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?

16th Oct, NMF!

This is the strongest Friday in recent memory. Honestly, between the new GRANT and CXLOE EP, the Sasha Sloan, Astrid S and Beabadoobee album, I almost had the highlights done already – then there’s even more! Check it out.

CXLOE – Heavy, Pt. 1 – EP [iTunes Plus AAC M4A] | iTunesM4A+ MUSIC

CXLOE / PLANS

The Heavy EP, which dropped last week, wasn’t actually the EP at all? Instead, Heavy Part One has dropped today with a total of six tracks, three of which are new and absolutely brilliant. Confusing release strategy aside, ‘Plans’ might be CXLOE’s best yet. Still very much following her blueprint of the thematic/one-word-focused chorus, but a chorus so instantaneous it’s nonetheless hard to deny.

Astrid S - Leave It Beautiful | Album Review

ASTRID S / AIRPODS

Astrid S has always occupied a very unique space between commercially successful and an underground flame, mostly because of the sheer quality and drive of each of her releases. It’s quite easy for Scandi-girls to fall in the pit of anonymity, considering the amount of them out there at any given time, yet Astrid has set herself apart with unashamedly bombastic pop music. ‘Airpods’ is that in a nutshell; quirky but commercial, polished but sharp, undeniable.

ILIRA - my new single EAT MY BRAIN is out on friday.... | Facebook

ILIRA / EAT MY BRAIN

The sooner we admit that pop music has been a darker place since The Saturdays split up, the better. Luckily for us, ILIRA is seemingly sitting on an influx of 2013 pop classics straight from the vault of Fame-era Gaga and the likes. ‘EAT MY BRAIN’ is dumb as hell, and I don’t quite understand what it’s actually about yet because I’m too busy, as with all of her other frankly brilliantly produced songs, enjoying the damn banger for what it is.

Sasha Sloan - Only Child Lyrics | LyricsFa.com

SASHA SLOAN / HIGH SCHOOL ME

Sloan’s new album, Only Child, is a delicate trip through historical traumas, lifelong rivalries and body issues, to name but a few themes. Having proven her talent for writing desperately cutting lyricism already, it’s no surprise the best tracks on the album, which happen to be the two closers, present her possibly at her most cutting yet. ‘High School Me’ isn’t sad though, not at all. It’s a celebration of how proud our childhood self would be if they could see you now, and it’s beautiful.

GRANT - Vertigo EP | Album Review

GRANT / DON’T RECALL GROWING OLD

GRANT might just be my artist of the year right now, let’s get that out there first. There’s a steely coolness to her current material, which comes across perfectly across her new EP Vertigo, giving everything this charismatic sheen that compliments the glistening production. ‘Don’t Recall Growing Old’ doesn’t concern itself with an enormous chorus punch, as ‘Hell Yes…’ did before it, instead basking in that glorious atmospheric pool for a slinky 3 minutes. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – it’s so hard to listen to GRANT and not see the signs of a future BIG POP GIRL.

These are but five of this weeks brilliant highlights, but it’s a truly brilliant week. Make sure the check out the MUNA/NOW,NOW remix swap, the beabadoobee album and the new Fickle Friends track!

9th October, NMF!

Maggie Lindemann – Scissorhands Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

MAGGIE LINDEMANN / SCISSORHANDS

You’ll probably know Lindemann from that viral TikTok stair challenge and her minor hit ‘Pretty Girl’. While it’s clear the image change has been pretty drastic, if the Edward Scissorhands reference didn’t pass you by at the least, there’s still clearly the potential for banging tunes here. ‘Scissorhands’ hits so hard because of that opening guitar riff, and without it I’m not sure the song would work, but it’s so god damn good around that I’m not sure I care.

Daya - First Time - Reviews - Album of The Year

DAYA / FIRST TIME

Daya has fell victim to an cowardly label for too long despite her penchant for absolute enormous bops, and now that she’s independent we might actually get a consistent influx of them, for now ‘First Time’ serves as (we guess) a new beginning. Not quite as sweet and sugary as the likes of ‘Insomnia’, it’s still infectious in its delivery and chantlike beat. Very Elley Duhe, I thought.

JAX JONES, AU/RA / I MISS YOU

Nobody goes to Jax Jones for anything other than something to sink into with a glass or two, do they? In that case, ‘I Miss You’ ticks every box – ‘da da da’ breakdown, simple bassline, infectious chorus melody. AU/RA’s Eilish-lite delivery works pretty damn well here too, just as Wroldsen did for ‘Breathe’. We might need a switch up pretty soon though Jax, but for now let’s dance.

BEBE REXHA, DOJA CAT / BABY I’M JEALOUS

Yeah, I didn’t think a Bebe song would be this interesting but it is. Those typical baby talk mannerisms she’s come to love are still there but, quite wisely, the wailing has been pulled right back so we’re left with something just warm and infectious. Also the Doja Cat verse in the middle of that swervy bass-line is just perfect.

