In the week in which we lost not just musical legends, but pioneers that helped breathe new meaning into what could be achieved by musicians, the importance of innovation and creativity has never been so clear-cut. This week’s ‘The Mic Recommends…’ gathers an eclectic mix of enthralling new single releases, hand-picked and reviewed by our team, featuring Voodoos, Kacy Hill, Gorillaz, Kid Kapichi and more!
Fontaines D.C. - ‘A Hero’s Death’
“Life ain’t always empty” could not be more appropriate in a time warped by confusion and anxiousness. Fontaines D.C. frontman Grian Chatten explained that the lyrics for new single A Hero’s Death came from the period of nervousness and insecurity they felt as a band following the release of their critically-acclaimed debut record Dogrel. The new single entices fans with another portion of energetic, eerie post-punk. A shift in development has occurred, with haunting backing vocals, reminiscent of The Beach Boys, an inspiration for the new album that was revealed by guitarist Carlos O’Connell back in December 2019. The song act as a list of advice for life, bringing together lessons learned from their monumental year in 2019. Although the lyrics appear less personal to the band in comparison to the autobiographical experience of youth in Dublin portrayed in Dogrel, the title track of their upcoming sophomore album is steeped in sentiment. “Tell your mother you love her / And go out of your way for others”, is one of many rousing lines spouted by Chatten, and if this single is representative of the second album, fans will hear the band express coming to terms with their new-found fame. Fontaines D.C.’s second album will be out July 31st. Rebecca Hyde
Photo credit: Richard Dumas
Gorillaz (Feat. Tony Allen and Skepta) - ‘How Far?’
Gorillaz’ latest release from their Song Machine series acts as a tribute to the legendary late Tony Allen, who sadly passed away last week. Allen was an Afrobeat pioneer, serving as Fela Kuti’s drummer on his most seminal recordings. Together with Kuti he created the genre’s instantly recognisable and hugely influential style of busy, syncopated rhythms. Aged seventy-nine Allen sounds no less invigorated or comfortable here then he did on his previous records, providing a stunning rhythmic backdrop for one of Skepta’s most thrilling verses in years. Damon Albarn provides his usual quirky instrumental soundscape with languid guitars, eerie synth leads and a cacophonous buildup of strings that ramps up constantly until the tension reaches breaking point. One of the most impressive, and poignant, releases in recent weeks. Owen White
Easy Life - ‘peanut butter’
Fresh off the back of their Junk Food mixtape released at the beginning of the year, woozy jazz-inspired-hip-hop-infused collective Easy Life have finally shrugged off the shackles as cult favourites and broken out to be one of one of the country’s most exciting bands. One of two new tracks from their see you later maybe never demo release, peanut butter follows the quintessential Easy Life formula that has assisted their meteoric rise over the past eighteen months, from playing tiny venues to selling out Nottingham’s Rock City. The East Midlands collective’s propensity for soundtracking languorous Sunday mornings continues with this effortlessly dreamy offering, written in lockdown and brimming in sentiment. Murray Matravers retains his bodacious ability of combining life’s prosaic issues with emotional tumult, from "fruit loops, goodbyes and cheerios" to the need for attention in lyrics "Put some serious thought into my outfit / I hope you notice". A much-needed dose of sonic bliss and Vitamin D injected into another disarmingly confessional crossover track from the Leicester outfit, peanut butter is a perfect soundtrack to a lazy day in lockdown. Ben Standring
Kacy Hill - ‘Unkind’
GOOD Music signee turned independent singer-songwriter and music producer, Kacy Hill has published a new addition to her already extensive body of tender ballads. Unkind provides listeners with a gentle pop-soul soundscape, against which Hill is able to articulate considerations of the evolution of relationships through time. She speaks of the delicacy of that which is temporary and of desperate attempts to maintain the present in spite of and in contention with the uncompromising surge of time. Though current circumstances might not permit us from sympathising with a need to maintain the present, the placid nature of the record makes it easy to slip into reverie and ponder on our own past, what’s changed and what we have succeeded in preserving. Matt Andrews
BROCKHAMPTON - ’N.S.T.’
