The Mic Recommends...

As we enter the final week of April, our dependence on new releases is growing greater than ever before, especially as we adjust to life without live music. If you’re wondering what could soundtrack the coming week, fret no more as the team at The Mic provide a selection of new single reviews from rising local talent to internationally renowned behemoths, covering a variety of genres from pop to punk in the process.


This week, find out which artist is behind the latest ‘modern coming-of-age hit’, which band are capable of soundtracking a ‘coming-of-age-film’ and which local force have released a literal Coming of Age masterpiece.


The 1975 - ‘If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)’

Fans have been waiting impatiently for The 1975’s new single If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know) since they debuted it at their Nottingham concert in February. Well, it’s finally here and it certainly did not disappoint. The bold lyrics “Maybe I would like you better if you took off your clothes” describe a relentless infatuation with a mysterious “girl on the screen”. This online romance trend is unintentionally fitting considering the nature of many relationships during the ongoing global pandemic. The up-tempo track is laced with distinct guitar and a roaring sax solo towards the end that makes listeners crave to go out dancing more than they already do at this point. The 80s inspired pop-based style echoes earlier hits such as The Sound, and makes it likely to become an instant classic for the band. Rachel Irwin


Everything Everything - ‘In Birdsong’

Everything Everything make a triumphant return after 2017's A Fever Dream with quite possibly their most unorthodox and hypnotically beautiful track yet. This is not, however, to say this is a return to the upbeat art-pop stylings of their stunning and often-underrated 2015 record Get To Heaven. Although it is possible to see elements of the textural synths and cold metallic percussion of tracks like No Reptiles, In Birdsong is a very different type of track indeed. With its swirling new-age synth arpeggios and achingly beautiful impassioned chorus In Birdsong hints at an exciting new direction for the band that’s notably more electronic (perhaps ambient) and a good bit stranger, but every bit as engaging as ever. Owen White


Charli XCX - ‘claws’

Charli XCX continues her isolation-driven bedroom pop record with claws - a light and cheerful track, markedly shorter than previous single forever. Coming in at just under two and half minutes, claws packs a lot of punch into a small vessel. Charli’s vocal performance is characteristically stellar and the production, not by A. G. Cook but 100 gecs’ Dylan Brady, is neat and clean, giving space to each layer of the complex track. claws has an early 00’s hit feeling to it: the repetitive, cliché and (almost annoyingly) catchy lyrics (e.g. “Juicy just like clementines”) bring a certain nostalgic fun to the track amongst various sound bites that transports listeners back to a time of modems and Tamagotchis. Brady’s influence seeps in towards the end of the track, dissolving the once-clear sounds into a distorted noisy transition that leaves the listener wondering what is to come next. Patrick Donnelly


Dream Wife- 'Hasta La Vista’

The latest offering from Dream Wife, Hasta La Vista gives us more of a taste for their upcoming album So When You Gonna…which is coming later this summer. The record spoon feeds a mixture of pop-inspired instrumentals, sweet harmonies and an evocative sound fit for a coming-of-age film. Hasta La Vista is a nostalgic song, about the changes the band members have seen in their personal lives following a relentless touring schedule. This, and their previously released single Sports! makes the release of their sophomore record truly exciting prospect. Izzy Felton

Photo credit: Sarah Piantadosi

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - ‘Anamnesis’

No-one does it quite like King Gizzard. Perhaps the most individual rock band ever, who else would dare to release five albums in one year and still sell out the 10,000 capacity Alexandra Palace? It is certainly a challenge to pinpoint one recommendation from new live album Chunky Shrapnel, to accompany their new film of the same name, but Anamnesis feels like a good place to start. Keeping in mind that 2019 album Infest The Rats Nest was one of the heaviest offerings from the Aussie rockers, this track, one of three non-vocal interludes on the album, is remarkably delicate. Its transfixing use of woodwind and percussion creates an absorbing, mysterious atmosphere, and listeners can’t help but feel a little lost in King Gizz’s world when trying to unpick the thought behind this piece. Available to watch for two 24-hour periods so far, the band’s ultimate aim is for Chunky Shrapnel to hit the cinema. Remarkably talented, with creativity that knows no limits, their film should make for truly mesmerising viewing. Tristan Phipps


Florence and the Machine - ‘Light of Love’

An unreleased single that failed to make the final cut of High as Hope, Light of Love is Florence Welch’s effort to raise support and awareness of the Intensive Care Society as the world’s health systems face the economic distress of the coronavirus pandemic. The single adds lyrics from the book Don’t Go Blindly Into The Dark that grew out of Vincent Haycock and Florence’s plentiful eight-year collaborative efforts, emphasising that “In every one of us shines the light of love”. The appropriately titled single continues to turn out Florence and the Machine’s typical masterful and equally potent orchestral and lyrical ornamentation, as Welch’s release embodies hope in such a distressing time. Nieve O’Donnell


