The Mic Recommends...

With an impressive selection of tracks from our talented writers this week, The Mic Recommends... caters to any taste. After a few epic festivals last week, such as Outbreak and Glastonbury, exploring a range of new tracks from well-established and emerging artists seems like the perfect follow-up.


Into The Earth – Lorna Shore

Back again with their incredible mix of symphony and cinematic sound combining with unbelievably brutal deathcore, Lorna Shore have returned with even more of a vengeance than before. Sending any and all doubters scurrying with their first single off the new record, Sun//Eater, this new track is possibly even better! Will Ramos is on ridiculous form, with shrieks, growls, clean vocals, and everything in between. The rest of the band are not slouching either, forming an impossibly tight mix whereby the orchestral elements intertwine with the technical guitar and pummeling drums giving the impression of an unhallowed church service, or the raising of some unholy figure or structure. Without a doubt one of the bands of the year last year, Lorna Shore are still on incredible form and have shown not a single sign of slowing down, marking themselves out as a band to watch very closely as one of deathcore’s true rising stars. Jake Longhurst


Runner – Alex G

Returning to the studio from his exercise in soundtracking indie flick We’re All Going To The World’s Fair, the latest release from Alex G is a pop of bright, sunny indie. More polished than some of his previous explorations of sound, and less abrasive than predecessor Blessing, Runner still makes some room for a diversion into a less restrained performance style but leaves toned-down guitar and laid-back vocals centre stage. Overall, with its sunny lyricism also harbouring something deeper than what initially meets the ear, Runner is instantly loveable. Louise Dugan



Patient Number 9 – Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne, the Prince of Darkness, has returned. His first new music since his excellent 2020 release, Ordinary Man, features Jeff Beck on guitar, Robert Trujillo on bass and Chad Smith behind the kit. The song, predictably, is about a patient in a mental health hospital and is thematically very similar to Madhouse by Anthrax, or Welcome Home (Sanitarium) by Metallica, albeit slightly less political than both. The song is musically sound, and whilst it is clear to anyone that Ozzy is using autotune, he still sounds extremely good for a man of his age, and the song is thoroughly enjoyable. Jeff Beck’s solo is also predictable in its brilliance, as was to be expected from the legendary six-stringer. The style of the song has definitely moved away from some of the more attacking riffs used in Ordinary Man for the most part and is more sonically similar to his 90’s releases, with a little more emphasis on atmosphere than straight riff power. Overall, this is a very solid entry to the new era of Ozzy Osbourne, and I’m excited for more from the enigmatic man in black. Jake Longhurst


New York (Cover of Stephan Fretwell) – Self Esteem

BBC’s new show Everything I Know About Love has seen many covers by artist Self Esteem on its groovy soundtrack, including her rendition of Fine Young Cannibal’s song, She Drives Me Crazy, which was included in the trailer. Yet it is her version of Stephen Fretwell’s New York that really grabs attention: for its delicacy, gentleness and innately feminine sensitivity. Creator Dolly Alderton has revealed that it comes from the cost of acquiring rights to some of the music she originally wanted for the show. Everyone who knows Self Esteem knows she’s a perfect fit for a show about women in their 20s, falling in and out of love and finding out the way in life. She’s almost a musical mirror to Alderton’s memoir and show, proving that sometimes not getting what we want can be perfect in strange ways. Maia Gibbs


We’ll Be Back – Megadeth

Instantly the song hits with a furiously shredding riff, bringing a sneer to your face reminiscent of Megadeth’s infamous front man, Dave Mustaine. This single is the first of their upcoming release The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead! and will be the last song on the track list so its title and position in the album already suggest another release in the near future after this one. With the band sounding this strong too, another album would be more than welcome! The speed metal connoisseurs are on fine form, with heavy riffs and rapid pick work galore. The band slows down towards the end for what is essentially a breakdown to finish the song, and it is an excellent display of their ability to make a breakdown still feel this fast and frenetic. Lyrically the song is about the mascot of the band Vic Rattlehead and is a brutal description of his ability to kill. Not only does it sound like the band has have fun writing this, but they’ve also managed to come up with a killer new song, and plenty of new fire and fury to fill their perennially hungry bellies, so this album will doubtlessly be one of the releases of the year. Jake Longhurst



Sungazer – Phoxjaw

Despite opening with a jaunty, shimmering synth, the latest offering from Bristol’s Phoxjaw is filled with surprises. Twisting adeptly between two contrasting sounds, the track eventually arrives at a more familiar Goodbye Dinosaur...-esque heaviness, but not without stopping for the scenic route along the way. The lyricism reflects the off-kilter nihilism of the track itself, putting the harsh reality of the sun’s power into perspective – from the influence it wielded over the lives of ancient civilizations, to the nihilistic acceptance that the sun will “eventually burn us all one day”. An eclectic track, weaving sunny keys through buzzing guitar, Sungazer embodies the band’s unique sonic landscape, elevated to the next level. As the first taste of their brilliance since 2020’s Royal Swan, hopefully this is just the first of much more chaos. Louise Dugan


Happy As Larry – The Lunar Towers

Four-piece garage-pop band The Lunar Towers have released their second single, titled Happy As Larry. The track follows the success of the London-based group’s debut single, Wire, which was released in April 2022. Happy As Larry is an infectious summer anthem, with lyrics inspired by the classic Curve Your Enthusiasm episode titled Shaq, in which Larry David accidentally trips legendary LA Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal and has never been happier. The track channels Larry David’s energy and joy as he dances in a coffee shop, resulting in an upbeat and catchy indie-rock-infused tune. Gemma Cockrell


