The Mic Recommends...

Our university courses are starting today, but don't let that get you down! There's plenty of new music to check out this week that will uplift your spirits. From the experimental endeavours of IDLES, to Zuzu's new 2000s-tinged indie jam and many more, there are plenty of brilliant tunes to soundtrack your return to lecture theatres (or Teams calls).

The Beachland Ballroom - IDLES After their polarising last effort Ultra Mono, which was regularly lambasted by fans for being a weaker rehash of previous material, Joe Talbot and co return looking to build anticipation for their upcoming album Crawler with a single that completely defies all expectations of what an IDLES single should sound like. Gone are the roaring guitars and manic drum patterns of past releases; on The Beachland Ballroom, the band appear mediative and calculated. It's equal parts spacious and hard-hitting in its presentation, along with its standout individual performance from Talbot. The frontman’s delivery is slowed and passionately chaotic, impressively complimenting the off-kilter instrumental, making it the most attractive aspect here. The sound of this track can only be described as a mix between art rock and soul music, genres not commonly linked to IDLES. Listening to this track gives the unique feeling of dancing on a burning stage, being utterly oblivious of the devastation ascending around. Unfortunately, the single leaves a lot to be desired. There is no denying that the steady rhythm and performances would be more enjoyable in the context of the entire album - just take a look at the track June. However, this is an utterly bizarre pick and will likely leave fans dissatisfied. Let's hope that the rest of the album offers the type of IDLES tracks we’ve come to adore. That being said, it is exciting that the band seem ready to move forward and explore more of their inspirations and ambitions on their upcoming record, making it an all-the-more exciting prospect. Josh Jones

Algorithm - Boston Manor

Boston Manor awake from their slumber with alarming guitar riffs and seductively haunting vocals from Henry Cox that pave the direction of their new music. Algorithm is the second single to be released from their upcoming EP that demonstrates the experimental progression of modern rock, but most importantly, the fearless twist that the Blackpool-based alt-rock band are creating. As a lighter version of their earlier release Carbon Mono, the single goes just as heavy on addressing the pressure of the industry and the boundaries that rock artists find themselves in. After joining SharpTone Records this year, the band are becoming the most polished version of themselves. Their musical vision is driven by their energetic crowds who crave songs that will also wake them up from the adversity of 2020. Boston Manor remind us that music is foremost an artform, rather than an industry that controls and limits creativity. There is no algorithm that music should be coded into, so the band turn that word into their liberation. Roxann Yus

As I Try Not To Fall Apart - White Lies

2009’s indie rock was awash with big guitar lines, stadium ready sing-along hooks and surging drums, in the way of the Kaiser Chiefs, Kasabian, Razor Light, and especially London’s White Lies. Hot on the heels celebrating 10 years of debut To Lose My Life, As I Try Not To Fall Apart marks the first track off upcoming album of the same name. Fast forward to today, and that formula still feels just as fresh - a funky electro pop hook sits at the heart of the track, surrounded by those classic indie guitars and polished off with a cool bassline. With deeply confessional lyrics exploring the struggles of navigating toxic masculinity, the accompanying music video sees a cascade of sand descend upon front man Harry McVey, and, despite its poppy feel, carries a striking weight. Louise Dugan

Lie to Myself - Zuzu

The fourth single from Zuzu's upcoming debut album Queensway Tunnel, Lie to Myself is just as brilliant as her other recent singles. The track is about "that moment in a relationship where you’ve left someone or you’ve moved away from each other but you’re not strong enough to handle what they’ve been up to" according to Zuzu herself, reflected perfectly through the almost desperate repetition of the line "Whatever you do, don't tell me the truth" in the chorus of the song. The track is tinged with 2000s guitars, despite these not being as obvious and in-your-face as her previous single My Old Life. These influences complement Zuzu's vocals perfectly, causing Lie to Myself to continue to build the hype surrounding her fast approaching debut full-length. Gemma Cockrell

Write a List of Things to Look Forward To - Courtney Barnett

Write a List of Things to Look Forward To is a taste of Courtney Barnett’s third studio album Things Take Time, Take Time out on 12th November. The Australian singer-songwriter is known for her laid-back style of singing, her music always has that ‘spoken-sung’ feel and this latest single is no exception. This hazy happy tune is about “a new level of gratitude for friendships that had been there for so long that I had maybe taken for granted.” It’s intended as a love letter to the people in Barnett’s life that have brought her joy throughout the years and the title itself comes from a technique recommended by a close friend to help her beat a period of depression. The single is incredibly lifting, really sending the message out that we all have people rooting for us and wanting to support us. The accompanying music video is also extremely wholesome, following Barnett as the sender and recipient of gifts and letters. Amber Frost

Wet Dream - Wet Leg

Promising new duo Wet Leg have been the talk of many an indie circle, and with Wet Dream, they follow up debut single Chaise Longue with a similarly captivating yet tongue-in-cheek offering. Continuing the themes of humorous flirtation found in their first outing, Wet Dream lyrically is rather upfront about its subject matter, as Rhian Teasdale teases her love interest for their wet dream about her during the verses. All the while, the groovy basslines, simple but pulsing drum beats and handclaps ensure that the easily repeatable lyrics are supported to create a very effective earworm. Wet Leg stated in an interview with NME that they “wanted to have more fun than every other single band”, and that philosophy is evident both in the song itself and its music video, which is a pillow fighting, lobster-claws-for-hands filled extravaganza. Overall, whilst possibly not quite as head turning as Chaise Longue, Wet Dream should do nothing to dissuade Wet Leg believers that they can become one of the bands that move guitar music into a new era. Ali Glen

Edited by: Gemma Cockrell

Featured image courtesy of IDLES via Facebook.