Essential Listening: This week’s best new music
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  • Post published:14/07/2021
  • Post last modified:14/07/2021
(Credit: Alex Gruber)

Essential Listening: This week’s best new music

    Football looks set to wander home after 55 years and there’s joy everywhere in the air. There’s an infectious feel-good atmosphere around at the moment as we saunter into the middle of summer, and here are some fresh sounds to wrap your ears while you soak in the rays.

    We all need something new to stick on the summer playlist while having a well-earned rest this weekend, then we’ve got you covered. There’s no shame in wanting to spin some old classics, but these new bangers are perfect additions that will sound perfect through a Bluetooth speaker whether you’re having a relaxing Sunday barbecue, or just want to bliss out at home.

    There has been a stream of exhilarating new sounds throughout 2021 that has offered a fine way to stay sane and get those dopamine receptors active. As the months have gone on, there’s been more and more titillating releases, with these past seven days being no different.

    Even though playing live for an audience is an impossible dream for musicians right now, that hasn’t stopped artists from continuing to offer up fresh and exciting music straight out of the bedroom studio. Some of the new releases to have come out in 2021 have made it an exciting year for emerging artists. Music has been a constant release for many of us through these turbulent times and kept us going. That feeling of discovering a new artist, one you connect with straight away, is hard to replicate.

    Whether it is a song by an artist that you’ve never heard of before or an old favourite that somehow you have allowed to fall off your radar, we’ve got you covered here.

    This week’s best new music:

    Hushtones – ‘Sinking’

    Liverpool psych-rockers Hushtones have shared the latest single taken from their upcoming LP Greetings From The Other Side, the rollicking surf-rocker ‘Sinking’.

    As for ‘Sinking’, I was sold immediately on the opening floor-tom drum beat. A killer mix of rumbling bass, layered harmonies, and chiming guitar lines, the song is filled to the brim with fantastic melodic turns and unexpected left turns in the arrangement.

    Excess is not something that band are concerned with: new bridges and additional layers of vocals keep building and building until the song can barely contain all of the ideas. By the time the handclaps come in, you’re either all in or all out. I’m all in.

    Cassia – ‘Slow’

    The Macclesfield three-piece swapped Cheshire for Berlin last year, and ‘Slow’ catches the band struggling with a moment of homesickness, yearning for their pre-pandemic life. It’s a change of tune for Cassia, who you can usually rely on for a pick me up, and it’s strange to hear the group feeling sorry for themselves, but they make it work on ‘Slow’.

    There’s a saleable groove to everything Cassia do that can make even their bleakest songs warm your bones. In spite of the downtrodden lyrics, which they juxtapose with an injection of flowery guitars that lift the mood on their latest effort, the track is a positively brilliant number.

    Regressive Left – ‘Cream Militia’

    English electro-punks Regressive Left have released their brand new single, the goth and new wave-ready ‘Cream Militia’.

    Sardonically described as having been recorded “in an outhouse near Stevenage”, the band self-produced and self-recorded a bouncy and dark-tinged club-ready jam that blends indie and dance sensibilities together into a great final product.

    Bubbling with a tantalising mix of synths and aggressive distortion, the track contains all the crazy laser beam blasts and disco backbeats that you might expect from an old school Giorgio Moroder-meets-Can track, or perhaps something similar from acolytes like Daft Punk or LCD Soundsystem.

    Damon Albarn – ‘Polaris’

    Damon Albarn has continued to tease his forthcoming solo album with his beautiful new track, ‘Polaris’.

    His second solo album, The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows, arrives on November 12th through Transgressive Records. Albarn originally intended the project to be an orchestral piece inspired by the landscapes of Iceland. However, during lockdown last year, with time aplenty on his hands, the Gorillaz mastermind transformed the instrumentation into eleven tracks.

    ‘Polaris’ is an atmospheric joy and sees Albarn intersect the optimistic vigour that oozes out of these beautiful locations. It’s a peaceful track that carries a sense of nostalgia and has a mature sound than Gorillaz or Blur.

    Sam Fender – ‘Seventeen Going Under’

    Sam Fender has returned with his introspective new single, ‘Seventeen Down Under’, the title track from his forthcoming sophomore album.

    The North Shields singer-songwriter’s new effort is a gut-punching anthem crying out for an airing in arenas. ‘Seventeen Down Under’ sees Fender take a trip down memory lane and write a song from the perspective of himself a decade ago. With the world pausing over the last 18 months, Fender has taken the time to deeply look inward and open up feelings that he’d left locked in a box.

    From a sonic perspective, ‘Seventeen Going Under’ isn’t anything new from Fender, the track fitting neatly alongside his debut album, Hypersonic Missiles. Lyrically, however, he flexes his expert storytelling muscles, still managing to remain relatable and keep up his everyman persona despite being deeply personal on this track.

    Declan McKenna – ‘My House’

    Declan McKenna has shared his first new track of the year, and it’s a change of pace for the singer who slows it down on ‘My House’.

    Last year, McKenna scored a number two album with his dystopian sophomore effort, Zeros. There’s nothing surreal about ‘My House’; it’s just a simple summer-ready pop song that captures McKenna lusting after a love he’s desperate to see.

    ‘My House’ is a quaint daydream and a slice of escapism with a gorgeous heart-melting chorus. The effort isn’t extravagant or euphoric like we’ve become accustomed to McKenna. Instead, it’s a placating, raw, sun-soaked taste of paradise.

    Billie Eilish – ‘NDA’

    Billie Eilish has released the latest preview of her upcoming second LP Happier Than Ever with the new single ‘NDA’.

    It’s official: Billie Eilish is one of the biggest pop stars in the world. Not that anyone had any doubts, considering her previous success and near-ubiquitous status in pop culture, but the fact that ‘NDA’ can grab over two million views in just a few hours, especially considering that most of her American audience were sleeping when it was released, is a sure sign as any that Eilish is on top of the pop music mountain.

    Musically it’s closer to goth-pop than Eilish’s previous single from Happier Than Ever, but stylistically it stays in the same sonic sandbox. Lyrically, ‘NDA’ confronts the difficulties that come with fame, especially regarding romance. Having people over requires them to sign NDA’s because a pair of loose lips can kickstart the gossip train. 

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