It’s Friday! And as per, some of the biggest acts have returned with comeback tracks, while new acts have made promising starts with buzzy debuts. There are more #NewMusicFriday playlists to shake a stick at. Everyone under the sun is releasing new music left, right and centre. We’ve boiled things down to the bare essentials.
Sticking to tradition, we’ve compiled the most head-turning and impressive tracks of the past seven days. It starts with Frank Ocean’s flooring ‘Nikes’ single, and then we move on to new singles from some of our favourite acts. Kero Kero Bonito are moving up to the big leagues with ‘Graduation’, INHEAVEN’s anthemic touch is getting better by the day, and very buzzy London trio Sälen are well worth the hype. Have a listen below.
Top photo: Kero Kero Bonito.
Frank Ocean - Nikes
If this week’s drama is to be believed, nobody expected ‘Nikes’. Def Jam, which assumed Frank Ocean’s ‘Endless’ was the album, hit a panic switch when they realised more music was imminent. And as for introductions to ‘Blonde’, the eventual full-length, this single flips expectations more than once. Like how it switches from gloomy, minimal punches to the quickest, most blossoming of string transitions. From dank to gorgeous in the space of ten seconds, it’s just one of several striking contrasts on ‘Blonde’. Best of all is the last line, a dose of intimacy that ‘Nikes’ appeared to lack. “You’ve got a roommate, he’ll hear when we do / It’s only awkward if you’re fucking him too.” Honest, off-handed and vivid, that’s the new album in a nutshell.
Kero Kero Bonito - Graduation
The three singles Kero Kero Bonito have released from their debut album, ‘Bonito Generation’, all point at extremely exciting things from the record. ‘Lipslap’ is the pumping hit, all tongue-in-cheek humour. ‘Picture This’ is as catchy as they’ve ever been, proving themselves a band for the internet age. ‘Break’, meanwhile, was the most eye-opening - a slowed down cut that showed the band to have more sides than first thought.
‘Graduation’, live staple for over a year now, joins the party, and is the band’s big step up. With all the joy and celebration of said ceremonies, but with none of the awkwardness of bumping into that one person you did something regretful with in first year, the track ushers in the next generation of KKB - it looks set to be quite a journey from here. (Will Richards)
Sad13 - Get a Yes
It’s a shitty state of affairs indeed, but all too often, sex in music is far too focused on those (cue massive sigh and eyeroll) ‘Blurred Lines’. From Robin Thicke claiming he can mind read with a sleazily deployed “I know you want it,” to Drake whining on because an ex has “started wearing less and going out more,” (she can do exactly what she likes, fyi) pop’s hardly the most positive sphere a lot of the time. There’s also little space left for the most important thing of all - what the other silent party actually wants. It’s a pervasive issue that goes far deeper than a few dodgy lyrics, and it fuels an entire culture that neglects education around consent. And consent is a topic that Sadie Dupuis pointedly flings open the door on - and celebrates with a beaming grin - in her first solo pop outing as Sad13.
“I say yes for your touch when I need your touch,” Sadie sings atop synth-lines more explosive than a pack of Mentos mixing with coca-cola, “I say yes if I want to.” Glitter-soaked, and diving headfirst into pure pop climes, ‘Get A Yes’ is empowering, vital, and positive when it comes to dialogue around consent, yep. Sad13’s debut solo effort is also, at its hyperactive core, a giant bundle of sherbet-packed good fun. On ‘Get A Yes’ - and in the world Sadie Dupuis strives for - consent isn’t just necessary, it’s super fucking sexy. Welcome to the pop ranks, Sad13. More songs like this, please. (El Hunt)
INHEAVEN - Drift
Such is the velocity of their fuzz-soaked garage rock, INHEAVEN were almost definitely born on a skyscraper. But that doesn’t stop them from aiming higher. Straight-for-the-gut anthemia has been their game since forming last year, and instead of seeing a group take liftoff, ‘Drift’ feels like you’re surging to the skies too, hand-in-hand with the four-piece.
Chloe Little leads on vocals, this time round. Her voice is the perfect companion for ‘Drift’’s melancholy-soaked realisations (“I know we’ve got a long way to go”) and bittersweet, string-backed chorus. Give these guys an orchestra and they’d book an extra choir. INHEAVEN never look down, which makes them all the more crucial. It’s tempting to stare at the floor and pretend better times aren’t ahead, but INHEAVEN give you the belief things will change. (Jamie Milton)
Kate Tempest - Don’t Fall In
Being a direct political commentator is hard work. Especially if you’re a songwriter who, say, doesn’t release a full-length for a couple of years. The landscape is unrecognisable compared to two years ago. Governments have toppled, wars have been waged and xenophobia has gained headway. Tough to keep track of. But it’s not like Kate Tempest doesn’t have anything to write about.
Alongside an apocalyptic tale (“The people will flock to the garages… Tinned fish and bandages”), Kate delivers lines atop severe, ominous instrumentation. Skizzing electronic clatter in the background, and empty space arrives when it’s least expected. It’s the most claustrophobic her music has ever sounded.
Sälen - The Drwg
Ambiguity doesn’t exist in Sälen’s universe. Ellie Kamio, who fronts the London trio, is probably last on the list of people who require a truth serum. Outspoken doesn’t say the half of it. On new single ‘The Drwg’, she sings about how a certain someone is perfect while the fun lasts (“You’re all I wanna do, tonight”), but how she knows the meaning’s all hollow deep down. “You’re the way that I waste my time,” runs the chorus’ most cutting line, a realisation that one hell of a comedown is about to sink in. (Jamie Milton)
Get your copy of the latest issue
More like this
A testament to a band continuously looking to innovate.
With new EP ‘Civilisation II’, hyperpop OGs Kero Kero Bonito are back and once again taking the road less travelled.
The biggest and best tracks of the week, rounded up and reviewed.
All the biggest and best tracks of the week, rounded up and reviewed.