16th April, NMF!

TROYE SIVAN, TATE MCRAE / YOU

Combining forces to give us understated summer song of ’21 are Sivan and Mcrae, the latter known mostly for the huge TikTok fuelled ballad ‘You Broke Me First’. Luckily this takes a page from Sivan’s book, the dreamlike delivery and production a perfect extension of his latest EP In a Dream. Hopefully they have a huge hit on their hands here, as it recalls the slow-head-worming capabilities of summer songs of old like ‘Dancing with a Stranger’.

RALPH / TOMMY

The cappucino-morning vibes of Ralph finds new infectious Carly Rae-esque shades in ‘Tommy’, a relatively simple but instantly memorable hook filled subtle banger that hits somewhere between Katy Perry’s ‘Small Talk’ and Carly’s ‘Boy Problems’. Serving as the opening to her next EP (or album, we hope) it’s a perfect reintroduction of Ralph’s endless commitment to not only creating music but serving experiences such as the video above. That’s someone who loves what they do, folks.

FICKLE FRIENDS / COSMIC COMING OF AGE

Experimenting comes at quite a cost for bands like Fickle Friends who have spent many dedicated years crafting a fanbase that knows exactly what they like and what to expect. Quite smartly then, Fickle Friends have been subtly ramping up their influences and introducing new depths to their music – most notably here in the far less polished to sharp edge production, the cutting lyricism and the slightly effervescent vocal. It’s all very familiar but new, and amazing.

VÉRITÉ / BY NOW

Trap beats and hi-hats rarely blend well with production that aims to be expansive as opposed to inward and minimal but if there’s anyone that can pull off bringing it into a cinematic landscape it’s VÉRITÉ, the blend of contemporary quietness blended conspicuously with what sounds at the heart like an enormous off kilter power ballad. What it results in is moments where the vocals feel like they are bursting through the confining cracks of the production, which is haunting and spine tingling all at once.

MARINA / PURGE THE POISON

An abrupt hard-left shift into prior territory for Marina, who briefly dabbled in absolutely neutering a uniqueness that once afforded her Tumblr Royalty status. ‘Purge the Poison’ doesn’t always succeed, the melodies of the chorus at odds with lyrics that on paper have the ability to cut through just as past songs like ‘Hollywood’ once did. The chorus however should serve as a reminder of why Marina is still here and what she still has to bring. An altogether chaotic running takedown of capitalism, American imperialism and conspiracies against covid – who else has the gall to ram all of that into one song? Nobody.

December 11th, NMF!

If you can wrestle yourself away from the spellbinding new Taylor Swift album you’ll find there’s actually some pretty huge highlights floating around this week. From Britney Spears to Madison Beer, let’s get into it.

Taylor Swift Reveals a Holiday-Ready Beauty Look on Her New Album Cover |  Vogue

TAYLOR SWIFT / GOLD RUSH

Look, there’s no avoiding this album right now. Taylor has bodied the surprise reveal this year and, lucky for us, they’ve been both brilliant and perfect for the time. evermore might just be the better half, bringing us back in line with those traditional Swift melodies and touches. ‘gold rush’ was quite evidently touched by Antanoff and has a home in this new woodland parish she has settled in, but it’d also fit at home on any of her previous albums because behind that minimal sparseness, there’s just endless hooks and brilliantly written lyricism. It’s gorgeous.

Madison Beer – Boyshit

MADISON BEER / BOYSHIT

There almost couldn’t be a choice as abruptly different to Taylor here, Madison’s callout of worthless masculine banter relentlessly brash and purposefully aggressive. Without a doubt Madison’s biggest moment so far, ‘Boyshit’ quite literally sounds like storming through the football team with middle finger to both sides. A banger through and through.

HARD FEELINGS - Album by Julie Bergan | Spotify

JULIE BERGAN / WE’RE COMING UP

Both of the Hard Feelings EP finally get smashed together here in what results in an incredible second album for dance-pop queen Bergan. Leading the charge is completely illegible but enormous ‘We’re Coming Up’, another step in the perfect direction for an artist that already felt like taking big big strides. Quite honestly this ‘album’ opens with FIVE back-to-back 10/10 pop masterpieces. Who competes with that?

Kacey Musgraves and Mark Ronson Team Up with Troye Sivan for "Easy" Remix

TROYE SIVAN, KACEY MUSGRAVES, MARK RONSON / EASY

While it’s not immediately evident what Mark Ronson actually did here except add a few synths, ‘Easy’ was already so good that it didn’t really need to be messed with. Troye continues his path to actual gay pop icon by recruiting queer ally and queen Musgraves for this light and breezy remix. It’s a bit more robotic, a little less wistfully romantic, but Kacey sounds absolutely beautiful and anything that helps push the song a bit more is damn worth listening to.

GEORGE MAPLE / STONE

How hideously annoying that the best song on Maple’s brand new project and potentially one of her best songs ever is a measly 2 minutes long. ‘Stone’ features everything Maple does so well – towering vocals, spellbinding synths, the most haunting of bridges. There’s plenty more brilliance on the album, but ‘Stone’ is just goose bumps inducing.

Be sure to let us know what your highlights of the week were, including your favourite evermore tracks. ‘champagne problems’ is kind of the one right now.

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!