James Blake - ‘You’re Too Precious’

James Blake singles have historically sat in two camps: his explorative, strange and often beautiful electronic odysseys and his more immediately-palatable downtempo R&B ballads. New single You’re Too Precious sits quite comfortably in the centre of this crossroad as it drips with atmospherically textured sound play and experimental vocal manipulation, while simultaneously showcasing one of Blake’s most tender and openly sentimental melodies in some time. A stunning song to boot, this makes for a refreshing and gorgeous change of pace after the boilerplate approach of last year’s Assume Form. Owen White


YUNGBLUD - ‘Weird!’

In his smashing new single Weird!, YUNGBLUD proclaims “We’re in a weird time of life” and he could not be more right. The Yorkshire artist thought it the perfect time to release the song given its current relevance. The track sees him candidly confessing his feelings of intense anxiety and fear that many listeners will likely relate to, but still encompasses words of hope “Don’t wreck your brain, it will be alright”. While edging towards a more pop-based sound, YUNGBLUD still has his heavier, rock roots embedded in the belting chorus, and the feelings of nostalgia and relatability this song exudes gives it potential to be a modern coming of age hit. Rachel Irwin


LARRY PINK THE HUMAN - ‘LOVE YOU, BYE.’

In a marked departure from his previous work as one half of punk duo Slaves, LOVE YOU, BYE. is a subtle, shoegazing effort from Laurie Vincent. The first single from new project LARRY PINK THE HUMAN, it represents a more vulnerable style of songwriting for him; his heart is firmly on his sleeve, and a good deal of this comes from the fact that this is Laurie’s first time as a vocalist in his own right. In his own words, he had “convinced himself [that he] couldn’t” write lyrics. He needn’t have worried, however, as this is a superb effort indeed. Louis Griffin


Lennon Stella - ‘Pretty Boy’

Pretty Boy, one of the cuts from Canadian singer and Nashville actress Lennon Stella’s latest record Three. Two. One. elicits a haunting pop melody with layers of harmony and truth behind its lyrics. Stella has a simultaneously powerful yet soft voice in which emotion can be heard in every word. Pretty Boy presents the idea of wanting to get to know someone, wanting to ‘drive through the forest inside of [their] head’, and really get beneath the surface of how someone presents themselves. The lyrical concept of the track is to be adored alongside the poetic nature of this song and how such a simple idea can be made into something so emotive. Lydia Prettyman


SG Lewis - ‘Chemicals’

Currently residing in sunny Los Angeles, Berkshire born producer SG Lewis returns to the limelight with exciting new track Chemicals. With a discography spanning synth-pop to deep house, and forever influenced by R&B, the young multi-instrumentalist is an unpredictable force. Cutting in with a tantalising bass hook, layered with a funky synth line, Chemicals begins brightly. The tracks likeability is brought through a catchy, synth filled chorus, with Lewis’ expressive, high pitched vocal line complimenting his bass hooks perfectly. Like a finger running down the spine, the track’s focal riff likens itself to a Passion Pit track, or one of Kevin Parker’s ‘The Slow Rush’ remixes that didn’t quite make the cut. Overall, Chemicals is another accomplished track for a man always on the pursuit for bigger and better things. His recent headline show at Printworks, his biggest to date, is only just the start. Tristan Phipps


Jake Bugg - ‘Saviours of the City'

Saviours of the City is the first single to be released this year by Nottingham troubadour Jake Bugg. Encapsulating a different approach to his previous back catalogue of hits, including infamous last single Kiss Like the Sun, released towards the end of 2019, the acoustic release is Bugg’s emotive effort to resonate with the population of his home city and those across the globe during the lockdown period. It is unclear where the Clifton-born singer-songwriter will go next, but what is clear is his desire to branch out from his blues-inspired roots. Izzy Felton


Car Seat Headrest - ‘There Must Be More Than Blood

After a series of album teasers that’ve seemingly gotten more baffling each time, Car Seat Headrest finally live up to their indie rock pedigree on There Must Be More Than Blood. The latest single showcases easily the best core song of the band’s recent string of releases so far. Standing comfortably within the realm of past classic Car Seat Headrest epics such as The Ending of Dramamine and Beach Life-In-Death (the former of which it shares a suspiciously similar bass groove too) the new single also presents easily the most appealing and tasteful marriage of analogue and midi sounds so far. Boasting a fantastic build-up, intriguing lyrical themes and one of Toledo’s most mature and immediately affecting choruses yet, we can only hope more of the new record follows suit. Owen White

