The Mic Recommends...

On another soothing Sunday, The Mic welcomes another batch of fresh music in our ‘The Mic Recommends…’ feature, celebrating the biggest and best new single releases. This week’s instalment of brand new single reviews, hand-picked by our team, features singles from Flyte, Perfume Genius, Lady Bird, Courting, Everything Everything, Maisie Peters, Jake Burns and many more. Have a read below!

Flyte - ‘Easy Tiger’

We’re both survivors / But this is really going to hurt’ laments a heartbroken Will Taylor on Flyte’s timelessly raw new release, which expands the London trio’s sound into a more sonically rich dimension as a soft drum arrangement caresses the sweeping folk-driven guitar soundscape laid across the poignant single. Recorded in Los Angeles, the band’s first new release since 2019’s White Roses EP projects Taylor’s fracturing mental turmoil following a painful breakup in a startlingly frank yet beautiful fashion. Opening lines ‘Tear the pages from my notebooks / Smoke me out the window’, permeate the single with an emotional brashness and equally-appropriate darkness, and accompanied with a video directed by BAFTA-winning director Mark Jenkin, broken has never felt so beautiful. Ben Standring

Perfume Genius - ‘Nothing At All’

Taken from new album, Set My Heart On Fire Immediately, Nothing At All is a dense yet delicate track from Perfume Genius. Mike Hadreas’ boundary-pushing take on modern pop is crossed here with the most desolate moments of The National, resulting in an incredibly moving and almost life-affirming mid-album cut. Perfume Genius is leading the charge for avant-garde pop on this album-of-the-year contender, and Nothing At All is a very impressive achievement indeed. Louis Griffin

Jake Burns - ‘California Bound’

Nottingham’s own indie-folk singer-songwriter Jake Burns delvers a reverie-inducing combination of ambition and serenity on latest single California Bound, a time-appropriate contemplation on restlessness and nostalgia. His finger-plucked guitar trademark is accompanied by a pattern of soft and undisturbed drums, a partnership that provides a peaceful soundscape, onto which Burns projects a set of allusions to temporal and musical maturity. Music becomes an undeniable presence, as certain as time itself, for those who are willing to listen. Burns conjures the idea that music is an accomplice to everything we do, everything we experience, and that is something which needs to be realised perhaps now more than ever. Matt Andrews

Lady Bird - ‘WWW’

Following on from the vastly impressive Get Lucky, Tunbridge Wells trio Lady Bird return to prove that good things truly can come in small packages. The short and snappy WWW laments against the ‘wicked war of the west’, a battle against internet culture that permeates modern society’s very foundations. Fearless champions of music’s grassroots, Lady Bird’s gradual ascendency has allowed them to embrace intoxicating new directions and influences, and a dual-pronged attack is visible on the trio’s latest offering, as Sam Cox’s half-rapped, half-spat lyrics rain across verses and refrains, whilst whining pop-punk sensibilities soar across the single’s chorus. At its roots, WWW is a micro-dose of snarling punk, as Alex Deadman’s obliterating barrage of chainsaw-rugged guitar swipes incisions into listeners. Vocally, the track is a ferocious diatribe against the conniving nature of the Internet, lyrics ‘I’ll be the last one to leave / I’ll be the last to believe’ projecting an inherent scepticism within the fiercely passionate trio. A short and snappy single, with an equally impressive video to match, WWW is a glorious step into the unknown from a band that thrive on unpredictability. Ben Standring

Photo credit: Harvey Williams-Fairley

Courting - ‘David Byrne’s Badside’

Take a dollop of meta humour. Add a tablespoon of Pavement guitars, a sprinkle of Parquet Courts percussion, and half a cup of Hotel Lux lyricism. Stir thoroughly, while doing your best impression of Alex Rice’s vocal delivery. Bake on medium heat until golden brown, and you’ve got yourself David Byrne’s Badside, the latest single from Liverpudlian art-rockers Courting. Baking puns aside, it is a beautifully tongue-in-cheek take on the kitchen-sink bangers in vogue at the moment, and will thoroughly perk up anybody’s time in lockdown. After all, you don’t want to get on David Byrne’s Badside now, do you? Louis Griffin

Maisie Peters - ‘The List’

