The Mic Recommends...

After a brief hiatus over Christmas, New Year and exams, The Mic Recommends is back! Read below to discover the best new tracks of February so far, including Nova Twins, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Liam Gallagher.

Sledgehammer – nothing,nowhere.

Even though it has only been a year since he released ‘Trauma Factory’, nothing,nowhere. is back with new track Sledgehammer. It samples his most popular track hammer, interpolating the chorus of his 2018 hit to produce a modern, updated version of the track – as he says himself, “years go by and I'm still droppin' hammers”. The track leans more towards the sounds of that era of his music, with trap hi-hats and percussion layered over an acoustic guitar instrumental. It is a refreshing return to his roots, and even though he vowed on Twitter that he would never rap again in his music, this now seems unlikely if he is taking his sound back in this direction. Gemma Cockrell

K.M.B – Nova Twins

The mystery of what K.M.B stands for is shortly remedied when Nova Twins begin the track with ominous droplet noises and a ringing phone that unveils childlike cries of an "emergency" and the self-assertive admittance of "I think I just killed my boyfriend". The song proceeds to tell the story of a poised act of murder, complemented by a spoof-like music video where Amy and Georgia unapologetically rock out at the crime scenes. What underlines the horror and comedy of the track is their ignition of badass and liberated attitudes of women in the 21st century. Nova Twins dramatize this empowerment through layers and layers of sound and punky condemning lyrics that assure that "boys like you will always lose". Expect an out-out-of-this-world album with Supernova arriving on earth on the 17th June, but beware, it will be explosive. Roxann Yus

Cold - Balancing Act

“It’s cold outside // it’s pretty fucking cold outside” - with an opening line like that, it seems apt that the debut single from London duo Balancing Act is gracing our ears in that grey hinterland between Christmas and Spring. The musical partnership of friends Kai Roberts and Jackson Couzens, Balancing Act have emerged onto the scene with a self-assurance and cohesiveness bolstered by their joint previous experience in the industry. Cutting through any seasonal numbness with intent, Cold takes all the goodness of mid-2010s indie (think JAWS, Two Door Cinema Club, or Couzen’s past project Anteros) and injects it with a healthy dose of synth bass to craft a sound which is familiar, yet modern. True to their namesake, the pair avoid the temptation to throw everything at the first single; instead, the backbeat’s slow burn steadily builds momentum before big riffs are eventually brought to the fore in a powerful but controlled release of pent-up heat. Whilst the past half a decade has seen pop become an arguably more exciting genre than indie, Balancing Act prove here that there’s life in the old guitar yet. Daisy Carter

Everything’s Electric – Liam Gallagher

First it was She’s Electric, now Everything’s Electric. Following his standalone track All You’re Dreaming Of in December 2020, Liam Gallagher is back with a new single, co-written by Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl. It will be the lead single from his eagerly-awaited third solo album ‘C’mon You Know’. The song has a strong and powerful guitar riff, which is unsurprising since it takes influence from Beastie Boys’ 1994 track Sabotage and the Rolling Stones’ 1969 song Gimme Shelter, which are both known for their iconic guitar riffs. The track is one of Gallagher’s best, and it will receive its live debut at the Brit awards on 8th February 2022. Gemma Cockrell

Bubblegum - C’est Karma

Currently based in Amsterdam but with roots in Italy, Portugal and Luxembourg, it would be fair to say that the merging of different influences is part of 20-year-old Karma Catena’s DNA. Under the performance name C’est Karma, she confidently draws on the hyper-pop du jour - popularised by the likes of Charli XCX and the late SOPHIE - but undercuts it with industrial, off-kilter beats and often surprisingly raw vocals. Perfectly encapsulating this hybrid sound is latest single Bubblegum, which pays tribute to Karma’s ‘longest friendship’ and serves as a rich first taste of her upcoming EP, Amuse Bouche. Perhaps not as sugary-sweet as its title might suggest, the synth-led track plays with frequent pace changes to build and release tension such that the listener can’t help but be swept along for the ride - think Reputation-era Taylor Swift on a weekend in Berlin. These shifts are also echoed visually, as the track’s video cuts between shots of Karma wearing a frothy white dress and an all black ensemble, suggesting notions of similarity in spite of difference, and closeness in spite of distance. An earworm track which rewards repeated listens, Bubblegum does the job of every good single and whets the appetite for C’est Karma’s longer releases. Daisy Carter

Black Summer - Red Hot Chili Peppers

Black Summer is the new single from LA rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers, and their first since John Frusciante (guitar) re-joined in 2019. The band’s website states that each song on the album is a "faucet" of them. Black Summer likely represents Flea, an Australian native, as the title refers to the bush fires of 2019 & 2020. Frusciante's return is instantly recognisable by the noodling intro and a chord progression so warm it must have been bathed in the Californian sun. Lead vocalist Kiedis makes use of a questionable accent that is somewhere between an Irish lilt and a pirate, but somehow it manages to grow on you - make of that what you will! After a 10 year absence, one would be forgiven for expecting hiccups, as many artists struggle to quite recapture what made them special after a long hiatus, but that is certainly not the case here. RHCP aren't attempting to chase the memory of their legacy, more picking up from where they left off in 2009, resulting in a song that feels as natural as if they'd never been apart. Their new album, Unlimited Love, is to be released in April 2022 alongside their world tour. Robbie Simms


Edited by: Gemma Cockrell

Featured image courtesy of Liam Gallagher via Facebook.