The Mic Recommends...

As the new university term begins, The Mic brings you the best new tunes to soundtrack your return to Nottingham. Whether it be the energetic pop-punk of State Champs, the experimentations of Bring Me The Horizon and Sundara Karma, or the exciting collaboration between Metronomy and Sorry, you are sure to find something for you in this week's instalment of The Mic Recommends.

Love You To Death - Fickle Friends

Alongside the announcement that they will be dropping their sophomore album Are We Gonna Be Alright? in January 2022, Fickle Friends have released the album’s lead single Love You To Death. It follows their series of Weird Years EPs, which came in two instalments, Season 1 and Season 2, throughout the first half of 2021. As lead vocalist Natti Shiner has explained, this new track sees them exploring a Prince-esque side to their sound, with a focus on guitar shredding and backing vocals. This sees Fickle Friends shift away from their typical synth-pop genre in favour of a more guitar-heavy sound, marking the start of an exciting new era of experimentation for the band. Gemma Cockrell

If You Say The Word - Radiohead

There’s not much left to be said about the Oxford quintet that hasn’t already been said before - one of the greatest bands of recent time will probably suffice. Following what was an oddly frustrating Instagram video of disembodied hands fumbling with swathes of Sellotape and the Kid A and Amnesiac CDs, latest single, If You Say The Word has been unveiled to the world. In the lead up to the 21th anniversary of the legendary 2000s albums, the single has been drawn from the recording sessions of Kid A and Amnesiac, although poised to slot more easily into the Amnesiac soundscape. Not technically new material, it was otherwise unheard in its present form, born from a work in progress ‘C-minor song’ which became too ‘polished’ to make it onto the albums. Driven by a soft yet crystalline syncopation, Thom Yorke’s characteristically dreamy vocals float above, spinning a story of everything and nothing as he does so well. The deluxe triple album, KID A MNESIA, is set for release on November 5th. Louise Dugan

Wildest Dreams (Taylor's Version) - Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is back. No, not with brand new music. And surprisingly, no, not with a track from her upcoming Red (Taylor’s Version) album. But instead, a recent TikTok trend inspired her to release her own version of 1989 track Wildest Dreams. This has obviously sent her fanbase into frenzy, because it suggests that her re-recorded version of 1989 is already complete and ready to go. But for now, while we wait, at least we can use Taylor’s own version of the track for our TikToks, whilst she owns the internet with her own personal account, having only just joined the app. It’s Taylor’s world, and we’re just living in it. Gemma Cockrell

Outta My Head - State Champs

Following the release of Just Sound a couple of weeks ago, their first single since their 2018 album Living Proof, State Champs are back with the second offering of their new era titled Outta My Head. They have also announced their 2022 UK tour. The new track draws heavily from the early 2000s wave of pop-punk, successfully capturing the fast-paced energy of that era of the genre, which has seen an impressive resurgence in recent months. It can be predicted that a new album is on the way from State Champs, even though nothing has been confirmed by the band as of yet. Gemma Cockrell

Love - Hollow Stone

The boys are back! Of course I’m talking about Hollow Stone, the friendliest band in the business, with their new song, Love. The sharp eyed among you may have noticed that I’ve become a bit of a fan of this band recently. Felicitously, their new track is my favourite so far. Love is, plain and simple, a great song, and is a real testament to the work that’s been put into this band. In just one month the boys already sound more polished and confident; at this point I’m just waiting on the day that I’ll be able to hear their new music live. I do feel obliged to mention, this song a total earworm and you may end up with it stuck in your head indefinitely. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Hattie Kilner

The Overload - Yard Act

Emerging from super buzzy the-windmill-brixton-speedy-wunderground-post-brexit-diy-core, Leed’s Yard Act are undeniably a standout force. Carving out their own little universe with a funhouse mirror held up to the state of today’s society, their irresistible blend of sparkle, dry wit, and cowbells amalgamates perfectly to form latest single The Overload. Leaning into a more cohesive structure than previous cuts, their characteristic stream of consciousness lyricism is punctuated with a jangly, guitar led hook berating the ‘constant burden of making sense’ - both highly relatable and highly catchy. Debut album, Furry Boombox, is slated for release on January 7th 2022, and, with the band wasting no time jumping back into live performances, already boasting a hefty string of summer gigs under their belt and plenty more lined up, you don’t want to miss any of the action. Louise Dugan

