The Mic Recommends...

In the thick of a second, trying lockdown, The Mic shine a light on the tracks offering an antidote to the tedium. This week's dazzling selection of singles, handpicked by our team of writers, range from industry darlings Billie Eilish, HAIM, and Pale Waves to the rising stars of Alfie Templeman, Do Nothing, and Tayo Sound. Have a gander below.

Shady – Alfie Templeman

Yet another teen sensation on our list, superstar in the making Alfie Templeman is wasting no time at all in following up hits Happiness in Liquid Form and Forever isn’t Long Enough with yet another juicy offering: the tantalising Shady. With a deliciously catchy chorus and exciting guitar riffs throughout, Shady is pipped to be a certain crowd pleaser, yet Templeman croons out every line with admirable swagger for a track so upbeat and funky. Annoyingly, it feels like the track ends prematurely, it certainly left me wanting more, yet, with Alfie, you feel you won’t be waiting too long for the next charismatic indie-pop release. Tristan Phipps

Feel the Thunder (The Croods: A New Age)– HAIM

Joan Jett meets an early Blondie in the latest HAIM single. HAIM have risen to the challenge of creating an anthem for the latest cinematic release, The Croods: A New Age. Not only did they have to write a song that specifically fit a ‘save the day’ scene, but they had to deliver it in a way thatwould catch the ears of younger listeners. HAIM have kept it upbeat and fun, reflecting on the genre of film, yet they are experimenting with their own sound in a way that still seems authentically themselves. Following on from their latest album Women in Music Pt. III this opportunity certainly fits in with part of their trajectory. Amber Frost

Change’ – Pale Waves

Indie quartet Pale Waves have announced their sophomore record, Who am I?, alongside the release of lead single Change. The album is set to cover topics of inclusivity, self-discovery, and the notion of being true to yourself, inspired by lead vocalist Heather Baron-Gracie’s own personal struggles with mental health. Alongside the journey of falling in love and becoming comfortable with her sexuality, she stated in the press release: “For me, music and art mean that people don’t feel so alone and isolated. I want to be the person my fans look up to and find comfort.” Change is an anthemic indie-pop song, which continues perfectly from where the group left off with debut record My Mind Makes Noises, whilst also seeing the band evolve, refine and progress their sound. Baron-Gracie’s vocals are nostalgic, reminiscent of the twinkling alternative rock of the 90’s and early 2000’s. Whilst embracing the gloriously nostalgic styles and speckles of musical eras gone by, the plucky troupe simultaneously remain true and relevant to the contemporary indie music scene. Gemma Cockrell

‘Therefore I Am’ Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish makes a surprising statement on her newest offering Therefore I Am, which is akin to the pop sensation’s brooding and haunting sound exhibited in her previous releases. A stark contrast to her previous ethereal release, my future, however, Eilish returns with a lyrically empowering record which appears to be both a fitting response to the press surrounding her body image and a call to those appearing to be using her name for their own personal fame. Infusing philosophy with an insatiably magnetic beat and melody, Eilish and her brother/collaborator FINNEAS don’t hold back on the tracks production or lyricism, and the giddy bass-line metaphorically emphasises her statement that no-one can take advantage of the star or tarnish her reputation. In this fiery and powerful track, Billie’s self-awareness is on glorious, unapologetic display as the record marks a new era of self-conscious music for the young starlet. Amrit Virdi

Miss You’ – Delac

Armed with their fifth release of 2020, North London based duo Delac have returned with another gentle electronic offering with Miss You. Brandishing a style of downtempo and eerie electronica, the exciting young duo have succeeded in producing a track that is equally as polished and enjoyable as genre icons Bonobo and Caribou. Expansive and atmospheric, the duo once again display excellent use of reverb to cushion the vulnerable vocal line. With big releases supposedly just around the corner, it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on Delac. Tristan Phipps

‘Now Or Never’ – Friction & Flava D

A year ago, The Mic was privileged to interview all-genre dance icon Flava D. Last month, the magazine would have been front row at the rescheduled Detonate festival to document the return of DnB legend Friction to Nottingham. While we all may have to wait a little longer to witness the live union of these two drum and bass virtuosos, the release of the bold Now Or Never is certainly enough to keep DnB heads up and down the country eager and ready. With Friction and Flava D being two of the most respected and revered artists to grace dance music in the past 20 years, it takes an equally polished vocal line to keep pace with such a duo. Thankfully, this is provided exceptionally by Charlotte Haining, a singer making waves herself having gained huge reception from polished releases alongside more recent Liquid DnB stars, such as Hybrid Minds and Kove. Tristan Phipps

Glueland’ – Do Nothing

Nottingham’s own, Do Nothing, return with Glueland, an imperial arrival. A synth bass forms the core of the track, in a notable evolution of their sound – but all the familiar ingredients are still here. Kasper Sandstrøm’s caustic guitar lines are present and correct, while Chris Bailey’s lyrics still confuse and mesmerise in equal measure. He talks of feeling stuck in the same place, the titular “glueland”, and “going round in circles like a little baby eel.” But Bailey’s best trick has always been infusing his irritability with a kind of melancholy, which he does again here – “man, we were like twins” sticks in the mind long after the fact. Do Nothing have settled comfortably into their role as the most exciting band in Nottingham – and soon to be the country. Louis Griffin

Gone’ – Tayo Sound

Despite having burst onto the scene within the last year, Tayo Sound has amassed a frankly incredible following to complement his already sophisticated discography. With over one-hundred and fifty thousand monthly listeners, it’s easy to forget that Tayo is merely a teenager, yet has once again displayed the songwriting nouse of someone twice his age. His fourth major release, Gone heads Tayo’s latest EP, treating listeners to a blend of melancholic verses and mournful yet catchy choruses, as the young singer-songwriter lays his feelings bare with themes of loss, loneliness and hope. Tristan Phipps

Edited by: Louise Dugan