The Mic Recommends...

With this being the final week before the Easter holidays and deadline/exam season, the series will be going on a short hiatus, and this will be my last The Mic Recommends as Features Editor. And to make up for that, its one of our biggest and best editions of the year. Read about new tracks from Jack Harlow, Sundara Karma, Yung Lean, Porridge Radio, and more.

Everytime - Sundara Karma

The Oblivion! EP was released this week with the vibrant single Everytime; a euphonic transporter vessel to the surreal universe half programmed by Sundara Karma and half left in pixelated gaps to be filled by the listeners imagination. The pulsing synth and silvery guitars frame the beautifully vague lyrics that simulate a virtual world with “a television sky, stars inside a network” soon to “disintegrate into the static waves”. The energetic, disorienting narrative evokes a sense of being player 1 lost inside in a luminous, digital landscape with no control of their own destiny. Leaving the game is so much worse though, like constantly chasing the aftermath of an emotion that doesn’t exist in reality. The lively tempo and energy of Oscar Pollack’s vocals feels exciting and full of potential but there are hints of sadness, “I remember how it felt with you”, the feeling of reaching the edge of the virtual map and realising there is nothing there. Christi Smith

1P-747 chopped - gupi

1P-747 chopped, the latest from Spencer Hawk, signed to what is currently one of the most exciting labels in post-pop, 100 gec’s Dog Show Records, and who also happens to be the son of skate’s biggest legend, Tony Hawk, is hyperpop in its purest form. An accessible and fundamentally playful genre with a brazenly DIY attitude as its main ethos, the world of hyperpop is rapidly expanding in different directions as pushes further into the mainstream. Nonetheless, 1P-747 chopped remains loyal to its roots - an urgently nonsensical, exhilarating and dizzying rollercoaster ride, careering through mind melting synth, rattling shots of bubblegum bass, pulsing snares and a general scrambling of electronic chaos leaving barely seconds to catch a breath. As the internet currently picks apart the lyrical easter eggs of Food House’s Mos Thoser, gupi’s project with Fraxiom, it may be surprising to hear that 1P-747 lacks the typical pitched and playful hyperpop vocals, especially where previous effort, You’re It, attracted some criticism for tracks blurring into each other. But released as the first single from gupi’s next project, the constant stream of hedonistic android consciousness works perfectly; a glorious Pokémon Champion battle meets the Super Mario Kart Starman power up at a Skrillex concert. Louise Dugan

Help Yourself - 生 Conform 死

Hailing in from the most isolated city in the world, this metal project has been digging up a treasure chest of experimental gold. 'Live Conform Die', as they translate to, has built a portfolio of chaos since 2016. With each new track, their shockwaves from Perth across the Indian Ocean get closer to reaching the ears of metal fans far and wide. Help Yourself is bound to be the one that reaches shore. Through vibrational synths and crashes, the song itself replicates their determined fleet. It builds up to strong vocals in the chorus and mellows back down to sea level. But this band likes to tease. They quickly set fire to the rain with part two of the chorus: pacey drums, beloved metal screams, and an outpour of rediscovered musical elements. This is metal music right now, and this band are ahead. Possibly seven hours ahead if we want specifics… But all that means is metal fans from the UK have seven extra hours to catch up on this band’s futuristic perspective of the genre! Roxann Yus

Bliss - Yung Lean ft FKA Twigs

Given the anticipation surrounding Stardust, Swedish rapper Yung Lean’s latest efforts, it sounds like the rest of the world has finally caught up to the wave he and Drain Gang have been riding for years, albeit with the help of TikTok. Despite glittering with features and production credits from contemporaries Ecco2k, Thaiboy Digital, Whitearmor and Salem’s Jack Donoghue, opener Bliss shines the brightest with alternative R&B darling FKA Twigs. Her characteristic smoothness is doused in autotune, lending a tone reminiscent of Grimes’ Harley Quinn inspired Kill v Maim. Despite the difference from her usual tracks, placed alongside Yung Lean, the shift doesn’t feel jarring, and rounds out the track perfectly. Built around Alyan’s На заре, a Soviet synth punk cut dating back to the 1980s, Bliss is an interesting departure from the lethargic droning of cloud rap, dipping into a new quirky, groovy world. The contrast poses the question as to whether Yung Lean is pursuing experimentalism, following in the footsteps of Bladee and his foray into the world of pop, or whether the track placed FKA Twigs at its heart, structuring the rest of the song around the feature. Either way, unlike most Yung Lean tracks, which are infamous for clicking only after a few listens, Bliss, filled with an easy bassline, steady drums and sparkling chimes sets Stardust off to the best possible start. Louise Dugan

First Class - Jack Harlow

After a TikTok teaser went viral, the full version of Jack Harlow’s latest track First Class has been released, in the same weekend as Harlow performed the song, and got slimed, at the Kid’s Choice Awards. The teaser blew up due to its memorable and innovative take on a sample of Fergie’s iconic Glamorous, as Harlow brought his own charm to the song with his smooth vocals and rapping style, which fits well with the lo-fi trap beats and synths defining the backing. Yet I have to admit that the verses of the song are very forgettable. I personally cannot fault the chorus as it has been in my head all week, but the full version of the song somewhat disappointed me. Having said this, it still makes for an enjoyable listen, and I can predict that it will definitely be one of the anthems for summer 2022. Amrit Virdi

