The Mic Recommends...

If, like many other UoN students, you have a reading week this week, and you need some new music to fill your time, then look no further because The Mic have got you covered. From some huge collaborations, including Regard and Years & Years and Ed Sheeran and Bring Me The Horizon, to Norwich's "worst kept secret" Kitty Perrin, here are the best new releases of this week.

Hallucination - Regard and Years & Years

Regard and Years & Years have joined forces for new dance anthem Hallucination. Following Sweet Talker, Olly Alexander’s collaboration with Galantis from recent Number One album Night Call, which was one of his best tracks to date, he continues to venture into the dance world. Regard said of the track, “I loved working with Years & Years on this new single. Olly’s voice brings the song to life and really captures the idea that the beauty of love is so similar to the fear of hallucinations.” He is correct that Olly’s vocals lend themselves incredibly well to this style of track, and for fans of Night Call this will be an unexpected yet welcome release, extending the sounds of the album and demonstrating that Olly is showing no signs of stopping anytime soon. Gemma Cockrell

Bad Habits - Ed Sheeran and Bring Me The Horizon

After hearing the live debut of this song on the Brits, I was underwhelmed, and so upon the studio release of the song I cautiously prepared for the worst. Mercifully, it appears the artists involved have put some work in and have managed to correct all the mistakes from the live performance. Bad Habits was originally an electro-pop song that didn’t stand out too much in Ed Sheeran’s formidable back catalogue, but the addition of the arena conquering Bring Me The Horizon (BMTH) changed the tone to a darker, more erotic atmosphere, and we even got the inclusion of a couple of screams from Oli Sykes. The instrumental section brought by BMTH vastly improved the song, changing from a forgettable synthesised beat to a far larger sounding guitar line with some serious bite to the tone compared to your standard Ed Sheeran track. The song mixes both artists traditional output surprisingly adeptly, as the general feeling of the song fits the Ed Sheeran party/love song style, but also the BMTH dark/erotic style, in what is so far the best musical surprise to me of 2022. Jake Longhurst

The Escapist - Kitty Perrin

Given her day job as a presenter for BBC Radio Norfolk, it’s unsurprising that Kitty Perrin seems to be wholly at home behind a microphone; articulate yet personable, it is her candid lyricism and genuine, no-frills delivery which are the linchpins of new single The Escapist. Perhaps more unexpected, then, is Kitty’s status as a relative newcomer - the track is her debut release, but carries the hallmarks of an already seasoned songwriter. An alternative take on the ‘song about a break up’ template, The Escapist sees Kitty reflect on how her own behaviour played into a relationship’s end via delicate, piano led instrumentation and Maisie Peters-esque vocals. The only rough edges here are those left deliberately so, with the pared-back production allowing room enough for the chorus’ central refrain ("maybe I’ve been playing the victim") to hit home. The effect is such that the listener feels more like Kitty’s confidante than her audience, the "best friend" she sings of drunkenly offloading to. With a debut EP due out in May, Kitty seems well on her way to becoming Norwich’s worst-kept secret. Daisy Carter

Play Along - Flor

Since their formation in 2014, Oregon via LA quartet Flor have established themselves as one of the most exciting US indie bands of the decade. Now, after two compelling records, they’ve given us a clear answer as to where they’ll go next with their new single Play Along, combining the best parts of their 2017 record, the ethereal and optimistic Come out You’re Hiding, and their 2019 record, the melancholic and meditative Ley Lines. Bassist Dylan Bauld really flexes his production talent on this track, (honed through work with Misterwives, Halsey, and Liam Payne), as the instrumentation is the most bombastic and euphoric that we’ve seen yet from the band. Sweeping distorted synth-chords and a rich guitar line underly the energetic lead melody over which lead-singer Zach Grace plaintively mourns a loss of youth and innocence as he grows older. Flor have always excelled at elevating vulnerable, coming-of-age lyrics to highly confident levels with their glittering pop instrumentation. If the rest of their third album is as explosive as Play Along, we’ll no doubt be getting that beautiful contrast in all of its glory. Caradoc Gayer

Read The Room - ELIO

Following Superimpose, one of my personal favourite pop tracks of 2021, ELIO is back with new single Read The Room. She has also announced alongside the release that she will be supporting Charli XCX on her upcoming EU tour dates. The track features dramatic vocal lines and crisp production, whilst ELIO tells the story of a negative experience that she had with a male producer who demeaned her writing and production skills during a studio session. This unique and highly important lyrical topic emphasises just how difficult the music industry continues to be for female artists, and the battles that they have to fight to get their voices heard. However, ELIO successfully uses the track to own that narrative, refusing to confine herself to the box that others are trying to place her in and rebelling against what society expects her to be. Gemma Cockrell


Edited by: Gemma Cockrell

Featured image courtesy of Years & Years via Facebook.