IT is fair to say that 2019 has already offered an embarrassment of riches. In the past few weeks we’ve seen the likes of Sharon Van Etten, James Blake and The Twilight Sad unveil some of their finest work to date while in the past seven days alone, we’ve been welcomed by the return of Foals, Vampire Weekend and the surprise emergence of a new project from Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst. Continuing in the same vein as the last few New Music Radars, this week’s edition is ready to serve up another bumper serving of new music with fresh excerpts arriving from a whole host of up and coming artists aswell as some of our favourite established names.
This week’s major talking point was the return of Foals who dropped an almighty comeback single by the name of ‘Exits’. The first preview of their upcoming twin albums Everything Saved Will Not Be Lost Part 1 and Part 2, ‘Exits’ is a track that ties everything together for the quartet, a bridge between their dual identities – the intricacy and complexity of ‘Antidotes’ and ‘Total Life Forever’ channelled through the huge, arena-filling sounds of ‘Holy Fire’ and ‘What Went Down’. Much like ‘Inhaler’ and ‘What Went Down’ before it, the band’s new single is a definitive return that immediately demands your attention. However, without being anywhere near as boisterous and hard-hitting as these previous singles, ‘Exits’ sees them take a more exploratory approach; the kind that suggests they have revisited their early penchant for experimentation through noodling guitar lines, stabbing keyboards and distant horns. Described as a song about ‘post-millenial dread’ and anchored by a Yannis-led chorus, the frontman lyrically confronts the paranoia that everyone seems to be feeling at the moment and in doing so confidently reasserts the fact that Foals are a band who have still got plenty to say. A nod to the weird and wonderful sounds of their early material while effectively once again resetting the band’s parameters, Foals are ready to swagger into an exciting new era.
Vampire Weekend ‘Harmony Hall’
The second massive indie name to return this week was Vampire Weekend, who unveiled the first pair of tracks taken from their upcoming fourth LP Father of the Bride. Arriving five and a half years after the release of 2013’s Modern Vampires of the City, after the departure of founding member and producer Rostam Batmanglij aswell as Ezra Koenig’s work with SBTKRT, any ponderings that the band’s sound could swerve dramatically on the upcoming LP can be swiftly dispelled after hearing ‘Harmony Hall’. Like a warm embrace from an old friend, the track opens with a lovely, fiddly guitar line before we are met with Koenig’s vocals, warmly soothing and instantly recognisable. With contrasting lyrics that channel that all-consuming feeling of uncertainty that plagues us all in these tentative times, a sprightly piano line rolls in and is joined by soaring, brilliantly layered vocals, like something you would hear from Primal Scream’s Screamadelica. Vampire Weekend may not be reinventing the wheel but ‘Harmony Hall’ is a refined and definitive reintroduction that feels like a joyous greeting from a long lost pal in dreary January.
Anteros ‘Drive On’
With one teasing cut arriving after another, Anteros’ debut LP When We Land is shaping up to be a belter. Set to arrive on 1st March after years of relentless hard work, the band have given us yet another preview of what’s to come by dropping a suitably topical pop banger by the name of ‘Drive On’. Shining a light on the world’s overuse of plastic, ‘Drive On’ reinforces the band’s knack for catchy choruses through a new-wave indebted sheen.
Florence & the Machine ‘Moderation’
After getting its first airing at a live show in Perth, Australia last month, Florence and the Machine have dropped a gargantuan new track called ‘Moderation’. Arriving less than a year after the group’s most recent LP High as Hope, a surprising turnaround for a band who are known to take their time in the studio, ‘Moderation’ is a grand, gospel-esque stomper that finds Welch addressing a tepid lover with her unmistakably massive vocals. It’s powerful, cinematic and certainly captures the epic, all-consuming energy that defines her live shows.
Known for their delicate, fiercely original creations that infuse traditional balladry with elements of electronic-tinged R&B and trip-hop, Babeheaven are back with news of a forthcoming EP and UK tour. ‘Circles’ follows recent cuts ‘November’ and ‘Fresh Faced’ and it’s a suitably dreamy number that delves deep into your subconscious with its smooth, jazzy synths and crystalline vocals from Nancy Anderson.
The Parrots ‘Cigarette Burns’
It’s been over three years since Madrid’s finest rabble-rousers The Parrots dropped into TTV HQ to deliver one of our most memorable live sessions but even now the band continue to seize our attention with their unpredictable, riotous brand of garage punk. Blasting the January cobwebs away over three unruly minutes, ‘Cigarette Burns’ is a jolt against the inevitable, a rejection of boredom and the everyday that loosely merges hazy vocals and barbed guitars to great effect.
Edwin Organ ‘Are You Tired Too?’
