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.

14th August, NMF!

MILEY CYRUS / MIDNIGHT SKY

‘Midnight Sky’ might just be the best Miley Cyrus song ever, and that’s a big feat for someone with such an eclectic back catalogue. Between this, the Ronson collab and her last two singles, Cyrus is really establishing herself as a tour-de-force when it comes to these gritty disco-pop bangers.

EVANESCENCE / USE MY VOICE

You won’t find too many people talking about Evanescence nowadays compared to their bigger days, but ‘Use My Voice’ is an important rallying cry from a female fronted rock band still pushing on 20+ years. Quite unlike anything they’ve done before, it’s an instant roof-raising anthem that you just know they were dying to perform live.

OFF BLOOM / WHAT WE DO

Christ, I love me some good off-kilter music production. Here we have a mutilated country-bedroom-pop riot that is just so charming from start to finish. Understandably a lot of people might be turned off by the quirkiness and the short length, but this is also the exact quirky Britney Spears album track that stans would outwardly champion for single status.

GIA WOODS / INTO IT

Slinky delicious melodies abound, ‘INTO IT’ is all about that god damn chorus. God, there’s something about songs that know they have a killer hook and they just revolve around it. The way her voice glides from high to low on ‘I shouldn’t do it but I’m into it’ send shivers down my spine.

SO BELOW / FEAR

If you’ve already been into So Below, you’ll adore this. Glacial understated pop music that just bubbles and bursts with this dark underlying bass, here we have a study about how fucking stupid ageism in the music industry is. With those trademark stretched vocals and a pulsing electronic synth that rips through right at the end, it’s a damn blinder with a message – the best kind of music.

CMP / MULHOLLAND

For every established artist, there’s the little guy trying to burst through. And that’s why I started this blog, to keep an eye on new and upcoming music regardless of where it’s placed on the New Music Friday Spotify playlists. ‘Mulholland’ is the title track from CMP’s new album, which is due out soon, and it’s that blissful indie soundtrack song I usually feature on here anyway. It’s a good one!

That’s the highlights for the week! At least give the Miley song a spin, it’s such a corker. As with CMP above, hit up my socials if you have a new song and you would like me to take a listen!

23rd August, NMF!

SO BELOW / CLEAR

So Below has had somewhat of a miraculous 2019 so far, ‘Clear’ being the third release in a row that successfully melds her dream-pop into a terribly exciting package of gorgeous lyricism and roof-raising choruses. She’s always been able to translate a effervescent melancholy but ‘Clear’ really feels like something else; it’s getting lost in the ocean of emotion, the thunderstorm rolling past, and the rubble left behind. By the time it finally comes to finish, the whole world has changed. It really is that good.

5SOS / TEETH

Behind the slight whiff of pretentiousness, ‘Teeth’ marks 5SOS’s embrace into a harsher alternative rock more than ever; if ‘Youngblood’ was the walk then ‘Teeth’ is the run, in fact immediately hitting a sprint. It’s not hard to imagine a world in which the likes of Charlie Puth, Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes try to replicate this sound but it feels like 5SOS beat them all to the punch. Between a Billie Eilish-esque bassline and some damn addictive hooks, I think we’re witnessing the new trend wave begin to stir?

POPPY / CONCRETE

Anything I write here cannot prepare you for this song. ‘Concrete’ is the sound of the zombie apocalypse colliding with the cutest of Japanese anime, it’s pure aggression and metal mixed with Queen and J-Pop, it’s monumentally bat-shit from start to finish and IT WORKS. Despite switching gears at blistering speeds, every shift only adds more to the power of the song. And at the heart of it is this cutesy enigma: Poppy. This is… quite simply the oddest but most brilliant song I’ve heard in months? Don’t even get me started on the closing Paramore outro. Incredible.

