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Essential Listening: This week’s best new music

While it might be the shortest month of the year, one thing that’s not short in February is the amount of delectable new music that we have been served up. As we continue to find ourselves yet again locked inside our homes for the foreseeable future and searching for anything to fill the void, something that can snap us out of the mundane homogenous nature of everyday lockdown life is the sound of new music. The only constant throughout this year is the stream of blissful new sounds that have offered a fine way to stay sane and get those dopamine receptors active.

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. Some of the new releases 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, one who you connect with straight away, is one that 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 has witnessed some fine musical moments from artists both new and old who are gearing up to release new projects.

If it’s new artists you’re looking for, then we’ve got you covered here as well, with the likes of For Those I Love and Tiggs Da Author who are all intriguing artists with imminent debut albums on the horizon. Let’s get stuck into this week’s freshest new tracks then, shall we?

This week’s best new music:

Tiggs Da Author ft. Nines – ‘Fly ‘Em High’

Talented London-based rapper Tiggs Da Author has teamed up with Nines for the uplifting single, ‘Fly ‘Em High’. This track is the lead single taken from Tiggs’ upcoming debut album, Blame It On The Youts, which is out on March 12th through Alacran Records.

‘Fly ‘Em High’ features as the final track on the record and celebrates Tiggs’ journey. As a child, he left Tanzania, making his way to London then eventually getting to the place he finds himself today where he is tantalisingly close to releasing his debut body of work. It’s insanely catchy and to go with the track, Tiggs has shared an animated video that is a delightful accompaniment. Strap yourselves in and watch the visualiser, below.

Chet Faker – ‘Get High’

Chet Faker has followed up his return ‘Low’ with a brand new single ‘Get High’ which lands as the perfect antidote to the lockdown blues. It’s the second single Nick Murphy, AKA Chet Faker, has released since reinvigorating his project in late 2020 amid a global pandemic and an apocalyptic edge to everyday life.

The new single, ‘Get High’ arrives via Detail Records and a self-made music video that you can find below. If the song title didn’t give you an inkling, the visuals are everything you need to know about the track — a kaleidoscope of swirling colours and mind-melting animation.

The song is pulsing with funky swagger, and Muprhy does his best to keep the party going no matter how terrible the world outside feels. “Sometimes you just need a break,” says Murphy about ‘Get High’. “I find myself wanting to escape just for a little while and the song sort of showed up on its own.”

Rostam – ‘These Kids We Knew’

Rostam has shared his brand new single ‘These Kids We Knew’. The former Vampire Weekend man has served up another melancholic delight with his latest release, and it is a heart-warming take on how the future can only get better.

This effort is the third track that Rostam has released from his forthcoming second full-length solo album, a project which is currently in the works. If the strength of ‘These Kids We Knew’, ‘Unfold You’ and ‘Under Control’ are anything to go by, then the four-year wait for another full-length release is going to be worth it.

‘These Kids We Knew’ was born out of an epiphany that Rostam had whilst he was battling COVID, and there’s an optimistic nature to the track, despite it still having a sense of gloominess running through it. In the chorus, Rostam sings the poignant line, “So we’re gonna slowly pull the earth back together” — this alludes to a brighter future and a feeling of change genuinely being on the horizon.

Oscar Scheller – ‘I’m Enough’

Oscar Scheller has recruited MUNA’s Katie Gavin for his brand new single, ‘I’m Enough’. In 2019, Scheller released his second record, HTTP404, and ‘I’m Enough’ is the latest release from the London-based artist who is gearing up to share his latest full-length effort, Boys Cry, which is out on February 15th.

The track firmly falls under the sad banger category and the mellow, minimalist bedroom beat that Scheller has cooked up lends itself perfectly for his woozy vocals. “I was in New York as I’d flown out to see a girl there, but it didn’t work out how I had imagined,” he said of the track. “I was super bummed and after aimlessly wandering the streets of Manhattan I wrote two songs and one was ‘I’m Enough’.

“It was my response to the experience, a sort of conversation with myself to remind myself I am enough, with or without someone. No need for external validation or acceptance. It’s really important to keep reminding yourself of that, however, ‘Live Laugh Love’ it sounds, it’s the gospel.” As Scheller alludes to in the statement, the song’s message could fall to a cringeworthy trap, but his self-awareness manages to guide the track away from that, and the result is a mighty fine effort. 

Slowthai and Skepta – ‘Cancelled’

Slowthai has teamed up again with Skepta for his powerful new single, ‘Cancelled’. This song is the second time that the two British rappers have collaborated having linked up previously for ‘Inglorious Bastards’ on Slowthai’s stunning 2019 debut effort, Nothing Great About Britain.

It’s fair to say that in 2020 Slowthai had a year of two-halves following his antics at the NME Awards that saw him apologise to Katherine Ryan and make a show out of himself in public when he decided to fight the audience. His behaviour led to a public backlash despite his career opportunities staying on track. The Northampton rapper has apologised profusely behaviour that night, and since then he has reflected on his actions and has seemingly grown-up. ‘Cancelled’ is a snapshot of his mindset following this incident and the low-place he found himself situated.

For Those I Love – ‘Birthday/ The Pain’

For Those I Love has shared the powerfully haunting brand new single, ‘Birthday/The Pain’. The track is the latest moving effort by Dublin visual artist and producer, David Balfe. The project is a personal one born out of Balfe’s grief and his inner workings to try and control it. Music has always been a source of escapism for Balfe and he built his dearest friendships upon this idea, and some of his most precious memories derive from bonding over sounds. 

The deeply personal latest single, ‘Birthday/The Pain’ is the most beautiful effort released under For Those I Love thus far. The juxtaposition of a sampled euphoric chorus with Balfe’s grief-stricken lyrics about love and loss make for unlikely bedfellows, but the result is breathtaking.

“I was six when I first encountered the fallout of a violent death,” Balfe commented about the track. “It’s such a haunting burden at that age, and still is. ‘Birthday / The Pain’ recalls that moment, the desperation of trying to make sense of it as a child, and what it’d mean for me growing up against that backdrop.”

3D x Gang Of Four ft. Nova Twins – ‘Where The Nightingale Sings’

Massive Attack’s 3D has teamed up with Nova Twins to deliver a remix of Gang Of Four track, ‘Where The Nightingale Sings’. Gang Of Four’s late leader Andy Gill tragically passed away early in 2020 aged 64, and the post-punk legend is to be immortalised with a poignant tribute album released this May. This 3D and Nova Twins’ effort will appear on the release titled, The Problem of Leisure: A Celebration of Andy Gill and Gang of Four.

Massive Attack took embers of what the Gang of Four had done in their career and taken to that spirit to a new world, which shows just how culturally significant Andy Gill remains. This album looks to celebrate a true underground hero and the man who is your favourite musician’s favourite musician. Check out the visuals for the track, below.

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