Photo credit: Carlos Cruz

Lil Baby - ‘All In’

Atlanta rapper Lil Baby has been busy in quarantine and this week dropped his latest single All In, soon to be featured in the deluxe version of his album My Turn which was released less than two months ago. The single, with vocals in a similar style to that of his album, sees Lil Baby reflect on his youth with the music video offering an insight into his life in lockdown. Lil Baby has grown in popularity over recent years with his latest single leaving us looking forward to his next project. Owen Thomas


Hotel Lux - ‘The Ballad Of You & I’

The closing track from Hotel Lux’s debut EP Barstool Preaching, The Ballad Of You & I is a disarmingly sincere effort from the Portsmouth pub-punks. Their usual brand of indie is as soaked in sarcasm as it is in lager, but ‘Ballad…’ is a tender cut, with frontman Lewis Duffin opining “we wrote the first verse, you crossed out the middle eight”. After four tracks packed to the gills with the typical disaffection of post-punk, it is a heart-warming final statement. Louis Griffin


Earl Sweatshirt (Feat. Maxo) - ‘WHOLE WORLD’

Earl Sweatshirt drops a surprise Alchemist-produced single for the deluxe edition of his recent FEET OF CLAY EP. On WHOLE WORLD Earl is in a typically introspective mood here and carries on the themes of family ties, personal growth and mental health from his astonishing 2018 album Some Rap Songs and the slightly underwhelming followup FEET OF CLAY. Here he sounds far more focused then on his previous EP, seemingly finding a new sense of clarity and structure over the cleanness of Alchemist’s moody, hypnotically repetitive and lightly psychedelic beat. Each bar cuts hard and his impressively verbose and complex rhymes manage to maintain their recent abstract qualities while also painting a vivid and fascinating portrait of a young artist putting his past behind him. Featured rapper Maxo provides a brief but thematically appropriate opening verse and outro. Owen White


Blondes - ‘Coming of Age’

One of the most exciting bands to have emerged from the Nottingham’s ever fruitful circuit over the past year, Blondes have made a real statement of intent with latest offering Coming of Age. Brimming with youthful positivity, the track marries upbeat indie with dream rock to perfection. Catchy riffs and cool vocal lines, Coming of Age is perhaps their most accomplished release to date. The likeable five-piece have again succeeded in producing a remarkably well-crafted track, that will only raise their profile in the Nottingham scene. Tristan Phipps

Photo Credit: Taking The Pixels

KSI (Feat. Swarmz and Tion Wayne) - ‘Houdini’

YouTube legend KSI continues to surprise us in the music scene with his latest single Houdini. The track boasts impressive features by Swarmz and Tion Wayne, both of which are arguably the stars of this latest release by the YouTube luminary who seems more absent compared to his previous hits. Nevertheless, this track provides enough vocals and a catchy chorus which should secure it a respectable place on your quarantine playlist. KSI has proven yet again that YouTube music is to be taken seriously. Joe Alton


SiR and Boogie - ‘Rapper Weed’

Californian vocalist and producer SiR, widely known for successful collaborations with Anderson .Paak and Kendrick Lamar, shows his gratitude with latest track Rapper Weed. Released as part of his label’s fan appreciation week, TDE (Top Dawg Entertainment) have continued in their quest to be America’s strongest R&B label. Following releases from label-mates Isaiah Rashad and Zacari this week alone, SiR and Boogie have continued the trend with this sumptuous offering. Consisting of an irresistibly smooth beat over a light, subtle, vocal line from SiR, the track appears to strike the perfect balance. Furthermore, Boogie’s discordant vocal line only enhances the charming background that SiR has strived to create. A delicate but feel-good offering: SiR once again reminds us that he is head and shoulders above the competition in the US R&B scene right now. Tristan Phipps


JPEGMAFIA - ‘BODYGUARD!’

Peggy continues his hotstreak of impressive and intriguing new singles with an intoxicating, sonically lush experimental R&B of BODYGUARD!. After the relatively straightforward (for Peggy) banger BALD! and it’s followup, the truly bizarre but equally thrilling and impressive COVERED IN MONEY!, new single BODYGUARD! sees Peggy serving up another helping of the sticky melody and downtempo synths of All My Heroes Are Cornballs but with a twist. The beat is a sticky sinew of syncopated clinks, jaunty otherworldly synths and velvet bass while Peggy provides more of the irresistible boyband croon heard on ‘…Cornballs’ with a healthy dose of freaky autotune weirdness. The lyrics find Peggy more in his feelings than we’ve ever seen him as he laments having “no protection with nobody but you” to a lover, putting a clever spin on the term “Bodyguard”. More perfection from maybe the best doing it today. Owen White

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