The Mic Recommends...

As everyone here at The Mic adjusts to the confines of working from home, now seems a better time than any to announce our new feature ‘The Mic Recommends….’, a weekly instalment of brand new single reviews hand-picked by our team. Expect a unique selection of tracks to be delivered every weekend to help you stay up-to-date with some of the most exciting new releases. This week’s picks include singles from Squid, The Lounge Society, Bob Dylan, Childish Gambino and more. Have a read below!


Squid - ‘Sludge’

Their debut on Warp Records, hallowed purveyors of all things leftfield, Squid here deliver a track that is, as its namesake would suggest, rather sludgy. Less clean-cut than previous efforts, the frantic energy that Squid do so well is still here in force – Sludge is a tense, paranoid listen. Kingmaker Dan Carey still helms the production, and the result is yet more confirmation (if any were needed) that Squid are quite unlike any other guitar band around. Full marks. Louis Griffin

Photo credit: Press

Childish Gambino - ’12.38’

Childish Gambino’s latest album 3.15.20, is a blend of his vast catalogue to date, using influences from across his career. 12.38 appears like a lost B-side for ”Awaken, My Love!”, the soulful R&B sound mirroring Gambino’s most recent music. The clear influence from funk and R&B stalwart Bootsy Collins has made Gambino stand out from the rest of the pack from the beginning, and with 12.38, it is safe to say that this trend is continuing. Isabelle Felton


The Chats - 'Stinker'

Stinker is the opening track off Australian trio The Chats’ new album High Risk Behaviour, released earlier this week. It’s short length and relentless pace is representative of the rest of the record, something they describe as ‘shed punk’; no frills bangers that don’t take themselves too seriously. Their Sex Pistols influence is readily apparent on this track, but rather than being pissed off at the monarchy or authority, they rant about the Aussie weather. It may not be as poetic or as meaningful, but we could all do with a bit of comedic relief in the current circumstances. Connor McGarry


Bicep - ‘Atlas’

Back from the wilderness, Bicep return with their latest offering on Ninja Tune; Atlas points towards the blissed-out synths of their breakout hit Glue, but subtle touches here and there remind that their formula has not remained stationary since their self-titled debut in 2017. A frantic drum pad sits just below the surface, and the track has an airy, loose feel to it, perhaps a hallmark of their relentless touring in the years between. The doomy sub-bass lends a particularly menacing air to the single, and quite simply, no-one does accessible, yet complex house like Bicep. Louis Griffin


Sorry - ‘Rosie’

Rosie is taken from Sorry’s debut album, 925, out on Domino Records this week. Asha Lorenz’ vulnerable, naïve delivery is particularly affecting, and when combined with the tangled, knotty production that the band are known for, gives us a track that worms its way into your subconscious disarmingly well. On every listen, another subtle little detail reveals itself, and Sorry cement themselves as a band purveying some of the weirdest pop around. Remarkably accomplished stuff, especially for a debut album. Louis Griffin


Run The Jewels (Feat. Greg Nice and DJ Premier) - ‘Ooh La La’

The prodigal sons return. This time they’re both chopping Gang Starr samples and taking clear influence from traps current (celestial) trajectory for maybe the first time in their career. It’s more psychedelic then anything they’ve done before as EL-P populates its spacious beat with eerie metallic synths and disorienting vocal snippets that reach out from all angles. All the elements you fell in love with are still here though; from the classic hardcore hiphop influences; here channelled through a queasy piano sample and the deceptive rhythmic simplicity of a great Neptunes beat, to the duo’s unrivalled chemistry on the mic which remains by far their greatest appeal. Owen White


Talk Show - ‘Atomica’

Taken from Talk Show’s EP, These People, out on Council Records, Atomica has a bass line that swerves violently from side to side, lending the whole track an off-kilter feel. The EP itself is packed to the gills with remarkably original guitar music, a feat hard to pull off in an increasingly crowded post-punk arena. Frontman Harrison Swann has a menacing delivery reminiscent of Shame’s Charlie Steen, and the whole affair leaves you immediately reaching for the rewind button. For extra credit, watch their live session of the EP on Instagram; both endearing and impressive. Louis Griffin

Photo Credit: Matt Wilder

The Lounge Society - ‘Generation Game’

Little is known about Generation Game, the debut single from The Lounge Society, except that it’s pretty damn good – unsurprising given that it is the latest release on Dan Carey’s Speedy Wunderground label, and an immediate first pressing sell-out at that. The track, rich with pertinent lyricisms and speculative tempo changes, is an effervescent meander through celestial guitar and instrumentals in a style that is uncommon in this raging, hyper-political post-punk climate. Think soft Working Men’s Club meets early Ought, while I curiously find it calls to mind the TARDIS traversing the time vortex. Make of that what you will. Freya Martin


Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes - ‘What Kinda Music’

