The Mic Recommends...

As the clocks go back, well and truly signalling the end of the summer time, and the winter nights draw closer, The Mic team have handpicked a range of singles to help you fill that extra hour. This week's picks include Easy Life, Arlo Parks, Nick Cave, Architects, Tigers Jaw and more have a read below.

‘Euthanasia’ - Nick Cave

Euthanasia is the first new release from Nick Cave since 2019’s soul-baring Ghosteen. Taken from Idiot Prayer, the film streamed in July of Cave “alone at Alexandra Palace,” the track has an almost prayer-like simplicity, a handful of lines unfurling and then returning. Cave flickers between images, landing upon his abiding interest in death. His discography has always courted the macabre, and here he digs into a more metaphorical death – “Oh, when you stepped out of the vehicle, and attached yourself to my heart / It was a kind of dying.” Crucially though, the final image of the track is optimistic: “Where I passed through a doorway / And found you sitting at the kitchen table / And smiling.” Ghosteen marked Cave’s acceptance of grief, and Euthanasia is another step towards catharsis. Louis Griffin

‘Daydreams’ - Easy Life

Daydreams is the first taste of Leicester 5-piece Easy Life’s highly-anticipated and long-awaited debut album. A reimagine of Aretha Franklin’s 1972 Day Dreaming, it morphs the track into a modern take on escapism from the current state of reality. Front man Murray Matravers summarises the single in the highly relatable statement: “Like most of us, I’ve spent the whole year sat at home daydreaming about a possible alternate reality.” “Born out of boredom and idleness,” it is the perfect summary of existence in 2020, both lyrically and sonically. The slow and melancholy tone is a formula which Easy Life have perfected since their debut single Pockets in 2017, and opening the song with the chorus is a key element of this formula – an element that works effectively once again for them. A nonchalant, easy-going track with a wistful and mellow tone, this is Easy Life at their absolute best. Gemma Cockrell

‘Cat’s Cradle’ - Tigers Jaw

The Scranton natives haven’t let the pandemic put their creativity on hold, and have been busy delivering a host of performances whenever and wherever they can – from charity events, to live streams in their separate apartments accompanied only by a guitar – so it is no surprise that their most recent single comes with the announcement of a new record. In a more unusual departure from the lo-fi bedroom emo label the band have carried with them since traction picked up at the release of their self-titled album, Brianna Collins takes both vocal and instrumental lead. Sparkly synth layers top off the propulsion of the guitars on the track, bringing out an infectiously danceable chorus closer to a summery, indie affair. Louise Dugan

‘Mommy Can’t Sleep’ - XVOTO

Mommy Can’t Sleep is the first track from elusive and achingly edgy XVOTO. A side-project of HMLTD, the track channels the most bombastic moments of the future-pop wave, while it flips and chops into bombastic trap. But, as with HMLTD, underneath all the weirdness are genuinely enthralling ideas – in particular, the chorus really comes into its own, all twisting 808’s and delicate vocals. One to watch. Louis Griffin

‘Let A Little Light In’ - Everyone You Know

In the past two years, Everyone You Know have risen from relative obscurity to genre-bending provocateurs, their versatile sound capturing elements of hip-hop, punk and the 90s rave scene to create an effervescent sound palette that is every bit as unpredictable as it is compelling. The two brothers from London, Rhys and Harvey, first kicked down the door with 2019’s seven-track EP Cheer Up Charlie, which showcased both a profound confidence with genre-hopping as well as a canny ability to craft prodigious and wily hooks that wrapped up influences such as The Prodigy and brought them into a post-millennial Britain. Despite comparisons to the likes of The Streets, slowthai and Tom Grennan, the duo’s latest single Let A Little Light In is a relaxed and melancholy affair that packs a punch in its rasping vocals. A delicate mix of half-rapped, half-sung lyrics showcase a more contemporary edge to the band’s production and as winter starts to fall, lyrics “we should take some time to call a friend / Break some hearts and make amends” spark a call for unity and awareness for loved ones. In a world of constant confusion, Everyone You Know provide an apt celebration of the simple joys that can come from a breath of positivity. Ben Standring

‘Enlacing’ - clipping.

clipping. [sic] have always flirted with the bleeding edge of experimental hip-hop. Last year’s horror-flecked There Existed An Addiction To Blood now has a sequel, Visions Of Bodies Being Burned, and it is no less harsh. On Enlacing, Daveed Diggs veers violently between Lovecraft and a trap house; “All of the cataracts floating outside of your vision are inching in […] put a pound of joy up in a pill then crush it down to powder.” Diggs and co have always had a knack for making the abrasive and macabre enthralling, and Enlacing is no different. Louis Griffin

‘Animals’ - Architects

On Animals, the Brighton metalcore giants herald a shift towards a more brooding, deliberate sound. While retaining the bristling aggression of chugging guitar sweeps, the introduction of a measured, swathes of empty space balances the track out to a more atmospheric, almost theatrical piece. This shift is even more present in lead vocalist Sam Carter’s delivery. Far from the typical metalcore style of pitching vocals and gutturals that he became known for including in almost every track, the band seem to be following a Bring Me The Horizon-esque arc of sonic development. Siren-like alarms rip through the bridge, while a distorted reverberation of vocals float just below the surface of the track throughout, suggesting a tentative reach towards a more industrial and electronic leaning sound. With the upcoming album featuring big names from the hard rock scene, including Biffy Clyro and Royal Blood, it seems that the band may be again re-adjusting their sound. Louise Dugan

‘Green Eyes’ - Arlo Parks

There are few artists right now that possess the capability of producing such complex narratives as rising London artist Arlo Parks, whose arrival on the scene almost twelve months ago was a turning point for British R&B. With devastatingly intimate and insular lyrics narrating sentiments of heartache, love, loss and turmoil, latest single Green Eyes is a heartfelt release to accompany the news that debut record Collapsed in Sunbeams will be released on January 29th via Transgressive Records. An affirmation towards self-acceptance, featuring backing vocals and guitar from Clairo, Green Eyes celebrates self-discovery and adolescence, with the purpose of uplifting and comforting listeners going through the current era of confusion, isolation and doubt. Following similar sonic tropes that were present in Black Dog and Hurt, Green Eyes navigates judgement and self-acceptance in a relationship, with lyrics “Of course I know why we lasted two months / Could not hold my hand in public / Felt their eyes judgin’ our love,” shining light on societal attitudes towards LGBTQ+ relationships. Few artists are capable of producing a rich array of sonic and lyrical narratives in such short space of time. Arlo parks is not like most artists, however. Ben Standring

‘Crash’- Nilufer Yanya

Crash marks the return of Nilüfer Yanya, the West London it-girl of guitar pop. Yanya laid the groundwork for artists such as Beabadoobee with her debut LP Miss Universe, blending grunge-y guitars and R&B hooks with ease. The same arch irony and bracing vulnerability found on that album is present on Crash, the first single from a forthcoming EP entitled Feeling Lucky. But noticeably missing are the manic, overdriven guitars that Yanya cut her teeth on; is this the start of her shift towards a more conventional style of pop? Only time will tell. Louis Griffin

Edited by: Louise Dugan