Since 2019’s GINGER, Texas boyband BROCKHAMPTON have been relatively quiet and so the release of two tracks early Saturday morning was a surprise for fans craving new music. A departure from the slower, more melodic efforts of their last record, these two new tracks offer a beat-driven experience with Matt Champion being the standout across both. While each single is worth the listen, N.S.T. provides a more diverse listen including a welcome verse from Northern Irish member bearface. If this is a sign of the direction of their next project, it’s a welcome one. George Kazanas
Kid Kapichi - 'Household Shame'
A raucous brokerage on love and autonomy dripping in scuzzy bravado and electric bluster, Household Shame, the newest offering from hedonistic Hastings troupe Kid Kapichi, is a trying antidote to the tumultuous times. Crooning couplets capture the duality of mid-20’s flings whilst a visceral torrent of motorik punk-pop pummel drenches the track in Kid Kapichi’s trademark hues of defiance and disquiet. Though the subject drifts from the band’s usual antithetic politico-punk, the tongue remains firmly in the cheek as the song embarks on its scuzzy lovesick serenade - “shame on you, shame on me, what’s it gonna be?”. Poignant and promiscuous but with a honeyed tinge, it incarnates everything momentous about the Sussex quadrille, whilst stoking the fire that has begun to blaze in anticipation of one of modern punk’s most promising record debut’s. Olivia Stock
Voodoos - ‘Young Punks’
It is no secret that Glasgow’s grassroots scene is experiencing something of a resurgence in recent years, with Walt Disco, Spyres, The Snuts, Lucia & The Bad Boys, The Dunts, Declan Welsh and The Decadent West, amongst many more garnering loyal fanbases across Britain. VOODOOS are latest band to emerge from the city, as latest single Young Punks demonstrates an ability to produce rousing indie-rock to lift even the most dejected out of the rubble and onto a dance floor. Propulsive guitars and well-contrived percussive backdrops assist in creating a crowd-friendly, infectious jangle ready-made for summer. Whilst Piero Marcuccilli’s Julian Casablancas-esque drawl ensnares its listeners, images of greased hair and jaded camaraderie flicker with languor as a scenic backdrop, the single’s nonchalant swagger projecting images of four impressionable musicians with the world at their feet. Lyrically a nod to the local community that has embraced them wholeheartedly Young Punks isa breezy and digestible slice of guitar rock, with a definitively Scottish kick: whole-hearted, full-blooded and unbridled. More pop than punk, the latest release from the Glasgow four-piece is their most joyous and versatile to date. The Scottish resurgence continues. Ben Standring
The Academic - ‘Anything Could Happen'
Indie-disco at the ready, The Academic are back with another huge summer anthem. Having edged closer to a pop sound ever since the release of their debut album, Anything Could Happen is one of their most confident singles since Tales From The Backseat. The Irish four-piece have calculated the formula for an optimistic indie-rock hit, and it is certainly paying off for them. This new single has plenty of bounce to it, with a catchy chorus hook reminding listeners to remain positive in this time of despair. “When you’re sat in your apartment / With your friends that you don’t like” may not be the case for everyone, but this band’s addictive energy and enthusiasm makes Anything Could Happen the ear-worm you don’t want to lose. Rebecca Hyde
Holly Fallon - ‘Lovesick’
Nottingham’s own Holly Fallon, notorious for her inescapably catchy, radio-ready pop melodies is a welcome appearance in this week’s recommendations. No doubt a contribution to further attention from the likes of BBC Introducing and A&R Factory, Fallon’s most recent addition to a growing catalogue of quintessential pop tracks, Lovesick, with its persistent cycle of tension and release, is pure infectious pop. Fallon sets up a glitchy, hard-hitting instrumentation against which she confronts the woes of youthful love and relationships. In a city with many new shining lights, Fallon might be the brightest of them all. Matt Andrews
Weezer - ‘Hero’
Despite the apprehension about the prospect of a 2020 Weezer album named Van Weezer, Rivers Cuomo and co. have pleasantly surprised fans so far in classic fashion. The second single from the project following the delightful The End Of The Game is a tight, fun and surprisingly earnest piece of classic Weezer power pop. The overt focus on guitars is still ongoing but they undeniably sound great on a track containing surprisingly few of the goofy solos and corny licks that could have been anticipated from the projects unfortunate title. The song benefits from a loveably sugary anthemic chorus and some very cute lyrics meditating on the nature of the “hero” in the modern age. A surprising success from a classic force in music. Owen White