ELI HURTS / THE FUCKED UP THINGS ABOUT US

It pains me to put such awful artwork on the feature, trust me, but I’ve had to feature this for the sheer audacity this song has for being good… albeit doing so by pilfering ‘Teenage Dream’ in the process. And that’s honestly all this is – Hellogoodbye does ‘Teenage Dream’ – yet it’s just so god damn hard not to get sucked in to it, imaging Katy Perry singing over this again. Though it’d be called reductive then I guess…

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:

New Music Friday: February 13th!

AVA MAX / KINGS & QUEENS

What year is it again? RedOne alone takes me back at least ten years, but Desmond Child having a hand in this and resident classic-pop-girl Max as well? Luckily this is an absolute blast. Tinged with Abba, this is everything Ava Max should have been doing following the sudden success of ‘Sweet but Psycho’.

ELLIE GOULDING, BLACKBEAR / WORRY ABOUT ME

Ellie’s upcoming album, if it ever sees the light of day, will apparently balance the trap leaning collaborations with her authentic songwriting self by splitting the album directly in two and showcasing both. ‘Worry About Me’ is more of what you’d come to expect from Ellie and doesn’t even attempt to spin the wheel, but it’s a solid affair filled with some nice little Ellie touches (operatic cooing, the gritty THIS and THAT hidden away, cahoo-ha-hool) and a pretty great feature from blackbear.

CAMDEN COX / HEALING (REDFIELD REMIX)

‘Healing’ was already one of the best songs of the year, so I wasn’t exactly expecting a remix to have much to add. Sometimes I love being wrong. Redfield manages to keep that wistful emotion throughout but suddenly it’s instilled with such a brooding and addictive energy that I might never play the original again!

KOVEN / WORLDS COLLIDE

Well, the new Koven album is currently encapsulating my entire life. A proper collision of pop music and dance, which is one of the best couplings ever really, with an absolutely faultless opening in ‘Worlds Collide’. If you’re into this D&B meets Dubstep meets pop banger, be sure to check out the entire album asap.

FLETCHER / FOREVER

I suppose sometimes an artist not breaking through keeps them hungry for it, knowing each release is important to their entire career prospects. Fletcher still feels hungry, despite having quite a few songs under her name now. ‘Forever’ might just be her best yet – a gorgeous and intimate mid-tempo with a total sugar rush of a chorus. And the best part? She clearly has even better to come still.

Do make sure to check out the playlist, updating every Friday! There’s plenty of songs that didn’t quite make it into the highlights but might have done in any other week. At least check out that Koven album!

New Music Friday: February 28th!

LADY GAGA / STUPID LOVE

What else is there to say about this totally new, never been heard before banger? Quite honestly when Gaga fires on all cylinders, there’s nothing like it. ‘Stupid Love’ might just be the best thing she’s put out since Born This Way and it marks a return to the sleeker off-kilter ARTPOP Gaga we’ve all missed since Bradley Cooper got a hold of her. Welcome back PopGa, we’ve missed you.

CHARLOTTE OC / FREEDOM

Charlotte OC was behind one of 2018’s best songs, the subtly brilliant ‘Satellite’ and then the similarly brilliant ‘Boyfriend’ and ‘Better Off On My Own’ landed in 2019 and there was momentary hope that a bloody good album was on the horizon. It never came and we’re in 2020. ‘Freedom’ is her best in a while, an instantly charming power-in-belief anthem that, as Charlotte OC songs tend to do, will worm into your brain and find a home in there. We might be burned but that hope for an album is still there.

LPX / NEW MOOD

Aggression can be so fucking cool, can’t it? LPX gets that, and ‘New Mood’ is dedicated entirely to the vibe. With abrasive guitars, Kate Nash speak-swearing, a throat-achingly screamed chorus, it’s a literal catharsis.

SONIKKU, LIZ / WKND

I haven’t been this surprised by a song in quite a while, and speechless too. ‘WKND’ manages to make me feel things that I can’t even voice so I’ll just list them; Classic. Pop. Madonna. Borderline. Britney Spears. KPop. PCMusic. Sega MegaDrive. Dreamcast. Amazing.

JOE STONE, CAMDEN COX / MIND CONTROL

Now ‘WKND’ has decimated by brain cells with its time travelling ways, ‘Mind Control’ helps cement me back in reality. And it’s a sticky dancefloor at 11PM with a Bacardi Coke in my hand. Camden Cox is one to watch if you haven’t been already because basically amazing songs seem to flock around her in the form of her own and collaborations. Gorgeous dance music made for the club and the gym floor, with vocals that keep the emotion pounding through. What’s not to like?

What were your highlights of the week?

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!

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: