THIS week’s New Music Radar covers anthemic indie-pop, unruly punk, dark and dynamic electronic pop, vitally creative post-punk and bass-driven funk. Check out our top songs of the week below while you can find our updated playlist at the bottom of this page with additional tracks.
‘Sucker’ is the second single to be released from Vistas’ debut album, which is due out later this year. Brimming with widescreen ambition, the track builds on their signature indie-pop sound with fizzing energy, soaring choruses and singalong festival vibes. Appropriate then that the track is all about that all-consuming feeling of being head over heels in love. The band say: “Sucker’ is a track about being completely head over heels in love with someone and recognising all the senseless things people do in order to maintain the love they feel. The intention of the song is to show that, at times, everyone can do daft things when they’ve fallen for someone”
The Vegan Leather ‘The Vegan Leather (Live from Chem19)’
After a triumphant 2019, The Vegan Leather have unveiled a four-track EP which features live takes of ‘Zeitgeist’, ‘The Hit’, ‘Know It All’ and ‘French Exit’. Recorded in the very place where they made their critically acclaimed debut album ‘Poor Girls/Broken Boys’, Chem 19 is the setting for the Paisley four-piece to recreate the magic of that brilliant LP; a place that proved hugely influential in its creation. And after they were crowned ‘Best Live’ act at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards last October, it’s easy to see why as they channel the relentless danceable vibes of their thrilling shows. Taking centre stage on this EP though is ‘Zeitgeist’, a behemoth of a track that usually concludes the album but takes on a whole new refreshing, vital energy when performed live. You can see The Vegan Leather in Edinburgh and Aberdeen on the 6th and 7th February.
The 1975 ‘Me and You Together Song’
The 1975 return to their roots on ‘Me and You Together Song’. Harking back to their ‘Drive Like I Do’ days (one of their early band names), jangling guitars and 90s aesthetics reign supreme as a misty-eyed Matty Healy laments over the one who got away. A soaring love anthem that even channels early noughties Busted, it’s a track that yearns and emotes yet feels wholly uplifting, positive and wonderfully nostalgic all at once. Trading in the politically charged punk and woozy night-time glow of previous ‘Notes’ singles ‘People’ and ‘Frail State of Mind’ for dreams of domestic bliss, youthful romance and rose-tinted nostalgia, it’s The 1975 at their most personal and devastatingly sincere. It’s another winner ahead of the release of ‘Notes…’ which is now slated for release on 24th April.
After securing the support of BBC 6 Music on last single ‘Not Yr Man’ and joining the likes of Sports Team, Heavy Lungs and FEET on tour last year, Courting are putting their best foot forward once again on their first release of 2020 ‘Football’. Capturing the thunderous intensity of their raucous live shows, the Liverpool outfit deliver a visceral, tongue-in-cheek ode to the nation’s favourite game. The band say “Being from Liverpool, the culture of Football is inescapable, and the British obsession with it is so deep rooted that it is really fascinating. We wrote a song from that perspective which you can take what you want from it, on the one hand it is a criticism of people forcing their children into careers they don’t really enjoy and on the other it is an ode to the community that the sport creates, with a chorus that can be used like a chant.” With gang-like chants, unruly guitars and a commanding lead vocal all tussling for attention, Courting continue to excel in riotous, unpredictable punk rock. They are a band who play by their own rules and we’re looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.
The Snuts ‘When I Was Your Man’
Usually known for the fast-paced, dynamic indie-rock anthems, The Snuts have treated fans to a recorded version of their Firepit Session. The band turn their hands to a bit of Bruno Mars with a tender cover of ‘When I Was Your Man’ that is sure to appeal to fans far and wide. With Jack Cochrane flexing his gritty vocal, the tune is reimagine with softly picked acoustic melodies and choral harmonies.
Sea Girls ‘Ready For More’
Gearing up for a massive 2020, Sea Girls have unleashed another massive tune called ‘Ready For More’. Taken from their forthcoming EP ‘Under the Exit Lights’ which arrives in March, the track is driven by a pounding beat and features another killer chorus. Despite it’s shiny, upbeat appearance though, it’s all about facing the slippery slope of nihilism. Henry Camamile says “It looks and sounds sweet, but it’s basically staring into this abyss of nihilistic behaviour and being scared that I couldn’t change it.” Sea Girls play The Garage on 18th April.
SHEARS ‘Just Like You’
SHEARS has unveiled her second single and it’s all about “the way in which women in music are pitted against each other”. Rejecting the notion that women need to compete with each other in order to succeed, what emerges is a statement of strength and defiance as SHEARS emphasises the importance of supporting one another and holding each other up in a tough environment. Her message is delivered through dark and dynamic electronic pop, deftly produced by regular collaborator Samson.
‘I’m a soldier’ Tamzene declares on her new single, a moving display of personal strength and self-reflection that transforms itself into another understated pop gem from the rising star. On first listen, it seems that Tamzene is reflecting on her journey in the music industry so far and all of the trials and tribulations that she has overcome along the way. ‘I can’t lose myself cause I’m just coming through’ is her mantra as she beats away niggling feelings of self-doubt to emerge stronger than ever. It may be completely different in tone to ‘You’re With Somebody Now’ but it effectively retains the modern production style and open-hearted lyricism that shone through on its lovelorn predecessor.
Talk Show ‘Banshee’
Along with the announcement of a debut EP and a show at Nice N Sleazy’s on 17th April, Talk Show have shared the brilliant ‘Banshee’. Enticingly gripping from start to finish, the track is led by that now familiar commanding half-spoken vocal of frontman Harrison Swann who spins “a frustrated lovelorn tale” against a backdrop of staunchly creative post-punk. Toeing the line between lovelorn and embittered, the menacing opening makes way for peppy rhythms and 90s indebted jangling guitars but it’s the words themselves that feel so painfully raw and real with Swann’s delivery carrying all of the emotional weight. With the uplifting instrumental balanced out by its melancholic undertones, it’s a heartfelt track that never quite reaches a conclusion, seeing itself out with the visceral, hard-hitting words “I hope you say the words that I know, I hope, I hope”. After causing a stir with a flurry of releases last year, the band featured on a number of ‘bands to watch in 2020’ lists and it’s easy to see why with this, their finest release to date.
Soccer Mommy ‘circle the drain’
Along with the announcement of a brand new album ‘color theory’, Soccer Mommy aka Sophie Allison unveiled one of her most compelling songs to date this week in ‘circle the drain’. Addressing her depression and its inescapable pull on her mental health, her sharp lyrical gems of insight are delivered against deceptively sweet melodies and a sharp, rather buoyant production style. Ramped up even further with a unifying dose of chorus catharsis, it’s a compelling mismatch that sees her frank songwriting rendered with a warmer, even more inviting sonic palette.
Thundercat ‘Black Qualls’ (Featuring Steve Lacy & Steve Arrington)
Thundercat is never far away from the studio but it was 2017 when he last released his own album ‘Drunk’. This week, the bass aficionado announced the release of ‘It Is What It Is’ which will feature of host of big-name collaborators such as Childish Gambino, Kamasi Washington, Lil B and more and previewed the album with a new track called ‘Qualls’. Teaming up with one of his heroes Steve Arrington and The Internet’s Steve Lacy, the song is naturally underpinned by a thick bass groove and diverges with crisp guitars, sweet soulful harmonies and swirling synths. Thundercat himself has described the song as a meditation on what it means to be a young black American, saying: “What it feels like to be in this position right now… the weird ins and outs, we’re talking about those feelings.”