Essential Listening: This week’s best new music
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  • Post published:28/07/2021
  • Post last modified:28/07/2021
(Credit: Ryan Quintal)

Essential Listening: This week’s best new music

    The past week has seen Britain melt as sweltering weather brought the country to a standstill. It finally feels like summer, and there’s been a truckload of new music that arrives as the perfect accompaniment for another weekend of sunshine.

    Whatever you have got planned this weekend, we’ve got you covered, unless you’re one of the lucky ones who are heading to Latitude or Tramlines festival. There’s no shame in wanting to spin some old classics, but there are few feelings that match the joy of discovering new music. The seven handpicked songs below will sound perfect through a Bluetooth speaker whether you’re having a relaxing Sunday BBQ with friends or just want to bliss out at home.

    The weekly round-up collects the best on offer every weekend and puts them into a handy snack-sized playlist. 2021 has been a year that we’ll want to forget for the most part, but it has been an exciting year for emerging artists.

    Music has been a constant release for many of us through these turbulent times, and now we can finally watch these new acts we’ve fallen in love with over the last twelve months live. 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:

    Lorde – ‘Stoned At The Nail Salon’

    New Zealand’s premier pop queen, Lorde, has dropped the second single from her upcoming studio album Solar Power, the unhurried and meditative ‘Stoned At The Nail Salon’.

    The song finds Lorde in a more contemplative state than the song’s title might imply. Covering topics like ageing and lost youth, the music pulsates with a gentle push and pull of guitar and vocals, with the sparse arrangement complimenting the song’s unfurling narrative.

    “This song is sort of a rumination on getting older, settling into domesticity, and questioning if you’ve made the right decisions,” Lorde explains in a statement. “I think lots of people start asking those questions of themselves around my age, and it was super comforting to me writing them down, hoping they’d resonate with others too. I used this song as a dumping ground for so many thoughts.”

    Indigo De Souza – ‘Hold U’

    American indie artist Indigo de Souza has shared the latest single from her upcoming second album, Any Shape You Take, with the highly danceable new song ‘Hold U’.

    The rollout of Any Shape You Take is making some exciting turns. The first single, ‘Kill Me’, was a straight shot of explosive energy, a welcome return from an exciting young artist. Instrumentally and lyrically similar to the songs on I Love My Mom, specifically the anxiety-filled rush of ‘How I Get Myself Killed’, ‘Kill Me’ worked to remind all of us of what we were missing with de Souza’s absence.

    With ‘Hold U’, de Souza plots a crucial step in her artistic evolution. Previous songs like ‘What Are We Gonna Do Now’ and ‘Sick in the Head’ were strummy guitar jams, positioning her directly in line with alternative rock sounds and styles. ‘Hold U’ is different, closer to the spacey bedroom pop R&B songs of the modern-day than the grungy Pavement-adjacent sound of her previous material.

    The Ninth Wave – ‘Maybe You Didn’t Know’

    Despite its comparatively small size, Scotland is an undisputed musical hotbed, and The Ninth Wave’s new single, ‘Maybe You Didn’t Know’, hints that they could be the next luminaries to emerge from north of the border.

    The new reverb-soaked track immediately grasps your full attention from the pounding synth intro, which commences before singer Haydn Park-Patterson’s enchanting warped vocals get underway. The effort is set against a dark, sulphurous backdrop, and the sinking feeling of despair is unavoidable.

    After the last 18-months, fear is a feeling that we’ve all become more familiar with to some degree, and The Ninth Wave succinctly transfigure this gut-wrenching emotion into a starkly illuminating piece of music.

    There’s a strange comfort to be uncovered in ‘Maybe You Didn’t Know’, especially on a day like today when England lifts its restrictions, and many of us face a daunting adjustment as we attempt to return to some kind of normality.

    Connie Constance – ‘Prim & Propa’

    Connie Constance has shared her explosive new single, ‘Prim & Propa’, which you need to wrap around your ears immediately.

    Constance’s latest effort is the title track from her forthcoming EP, which is dropping later in the year, and it’s a volcanic way of announcing the tantalising release. ‘Prim & Propa’ starts as a jangly nu-folk effort that is reminiscent of Made of Bricks-era Kate Nash as Constance nonchalantly sings, “I’m not prim and propa/ But I’m bopping like a top shotter/ Skint and sober/ And I’m done talking to the devil on my shoulder.”

    The buoyant ‘Prim & Propa’ sees Constance radiate a glass half full approach to life that is beguiling and a necessary piece of music to hear if you feel like your chips are down.

    IDLES & Slowthai – ‘Model Village’

    IDLES have recruited their old pal, Slowthai, who injected a furious amount of aggression into their revamped version of ‘Model Village’.

    The blazing track was a highlight on the Bristol punks third album, Ultra Mono, which arrived last year, and provided IDLES with their first number one record. ‘Model Village‘ laments small-town, incestuous, British life, and the addition of Slowthai doubles the already mountainous levels of anger crammed into the track from every conceivable angle.

    Thai can be heard on the track barking like a caged up Rottweiler, the rigorous energy served up Idles allow him to be let off the leash and go wild. Throughout the track, he and Talbot frantically go back and forth as they collectively decry the kind of people that are a cancer upon modern Britain.

    Mr Jukes & Barney Artist – ‘Gratitude’

    Mr Jukes and Barney Artist have served up a heavenly delight as they continue to tease their upcoming collaborative album with their heart-melting new single, Gratitude.

    Speaking about the track, Mr Jukes says: “It was quite fitting that we recorded this song – which samples a wonderful gospel singer called Pastor T. L. Barrett – in my old bedroom which overlooked an old church. Barney was looking for the right words and I suggested he take a walk around the churchyard. He came back with the whole second verse.”

    Every release from the duo so far is anticipation for The Locket – due to be shared on August 6th – has been hopeful, and it feels like the sort of peaceful respite we all deserve after the last year.

    Jake Bugg – ‘Downtown’

    Jake Bugg has shared his stripped-back piano-based new single, ‘Downtown’. His last track, ‘Lost’, was hand-crafted for an Ibiza sunset and showed off an exuberant side to the singer that he’d only ever previously expressed on his 2019 collaboration with Camelphat. ‘Downtown’ couldn’t be more different from its predecessor, and his upcoming album, Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, is shaping up to be more assorted than a box of Celebrations.

    Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, which arrives at the end of next month, will be Bugg’s first album in four years, and despite the gap between records, it will remarkably be the 27-year-old’s fifth album.

    Judging by the singles released from the record, it’s promising to be a genre-shifting album that doesn’t religiously stick to a particular theme or sound. This versatility is allowing Bugg to show that he’s much more than a throwback country singer and express the full range of his talents.

    Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, which arrives at the end of next month, will be Bugg’s first album in four years, and despite the gap between records, it will remarkably be the 27-year-old’s fifth album.

    Judging by the singles released from the record, it’s promising to be a genre-shifting album that doesn’t religiously stick to a particular theme or sound. This versatility is allowing Bugg to show that he’s much more than a throwback country singer and express the full range of his talents.

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