World of Pots and Pans - Horsegirl

Latest efforts from quickly rising Chicago trio Horsegirl sees them lean into the arms of musical forebearers such as Gang of Youths and The Pastels, entangled in reverb and fuzz, and come out the other side with an endearingly wonky exploration, making for the "the closest thing to a love song [they] have written". The accompanying lyric video, which sees shadowy hands fumbling with coins, buttons, string, and scraps of paper littered with scribbled out words across a primary school style overhead projector, encapsulates the track’s awkward yet tender charm with another nod to OK Go. Dreamy, meandering lyricism, grounded in the churn of steady drums and an understated yet heady bassline, leaves The World of Pots and Pans feeling almost like the trailing remnants of a summer dusk. The track feels noticeably more melodic, or even more delicate, than two previous singles Billy and Anti-Glory, released in apprehension of debut Versions of Modern Performance. Louise Dugan

Eye Tell (!) – Jim Legxacy

“These days I ride around the citadel, trying to hide my face”, plays on repeat in my mind as I begin to romanticise traipsing home in the rain after a tiresome shift at university. Reminding me of a previous song of his, the day I broke my bike, Jim Legxacy’s new single, Eye Tell (!) enlists similar playfully jumpy beats, soothingly balanced with melancholy melodies and impassioned vocals. The artist is one to keep an eye on, gaining increasing popularity by teasing listeners with snippets of his demos on TikTok. But what really sets Jim Legxacy apart is his fusing of genres that no artist would dare to – take a 90’s R&B sample of Candy Rain with afrobeat’s, or emo with afro-indie pop. Self-written and produced, Eye Tell (!) is an ode to today’s youth, speaking to anxieties of navigating the great “citadel” of London, putting on a façade and the fear of love… or heartbreak. Refreshingly unique and vulnerable, I salute the fellow south-Londoner for epitomising the overwhelming excitement, yet angst of being young and heart-struck (!). Ingrid Allirajah

The Rip - Porridge Radio

Heralded by the band as Charli XCX meets Deftones, The Rip opens gently, with imploring synths and spindly, yet steady guitar. But the urgent refrain "you’re all that I need/you’re all that I want", is ushered in by darkening instrumentals, rapidly building up to a crescendo, and ultimately breaking into a wave of yearning desperation. Pounding drums shoot through the sparseness of frontperson Dana Margolin’s lyrical arrangements, leaving an authentic vulnerability where it would otherwise be easy to fall into the trap of predictability. As the velvety fuzz of guitars slide out, the track ends heaving in the empty space, final lyrics hanging aloft a silence still thick with passion, achingly human. The second from follow up to Every Bad, Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky, The Rip only adds to the anticipation for its Maytime release. Louise Dugan

I Burned LA Down - Noah Cyrus

Fans of 22-year-old Noah Cyrus are in for a treat, as she teases fans with her new single I Burned LA Down, the first single from her debut album The Hardest Part, which drops this summer. I didn’t know what to expect before listening to this song, knowing little about Noah really, having heard just a handful of her music- but I was pleasantly surprised by this track. Noah’s lyricism is emotionally raw- she opens up about a past lover who left her, describing the way that she felt and the memories that now tarnish the city of LA. The honesty behind her vocals is what truly makes this song so powerful and memorable, something I wasn’t particularly expecting before I listened. Lyrics that really stood out to me on first listen were "If I gave you less, would you want me more?" and "You can’t make a God of somebody / Who’s not even half of a half-decent man". The song shows Noah’s growth from a clearly unhealthy relationship, where she once felt so small, and now recognises that she was not the problem, a powerful message to Noah’s young listeners. As well as Noah’s lyrical talent, the track’s instrumental is peaceful, driven by guitar and drums, creating a beautiful background for Noah’s vocals. Fans will be pleased to know that this is just the beginning of songs similar to I Burned LA Down, as Noah enters her next era as an evolving artist, as we anticipate her new album. Hannah Aldred

Gotta Let It Go - Joyce Manor

The track first up from 40oz to Fresno, the SoCal trio’s upcoming album, is a super catchy shot of nostalgia. Especially with the current Travis Barker and TikTok singer-dominated state of the pop-punk/emo scene earning it criticisms for a more manufactured gloss than the grit and DIY heart of previous incarnations, Gotta Let It Go is packed with hallmarks of the early ‘defend pop punk’, ripped skinny jeans, stripy t-shirt and pizza party era. Short but sweet, clocking in at just under 2 minutes, singer/lead guitarist Johnson blasts through memories of teenage angst and confusion, seemingly taking inspiration from both Motion City Soundtrack’s melodical delivery and the rougher edges of early Fall Out Boy vocals, set atop a bouncy Guided by Voices-esque guitar. Despite a lack of their sideways humour in the way of Fighting Kangaroo or Done Right Discount Flooring, by the sounds of things so far, the band are back from their dabbling with side projects to do what they do best. Louise Dugan

Crazy What Love Can Do - David Guetta, Becky Hill & Ella Henderson

Crazy What Love Can Do is a feel-good summery anthem set to be on many people’s Spotify playlists this summer. As Becky Hill suggests this is an ‘ultimate summer banger’ and one you're going to want to keep on repeat. In only three days, it has reached number four in the iTunes charts which is no surprise due to the French producer and DJ David Guetta’s skill to create repetitive yet catchy collaborations with well-known artists. Becky Hill and Ella Henderson seem like the perfect artists for this single due to their recent successes in the music industry, with Hill winning Best Dance Act at the Brits and Henderson achieving the number eight spot in the charts for her new album. The single from the start seems to radiate female power with these strong and successful female powerhouses taking the lead. Hill and Henderson within the song make full use of their vocal ranges with the frequent utilisation of impressive, high sustained notes and vocal runs. The song also works hard to create a sense of unity between the artists with the textural layering of parts. For example, the singers come together at key moments like the chorus and bridge and the instrumental parts mirror and echo the vocal lines. This allows for the song to be complex yet impactful on the listener. Emily Campbell


Edited by: Gemma Cockrell

Featured image courtesy of Jack Harlow via Facebook.