TAYLOR SWIFT / THE MAN

It would be easy for me to pretend that the Taylor Swift album doesn’t exist, especially after it followed a four-punch of some of the worst pop singles I’ve ever experienced, but it’s actually not that bad nor is it anything like what the singles that preceded it suggest. ‘The Man’ isn’t perfect but it’s probably the best that the album offers, it’s lyrically smart with something to say and above all it’s an undeniable pop song. Why on earth the label and Swift did not lead the album with this will be a question on my lips for a lifetime, but for now I’ll settle with this being the next single PLEASE.

ROTHWELL / FOLLOW WHEN YOU’RE DANCING

‘Follow When You’re Dancing’ is the retro 80’s banger that you absolutely needed following the past four songs. Easily the best thing Rothwell has put her name to yet, it’s a cacophony of bouncing synths and cooing ad-libs, culminating in a soulful and spirited Robyn-esque dance bop with a chorus so HUGE it instantly recalls ‘Teenage Dream’ and spending summers with tunes blaring into the smoggy heat from the car. Do I have any idea what the title means? Absolutely not, and I do not care.

BONUS GOODNESS
MURA MASA, CLAIRO / I DON’T THINK I CAN DO THIS AGAIN

Clairo is having a bit of a breakout moment right now which makes ‘I Don’t…’s release right now even more miraculous for the Summer. Fresh and delightful, it’s the complex summer banger we absolutely needed right now. Because really the best summer bangers aren’t one-note happiness, they are nostalgia, tears and fresh sweat.

EYES ON NEW MUSIC PLAYLIST:

June 14th, NMF!

We’re crossing into mid-year territory here and Summer has yet to show its face, and apart from a few bangers (looking at you Katy) so have the Summer hits. It’s another week of moody alt-bops so grab your earphones, pull your curtains close and get ready.

SO BELOW / US

‘Us’ is cripplingly good and, crucially, sounds exactly like you’d expect a So Below uptempo to go. Her typical icy vocal is lifted by a constantly rolling production of pulsing synths and guitars, breaking away to reveal a controlled explosion of electronic blips and beeps. It reminds me of BANKS in just how confident and well crafted it is – not to mention the sheer melancholic emotion that comes with it.

LOOTE / LOST

Sometimes you just need a really well-crafted and simple melody, and if there’s one thing to celebrate here it’s that melody. Sounding like a Taylor Swift 1989 track is never a bad thing, and the chorus is as big as anything Swift has ever put to paper. I’m such a sucker for the GENTLE-VERSE-BIG-CHORUS formula…

DELANEY JANE / RED

The monumental thing about ‘Red’ is how effortlessly it shifts in sound, opening as a Kate Nash track only to morph into a Sky Ferreira-esque wonder as the chorus slinks in. Another monumental thing to note? That complimentary dissonance between her stretched vocals and the slowly intensifying production behind it. All in all – the song is a perfect showcase of just how atmospheric and expansive music can be at the best of times.

JADA / CLEAN LOVE

‘Clean Love’ is refreshingly sparse, opening with addictive delayed synths and a crystal clear vocal. The slight PC-Music influence comes through in the opening verses, only for it to subvert expectation with a power ballad chorus that evokes similar work from Devon Baldwin this year. It’s a great exploration of injecting emotion in dance music, and how well dance music elements can be incorporated regardless of tempo.

DANIELLA MASON / GIRL IN THE BOX

Taken from her new ep, Mental State, ‘Girl in the Box’ is one of four fantastic songs packaged up to showcase this interesting new starlet. Similar to Emily Vaughn’s Bitch Bops that came out earlier this year, there’s a more natural and subtle approach to melodies and production here. Where Emily punches, Daniella scratches at the skin to find her way into your mind. ‘Girl in the Box’ is delicate and addictive, packed with brilliant little touches like the mega-vocodered ad-libs.

SVEA / LOVE ME NOW

Normally I pick my favourite five to showcase here and the left are lined up on the playlist (mostly in order of greatness) but ‘Love Me Now’ also deserves a quick shout out. I do like to prioritize songs that try to do something a little different and ‘Love Me Now’ absolutely doesn’t… but honestly sometimes, who cares? It’s a Haillee Steinfield/CXLOE/Anne-Marie pop bop about loving yourself. And we can never have enough of those.