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Essential Listening: This week's best new music

The past week has been nothing short of miserable as grey clouds loomed over the whole of Britain for the entirety of this week, and the sun seems a distant memory. Despite, the depressing weather and the lack of clear skies, there hasn’t been a shortage of sonic treats that have lit up an otherwise bleak seven days.

After a year without live music, normal life as we used to know it is now in spitting distance. If you’re needing something to stick on the summer playlist while having a well-earned rest this weekend, then we’ve got you covered. There’s no shame in wanting to spin some old classics, but these fresh tracks are perfect additions that will sound blistering through a Bluetooth speaker at a barbecue (but maybe not this weekend).

There has been a stream of blissful new sounds throughout 2021 that has offered a fine way to stay sane and get those dopamine receptors active. As the months have gone on, there’s been more and more titillating releases, with these past seven days being no different.

Even though playing live for an audience is an impossible dream for musicians right now, that hasn’t stopped artists from continuing to offer up fresh and exciting music straight out of the bedroom studio. Some of the new releases to have come out in 2021 have made it an exciting year for music. Through these turbulent times, music has been a constant release for many of us and kept us going. That feeling of discovering a new artist, one you connect with straight away, is hard to replicate.

Whether it is 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 — we’ve got you covered here.

This week’s best new music:

VEPS – ‘Girl On TV’

Norwegian indie rockers Veps have released their latest single, the unhurried and isolating ‘Girl on TV’, the latest preview of their upcoming debut EP Open the Door.

This quartet is, quite simply, a kick ass rock band. Full stop. Whether they’re burning through rave up rockers or slowing it down for more thoughtful tracks, there are always rough edges that the band doesn’t seem interested in smoothing out. Cheap sounding guitars and imperfect harmonies really can create beautiful music, and Veps keeping proving it with each new single.

Malady – ‘Famous Last Words’

London four-piece Malady have shared their latest single, the buzzy and terribly catchy ‘Famous Last Words’. “‘Famous Last Words’ is a rumination about purpose,” the band explain. “The realisation that any notion of inherent, and/or divine, purpose is false and subsequently the futile, scrambled attempts to forge meaning in places that meaning can never really be found.”

Malady is still a relatively new proposition. Their only other song on Spotify currently is their debut single ‘London, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down’. That cheekily LCD Soundsystem-swiping tune has a lot of the same drive and production techniques of ‘Famous Last Words’, which means that the band is carving out a signature sound: bouncy rhythms, layers of synth pads, and heavily-accented vocals. 

Jaws – ‘Untitled’

Jaws recorded the track when they made their third album, 2019’s The Ceiling, but didn’t make the final cut for one reason or another. Rather than leaving ‘Untitled’ on the shelf to gather dust, Jaws have done the admirable thing and gifted it to the world. It’s the first release from the group in almost two years and a timely reminder of their bewitching talent, which sounds as heavenly as ever on ‘Untitled’.

‘Untitled’ is undeniably going to be a flavoursome addition to the group’s setlist when gigs finally return. The effort sees the band retreat to a softer, more delicate location that littered Jaws’ debut album that all give the track a warm, nostalgic feeling that will brighten up your day.

Billie Marten – ‘Human Replacement’

Billie Marten has shared her pounding new single, ‘Human Replacement’. Not many 21-year-old’s have released their debut albums yet, but Marten is remarkably on her third after sharing her first when she was just 17. Since she first arrived on the scene, her sound has grown and matured with ‘Human Replacement’, signifying her evolution from a teenage acoustic prodigy into a forceful rockstar who has an uncanny eye for melody.

At the heart of the track is a poignant message that feels exceptionally relevant following the tragic death of Sarah Everard earlier this year. On ‘Human Replacement’, Marten sings about the anxieties of being a woman walking home in the dark.

Not only is ‘Human Replacement’ a song that warrants your full attention, but the video is a must-watch and adds an extra dimension to the track that brings Marten’s soul-stirring words to the centre.

SPINN – ‘The Things She Says To Me’

Liverpool’s latest indie-pop prodigies SPINN have dropped the second taste of their upcoming EP with the indelible ‘The Things She Says To Me’.

A driving jangle-pop number, ‘The Things She Says To Me’ is a pure sugar-coated delight. Light, breezy, and full of joyous energy, the song charters a course for no-frills, no-bullshit pop-rock that is destined to be stuck in your head all day.

When I was writing this song I really wanted to write a pure pop song,” singer Johnny Quinn explains of the song’s genesis. “Lyrically it’s one of my favourites, they’re just so sweet and simple, it carries that scouse-pop heritage in a way I’m really happy with. At the time I saw this tune as a way of hitting reset on the writing process for this next album, I knew we had the ability to be writing better stuff than we were at the time, and this song felt like the first step in the process of getting where we wanted to be.”

Katy J Pearson – ‘Miracle’

Katy J Pearson has shared the video for her stunning track, ‘Miracle’. The track featured on her recent debut album, Return, which arrived through Heavenly Recordings at the end of last year. Pearson was yet to release ‘Miracle’ as a single, and she’s recruited comedian Joe Lycett to direct the wonderfully surreal video which sees her head to the sea to fish out a toy cow.

Pearson’s voice is what the song hangs on to, and it gulfs you into its grasp as she effortlessly shows off her immense range that is nothing short of heavenly. There’s a tranquillity that runs through the dreamy track, which leads to a euphoric crescendo that Pearson guides you through as she repetitively sings the line, “And All that we needed was a miracle.”

Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen – ‘Like I Used To’

This past week, American songwriting powerhouses Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen exchanged a number of cheeky social media posts teasing something. It sounded super casual as if the two artists were just hanging out on a public forum, but we all should have known better.

Burning with intensity, the song is all hooks and catchy melodies. Before this moment, I never actually realised how closely Olsen and Etten’s voices sound alike, blending in beautifully moving harmony throughout the song’s wistful yearning for the past. Whether it’s coincidence or not, ‘Like I Used To’ perfectly illustrates how we’re all picking up the pieces of our past lives after being shut-in for nearly a year and a half. Even if it didn’t have major contemporary resonance, it’s still a great tune from two individuals who know a thing or two about great tunes.