The Mic Recommends...

We are midway through the Autumn term and for many, it's reading week - AKA, the perfect time to immerse yourself in some new music whilst your university course is on hold. Here are this weeks recommendations from The Mic, including Alfie Templeman, Foals, Slipknot and Charli XCX.

3D Feelings - Alfie Templeman

In true Alfie Templeman style, 3D Feelings is both funky and easy-going. As with most of his songs, his new single should be played at full-volume whilst you dance around your bedroom. Reminiscent of his past releases, 3D Feelings describes the overwhelming nature of developing feelings for someone. He sings how it is exciting and mind-boggling when the feelings are so intense that they are almost three-dimensional. With his strong guitar riffs and sweet vocal harmonies, 3D Feelings is an energetic tune to which you can’t help but nod your head. Alongside the impressive new single, he released a kaleidoscopic music video featuring him playing various instruments, showing off his versatile skills; clad in his usual colourful clothes! You cannot help but enjoy it. If you haven’t listened to it yet, listen to it now - but be warned, this song will become an earworm for days to come. Millie Hopcott

New Shapes - Charli XCX feat. Christine and the Queens & Caroline Polachek

After her 2020 album how i'm feeling now was entirely solo with no collaborations, the Charli XCX of her self-titled 2019 era is back with her new track New Shapes, which features two of her closest friends. It serves as the second single from her upcoming album Crash, following the lead single Good Ones which was released at the start of September. New Shapes is a true pop tune, less experimental than most of the cuts on how i'm feeling now and truer to the sounds of Charli's earlier career. However, there are still hints of her experimental outside-the-box nature and PC music influences through the artists that she has chosen to feature on the song. It is the perfect blend of both old and new, and I can't wait to see what direction she takes things on the full album when it is released in March. Gemma Cockrell

Judges of the Underworld - Venom Prison

Venom Prison are back with a vengeance! Judges of the Underworld is one of the best extreme releases in recent times, and has me extremely excited for the new album, Erebos, coming in February. Larissa Stupar’s vocals are brilliant, sounding tortured, but always being understandable. The lyrics refer to the reality of people who face incarceration who are from very rough backgrounds and asks whether they have failed the system or if the system has failed them. One such example is “A childhood of abandonment and desolation, adolescence filled with guns, institutionalisation” where the listener is told some of the scenarios that could occur, and this does bring up many questions about whether imprisonment is truly the right option for most people, as many of them commit crime only as a last resort to help themselves. Musically, the band are on top notch form, with some phenomenal fast riffing countered by some heavy as hell chugging, courtesy of Ash and Ben on guitar, a thundering bass line from Mike, and newest member Joe is shining behind the kit with his furious demolition of the drums. Jake Longhurst

Wake Me Up - Foals

Since Foals’ triumphant return to the live-music-circuit, and the departure of keyboardist Edwin Congreve, it’s now a new era for the indie rock giants, heralded by the recent single Wake Me Up. The single precedes an album, that lead singer Yannis Philippakis describes as "concise and of a vibe, which is the world re-emerging to find itself better than ever". If the new record is suitably smaller scale, and more positive in tone than 2019’s dark and grandiose Everything Not Saved will be Lost, then Wake Me Up seems like a fantastic taster. There are good vibes throughout the song, as Yannis’ frenetic vocals dance across Nile-Rodgers-esque guitar licks, slap-bass, and glittery 80s synth-textures. You can’t help but recall fond memories of the terse dance funk of Foals’ classic 2008 debut Antidotes. Hopefully, Yannis steps up the song-writing in future; lyric-wise Wake Me Up sounds like an unnecessarily metaphorical, post-Covid take on Bowie’s Let’s Dance. However, if the Foals are embracing the hedonistic-euphoria of dance music that has always been in the DNA of their records and legendary live shows, then we’re certainly in for a wild and thrilling ride. Caradoc Gayer

Billy Goodbye - Franz Ferdinand

Following Franz Ferdinand’s 2018 album, Always Ascending, the band have been on a hiatus of sorts. With no ability to tour or gig due to the pandemic, it left the members to their own devices to make solo stuff (see, Alex Kapranos’ single Summer Wine with French artist, Clara Luciani). Although many were hoping for an album comprised of entirely new songs, Franz have teased a ‘best of’ album, Hits to the Head, to be released in March 2022. To introduce this new compilation and a fantastic new drummer, Audrey Tait [The Girl Who Cried Wolf, Hector Bizerk], Billy Goodbye was released; one of two new songs that’ll be stitched onto the classics. A high energy, timeless tune that’ll be sure to scratch the itch in your brain left from Franz withdrawal symptoms, the introductory lyrics “don’t forget the best bits” gives some insight into the motivation for the upcoming album Hits to the Head. Though not my favourite song they’ve ever realised, I’ll take anything I can get from this iconic noughties band. Whilst it can be said that that which Billy Goodbye lacks in Kapranos’ usual lyrical depth, it is made up for in classic Franz ‘vibes’, reminiscent of everyone’s favourite self-titled, 2004 album. Molly Hancock

The Chapeltown Rag - Slipknot

After two years with no new music, Slipknot have come back roaring with new single The Chapeltown Rag. The song feels like a serious call-back to the first three albums, with the instrumentation feeling like a deep cut from Slipknot or Vol 3: The Subliminal Verses, and the singing could’ve easily come off a track from the Iowa era. Lyrically, Corey Taylor is on fine form as usual, using the Yorkshire Ripper as a metaphor for the age of the internet, and for how anyone can be ripped apart by social media, when nothing can be hidden once it’s out online. I’m also very pleased to hear some more of Sid Wilson’s skills brought into the mix, as whilst I loved We Are Not Your Kind, I felt he was under-utilised, and this brings back his DJ skills under the mix to create a harsh undercurrent that really underpins the song. Mick and Jim are stellar with some chainsaw style riffing, and Clown, Jay, Alessandro and Craig also keep the rhythm section tight and powerful, with the lumbering bass line and stadium sized drums bringing the whole song together for a brilliant return. Jake Longhurst

Car Crash - IDLES

IDLES' new track Car Crash is one of violence and an explosion of vocals and their classic thumping instrumentals. I think the title may have given that away already though. Being inspired by the frontman Joe Talbot’s own near-death experience in a car accident, its energy is that of one catastrophic life-altering headache. (That is a compliment). This energy is felt throughout the new track as the intense sound pulses and percussion. There is an underlying tension that carries the track and keeps listeners on edge. Worried, scared and a little excited - as an IDLES track tends to do. It’s an overwhelming listen but one that is definitely worth it. The song is one of self-reflection and touches on things volatile and transitory. It's carried along by a single drum hit, a repetitive touchstone that keeps you focused throughout. It’s one of the first times an IDLES song has used proper effects on the vocals — with Talbots use of the pedal board, bringing that confusing sense of clarity and obscurity. It’s one of IDLES’ most soul-stirring tracks to date, and one that will certainly inspire absolute mayhem at there upcoming tour. Maia Gibbs

Edited by: Gemma Cockrell

Featured image courtesy of Alfie Templeman via Facebook.