook driven distillment of everything Charli has come to represent, and Christine stops in for a quick vocal too. I’d never noticed how similar they could sound before, but it’s certainly obvious here.

May 24th, NMF!

Before I get into the best new drops this week, make sure that you’re following the dedicated Eyes On New Music Friday playlist so that you don’t miss a single song. I do the hard work so you don’t have to.

Here are the very best of the best this week!

JESS GLYNNE, JAX JONES / ONE TOUCH

Prepare to hear this in every leisure center around the country because I’m not sure there’s been such an obvious summer hit since ‘One Kiss’. As usual with Jess, it isn’t trying to break the wheel – it’s more preoccupied with being the best feel-good banger it can be, and it certainly fits the bill. It’s basically a Jess Glynne song that Jax Jones helped POP OFF a bit, and it really pops off.

ORKID / MELODRAMA

The opening to this almost made me crash my car, the glorious 00s horns a perfect introduction for a song this full of bravado. ORKID has dropped songs of varying quality over the past year, but ‘Melodrama’ is without a doubt the most interesting yet. The unforgettable bass line carries the momentum here, but ORKID smartly coos around it to give it more complexity and depth. I could have done with the final chorus really throwing in the entire kitchen sink but it’s addictive enough.

CYN / HOLY ROLLER

‘Holy Roller’ kind of tries to do exactly what ‘Melodrama’ does in presenting Cyn, whose voice comes across as slightly whimsical and innocent, with a bratty attitude. Her real strength is in that juxtaposition, the song is an amalgamation of sexual lyricism, whistles and a straight edge vocal – it’s addictive and interesting from the off. She has definitely found her sound.

ALICE GRAY / HELL WITH YOU

“I kind of like living in Hell with you” Alice sings softly. It’s one hell of an introduction: unveiling a dark and addictive relationship with one opening line. Starting off as dreamlike and wistful before slowly unraveling the crunchy synths and further production, it’s addictive in its quiet delicateness. It’s as intimate a ballad as you’re going to find this week.

CHARLOTTE OC / BETTER OFF ON MY OWN

It’s easy to imagine Adele taking this, performing it on several award shows and watching it catapult to the top of the charts around the country. With an undeniable hammer of a chorus, it helps that Charlotte has one of the characterful voices of the current pop scene. I’m going to need an album NOW.

BONUS SONG:
SIGALA, BECKY HILL / WISH YOU WELL

‘Wish You Well’ is the signal fire that we’re approaching Summer here in the UK, and just as the sweaty bodies of pasty men fill our streets, as the ice cream men don their uniforms and take to the road, Sigala and other anonymous DJs will be prepared to drop everything they have. What else do you think they’ve been doing through the winter? Anyway ‘Wish You Well’ is a dance banger that does what I’ve been begging for for years and it goes full on Trance for the most part. Brilliant. No that’s not Anne-Marie, it’s Becky Hill.