The Mic Recommends...

Last week, we kicked off our brand new feature ‘The Mic Recommends…’ in style with a hearty selection of new single reviews hand-picked by our team. This week’s picks include singles from The 1975, Boston Manor, Yasmin Lacey, Sports Team and more. Have a read below!

The 1975 – 'Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America’

Whether it was planned this way, or whether it’s a COVID-19 side-effect, Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America represents the sixth single from The 1975’s fourth album, Notes On A Conditional Form. ‘Jesus Christ…’ is a tender, understated affair; it’s been floating about as a demo for some time, but the final recording is gorgeous. Phoebe Bridgers guests, and the lyrics read like one of her own tracks, delicately confronting the turmoil of life in the closet. This is one of the most mature tracks The 1975 have released thus far, and leaves anticipation at a fever pitch for Notes. Louis Griffin

Boston Manor - ‘Plasticine Dreams’

With their hotly anticipated third album, GLUE, now under a month away from its release date, the most recent release from the Blackpool four-piece will likely keep fans satiated for now. Thick, grungy guitars and plenty of reverb are layered beneath Cox’s echoey vocals, as he explores a frustration at the way modern-day art has become so fleeting with the rise of internet culture. Dripping with a dark, 90s swagger, the track compliments the powerful string of singles which have already been released, while continuing to demonstrate the band’s refusal to let their sound sit still. Louise Dugan

Photo credit: Edd Taylor

Spector - ‘When Did We Get So Normal?’

The latest single from indie-pop connoisseurs Spector, When Did We Get So Normal? is exactly the kind of irony-soaked banger that they’re known for. Full of quotables, frontman Fred Macpherson turns his gaze to aging on … Normal?, lamenting that his life is now more “M&S than S&M”. But, as ever, Macpherson relishes in these kind of mundane facets of life; he’s not disappointed with his lot, rather he tries to find the beauty therein. Combine Fred’s lyrics with the typical Spector cocktail of sparkling synths and you’ve got your hands on a bona fide hit. Louis Griffin

Thundercat (Feat. Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington and Childish Gambino) - ‘Black Qualls’

Oozing with swagger and panache from the offset, bass master Thundercat invites all of his idols over to play on new track Black Qualls, taken from his new album It Is What It Is. The album as a whole is one of contrast, with the man himself, Steven Burner having spent time with some of raps biggest and best over the past decade: working on To Pimp a Butterfly with Kendrick Lamar, to touring with laid-back, languid icon, Snoop Dogg. In the track itself, Thundercat takes a moment to conversationally voice his fears surrounding success: “I'm just trying to live my life / Doing my best and that's alright / Yes, I'm comfortable and that's what's tight”. Although in a moment of laying his cards flat on the table, Burner and co. have still managed to produce one of the most enjoyable and spirited releases of the week. Tristan Phipps

China Bears - ‘I’m Not Eating Like I Used To'

Working again with label Fierce Panda, following the poignant I’ve Never Met Anyone Like You, the indie quartet return from their extensive touring schedule with a longtime staple of their live shows finally in the form of a new single. An effortlessly gorgeous marriage of expansive, soaring guitar and hazy, ruminative lyricism creates a something which feels much more mature and refined than a band who have only released a smattering of tracks. Hopefully this marks only the start of more big things to come in 2020. Louise Dugan

Matt Maltese - ‘Ballad Of A Pandemic’

The chief weapon in Matt Maltese’s arsenal has always been his ability to use the most mundane of details to disarm. Ballad Of A Pandemic is a little rough around the edges, but all the hallmarks of Maltese’s most affecting work are here. He sings with typical understatement about the crisis we find ourselves in: he tells us that “there’s a lot on our plate, and I don’t mean food”. Maltese isn’t without solutions though, saying to “sit tight on your couch like a soldier in a dressing gown” – after all, “if you’re not kind now, your eulogy will stink”. Louis Griffin

Kill Nigel and Theophilus London - ‘Attached’

Surprisingly delicate and vulnerable, Kill Nigel and Theophilus London join forces on new single Attached, an ode to Nigel. With the experienced Wes Period on production, a previous collaborator with hip-hop mainstays Logic and Doja Cat, the track flaunts an eerie yet warming beat to perfectly match the two vocalists. “I love you and miss you,... …Instead of making a song about sadness, I dropped a song about love” Nigel shared on Instagram, the true inspiration behind his track not entirely known. Yet his enticing, exposed and warm vocals, paired with the experienced tones of Theophilus London, certainly do the track and his intentions justice, in what is one of this season’s more intriguing releases. Tristan Phipps

Iceage - ‘Lockdown Blues’

Iceage are, in many ways, the platonic ideal of a moody, “this isn’t a phase, mom” punk band, so it makes perfect sense that they’d have something to say about the situation in which we find ourselves. With a rattling chorus of “COVID-19, lockdown blues!”, frontman Elias rails against the crushing boredom of isolation. This is Iceage, so there’s a splash of poetry to go with the angst, but make no mistake, this is, as ever, the real deal. One could ask the question whether we need an Iceage track about Coronavirus, but we’ve got one, and it’s damn good. Louis Griffin

Sports Team - ‘Liberal Friends’

Sports Team were due to release their debut album, Deep Down Happy, this week. Obviously, that hasn’t happened. So, instead they’ve given us three unreleased tracks from the recording of their breakout EP, Winter Nets. Liberal Friends is an immediate highlight; previously available on vinyl only as a B-Side to Stanton, it’s a window into the suburban, Pavement-flavoured indie that first got them noticed. It’s honestly a shame that this was never released at the time, because it’s hard not to see it as a perfect distillation of their early sound. One for dedicated fans perhaps, but outstanding nonetheless. Louis Griffin

Window Kid and Kryphon - ‘Og Wow’

Nottingham ever-present Window Kid has endured an intriguing rise over the past two-years. More than just riding his colleague’s coattails, as CruCast has burst into the mainstream, Window has earned a reputation of his own for delivering an action packed live show, always with a light-hearted likeability surrounding him. Og Wow sees the release of perhaps his best vocal offering to date, with the versatility of producer Kryphon, a long-time purveyor in the Birmingham circuits, complementing his bars perfectly. Despite a degree of variability in the last few releases from Window, with further steps into the dubstep and flourishing UKG scenes, it’s the latter that promises to be more fruitful from the Nottingham MC. His laid-back tones and light-hearted lyrics complement UKG beats perfectly, as demonstrated on recent track Time, a collaboration with Massappeals. Crowds probably won’t have to wait too long after lockdown before Window is back on the Nottingham circuits, with Og Wow near destined to be a fan favourite. Tristan Phipps

Frank Ocean – ‘Dear April’

Back from the wilderness, Frank Ocean has bestowed on us not one, but two singles this week, Dear April and Cayendo. The liner notes describe them as acoustic, but don’t be fooled; Ocean is never one for straightforward production, and Dear April has some of the understated instrumentation that he’s deployed previously on tracks such as Higgs. These singles were first debuted at Ocean’s PrEP+ club night, and then released on vinyl before finally making their way to streaming services. Ocean never takes the road more travelled, and once again he delivers sincere, measured balladry. Louis Griffin

Yazmin Lacey - ‘On Your Own’

Born into a talented East London family before cutting her teeth on the flourishing Nottingham open mic circuits, Yazmin Lacey has gone from bedroom beat-lover to neo-soul and jazz connoisseur, always with a gentle touch of R&B. Soft yet enchanting, Lacey’s most recent offering On Your Own, showcases her smooth as silk vocals layered over an enticing yet dozey beat, in the most charming and effortless of ways. A track to soundtrack sleepy weekend afternoons during this sunny isolation period, On Your Own highlights the growth of Nottingham’s new shining star. Tristan Phipps

Yves Tumor - ‘Gospel For A New Century’

Previously released as a single, the first track from Yves Tumor’s latest effort, Heaven To A Tortured Mind, Gospel For A New Century feels like the sort of taut, sexy rock that Prince might be making were he still with us. It seamlessly slides from Tumor’s usual weirdo-electronica, but soon we find ourselves in the territory of slippery basslines and crashing arena guitars. Warp Records have an auteur on their hands; Tumor is flying the flag for effortless genre fusion in 2020, and we are here for it. Louis Griffin