The Mic Recommends...

On the last weekend before we descend into the festivities of the winter period though relatively little is likely to change other than houses being adorned in fairy lights this week's edition of The Mic Recommends shines its own dazzling spotlight on the hottest new tracks from Phoebe Bridgers, Liam Gallagher, Arlo Parks, Good Hustles, The Rills, and more.


The title track of their highly-anticipated seventh studio album, set for release on January 15th, SUCKAPUNCH is a progressive and effective blend of the band’s signature, energetic rock sound, alongside soaring, powerful vocals, experimental pulsating dance beats, and elements of electronics and synths. SUCKAPUNCH depicts the process of recovery from experiencing a difficult period of time, emphasizing that you will always be able to rebuild, and move forward. Despite having encountered disheartening set-backs, the song ultimately promotes a message of optimism and hope looking to the future. It sees You Me At Six evolve and develop to stadium-sized and festival-headlining heights, demonstrating that they are not afraid to embrace modernity, change, progression and experimentation, whilst pushing the genre boundaries and limitations of their well-established rock sound which they have successfully mastered across the span of their remarkable fifteen-year career. Gemma Cockrell

‘Caroline’ Arlo Parks

You would be hard pressed to find someone who’s had a better year than Arlo Parks as she continues to impress with her brand of empathetic arias. Despite an already expansive back catalogue, she is yet to release her debut album Collapsed in Sunbeams is finally due to be unveiled in January. Adding to her emotionally intelligent repertoire, in which even the most melancholic verses are comforting, Caroline deftly confronts the intricacies of human intimacy and deals with the ephemerality of relationships. Warming to her theme of eminently listenable neo-soul ballads, her honeyed vocal melds effortlessly with the ambient accompaniment, but the track’s most transcendent moments come when her voice soars over the instrumental. Parks boasts one of the most distinctive sonic palettes of our generation and this is perhaps her most immersive recording since the devastatingly tender Eugene. By managing to make the listener feel so enveloped in her hypnotic soundscape, it is pure and delightful escapism. Joe Hughes

Coffee – Good Hustles

I’ve gotta say it, I freaking love this song. Blasting Good Hustles’ new single, Coffee, through my speakers immediately transported me back to the good ol’ days of live music head-banging on the dance floor (beer in hand) without a care in the world. Coffee was written by the boys with Nottingham legend, George Gadd and so, unsurprisingly, it’s pretty catchy. Beautifully warping together a somewhat nostalgic, grunge-rock feel with a delicious sense of forward movement, it is certainly the most epic rock track from Good Hustles so far. Fans of heavy bass, this is the one for you. Harriet Kilner

All You’re Dreaming Of – Liam Gallagher

Former Oasis front man Liam Gallagher’s first release since 2019’s chart-topping sophomore solo record Why Me? Why Not?, is a warm, festive ballad with all proceeds being generously donated to charity Action for Children, where it will be used to help children who need it the most during the festive period. In his typical, renowned tone of boastful and braggadocious arrogance and self-confidence, Gallagher states that “All You’re Dreaming Of is an instant classic that is perfect for this time of year.” Though he sensitively adds, “Considering the year that we’ve all had, I hope this brings back some much-needed love and hope. Bing Crosby would have been proud.” The melancholy and mellow-toned acoustic-driven track is charming, delicate and poignant, depicting the importance of love and compassion during troubled times of crisis and trauma. It does a truly remarkable job of capturing the magic of the Christmas period as we enter a holiday season that is predicted to be far from normality. A polar opposite to the alcoholic, booze-heavy Christmas chaos that you may expect from Gallagher, the track serves as a heart-warming reminder of what is truly important at this time of year. Gemma Cockrell

‘You Slipped Away’ Andy Shauf

You Slipped Away alludes to the idea of losing someone you love. Heart-wrenching lyrics such as “just like the sun hiding from the shade / you slipped away,” drive the song and hone in on the story being told. Weaved throughout the sonic landscape are the distinctive tones of the clarinet; something quintessentially Shauf and adding a beautiful element the song. From the gentle harmonies and a steady, simple drum beat, the song really reminds me of a song in a coming-of-age film. This is another beautiful song from Andy Shauf and a great end to 2020 for his music. Lydia Prettyman

‘Stardog’ The Rills

A rowdy, IDLES-esque drum and bass preamble, and a punchy lead vocal from frontman Mitch Spencer lends this track an enviably raucous energy. Aided by a characteristically catchy hook, it tells the story of a local dealer in the band’s native Lincolnshire, and blossoms into a boisterous rail against conformity. Corrosive, often ominous, guitar strains offset by a humorous spoken interlude point to the sinister underbelly of small-town suburbia and the dual persona of part-time peddler Stardog. Despite The Rills’ relatively low profile, their boundless enthusiasm has propelled them to stratospheric social media fame. In this, their fourth single to date, the new-kids-on-the-block manage to make the banal dazzle with brilliance, harking back to the heyday of indie-rock. Citing the likes of Fontaines D.C. and The Libertines as core influences, The Rills could be the plucky new stars of the second post-punk revival. Joe Hughes

Another Time The Tin Pigeons

This one’s a cracker. The Tin Pigeons are back with new bouncy, indie-pop track, Another Time. It’s the type of song that just fills you with energy, generating a perfect mix of whimsy (the lyrics absolutely spoke to the brooding romantic within me) with a hefty sprinkling of enthusiasm. Already a favourite of the festival scene, Tin Pigeons are well set to boost themselves into stardom as they continue to prove themselves as consistently brilliant. Listen to this track while heartbroken yet hopeful, staring out of the window of a bus (in true main character fashion), and while doing literally anything else! It’s a sure-fire crowd-pleaser. Harriet Kilner

‘If We Make It Through December’ Phoebe Bridgers

Another year, another devastating Christmas cover from Phoebe Bridgers. This time of If We Make It Through December by Merle Haggard. On a roll with her acclaimed and now Grammy nominated sophomore album Punisher, from earlier this year, and recent releases such as her Copycat Killer EP of four orchestral re-imaginings of tracks from Punisher and a cover of Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls with Maggie Rogers in light of the presidential result, Bridgers once again does not want us happy. She transforms the 1974 country tune with her signature fragile, melancholy voice accompanied by a lilting acoustic piano. The effect is intimate and wistful, staining the lyrics with sadness. Haggard’s lyrics also find new meaning this year with many more than ever unable to celebrate the ‘jolly’ season. The repeated lyric and title “If we make it through December, emphasises such uncertainty and is especially poignant as we should be mindful of the privilege of being able to simply be warm every Christmas. It is therefore fitting that all the singles’ proceeds are to be donated to the Downtown Women’s Centre who support homeless women in LA. True to her style, Bridgers delivers a heart shattering conclusion to the year that surely everyone wants to be over. Lucas Wood

Featured image courtesy of Pheobe Bridgers via Facebook. Article images courtesy of Arlo Parks and The Rills via Facebook.

Edited by: Louise Dugan