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’.

Friday 7th July, NMF!

It’s Friday, we’re here and ready to showcase the best of the best of the best. Let’s go:

VERA BLUE / THE WAY THAT YOU LOVE ME

Every now and then someone releases a song which sounds like something at the top of the game. Simultaneously modern, such a song has to tap into similarity and nostalgia just as it paves a whole new direction. If there was any justice, Vera Blue would be catapulted to stratospheric success because of ‘The Way That You Love Me’ – a fantastically catchy master stroke of Vera’s more atypical melodies and a Billie Eilish-esque production, both working against one another and in tandem. Just brilliant.

AU/RA / DANCE IN THE DARK

‘Dance in the Dark’ is brilliant in its odd melancholy and minimalism. Sounding like a Billie Eilish-meets-Grimes album track, it bounces between the most minimal hook-driven choruses of the year to a much more typical Paramore-esque verse. It’s almost enough to cause whiplash, especially considering the chorus opens with nothing but her voice and the bluntest of kicks, but it quickly unfolds into a total earworm.

BLITHE / MASOCHISTIC

First of all it’s kind of terrifying how much she sounds like Anne-Marie on this, but is just so happens to be better than anything on Anne-Marie’s album. Sugary sweet, there’s something slightly saccharine about the delivery until that wonderful hook hits – “I’m just a little masochistic”. Ingrained so deeply into the production and delivered so delicately, it’s arguably one of the best moments of 2019 so far.

STOCKHOLM NOIR / GLORY

Stockholm Noir have helmed some of the strongest dance tracks of the last few years, but they have had us a bit scared recently with a flurry of fairly basic and hard-to-latch-on-to instrumental tracks. ‘Glory’ is a meteoric return to form, successfully crushing simple and evocative melodies (as all Swedes understand how to do more than any other) with the most palatable of dance productions. They really are a dance force to be reckoned with.

RALPH / GRAVITY

Ralph delivers her first dedicated dance banger due to online fan demand, and despite sounding like every other dance remix around, her voice lends itself to the anonymity well. Delivering an underrated and brilliant album last year wasn’t enough, and she continues to prove her desire to keep releasing music and expanding her brand… We commend it. Now give us those quirky pop songs we know you’re sitting on.