Carolina – Taylor Swift

Written for the upcoming mystery film, Where The Crawdads Sing, Taylor Swift’s Carolina is a perfect fit for the film’s dark and shadowy plot. The film, directed by Olivia Newman and produced by Reese Witherspoon, is based on the novel by Delia Owens. Swift, once again, impresses fans with her enchanting yet eerie vocals, clearly influenced and following on from her later albums folklore and evermore. Swift’s vocals are minimal throughout the track, but they are certainly chilling. She sings about North Carolina and all of its parts: from its mist, clouds, pines and creeks. The song is driven by acoustic instruments (banjo, piano, bass guitar) and fiddle, all performed in a minor key that helps to form this somewhat haunting atmosphere for listeners. Swift’s voice accompanies these acoustics perfectly, as she has proven in her previous two albums. To me, this song feels like the beginning of a story- Swift is introducing the story that is When The Crawdads Sing, setting a shadowy scene for listeners to anticipate on the big screen in a few weeks. Hannah Aldred



Spinning Wheel – Rat Tally

Although only having a few tracks under her belt so far, Rat Tally has already proven herself a strong presence in the rotation of songs which led Spotify to deem my 2021 Wrapped mood ‘wistful and yearning’. While previous cuts such as Shrug and Feel Something have recalled the hushed bedroom indie pop, breathless vocal and pensive lyricism of Soccer Mommy or 6131 labelmate Julien Baker, Spinning Wheel pulls soaring, careering electric guitar into its orbit alongside its glittering acoustics. The first cut from upcoming album In My Car, available for pre-order ahead of its late August release date, Spinning Wheel already demonstrates big things to come. Louise Dugan


UNHALLØWED – Machine Head

Featuring some of the best songwriting by Machine Head since The Blackening, UNHALLØWED showcases Machine Head at their best. With a mix of slow melodic metal, and more stomping brooding metal, the band sound like they’re ramping up to release another one of the albums of their career. Whilst they start slow and anthemic, they thrash their way through the latter half of the song in a style very reminiscent of Slayer crossed with Blackening-era MH, which is a mighty fine comparison to draw. The album is a conceptual piece, telling a story of revenge in a dystopian world, and the song paints the perfect picture for the theme the band are after. The atmosphere is thick and heavy, the songwriting is complex and full-formed, and most of all it sounds amazing. With a tour lined up later this year, playing with Viking metal heroes Amon Amarth, Machine Head are poised to commandeer the metal world once again, and if I were you I’d watch out for the inevitable takeover. Jake Longhurst


Hysteria Spiritbox

The Canadian Metal band, Spiritbox, released three new tracks on the 22nd of June 2022, following the release of their hit album Eternal Blue in 2021. Hysteria is the final of the three singles released, out of all three it is the closest sounding to the tracks on Eternal Blue. The track starts off with an indie/alternative melody and riff, recalling Deftone’s style soaring vocals. Courtney LaPlante’s vocals are less heavy than other tracks on Eternal Blue for most of the song, experimenting in their style, much to some fan’s disappointment, as she describes on a Q +A she took inspiration from Garbage and Limp Bizkit, showing through with a nu-metal vibe. Despite the softer vocals, the anger and emotion behind the lyrics still shine through slowly building throughout the song. The song, despite not being as heavy as other tracks released by the band, is still full of grit and an ethereal atmosphere to follow alongside. The second chorus, however, does foreshadow what is to come at the end of the song with flourishes of girthy guitar riffs throughout. Courtney, over Twitter, explained how these tracks are a journey, “as I try to trace my steps and figure out why I have the issues and mental health difficulties that I do”: this is clear in Hysteria with the chorus following the lyrics "In this state of hysteria I can save everything I betrayed". The steady guitar riff fades out at around the two and half minute mark, isolating Courtney’s vocals for a moment, before flooding back in full force. The song feels like it’s been building up to this moment, with the whispering of the vocals within the background and a build-up of the drums, the song finally hits a climactic and satisfying breakdown. Bringing us back to the sound of Holy Roller and Circle With Me. The breakdown brings the dark to the light of the rest of the song, balancing the track out perfectly. The tease of the heavier outro throughout the entire song is a demonstration of Spiritbox’s strength in creative songwriting. After such an incredible LP, like Eternal Blue, it is hard to retain the same greatness with a release so soon after. However, these new tracks just prove that Spiritbox are breaking the mould when it comes to metal in this new age of music, as they continue to be a beacon for the future of the scene. Kerenza Hudson



Pledge Drive – Cheekface

Following the release of their sophomore album, Emphatically, No. indie-punk trio Cheekface are

back with another charmingly playful track, with that same juxtaposition of monotonous cynicism

and bright bounciness that makes their music so infectious. Pledge Drive explores the balance

between social awareness and virtue signalling, with vocalist Greg Katz going as far to offer himself in the chorus with "If woke dudes must die, then I’ll go first". The song successfully weaves together

sardonic lyrics and groovy guitar motifs, held together with a bouncy bass and delightfully energetic

drums. Tongue-in-cheek(face) moments such as the inclusion of a distant "Sir, this is a Wendy’s"

provide the unique humour and perspective that has provided the band with a cult following, with an

anxious, earnest and quintessentially millennial social commentary bursting with wit. Yet another

undeniably catchy chorus reassures the audience that in actuality "you don’t know anything", in a

nihilistic and joyful track that hopefully serves as a perfect precursor for album three. Isobel Morris

 

Edited by: Roxann Yus


Featured image courtesy of Self Esteem via Facebook