The Mic Recommends...

The most talked about new music moment this week is undeniably (and unsurprisingly) the fact that Adele is back after almost six years, and in this week's instalment of The Mic Recommends, you'll be able to read our thoughts on her highly awaited comeback. But whilst Easy On Me is an obvious highlight of this week, make sure you don't miss out on all of the other amazing releases from Fred Again.., Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, and more.

Easy On Me - Adele

Adele is back with her brutally honest and sentimental ways with Easy On Me. She is reliable in her doses of relatable heartbreak, relationship anxieties and tearful self-reflection. The first single of 30 is like the emotional equivalent of one too many glasses of Pinot. Which bodes well, if not worryingly, for the mournful journey the singer will take us on. Even though the single is a classic Adele ballad, it feels more tender, older and learned than her previous works. It’s palpable. For a 20-year-old who’s in a happy relationship and has surprisingly never been divorced, I felt anxiously crushed. Adele recently told Vogue Magazine that the album was written to help her eight-year-old son understand his parents divorce: "I wanted to explain to him through this record, when he's in his 20s or 30s, who I am and why I voluntarily chose to dismantle his entire life in the pursuit of my own happiness." And with this in mind I hope you can see why the lyric "I had good intentions / And the highest hopes / But I know, right now / It probably doesn't even show" made me sob. Quite loudly. My plan is to bulk-buy the tissues and chocolate by November 19th. Maia Gibbs

Bad Religion - Cat Power

I remember my sister telling me to listen to Bad Religion by Frank Ocean when it came out in 2012 and it stopped me in my tracks. Sweetly rapping and singing about unrequited love, a church that abandons its disciples rather than sheltering them, the song captured the undefinable feeling of losing something that never actually belonged to you. Cat Power’s cover is just as moving as when the song was first conceived. Her vocals reverberate around the strings of the electric guitar, being plucked with a groovy intensity. The piano and drums are sleek and provide an unfailing backdrop for lyrics that really feel like they were spoken to a taxi driver by a person with a broken heart. Cat Power said she felt a deep personal connection with this song when she first heard it from Frank, and it is the spectacular first release from an album of covers that is coming in January. Christi Smith

Down at the Lah De Dah - Daniel O'Donnell

In celebration of his sixtieth birthday, Daniel O’Donnell (known compassionately as DoD) has released a new single Down at the Lah De Dah. A well-known country star in Ireland and the world over, Daniel has sold over 10 million records throughout his career. Surprisingly and despite becoming an internet meme during the pandemic, Daniel managed to continue his success, surpassing his own record by becoming the first recording artist to chart at least one new album each year for 33 successive years. Despite such material success and on a personal note, DoD is not a stranger in my family’s homeland of county Donegal in Ireland and has become somewhat of an ambassador of the area, in which he used to own a hotel and where he almost always had time to say hello to my grandmother. It’s incredible to hear such a happy, as always enthusiastic, sitting-on-a-beach-with-palm-trees-and-a-cocktail sound whilst still hearing that aspect of folk music he is most well-known for. Knowing how valuable he is to not only Donegal, but many from around the globe, let’s celebrate his sixtieth birthday and hope that the single is an introduction to more of Daniel’s well-loved and much-appreciated music. Nieve O'Donnell

Hannah (The Sun) - Fred Again..

Fred Again.. is on the top his game. Following the recent success of his poignant debut album, Actual Life, the south London producer has accumulated more A-List production credits on songs like Ed Sheeran’s Bad Habits, and released singles from his next record, like Hannah (The Sun). This track is stirring and optimistic, like the rest of Fred Again..’s discography. However, it is different from other recent singles, like the UK garage influenced Baxter (These Are My Friends.), in being more of a straightforward house track with a catchy saw-synth melody riding a wave of fragmented, Burial-influenced drum patterns. The vocal sample from this track, like many that Fred Again.. uses, is derived from social media. It is a simple line, "When the sun comes shining through", but hugely effective alongside the economical production. As the instrumental blazes to life, the vocals become progressively clearer, like the sun itself bursting through the clouds. The atmosphere is perfect to start your day off with. Fred Again.. has truly perfected his unique formula, of samples and energetic dance music-production, that has conveyed optimism and unity throughout the Covid-period. The sequel to Actual Life cannot come soon enough. Caradoc Gayer

Bang Bang - Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes feat. Lynks

Bang Bang is just one of the many short, but high intensity, tracks on Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes’ newest album, Sticky. It’s also a great example of what they do best. The song details a misadventure on drugs. Frank’s intense vocals outline the night before, as well as the morning after, with all that has to show for the actual night being the repeated chorus of “Bang! Bang!”. The punchy chorus compliments brooding verses, to not only craft a feeling of doom, downfall and regret, but also intensity, rage and loss of control. Lynks’ feature on the track injects their stylistic rap/singing to detail the overdose that ends with a hospitalisation. Unapologetically full-on, Bang Bang is a beautifully crafted demonstration of rock relentlessness from Frank, Dean and co., and another reminder to stay away from drugs. James Pusey

Baby Don’t Cry - Sunflower Bean

Following the release of their 2020 track, Moment in the Sun, the New York rock trio Sunflower Bean have once again delved into the pop-rock genre with their new single Baby Don’t Cry ahead of their UK tour next year. Different from their previous releases, Baby Don’t Cry offers us a new sound; Julia Cumming’s lead vocals being highlighted against the almost experimental backing track, reminiscent of Ellie Roswell of Wolf Alice. Although very removed from the sounds of their debut album, Human Ceremony (2016), the track follows the direction of their 2018 second album, Twentytwo In Blue more closely, the song experimenting with a wall of sound, framing the vocal performance. The simple and repetitive lyrics give us a catchy tune – one that will for sure be stuck in your head for days whether you like it or not. One thing is clear; they certainly had fun making this song and we’re going to eagerly await their new album. Molly Hancock

ESCORT - Chase Atlantic

Chase Atlantic’s new single ESCORT follows their previous single OHMAMI which featured a guest appearance from Maggie Lindemann. ESCORT was first heard on the Wilterm Livestream Series in July 2021, but didn’t receive an official release on streaming services until this week. Both tracks are expected to be included on an upcoming deluxe edition of their third studio album BEAUTY IN DEATH, which was released earlier this year in March. Lyrically, the track speaks of a stripper who is desperate for money. However, despite this, she actually resents her lifestyle, wishing instead for the safety and commitment that can only be provided from within the stability of a long-term relationship. It continues the trio’s exploration of the dark pop and R&B genres, extending the strengths of BEAUTY IN DEATH and continuing the sounds that dominated that record. Gemma Cockrell

Edited by: Gemma Cockrell

Featured image courtesy of Adele via Facebook.