Essential Listening: This week’s best new music

Whilst 2021 has seemed to get off to a cataclysmic start and the new year has seemed to make the last one seem relatively sane in comparison. We find ourselves yet again locked inside our homes for the foreseeable future and searching for anything to fill the void to snap us out of the mundane homogenous nature of everyday lockdown life. Luckily, there has still been a constant flow of excellent brand new music that makes a refreshing tonic for these weird times.

Even though playing live for an audience is an impossible dream for musicians right now, that hasn’t stopped them continuing to offer up servings of delectable sounds. Some of the new music to have come out in 2021 alludes to a special year for music, even if the world doesn’t quite have the same bright immediate future in store. In turbulent times, music can be a release, and that feeling of discovering a new artist who you connect with straight away is one that is hard to replicate.

Whether its a song by an artist that you’ve never heard of before or an old favourite that somehow you have allowed to fall off your radar then we’ve got you covered here. This week saw Billie Eilish team up with Rosalia in perhaps the most high-profile release this week, but, there’s also been another track by British indie veterans Maximo Park who continue to tease their first album in four years.

If it’s new artists, then we’ve got you covered here as well, with the likes of Everyone You Know and Yard Act who are both English groups that have bright futures ahead of them, with the potential to become stars of tomorrow. Let’s get stuck into this week’s freshest new track then, shall we?

This week’s best new music:

Everyone You Know – ‘When The Sun Comes Up’

Everyone You Know have shared their first song of the new year with the dance-infused number ‘When The Sun Comes Up’. Brothers Rhys Kirby-Cox and Harvey Kirby have done it again with their latest release. The song evokes memories of weekends spent in the halcyon days before the pandemic when the drinks would be flowing until before you know it, you’re at an after-party, and the sun is blazing through the window telling you its time to go home.

Harvey’s nostalgic ’90s influenced beat is made for the same environment that the track it’s reminiscing on. This beat, coupled with frontman Rhys’ real social commentary like lyrics that resonate vividly with so many. Kirby-Cox paints the picture in the opening verse, as he sings: “The girls will turn up in designer, And pour tonic in their Tanqueray, The lads will ask to borrow a lighter, Just so they can conversate, Then they’re gonna pose for the picture, Put it on Insta’, You’ve got the filters, Who’s got the Rizla?”

The track is infectious, and whilst we all find ourselves locked-down, ‘When The Sun Comes Up’ offers a potent reminder about the times that will return sooner or later.

Maximo Park – ‘All Of Me’

The North-East indie stalwarts are preparing to release their upcoming seventh album, Nature Always Wins, on February 26th through Prolifica. ‘All Of Me’ is another example of the band proving their doubters wrong, moving to distil claims that the band are now part of the so-called ‘indie landfill’ days of the mid-noughties. In contrast, Maximo Park just happened to be a guitar band who were doing their own thing a prolific indie period and found themselves caught in the trappings of a scene.

The band has proved over their last few albums that there is much more to Maximo Park than their often misconceived label. Led by the effervescent Paul Smith who oozes energy and vigour, ‘All Of Me’ has all of the above but it also shows the more introspective, inward-looking lyrics which isn’t the first thing that comes to people’s minds when they think of the group.

“It’s a love song about the power of song itself, buoyed by the uplifting music in the chorus,” Smith explains about the track. “It’s also about domesticity and family life being valid subject matter for a pop song. The more intimate verses are bits of advice to someone who has changed your perspective on life. Big themes!”

Beach Bunny – ‘Blame Game’

‘Blame Game’ acts as the title track from their brand-new four-track EP which the band shared with the world on January 15th. The song serves as a closer on the release and ‘Blame Game’ is a riotous victory lap that starts 2021 in a manner which alludes to another year like their jubilant 2020, despite everything else happening with the world. In a dream world, Beach Bunny wouldn’t have had the time to create this single as they were supposed to be on an endless touring cycle for their debut album, Honeymoon.

The album arrived accompanied with rave reviews in February, then a few weeks later suddenly everything changed including Beach Bunny’s plans. Rather than spending the summer decamping from festival to festival, the band instead locked themselves in a studio to let off all the steam that had built up over the preceding months and the result was Blame Game.

