I’ve been looking to reboot this feature for the site for quite a while now. With the ever-changing landscape in which we listen to music, I feel not only is new music and weekly singles becoming more frequent but we’re also letting a few songs slip through the net. For the feature’s debut I’ve got slightly carried away and looked at the past fortnight, only because September already has been such a strong month for new music it’s been hard to keep up myself, In fact I’ve featured 10 fantastic tracks that have been released this month, In future editions however, expect the list to specifically focus on the past week.
So what does this first edition have in store?, Well I don’t want to give too much away but It’s been a crazy couple weeks for practically every genre, Pop, in particular, has a had renaissance of late. This week has also had a very strong female presence with 80% of our tracks featuring women in music… remind me again why there are no female festival headliners!
Enjoy, and leave a comment on what you think of this week's picks.
Mariners Apartment Complex - Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey consistently makes luxurious sad-pop but latest single ‘Mariners Apartment Complex’ hints at something much grandiose on the horizon. A beautiful, orchestral instrumental flows underneath Lana’s brooding lyrics “I know I fucked up…. but Jesus!” alongside a soothing piano melody. In recent years, you could argue that some of Del Rey’s lyrics have been cliché, this song, however, suggests a major personal breakthrough, Lana for once giving us a true first-hand look at all her emotions. As the outro swirls with the sound of a hazy electric guitar, Lana whispers “Are you ready for it”…. honestly, I can’t wait for more.
Electricity - Silk City & Dua Lipa
Silk City finally showcase all that highly anticipated potential on ‘Electricity’, a track which blends 90’s house vibes, even including one of those decade trademark piano melodies topped with the star of the moment Dua Lipa’s velvety smooth vocals. A late contender for 2018’s song of the summer. It may seem corny but the single really does have an energy quite unlike any other dance/pop track released this year, by looking at dance’s past glories Diplo and Ronson are moving the genre forward once more.
Psycho - Lauren Aquilina
After leaving the entire industry a few years ago Lauren Aquilina’s return is as unexpected as the swerve in the direction her music has taken with latest single ‘Psycho’. Full of confidence, Aquilina is seemingly unshackled as she sings of the psychotic tendencies I think all of us millennial are guilty of unleashing in our modern dating lives. A powerful pop song full of personality, we’re so glad she’s back.
Nina Cried Power - Hozier feat. Mavis Staples
Irish soul singer Hozier’s long-awaited return was definitely worth the wait. ‘Nina Cried Power’ is not just an ode to the musical figureheads who actively fought for equality and justice, most notably Nina Simone as you may have guessed. It’s also a strong modern protest song in its own right. Staples is an icon and her weathered, soulful vocals bring an authentic gospel touch the song needed to take it from just good to a truly great track. Each line is dripping with raw emotion, especially each one of Hozier’s yelps of ‘power’. A strong statement of intent from the Irishman.
Sober - Nile Rodgers & Chic feat. Craig David, Stefflon Don
Nile Rodgers has nothing to prove. The man not just invented Disco but has since become one of the greatest producers of all time, working with the likes of Michael Jackson, Madonna and Bowie. He has a talent for choosing the right people to work with. As you can expect there is a lot of anticipation surrounding his first CHIC album in 26 years! Latest single ‘Sober’ shows that Rodgers can not just pick fantastic collaborators but he can mould them to fit his signature sound. Craig David has a natural funk that he really gets to explore in this decade-spanning track which brings the seventies (Nile’s groovy bass lines) and nineties (Craigs faultless R&B vocals) together and wraps it all in a modern Stefflon Don shaped bow with her short but sweet verse.
Suspirium - Thom Yorke
Thom Yorke soundtracking a horror film, a strange combination perhaps but first single ‘Suspirium’ is an utterly chilling waltz which both unnerves and creates tension in equal measure. The underlying piano melody sounds like the perfect fit for a ballerina recital. When topped with an ethereal, spooky falsetto from Yorke you can almost feel the hairs stand on the back of your neck. Never has such a horrifying concept sounded so beautiful.
Do This For Me - Lily Moore
Moore truly is something special, I’m no longer surprised by the extremely high quality showcased each time she releases a single and ‘Do This For Me’ continues the young songstresses hot streak. It’s perhaps too easy to label her immense vocal range as Winehouse-esque. However, no other singer since the Camden songstress has showcased as much soul and clever ways to summarise relationships than how Moore does. A tender ballad with a gospel style choral chorus which makes perfect use of the layered backing vocals. The sparsity of the arrangement lays Moore bare, but she more than rises to the occasion.
Emily - Clean Cut Kid
If Clean Cut Kid’s upcoming EP is even as half as good as lead single ‘Emily’ then we’re certainly in for a treat. Following up on a beloved debut album is always a bands biggest struggle, however 'Emily' feels like a natural progression for the self-labelled fuzz pop four-piece. The track is a perfect mix of Fleetwood Mac's groovy tempos entwined with the modern psychedelic's of Tame Impala. Throw in a dose of Liverpudlian charm with lyrics brimming full of authentic emotion and you’re certainly onto a winner.
Empress - RAY BLK
Seemingly flying under the radar at the moment RAY BLK has already released one of the most impactful songs (and accompanying videos) of the year with the hard-hitting ‘Run, Run’. The second single from upcoming debut album ‘Empress’ is the stellar title track, which brings a modern twist to female empowerment. Ray’s soulful and incredible vocals list off a number of different male suitors such as thug Keith whose ‘always running from the police’ or Jamie ‘who acted like a baby, always playing video games and being lazy’. Intelligent verses and another strong message from one of Britains most overlooked singer-songwriters with a difference.
Watching Over - Greta Van Fleet
On the heels of announcing debut album ‘Anthems Of The Peaceful Army’ due next month, Greta Van Fleet have released the single ‘Watching Over’ which see’s the hard rock Michigan band experimenting with an exciting variation on their sound. A mid-song psychedelic instrumental signifies a significant sonic shift in the track. Josh Kiesza’s extraordinary vocal wail is utilised in a completely different fashion as it’s transformed in the song’s second half into a more traditional instrument, each wail breaking out like an elongated guitar riff. This shouldn’t be misconstrued as screaming, the mellow tempo of the track means the end result is like listening to the sounds of a hippy having a deep existential crisis. But trust me, that’s a good thing.
If you want to listen to this week’s picks then be sure to check out the latest edition of our Track Of The Week playlist on Spotify below.