In moments of great hardship, the importance of self-reflection continues to stand out as one of many much-needed ways to bolster self-care. On Maisie Peters’ latest release, The List, self-love is condensed into a blissful and rousing piano-orchestrated ballad. With intimate lyrics tracking the depths of personal breakdown and frustration and fashioned like diary entries, Peters’ harmonic monologue is overwhelmingly uplifting. Lines ‘I’ll try something that I’ve not before / And like myself a little bit more’ encapsulate a much-needed message of self-care, growth and fulfilment, demonstrating the pop-driven catharsis that has made the nineteen-year old singer-songwriter a vital voice in contemporary pop. Peters lays down warming vocals on another soaring and immaculate production, grappling self-perceived flaws, including her fears of long silences, abandoning loved ones and ‘looking people in the eye’. From beginning to end, the delicately narrated tale of personal disorientation births a list of acknowledgements that Peters hints could turn the tide of turmoil to a wave of longevity and positivity. A message of resilience, The List is a heartfelt display of vulnerability from one of Britain’s finest young female singer-songwriters. Ben Standring

Elli Ingram - ‘Flowers’

Hearing Elli Ingram for the first time in a Radio 1 trance did not feel like the way this writer would have wanted to discover her punchy single Bad Behaviour: it’s since become the go-to lockdown tune. Her newest release Flowers is an equally exceptional offering - the perfect addition to your ‘girl power/men-are-trash playlist’. Sensual, drenched in soulful bass and percussion, there is a rarity in her vocals reminiscent of Amy Winehouse. Whilst delicate in its title, there is nothing fragile about Ingram’s production or her lyrics of self-assertion: they are especially refreshing to hear during these sluggish times. Seamlessly sliding into her already established discography, Ingram is just one of hundreds of female solo artists waiting to find the recognition and platform they deserve. Faye Nichols

Everything Everything - ‘Arch Enemy’

Arch Enemy, the second track from Manchester four-piece Everything Everything’s upcoming fifth album Re-Animator, streamlines the band’s sound to focus on harmonic melodies and pulsating synths. Following on from comeback single For Birdsong, Arch Enemy is an ever-reliable source of oddball synth-pop drenched in Jonathan Higgs’ commanding falsetto, which reverberates in typically-tremendous fashion, quaking with a hint of unease as macabre lyrics of loneliness and dependency warp themselves around abstract time signatures and funk-laden melodies. Lyrically, the track narrates a modern-day protagonist searching for a meaningful deity. Higgs has explained of the narrative of the story that “finding only a congregation of greed, toxicity and waste, in the form of a sentient fatberg in the sewer, [the protagonist] duly prays to it, willing it to purge the decadent world above that has created it.” In essence, Arch Enemy, follows the four-piece on a comfortably trodden path, but the enriched production alongside its electronic, Daft Punk inspired breakdown, manages to tear-up the familiar in kaleidoscopic fashion. The once left-field math-rock outfit are back in commanding fashion, fully embedding themselves at the helm of the creative mainstream. Ben Standring

slowthai (Feat. Kenny Beats) - ‘MAGIC’

slowthai has returned with a vengeance this week with three new tracks from surprisingly disparate sources but with an extremely cohesive tone. Probably the most instantly grabbing and gratifying of the three is MAGIC with Kenny Beats which works in the same way as a classic pre-Nothing Great About Britain banger clocking in at roughly two minutes and providing no-frill thrills along the way. What stands out amongst a great but maybe slightly vapid set of verses from Slowthai himself is the production from hip-hop's prodigal son Kenny Beats which sounds crisp, heavy and always entirely appropriate. He effectively brings his style and presence to the table while staying within the stylistic confines slowthai has always produced bass-leaden, nocturnal bangers within. Owen White

Two Door Cinema Club - 'Isolation'

Two Door Cinema Club went in a surprising musical direction when they decided to cover John Lennon’s Isolation in aid of charities leading the fight against Covid-19. From a musical perspective, it was certainly intriguing to see how Two Door’s melodic indie pop would work covering acoustic, psychedelic sounds of the former Beatles frontman. It’s not the first time Trimble has covered a song that may not compliment his vocal style. His rendition of Billie Eilish’s bad guy was unconventionally brilliant, as Two Door put a classic indie pop twist on an already brilliant song. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of this effort. Whilst the cause is excellent, Trimble’s vocals simply do not fit with the style or themes in the song. When bands experiment with their musicality and musicianship, there are bound to be some missteps. Sadly, this is one of those errors. Brilliant cause, but Trimble’s vocals fail to live up to the high standard set by John Lennon. Alex Duke