‘Blame Game’ sees Trifilio kick-back at the misogyny prevalent throughout society and used this subject as fuel to firepower this gritty, ferocious anthem that allows the singer to get this built-up frustration off her chest and truly let loose in emphatic style.

Yard Act – ‘Dark Days’

‘Dark Days’ is the latest single from the Leeds band who had an exceptional 2020, following the release of their Bill Ryder-Jones produced debut single ‘The Trapper’s Belts’ last April. Since then, they have shared ‘Fixer Upper’ and the bizarrely brilliant ‘Peanuts’ back in November. There’s an unavoidable Northern charm to Yard Act and the dry wittiness that bleeds into all of their work so far continues to ooze out of their latest emphatic single underpinned by a bassline that showcases the divine art of simplicity.

Frontman James Smith snarls on the track: “Under the arches, there’s this bloke, With car boot full of stolen phones, knock-off cologne and mink carcasses, Near mint condition from Selfridges mate, I see arsonists with business rates etched on the back of empty matchboxes, Police officers getting their truncheons polished off in the bushes, wondering what all the fuss is about and what I’m looking at.”

Yard Act is a quintessential Northern band built from the mould of greats like John Cooper-Clarke and Mark E. Smith, but, there’s a modernity to their lyricism which makes them feel like a breath of fresh air and makes the Leeds four-piece a valued presence in the current climate.

DZ Deathrays – ‘All Or Nothing’

DZ Deathrays have got loud on their explosive new single, ‘All Or Nothing’ and it’s exactly the kind of bone-shaker we need in our lives.

The new song is the latest effort from the Australian dance-punk fusion trio and sees them gearing up to release their fifth record, Positive Rising: Part 2, this July. ‘All Or Nothing’ is the second single from the upcoming album, and it’s set pulses tingling with its ferocity, that makes the riff-heavy, all-action single huge in every aspect. DZ Deathrays expertly guides the listener on an emphatic listen, full of fire and 100mph energy.

‘All Or Nothing’ is a no-nonsense, thrill-seeking adventure and captures DZ Deathrays in a no holds barred state. The track is unapologetically anthemic, and although it doesn’t break any new ground, there is an unavoidable visceral nature to it which makes it a raucous ride.

Black Pumas – Sugar Man

Black Pumas have shared an outrageously stunning cover of ‘Sugar Man’ by Rodriguez. The Austin duo has started 2021 in an equally magnificent way to last year, which saw them breakthrough and have a year not to forget.

This release is an exemplary cover in every sense, Black Pumas pay tribute to Rodriguez and keep the message of the track intact without copying the mysterious singer-songwriter. They breathe new life into ‘Sugar Man’ by adding joyous backing vocals and turning the tempo up a few notches that make the duo’s version glow.

Black Pumas don’t attempt to replicate Rodriguez’s 1970 track and, instead, they moulded it into their sonic universe. Guitarist Adrian Quesada commented: “‘Sugar Man’ is one of those songs we’ve both been attracted to for years, from Rodriguez’s songwriting and performance to the production of Dennis Coffey, it’s inspired us in more ways than one and is one of those true timeless pieces of music. It was a total blast to dissect it and reinterpret in our voice.”

Billie Eilish & Rosalia – ‘Lo Vas A Olvidar’

Billie Eilish and Rosalia have teamed up for the captivating new song ‘Lo Vas A Olvidar’. The track is mainly performed in Spanish by the duo and is set to feature in the upcoming series of the HBO show Euphoria.

‘Lo Vas A Olvidar’, which translates to ‘You Will Forget It’, it is a haunting effort from the duo, whose immense vocal ranges complement each other fiercely and the two musicians ensure that the listener doesn’t have to be fluent in Spanish to understand the song’s dreary message. Eilish’s brother, Finneas, has done another spectacular production job that helps create an atmospheric feeling that runs throughout the piece and is equally as crucial as Rosalia and Eilish’s roles.

The collaboration is dark and eerie, making it the perfect fit for Euphoria. It also was a way for both of these artists to step out of their comfort zones by mixing it up and doing something completely different. Whilst, ‘Lo Vas A Olvidar’ might not be a chart hit, it will leave you spellbound for the best part of three and a half minutes that is a departure in every sense for both artists who both show off the versatility in their respective wheelhouses.

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