Happy Halloween! Yes, as I'm am writing this, it's Halloween TODAY. Whether you are going out and dressing up, or staying in and carving pumpkins, today is a day for celebration. And for celebration, you need music. That's where this week's edition of The Mic Recommends comes in handy! It's time to get spooky - whilst listening to the new The War On Drugs, Zuzu, Tems, CHVRCHES and Nova Twins.
Change - The War On Drugs
The way Adam Granduciel of The War On Drugs plays the guitar makes you want to jump into a car and drive until sunset. In fact, a road trip down the M1 in rainy October probably wouldn’t be much fun but at least you could listen to all four of their studio albums, as well as their most recent fifth one that was released on Friday. Change is six-minutes of beautiful folky guitars, piano and percussion reminiscent of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Petty. Simplistic, yet masterful writing - “Maybe I was born in the wrong way, born on the wrong day” - enhances the poetic, contemplative feeling that fills your consciousness as you listen to this. It is very easy to lose yourself in the layers of sounds created by this six-piece band without realising the time passing at all. Christi Smith
Queensway Tunnel - Zuzu
Zuzu has just released the title track of her upcoming debut album Queensway Tunnel, which will also serve as the closing track of the album. It takes a slightly more laidback approach in the first half of the song than her previous single Lie To Myself, but it is just as emotive, particularly towards the latter half when the pace increases for the outro of the track. Zuzu said of the track via Instagram: “This one is incredibly personal to me, I wrote it one morning when I woke up at the crack of Dawn feeling helpless. It’s about being promised the world to be let down every time.” With this being the final single to be released from Queensway Tunnel, fans will have to wait until 12th November to hear the full project. One thing is for certain though: based on these singles, it is shaping up to be one of the most promising debut albums of the year. Gemma Cockrell
If Orange Was A Place - Tems Contemporary Afroswing artist Tems delivered a comforting yet urban EP. After a soaring rise of popularity from Wizkid’s Essence, Tems’ voice remains stuck in our musical mindsets. Starting off with my favourite song, Crazy Tings, harmonies and simple chords create a blend of ‘comfort’ whilst telling a tale of lovers' confusion. Being from the African-Caribbean community, the blend of reggae and afro swing makes me feel at home. There is a true orange ambience - good vibes, expression and creativity. Moving onto Found featuring Brent Faiyaz, RnB is a prominent theme. It is almost like a tribute to the early 2000s - NeYo’s All Because of You ; a cry of desperation for wanting that one specific person in their life, but cannot stay faithful. The next three songs on the EP, Replay, Avoid Things and Vibe Out, display expressions of inner conflict. Tems tries to have solutions to meaningless problems, she experiences loneliness and tries to define her character. There is also a mixture of musical techniques such as bass and techno whistle, citations of the ampiano, alt pop, chillhouse genre which I seem to really like. They blend and compliment each other extremely well, therefore highlighting Tems’ artistic talent. Overall, Tems’ EP is an excellent demonstration of the neo-afrobeat era; a genre which incorporates several others and is listened to by many age groups. Fidji Gomis Mendy
Killer - CHVRCHES
This week, CHVRCHES unveiled a deluxe version of their fourth full-length album Screen Violence which came out earlier this year in August. As well as the ten original tracks, it also features three new additions: Killer, Screaming and Bitter End. With the initial album being very concise, fans will be delighted to receive a few extra songs to extend the spectacular concept album that CHVRCHES crafted. The first of these tracks is Killer, which follows the dark-tinged synth-pop sound that CHVRCHES established on Screen Violence. Whilst not doing anything remarkably innovative in comparison to the standard edition of the album, it does exactly what a deluxe track should do: it gives fans an extra taste of the album, extending the world of Screen Violence for just a bit longer. And the with the concept of the album being horror films, what better time to listen to it than Halloween? Gemma Cockrell
Antagonist - Nova Twins
Dubbed as the ‘hottest record in the world’ by Clara Amfo on BBC Radio 1, the Nova Twins have stunned the rock community with their newest single Antagonist. Following their sold-out UK arena tour with Bring Me The Horizon, the fashion-forward duo have released the riotous song that was excitingly previewed across the UK. The song encompasses all the experimental elements that have drawn fans to them in the first place: the noise, the power, and the confrontation. Amy and Georgia’s contagious stage presence transcends to their music through fuzz and dynamic distortion that is uniquely Nova Twins. The dominance these women have in the industry right now is proven in the upgrade to Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms after phenomenal demand only a day after Antagonist’s release. If you are able to make the show in February 2022, this will likely be the last opportunity to see the iconic duo at a 450-capacity venue. A bright and fiery future awaits them! Roxann Yus
Edited by: Gemma Cockrell
Featured image courtesy of CHVRCHES via Facebook.