The Mic Recommends...

Featuring Animals As Leaders, The Script, Blondes and many more, whether you're looking for complex and mathematical progressive rock, heartfelt pop croonings, the finest indie pop Nottingham has to offer, or just generally the best new music released in the past two weeks, you'll find it all below in this double edition of The Mic Recommends.

One Night – Griff

Following the success of her debut mixtape One Foot In Front Of The Other, winner of the Brits Rising Star award Griff has released a new single, titled One Night, which was premiered by Charli XCX on Radio 1 on 26th August. Lyrically, the track speaks of how negative thoughts can surface late at night when the distractions of day-to-day life subside. She desperately wishes for “one night alone”, without these thoughts tormenting her as she tries to fall asleep. Despite these darker themes, the track has an upbeat, dance-infused beat, cementing Griff as an artist at the forefront of the pop genre right now. The track is assumed to be taken from her debut album, even though the details of this are not yet confirmed. Gemma Cockrell

Low Era – Geese

Despite only having to offer a single track Disco, Brooklyn based project Geese have managed to cultivate a steady word-of-mouth buzz, which can only grow louder as they offer up new single Low Era. Mixed by Speedy Wunderground’s Dan Carey, the track is what the band themselves describes as a conscious effort to make their ‘creepy-crawly, complicated’ sounds ‘more danceable’, released in anticipation of upcoming album Projector. Where Disco careered through near enough 7 minutes of unwieldy yet charming post punk, Low Era is a much more radio-friendly venture. The influence of fellow New Yorkers, The Strokes, shines through in the sparkly jangle of guitar and groovy, feel-good indie hooks, while the band inject their own freshness with a psychedelic edge. Apparently not hindered by the difficulties new fans may have searching ‘Geese’ on Google, these goslings are set for great heights. Louise Dugan

SALT - daine feat. Oli Sykes

Filipino-Australian genre-bending artist daine has teamed up with Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes for her latest single SALT. The atmospheric track is based around a simple acoustic guitar melody, developed with layers of contrasting vocals. The verses feature daine’s crystal clear, angelic voice alongside Sykes’ more husky tones, before the chorus becomes much darker and more distorted. This contrast only causes the euphoric, larger-than-life chorus to hit even harder. The track is an unexpected collaboration between two seemingly contrasting artists, but daine and Sykes have more in common than may initially meet the eye, resulting in a very welcome partnership indeed. Gemma Cockrell

Jimmy Jimmy - Gorillaz ft. AJ Tracey

Whether collaborating with the likes of Kali Uchis, De La Soul, Elton John or Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Damon Albarn’s brainchild, Gorillaz, are no stranger to expanding the realms of their virtual musical world. In jubilant celebration of West London, where Albarn has called home since the 90s, and Notting Hill Carnival, unfortunately cancelled again this year in light of the pandemic, latest reggae inspired EP, Meanwhile, is no exception. One of only 3 tracks is Jimmy Jimmy, pairing the woozy bounce of dub with Brixton-born AJ Tracey’s tightly delivered reflections on his upbringing in West London: ‘Can confirm I'm alone, we're all just lost without meaning/ Just a boy from the West, I'm born and bred/ We coulda been rich, was poor instead’. Louise Dugan

Good Ones - Charli XCX

Charli XCX’s latest single Good Ones sees her fully embracing the “Charli ultra popstar” era that she had promised for her upcoming music. It follows OUT OUT, her summer dance collaboration with Joel Corry, Jax Jones and Saweetie. Good Ones contrasts heavily to her latest full-length album how I’m feeling now – it is a lot less experimental, with no production credits for her regular PC music producer AG Cook, who usually helps her to achieve her futuristic sound. Instead, it sounds more like her debut SUCKER. Hopefully, this new ‘sell-out’ era (as some fans have deemed it) will see Charli receiving the commercial success that has been lacking from her career in recent years, but that she wholly deserves. Gemma Cockrell

I Want It All - The Script

The Script are back with their first new music since 2019’s Sunsets & Full Moons, in the form of new single I Want It All. The track will feature on their new Greatest Hits album, Tales From The Script: Greatest Hits, which will be released on 1st October. This fact leads it to be very unsurprising that the track achieves exactly what The Script are best known for: a pleasant, enjoyable, laidback pop tune, with heartfelt and romantic lyrics (“You're not just someone I can live with / You're someone I can't live without / Not just someone I can be with / You're someone I can't be without”). The release also sees them announce a UK and Ireland tour for 2022, including a date at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena on 24th May. Gemma Cockrell

The Night - Finn Foxell

With the ‘chill UK rap/hip-hop’ scene gathering momentum by the day, one of the biggest names emerging is that of West London rapper Finn Foxell - and latest single The Night reiterates exactly why that is. Harnessing his characteristic gravelly, laid-back delivery, he takes to a smooth, breezy guitar-led beat, switching up the tempo to match the jazzy rhythm and vibrant saxophone bridge. Directed by Stanley Kush, a hazy, psychedelic inspired music perfectly reflects the track’s vibe, which is set to be the first from upcoming EP Alright Sunshine. Shortly due to play alongside an absolutely stacked lineup at Nottingham’s Dot To Dot, catch him while you can! Louise Dugan

Monomyth - Animals As Leaders

Despite their 5 year absence, Monomyth is nothing less than what is to be expected from the instrumental trio – sonic magnificence. The line between an exercise in guitar-based pretentiousness and genuine exploration into the intricacy of sound is undeniably minute, but Animals As Leaders’ vision is accurate, pinpointing and drawing true depth of emotion to the surface with ease. Accompanied by an equally haunting music video, it begins with a taunt, biting riff, quickly ripped open into an unrelenting rhythm rounded out with tight drum kicks. The track comes with the news that the band have renewed their deal with Sumerian Records, and, while no album announcement has been made officially, hopefully Monomyth is only the first of much more to come soon. Louise Dugan

Street Fight - Blondes

Nottingham’s very own Blondes have released their new single Street Fight. It is their first new music since their previous single Minimum Wage, which came out back in May. Street Fight is a laidback indie tune with smooth, atmospheric and dreamy vocals. This demonstrates a different side to Blondes, as Minimum Wage was a more upbeat, anthemic indie song. The lyrics of Street Fight tell the story of a singular night, with the first verse stating that it is “only 12:30”. However, as the song progresses, time has passed by and it is now “3:30”. This impressive lyricism takes the listener on a journey, marking a step forward for Blondes in terms of their song-writing. Even though the song takes a mellow tone, it is remarkably catchy, and sees Blondes at their best. Gemma Cockrell

Edited by: Gemma Cockrell and Louise Dugan

Featured image courtesy of Charli XCX via Facebook.