2018 saw a gush of fresh material from the wildly creative Edwin Organ and he’s now followed it up with the vibrant, jaunty sounds of ‘Are You Tired Too?’ More focused than previous outings but without reigning himself in, Organ dips into vintage Kraftwerk and the confident synth sheen of Metronomy to create a track that sparkles in the darkest of months. Light, bubbly yet delectably smooth, it’s like a soft kiss of electronic dance music.
SWAY ‘Planet Earth’
A song that will be familiar to long-term fans of the group aswell as to those who have borne witness to their rapturous live shows, Paisley’s SWAY are back with their latest instalment ‘Planet Earth’. Completing the band’s recent run of singles to make up their new physical EP ACT 1 and effectively concluding a very prosperous period for the group, the rejuvenated ‘Planet Earth’ is bolstered by its robust production and newly refined focus; a shift that not only demonstrates the band’s sonic development over the last two years, but also shines a light on their undeniably magnetic songwriting abilities.
The Good Arms ‘A Libertine Pleasure’
It is not unusual for a band to retread the sounds of the past for the betterment of their own sonic development. Bursting out of Glasgow’s thriving rock scene, The Good Arms do exactly that. With a nod to classic rock, funk and grunge, the four-piece present blistering, urgent, balls-to-the-wall rock n roll that surges with the confidence of young, ambitious rock hopefuls. Following up last year’s debut single ‘Sex, Drugs & Rock N Roll’, their follow-up ‘A Libertine Pleasure’ packs a punch with its towering riffs, groove-laden rhythms and sneering lead vocal. Still very much in the formative stages of their development, there’s enough here to indicate a bright future.
FUR ‘Him and Her’
Signed to the increasingly prolific Nice Swan Records, home to the likes of Sweaty Palms and Sports Team, Brighton outfit FUR sound as if they have arrived from a bygone era; one imbued with sepia-tinged nostalgia and a sunlit charm. After catching our attention with the jangly ‘Angel Eyes’, the quartet are back with another track from their upcoming self-titled EP. Said to be “about trust and distrust in a relationship”, ‘Him and Her’ sees FUR reinforce their vintage rock n roll sound with leisurely guitar strums, jangly melodies and affected vocals that sound like they’ve come straight out the sixties.
Nilüfer Yanya ‘In My Head’
Enticingly original and hugely innovative in her approach, West London’s Nilüfer Yanya’s growing reputation is backed by the increasingly diverse and soulful material that she continues to bring into the world. ‘In My Head’ is the latest instalment from the singer and it arrives with the formal announcement of her long-awaited debut album Miss Universe, out on 22nd March. Appropriate then that Yanya has chosen this moment to unleash her finest track to date; a song borne from the feeling of being trapped in your own head. The result is a scuzzy burst of catharsis, delivered in the shape of short and snappy indie-pop.
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets ‘Keen For Kick Ons’
Emerging from the same Australian music scene that brought us Tame Impala and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets are ready to take over 2019 with their mad world of hallucinogenic, riotous psych-rock. With a new album set to arrive later this year, the unpredictable quartet have dropped the formidable ‘Keen For Kick Ons?’ A semi-autobiographical creation that takes its inspiration from memories of late night debauchery and psych-fuelled hedonism, the band’s latest track is defined by thick layers of fuzz and sprawling guitar solos; a twisted, relentless monster of a track that is as crazy as the story woven into it.
Pip Blom ‘Daddy Issues’
Young Dutch artist Pip Blom has followed up a busy 2018 with the announcement of her debut album Boat, out on 31st May via Heavenly Recordings. ‘Daddy Issues’ is the first excerpt from said album and it finds the singer in a particularly testy mood as she teases and berates over a deluge of razor sharp guitars. Bouncy and devilishly infectious in tone, it doesn’t take long until the band dive headfirst into another earworm of a chorus.
Little Simz ‘Selfish’
Dropped at the tail end of last week, Little Simz’ ‘Selfish’ has set us up nicely for her forthcoming third album GREY Area, out on 1st March. Featuring R&B singer Cleo Sol who holds down the hook of a chorus with her smooth, sultry vocals, Little Simz knows what she wants and she is unafraid to tell us over some delectably funky instrumentation.
Better Oblivion Community Center ‘Dylan Thomas’
It’s a rare thing to see two of the world’s most phenomenal songwriting talents come together under the one title. However, after months of cryptic tweets and online rumours, Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst were revealed to be the duo behind the previously unknown Better Oblivion Community Center. As if arriving from nowhere, the newly formed project unveiled their sublime debut record on Thursday, bringing together Oberst’s knack for tear-inducing confessionals and old-fashioned rock stompers with Bridger’s emotional storytelling and lyrical specificity to create an album filled with surprises; a myriad of styles that evokes as much hard-hitting emotion as it does uplifting fun. Primed for mainstream radio, ‘Dylan Thomas’ is one of many highlights with its stomping drums, beautiful harmonies and barbed electronic guitars.