Want to hear all our previous New Music Friday picks? You can check them all out on our Spotify playlist, found here.
Alt-J - Get Better
Having been fairly absent over this past year, Alt-J released a new single from their forthcoming record titled ‘The Dream’, slated for a full release in 2022. ‘Get Better’ is an acoustic folk ballad, which is somewhat uncharted territory for the band. Despite the evolution in style, the song is structured in a way that still adds the unique flavour that Alt-J are renowned for, weaving in more abstract, vague lyricism and being sonically unconventional with its structure throughout. Instrumentally, the track is far more reserved than previous songs, but not in a detrimental sense. The unpredictable yet accessible nature of Alt-J is what has drawn so many fans over the years, and after listening to ‘Get Better’, it is nice to see that they are still subverting expectations years on from their inception.
Aaliyah - PoisonAfter the announcement that Aaliyah’s estate would allow the late singer’s recordings to be uploaded to streaming services, fans of ‘90s RnB have been clamouring to hear the newly released tracks. Songs with artists such as Ne-Yo, Snoop Dogg and Drake are reportedly in the pipeline, but the first track to be released is ‘Poison’, which features Abel Tesafaye, otherwise known as The Weeknd. He famously sampled Aaliyah’s ‘Rock The Boat’ in the past, so it is wholesome to see him come full circle with a collaborative track. Aaliyah’s posthumous single sounds classic, and the added modernity that The Weeknd’s feature brings to it elevates the track further, effortlessly blending his voice with hers in a beautiful duet. The song sounds as you would expect, a classic RnB tune with electronic, modern elements within it. Aaliyah’s voice sounds just as warming as ever, and The weeknd is unsurprisingly killing it once again too, solidifying his place at the upper echelons of contemporary pop music and gracefully paying homage to one of his idols.
Moses Sumney - In Bloom (In The Woods)
Moses Sumney has been dubbed as an artist to watch by critics for a while, and his recently released new record, ‘Live from Blackalachia’ sees the musician cement his place as one of the most intriguing artists to hit the limelight in recent years. ‘In Bloom (In The Woods)’ was one of the first singles to be released off the new album, and sees Sumney joined by a seven-piece band, including orchestral instruments such as a cello and violin to create a grandiose and classically tinged sound. The style of Sumney’s vocal delivery can be equated to that of a falsetto Benjamin Clementine, constantly articulating thoughtful poetry whilst bolstered by a backdrop of delicate and precise instrumentals. The song sounds skeletal in its framing, and leans into more staccato performances, plucked guitar and a bendy cello make up the majority of the sonic landscape, but the simplicity lends well to the track, allowing for Sumney’s lyricism to be digested more easily.
Kim Gordon & J Mascis - Abstract Blues
Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth fame is still at it, releasing the new track titled ‘Abstract Blues’, alongside J Mascis. The song is as noisy as you would expect from the grunge-era legend, but is by no means tropey, and still exerts an energy that is refreshing, despite using more dated sounds. The abrasive nature of the track is definitely its highlight, it is consistently captivating, partly due to its break neck speed and impressive instrumental performances. The song features a guitar that never lets up, seemingly in a perpetual screeching solo, but it doesn’t overwhelm the other elements of the track. Gordon’s voice could leave a little to be desired, but that is not why people will be listening – her instrumental performance is exceptional. If you are looking for an intense burst of energetic, punky rock, look no further.
Have a Word Podcast & Finnlay K - Lauras Gone
Rounding out our list of tracks for this week is an unlikely new track released by the Have a Word Podcast, a track which features their assistant producer Finnlay K at the forefront. The song was released as a joke, but has seen remarkable traction and is now running as a valid contender for Christmas number one this year, with all proceeds going charity. The unlikely hit is a song based on an in-joke referencing podcast host Dan Nightingale’s wife, and was never expected to reach the heights that it has so far. Finnlay’s voice is actually incredible, and the unlikely musician strings together both choruses that are extremely catchy and verses tinged with humour, executing the performance expertly. After the positive reception of this track, it would not be surprising to see Finnlay launch a successful music career off the back of this.