Neu Bulletin The Neu Bulletin (Peter Xan, Unschooling, Sophie May and more!)

DIY’s essential guide to the best new music.

Neu Bulletins are DIY’s guide to the best and freshest new music. Your one stop shop for buzzy new bands and red hot emerging stars, it features all the tracks we’ve been rinsing at full volume over the last week.

We’ve also got a handy Spotify playlist where you can find all the Neu tracks we’ve been loving, so you can listen to all our hot tips in one place!

Peter Xan - Pressure

With surging guitars, crescendoing drums, and a vocal delivery that’s almost nonchalant, ‘Pressure’ is a mosaic of a track; the interplay between different sections draws the eye (or indeed the ear), but take a step back and the full work comes into focus. Proudly placing his Nigerian heritage front and centre of the accompanying video, Peter Xan is here to redefine all your preconceived notions of indie rock. (Daisy Carter)

Unschooling - Ribbon Road

Inspired by the iconic Mario Kart racetrack of the same name, ‘Ribbon Road’ sees Unschooling change lanes. A momentary departure from post-punk, the track is an almost-jazz infused number propelled by two guitars and two drums, and if that wasn’t enough, they unite with a saxophone to create a chaotic wall of sound. Both experimental and revealing more of the artistic direction that the 5-piece are to explore on their upcoming debut album, ‘New World Artifacts’, ‘Ribbon Road’ boasts Unschooling’s desire to craft a sound that is less calibrated and even less obvious. (Katie Macbeth)

underscores - Locals (Girls like us)

There’s a lot going on with underscores. Spoken word; tightly looped beats; an all-American, monster truck video. ‘Locals (Girls like us)’ opens with snippets of seemingly random words (‘machinery’, ‘catharsis’, ‘neurotic’, and ‘citizens arrest’ to name but a few), and things don’t necessarily get clearer from there. Nevertheless, it’s a track which is addictive, high-octane, and sounds like very little else at the moment. Watch this space. (Daisy Carter)

Benét - Insensitive

New York based artist Benét has returned with his first single of 2023, ‘Insensitive’. The single is led by a sturdy bassline and a relaxed, swinging lead guitar, but amongst the carefree instrumental lies Benét’s effortless vocal, which somehow manages to relay a feeling of sheer enjoyment. With a Billy Nomates-esque groove, ‘Insensitive’ has a light-hearted danceability at its core, in three-minutes of gliding, easy listening. (Amber Lashley)

Sophie May - Worst Thoughts In The World

On ‘Worst Thoughts in The World’, Londoner Sophie May tenderly embraces a sense of picturesque melancholy. Exploring intrusive thoughts, passing time and bereavement, her latest is a track that nonetheless finds wit amongst the worry; “I lost my marbles and I lost his love,” she sings through gentle, breathy tones that glide like butter. Steadily backed by a woody acoustic strum, which rises for the bridge and then falls again to mimic the repetitive state of these ruminations, ‘Worst Thoughts In The World’ skillfully juxtaposes a soft summer melody with woeful lyricism. (Angelika May)

Royel Otis - Adored

Sydney duo Royel Otis indulge themselves in a frenetic fuzz on ‘Adored’. Somehow toeing the line between being absolutely laid back and pulsing with energy, the track is propelled along by a beat that’s just a fraction too fast for comfort, but the rhythmic jabbing of the guitar line and vocals keep up with it with ease. There’s something disconcerting about the juxtaposition between matter-of-fact lyrics about self-gratification (“I’ll beat on cue cause the music they are playing I like”) and an instrumental that sounds almost panicked, but it’s an addictive listen. (Ims Taylor)

Canty - Follower

Canty’s first single, and a formidable one, drifts through an uncanny valley of sounds and ethereal vocals to paint a picture of a world just tangential to this one. In keeping with their artistic aims, you’re stalked by ominous instrumental melodies and transfixing distorted vocals, whilst at the same time feeling obliged to take it all in and observe the landscapes Canty creates. It’s sonically subtle, but still feels like it builds to a fever pitch – a testament to their control and craft. (Ims Taylor)

Japan Man - Nowhere To Hide

Opening with snatches of whispered French, the latest from Lebanon-born Japan, Man - aka Laeticia Acra - blossoms into an irresistibly foot-tapping, head-nodding number complete with a prominent funk bassline and lilting strings. The second in a duo of singles marking a new chapter for the project, ‘Nowhere To Hide’ sees Laeticia ruminate on feeling panicked and trapped by the monotony of daily routine. It may be lyrically incongruous with the groove-laden instrumentals, but it very much works. (Daisy Carter)

Zola Courtney - California

In her first release since 2021, Zola Courtney’s newest single ‘California’ sees her nurture a stripped back approach as she recounts the years she’s been away. With live strings and gentle piano, ‘California’ is guided by Zola’s breezy vocal and confessional lyricism. Despite its musings on separation, the track is brimming with self love and acceptance, built by a collection of heartfelt anecdotal reflections. She walks the line of the intimately personal and the widely relatable, and for a few minutes, you are delicately placed in her shoes. (Amber Lashley)

Humane The Moon - A Track In Orbit

The debut single from London newcomer Humane The Moon, ‘A Track In Orbit’ is high energy from the off. Its driving mix of punk instrumentals and almost rap-like vocals give an urgency to the track, as he decries society’s obsession with financial gain: ‘the best years have left you waiting for the train / and now you’re restless to get to payday right as rain’. It’s a howl of frustration against the monotony of the capitalist hamster wheel - commute, work, sleep, rinse, repeat - and an exciting introduction to him as an artist. (Daisy Carter)

ĠENN - ‘Calypso’

Notably more pared back than some of their previous releases, ‘Calypso’ pays homage to ĠENN’s Maltese roots via psychedelic sax parts and a guitar line inspired by the island’s traditional folk music. Spoken - near whispered - vocals are almost incantation-like, and if it’s a spell being cast, then we’re all ears. The single is the latest to be taken from the band’s upcoming debut album, ‘Unum’, and reveals yet another layer to their already intriguing sound. (Daisy Carter)

Tags: Benet, Canty, ĠENN, Japan, Man, Peter Xan, Royel Otis, Sophie May, Underscores, Unschooling, Zola Courtney, Features, Neu, Neu Bulletin

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