What Kinda Music, the first of three singles released from Tom Misch and Yussef Davis’ joint album of the same name. Misch retains the distinctive sound that has made his catalogue of work to date so memorable, however, with the influence of trained jazz drummer Yussef Davis, influences on the track come further afield from the duo’s confined South London homes. Isabelle Felton


Bright Eyes - ‘Persona Non Grata’

Conor Oberst’s celebrated and cerebral indie outfit have returned after a nine year sabbatical with Persona Non Grata, the first glimpse of an as-yet-untitled album to come later this year. The single chronicles a reunion with an ex-lover, and in typical Bright Eyes fashion, it digs deep indeed. Much as a “persona non grata” is a foreigner forbidden from entering a country, Oberst sings of an unwelcome figure re-entering his life. It’s stirring stuff, and as the band themselves point out: “it has bagpipes!”, which is always a positive. Louis Griffin


Bob Dylan - ‘Murder Most Foul’

Bob Dylan joins the ranks of the singer-songwriter elder statesmen with state of the union style epics. Which is to say, basically all of them. In typical Dylan fashion however the scale and nuance blow many of his most talented peers out the water. Even at seventy-eight he still knows how to hold an audience hostage as he spins out all the societal and moral quandaries and tragedies of the past fifty or so years into one rich and intensely oppressive tapestry managing to spin a simple retelling of Kennedy’s assassination into a narrative that encompasses everyone from Lady Macbeth to Marylin Monroe. It seems whenever the world needs it most there’ll always been a Dylan song for hard times. Owen White


Car Seat Headrest - ‘Martin’

The second single from Car Seat Headrest’s forthcoming 2020 album, Making A Door Less Open, Martin is a return to the vulnerable bedroom rock that Will Toledo and co. are known for. It stands in stark contrast to first single Can’t Cool Me Down, which seemed to point towards a swerve into electronica. But look a little deeper, and you’ll find many a hallmark of EDM lurking just beneath the surface, courtesy of Andrew Katz’ production. As ever though, Car Seat Headrest specialise in vulnerable, emotive indie, and Martin is exactly that. Toledo’s is still a vital voice. Louis Griffin


Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes - ‘Kyiv’

Ahead of the duo’s joint album, released on 24th April, a string of singles have been released by the pair, the most recent of which being Kyiv. The instrumental track showcases the talents of both artists, combining Misch’s electronic jazz soundscape and Dayes’ percussion wizardry. The perfect chilled vibe for the current lockdown period, Kyiv is the defining example of the amalgamation of musical worlds. Isabelle Felton


Egyptian Blue - 'Nylon Wire’

Nylon Wire is the latest offering from Egyptian Blue, the Brighton post-punk four piece who recently returned from supporting The Murder Capital’s on their startling UK tour. The influence of the band’s Dublin-based tour mates is plain to hear on this new release, built on a repetitive, rhythmic bassline and turbid vocals. Opening with and revolving around this bellicose bass, Nylon Wire has echoes of a number of contemporaries post-punk releases such as Shame’s Dust on Trial and Squid’s The Cleaner, whilst still remaining both mercurial and dirge-like in keeping with the band’s previous releases and their distinctive sound. Freya Martin

Photo credit: Press

Hailee Steinfeld - ‘I Love You’s

Hailee Steinfeld’s latest release I Love You’s brings us some classic Steinfeld singing inspired

by the 1995 work of Annie Lennox. If you’ve just gone through a breakup then this could be

the song for you as Steinfeld uses her lyrical abilities as a means to heal from her own

recent heartbreak. Make no mistake, this song is trying to empower those to embrace

entering the single life rather than to wallow in your self-pity like many other heartbreak

songs. This uplifting single may be just what we need during these gloomy days of

quarantine. Joe Alton


JPEGMAFIA - ‘COVERED IN MONEY!’

Jpegmafia’s last single BALD! sounded like a Nintendo 64 soundtrack tripping on infinite E-numbers then wondering into a hall of mirrors and getting one banged. His new single COVERED IN MONEY! comparatively makes it sound like a Tyga song. Peggy employs the weirdest rhythms of his career with the bass on the first half being nigh-on completely absent before sporadically popping up to beat you over the head like a blacksmith with narcolepsy. Weird sound effects punctuate rhythm instead of drums before Peggy puts on his best auto-crooner persona for the eerie trap switch up on the backend of the track. Sounds like the kind of beat skeletons would dance to. Owen White


Childish Gambino - ‘Algorithm’

Another cut from the shock release 3.15.20 shows the experimental side of the artist that has flourished in recent years. The track, one of two not named after their time stamp, fits perfectly into the This Is America era of the artist’s discography, where it was first performed. The track spins a mist of futurism, with a loud, confrontational beat accompanied by glitchy robotics throughout. Algorithm sums up the change in Glover’s music from debut record Camp to the present day. Isabelle Felton

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