DiE4u - Bring Me The Horizon

After falling in love with Bring Me The Horizon's music in 2013 following the release of Sempiternal, they are one of the few bands that I haven't outgrown; instead, they have grown with me. I have loved pretty much everything that they have released since I first discovered them, and this trend continues on their new single DiE4u. The track features a massive hook, with lyrics that almost remind me of the hyperpop genre, a comparison which is heightened by the electronic effects that pop up at various points throughout the song. The track continues perfectly from their experimentations on their most recent full-length album amo (2019) whilst also incorporating some of the heavier screams that appeared on their POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR EP (2020). This new song sees my love for Oli Sykes and co. continue to flourish, and I can't wait to see what follows DiE4u - hopefully a new EP/album is on the horizon. Gemma Cockrell

Godsend - Sundara Karma

Sundara Karma have had an interesting journey. Starting off as a full-blown indie band in 2017 with their debut album, to becoming a psychedelic glam-rock band on their sophomore, they have yet again embodied a new sound in the past year, which began on their Kill Me EP last November and continues on new single Godsend. This experimental sound can be described as euphoric and larger-than-life, an effect which is achieved with soaring vocals and towering synths and instrumentation. Sundara Karma continue to prove that they are experts when it comes to reinventing themselves, with each new era proving to be just as fascinating as the previous one. Following the release of Godsend, I hope that this new sound will be explored further on a full-length album in the near future. Gemma Cockrell

Range Brothers - Baby Keem feat. Kendrick Lamar

With many of the biggest names in the rap game releasing albums around him, it seems the Compton rapper isn’t yet bowing to peer pressure, with no solo material since 2018 and his last appearance being on a Busta Rhymes track in 2020. So, understandably, fans were excited for new Kendrick, even if in collaboration with his cousin Baby Keem. In heady anticipation, many wondered which of society’s many struggles he would delve into, as he does so well on the revolutionary To Pimp A Butterfly or the stunning Good Kid, M.a.a.d City. Instead, a highlight of Range Brothers sees Kendrick derive inspiration from the Emerald Isle, greeting listeners with a very pleasant ‘top of the morning’ at least 8 times. In what is possibly just enough to top that line from family ties, their trading of bars and sprinkling of adlibs is a refreshing insight into the playful side of the rap. Aside from that, Baby Keem provides a dynamic flow and the track is tightly produced. Featuring a few more guest appearances by Kendrick, Baby Keem’s The Melodic Blue is out now. Louise Dugan

Out of Touch - Metronomy x Sorry

Metronomy’s new collaborative album - Posse EP Volume 1 - is, from the mouth of Metronomy’s lead man Joseph Mount via Instagram, to be consumed in "the same spirit it was made", in the hope that one might "discover some new artists" and be shared with friends. The EP includes tracks from rising artists Pinty, Biig Piig, Spill Tab, one featuring both Brian Nasty and Folly Group, as well as Sorry. Out of Touch possesses Metronomy’s on-brand use of synths and Sorry’s distinctive vocals meaning the track bears a pleasant halfway point between the discography of both artists. Metronomy and Sorry do match up in their fondness for genre-bending though and both are interested in delightful pop hooks despite usually taking them in quite different directions. There is, however, a delicacy that is separated from Metronomy’s usually more upbeat rhythms such as that of The Look and Salted Caramel Ice Cream or Sorry’s take on modern fuzzy guitar music as seen in Right Round the Clock and Starstruck. On a collaborative and experimental note, the track and the EP as a whole is an interesting divulgence into a diversity of artists, displaying Metronomy’s versatility and backing of a range of upcoming artists. Nieve O'Donnell

Edited by: Gemma Cockrell

Featured image courtesy of Bring Me The Horizon via Facebook.