New music guide The Neu Bulletin (Hovvdy, Big Thief, Julia Jacklin, Soft Lit)

DIY’s essential, weekly guide to the best new music.

Neu Bulletins are DIY’s guide to the best new music. They contain every single thing that’s been played at full volume in the office, whether that’s a small handful or a gazillion acts. Just depends how good the week’s been.

Below, you’ll find the anthem-penning antics of EAT, the dreamy bedroom pop of Hovvdy and very exciting Australia songwriter Julia Jacklin.

Alongside our weekly round-up of discoveries, there are also Neu Picks. These are the very best songs / bands to have caught our attention, and there’s a new one every weekday. Catch up with the most recent picks here.

(Photo: Hovvdy)

Hovvdy - Problem

Even if you’re only remotely into a post-Pavement era of moody bedroom noise, Hovvdy tick every box. Marrying the best bits of Happyness’ debut album with a neat, melodic simplicity, their waves of fuzz and multi-layered effects always carry the promise of something bigger, beyond petty human emotions. ‘Problem’ is taken from a new album, recorded last year in various Texas spaces (whichever bedrooms they could fit their instruments in, basically).

Julia Jacklin - Pool Party

As recommended by the always on-point Transgressive Records, Julia Jacklin possesses a stop-you-in-your-tracks voice. No fancy gimmicks or sideshows, her ‘Pool Party’ single builds from Angel Olsen-esque yearning into one of the year’s simplest, most affecting love songs to date. But there’s a twist, from the chorus line of “my heart is heavy when you’re high” to the eerie “da-da-da” coda. Here’s a songwriter willing to pack a surprise or two.

Big Thief - Real Love

It’s an instant match made in heaven for Big Thief, a Brooklyn group blending emotion with sky-reaching, guitar-led fireworks. ‘Real Love’ is the latest track to be released from humbly-titled debut ‘Masterpiece’, due 27th May on Saddle Creek. Led by Adrianne Lenker, they bring the melodrama of a Broadway send-off and the punch of a superhero saving the day. It’s a beautiful storm.

Soft Lit - U Up

Anything-goes, smash hit churner GODMODE is one of the best new music labels operating right now. Spilling out alt-pop gems is just part of the day job, the latest case in point being Soft Lit’s trigger-happy, Purity Ring-nodding thrill, ‘U Up’. It’s taken from the label’s Faculty series, which delivers one track per week, all of which exist on opposite ends of the musical spectrum.

Westerman - Misantropé

No idea why London string-plucker Westerman’s added an accent to the ‘e’ in ‘Misantrope’ (the crafty bugger’s removed the ‘h’, too - watch out, spelling police), but without trying to blow your mind, it might have something to do with his sense of precision. The Londoner plucks and coos like your everyday singer-songwriter, but instead of being like an earnest flannel or a bit rubbish, he combines clever lyrics with unexpected turns. Beyond the wanky title, ‘Misantropé’ is a triumph.

Kelly Lee Owens - 1 of 3

Carrying the same icy chill as The Knife’s classic LP ’Silent Shout’, Kelly Lee Owens’ latest single puts the Londoner miles ahead. There’s still a sense that her moody, murky electronic pop could cut through the fog and deliver something more direct, but ‘1 of 3’ has all the ingredients of a rich, underground gem.

Tags: Big Thief, Julia Jacklin, Listen, Features, Neu, Neu Bulletin

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