The Mic Recommends...

It's freshers week, The Mic has lots of new members, and it's time for the first The Mic Recommends of this term. alt-J are finally back after four years, so delve into their new track U&ME, and get a taste of Matt Maltese's upcoming album with his new track Good Morning. Plus, there's lots more to sink your teeth into, in the form of new releases from BAYNK, Daya, Sufjan Stevens and more. Happy listening!

What If He Puts His Hands On You - BAYNK

This song captures the nostalgia already sweeping in for summer as the darkness closes in on the once endless sunny evenings. It is worth staying out after sunset with a blanket and listening to the gentle, slightly fragmented vocals that complement the lo-fi rhythms and interesting sounds created by BAYNK on this track. The title and minimalistic lyrics feel melancholy but the journey that the song takes you on is uplifting due to the expertly mixed beats that build up with optimism and melodious energy. The resulting feeling is as close to swaying on beach in BAYNKs homeland, New Zealand, as you can get at the moment. Christi Smith

U&ME - alt-J

Nearly four years after their last release, alt-J have returned with a woozy new track titled U&ME. Accompanied by a home-shot video of the band learning to skate over lockdown, this track really brings together the older alt-J sound that was found on An Awesome Wave and This Is All Yours. The hazy guitar and reverbed vocals have spiked in the past year with the increase of ‘Bedroom Pop’, but for alt-J this shift to dreamier music feels like a natural progression for them, especially given that their fourth album, set to release in February 2022, is titled The Dream. Gus Unger-Hamilton of alt-J states that the song is "about being at a festival with your best friends, having a good time, togetherness, and the feeling in life that nothing could be any better than it is right now." It’s clear that over the lockdown period, alt-J used the time to write new music and play around with different effects pedals and vocal techniques as whilst the track is nostalgic and familiar, it feels more mature and laidback than previous material we’ve seen from alt-J before. Amber Frost

Good Morning - Matt Maltese

A new single off of Matt Maltese’s third album Good Morning It’s Now Tomorrow has been released. Good Morning is a bright and cheery number and Matt explains that the song is about "small acts of normalcy. Even in the face of the unfaceable, this planet spins wildly on and there’s always someone ready to say ‘good morning’ to you. There’s something ridiculous and reassuring about that." The combination of twinkling synths, bright vocals and a fun addition of an egg shaker and tambourine really emphasise the lyrics of the song "keep pushing your demons away." Matt is known for his somewhat painful lyricism surrounding mental health so this song doesn’t come as a surprise but the upbeat melody and instrumentation really transport you back to sunnier days. Amber Frost

What If I Told You - Daya

This falls into my favourite category of dark, moody, female vocals, softly singing about the impossibilities of moving on. After all, sad songs are the best songs, right? The lyrics are self-deprecating and hopelessly devoted to a lost cause. The track has a dreamy, slow beat that complements Daya’s subdued yet emotionally charged voice that turns light and bittersweet when she sings “I would do it for you”, demonstrating that she hasn’t given up yet. Like a more gothic, shadow realm version of Olivia Rodrigo’s drivers license, this song has the potential to be on repeat for anyone still recovering from any kind of break up. Christi Smith

Lacrimae and A Beginner’s Mind - Sufjan Stevens & Angelo Du Augustine

Sufjan Stevens and Angelo Du Augustine have been steadily releasing new tracks each week in the lead up to their collaborative album A Beginner’s Mind. Each release comes with an ‘A side’ and a ‘B side’ of tracks; this week, Lacrimae and A Beginner’s Mind are the two to join the album. Each pair of songs comes with new artwork that fans of Augustine will recognize, the latest artwork is part of the album artwork so not only are we given a sneak preview of its track list, but also its artwork. These releases each take Sufjan back to the 2015 Carrie and Lowell days, delicate finger-picked guitars, light and ethereal glockenspiel and luscious harmonies. Having Sufjan back in his singer-songwriting zone is a true blessing for many fans, his experimental instrumental album release was well received but there has been a long-awaited return to his older style which has been satisfied by his recent releases, only hyping up the collaboration album more! Amber Frost

My Universe - Coldplay & BTS

K-pop sensations BTS continue to take the world by storm, this time collaborating with Coldplay for an undeniably catchy pop tune titled My Universe. It’s refreshing to hear the BTS boys back to singing in their native language of Korean, after a string of English-based singles recently. The track is a love song, an ode to that special someone, with Coldplay taking care of the song’s hook and BTS featuring on multiple verses. It is not the first time that BTS have collaborated with Western artists, having previously worked with the likes of Megan Thee Stallion, Charli XCX, Halsey, and more. This track is likely to follow the success of these previous collaborations, inevitably projecting the world’s biggest boyband to even greater heights. Gemma Cockrell

Dragonball - McFly

McFly have, at long last, released a studio version of fan-favourite demo Dragonball. The track, which was written in the late 00's and was intended to appear on the Dragonball: Evolution film soundtrack, was leaked as a demo several years ago. A few months ago, the band did publish the studio version available on their exclusive McFly Total Access portal, but an official version was never released on streaming services. Until now, that is. No longer an acoustic track, the band have transformed it into a full pop-punk banger. They know what the fans wanted, and they finally gave it to them. Boy, has it been a long wait. But, boy, was it worth it. Gemma Cockrell

Edited by: Gemma Cockrell

Featured image courtesy of alt-J via Facebook.