The Mic Recommends...

It's Halloween week, and some of the music releases this week have been spookily good, from highlights of Don Broco and Biffy Clyro's new albums to UoN alumni Blondes' latest single Out the Neighbourhood. So, turn your Halloween playlist off for just a moment (Thriller can wait, I promise) and take the time to appreciate the best new music offerings of the week. I promise this is not a trick - on the contrary, I can guarantee it will be an absolute treat.

Prester John - Animal Collective

New single from legendary experimental outfit Animal Collective is a sensational return to form. After years of mediocre efforts, the band appears incredibly focused, providing harmonious group vocals and on point production that sounds euphoric throughout the six-minute runtime. The Prester John is filled with nostalgia for past material, it is akin to previously used sound palettes from albums like Strawberry Jam and Merriweather Post Pavilion. Yet, even given the clear call backs to their beloved releases, the track lacks the dynamics that we came to love during their early days, leaving the single to become somewhat forgettable. However, this is still a promising comeback for the band and if they continue to build from the momentum that they’ve set down here, their upcoming album will surely impress many long-time fans. Let us hope that when Avery Tare and co can live up to high expectations. Josh Jones

Out the Neighbourhood - Blondes

Nottingham boys Blondes are back following the success of their previous single Street Fight with new track Out the Neighbourhood, which they previewed during their Dot to Dot Festival set last month. The track features the lyric "Just take off your T-shirt", and the band even took the moment during their set to relive their UoN days spent partying at Ocean, asking the crowd to do exactly what the lyric said: take off their T-shirts, and swing them in the air. Even though this is not something that many people were prepared for at two o-clock in the afternoon on a Sunday, I imagine this will go down a treat at a headline show in the evening, especially in their hometown. The song will serve as the title track of their forthcoming EP, which will be released on 12th November. Gemma Cockrell

Bruce Willis - Don Broco

Embedded anticipatingly within their experimental and genre-bending album Amazing Things, Don Broco keep listeners on their toes, whilst unforgivingly head-banging throughout, with higher expectations song-by-song. Bruce Willis delivers a rock song with a thousand cherries on top. Fooling us with what sounds like a cathartic piano ballad to begin with, the Bedford boys ramp up the bass and create an illusion with the drums as if you are being chased, only to realise that this is the modern rock that you never knew you desperately needed. With vocals reminiscent of Amy from the Nova Twins and cynical laughter in the choruses alike to Greedy on Yonaka’s 2021 mixtape, Don Broco make a brave statement that they are not afraid to revolutionise rock music. Their protest for (aptly named) amazing things in the scene is bedazzled with irony, parody and vulnerability that will create laughter, passion, and outrage in the pit on their upcoming tour. Roxann Yus

Lewis, Be Brave - Clean Cut Kid

Liverpool based indie-pop band, Clean Cut Kid, have garnered a dedicated but small fanbase using soulful melodies and heartfelt lyrics. Lewis, Be Brave is another helping of that. This is the second single from their upcoming album, Hiss, being released sometime in 2022. Here, the band continues to use the same formula - jangly guitars, dense bass and group vocals - that admittedly works wonders. The track is emotionally stirring, an ode to grief and what comes after. Everything sounds upbeat however the lyrics are almost devastating, an absolute triumph of this new single. Sadly, Clean Cut Kid’s failure to innovate since their 2017 album Felt leaves each single sounding staler. Moreover, production on the track can be overbearing at points. Yet, the band is always fun to listen to and offers some fantastic songs from time to time, I’m happy to say Lewis, Be Brave manages to meet expectations set by their great material of the past. Josh Jones

Errors In The History Of God - Biffy Clyro

Last week, the Scottish band (and modern legends) Biffy Clyro released their latest album The Myth of the Happily Ever After, the noted sister album to A Celebration of Endings. The album consists of rejected songs and warps into an experimental, flourishing, and beautiful mix. It feels unstable and deliciously creative - the title of ‘sister’ album should absolutely not be taken to mean that it is sub-par. One of the tracks that particularly caught my attention from the album was Errors In The History Of God. To be honest? This song is bloody cool. While depicting the turmoil of our species as a whole it does not feel hopeless, more dysfunctional. The beat is apocalyptic (definitely fitting of the past few years) and punchy and it is a wonderful addition to Biffy’s already impressive repertoire. Clyro just can’t go wrong. Hattie Kilner

Edited by: Gemma Cockrell

Featured image courtesy of Don Broco via Facebook.