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Essential Listening: This week's best new music

March is here, longer days are upon us, socially distanced beers at the park are legal again and the early thoughts of summer are beaming brightly on the horizon. Still, we have a little while longer locked inside our homes as the pandemic rumbles on and we must continue to search for anything to fill the void.

One thing, however, that has the ability to snap us out of the mundane homogenous nature of everyday lockdown life is the sound of new music. The only constant throughout the 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 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. Over the past week, there have been a plethora of artists both new and old who have teased music as they gear up to release new projects, with new tracks from the likes of The Coral and Kele Okereke.

Elsewhere, there’s been fresh tracks from exciting rising artists like Inhaler and L’obectif. Let’s get stuck into this week’s freshest new tracks then, shall we?

This week’s best new music:

Kele – ‘The Heart Of The Wave’

Bloc Party frontman Kele has shared his mesmerising new song ‘The Heart Of The Wave’. The instrumental number follows from 2019’s solo album 2042, his fourth-attempt as a solo artist away from Bloc Party and his most complete. Okereke has delved into a range of different territories throughout these albums since his thunderous electro-house style debut, The Boxerback in 2010.

Speaking about the placating track, Kele comments: “‘The Heart Of The Wave’ started quite absentmindedly. During lockdown, I was spending a lot of time playing electric guitar in my room and I found on some of the bleakest days making the swirling guitar loops calmed me down. It was almost like a kind of therapy for me.”

Caribou – ‘Home’ (Toro Y Moi Remix)

Caribou has shared Toro Y Moi’s remix of his track, ‘Home’, which featured on the Canadian producer’s 2020 effort, Suddenly. There’s an expansive charm to the remix, which allows ‘Home’ to float into your subconscious. Toro Y Moi removes the fierce sampled jazz vocal that takes centre-stage in the original. He, instead, relies on Snaith’s vocal track to carry the track, giving it a more ambient and dejected feeling, which sets it apart from the euphoric original.

Hearing these two worlds of Caribou and Toro Y Moi colliding is an unbridled joy, even if the latter’s remix does add an air of bleakness contrasted with Snaith’s. Whilst many remixes create a minimal difference; Toro Y Moi manages to bring out a completely different set of emotions from the same piece of music and delivers a slab of melancholia.

Gengahr – ‘Under The Skin’

Gengahr have returned with their new single, ‘Under The Skin’, the first release since 2020’s Sanctuary. The track is a stand-alone single written for Amazon Prime’s American Gods and appears on the third season of the hit-show that is currently airing on the streaming service. ‘Under The Skin‘ sees Gengahr explore the dystopian world in which American Gods exist, rubbing it together with their psychedelic infused brand of indie-pop, which make for fitting sparring partners.

There’s a muscular twisted ecclesiastical feel to ‘Under The Skin’ from a lyrical perspective, which adds a haunting layer to the soul-stirring song as Gengahr adapt themselves to the other-worldly location where the programme exists.

‘Under The Skin’ gradually builds up tension throughout the song as Gengahr expertly create a bloodthirsty sense of atmosphere that grips the listener into the palms of the band for this thrilling six-minute mini-drama that plays out throughout the track.

L’objectif – ‘Drive In Mind’

Leeds newcomers L’objectif have made a blistering arrival with their debut official single ‘Drive In Mind’. The track is a skilful way of announcing that L’objectif are here and it is a pounding, exhilarating effort that confirms you’re in for a rough ride as, from the first aggressive chord, it grabs you by the collar and punches you square on the nose.

Frontman Kane sounds as though his life is on the line as he delivers gut-punching takes again and again, which is reminiscent of a Faris Badwan during the early days of The Horrors.

Debut singles have got to be full of swagger, ferocious energy, and bands have got to make sure that the song is anything but forgettable, L’objectif passes all these tests with flying colours with ‘Drive In Mind’ that is a throbbing effort that leaves a marker on the mind.

Squid – ‘Paddling’

Squid have shared their forceful and expansive brand new single, ‘Paddling’. The track is the Brighton band’s latest effort who are gearing up to release their highly-anticipated debut album, Bright Green Field, on legendary label Warp Records on May 7th. The six-minute bonanza is a wild adventure into the weird world that Squid has carved out for themselves, making their album one of the most noteworthy debut releases of 2021.

A part of Squid’s charm is how they switch vocals continuously throughout their tracks, keeping the listener on their toes. From the laser-synths and erratically arresting vocals to the pinching drum machine loop that ties everything together, Squid go everywhere there is to sonically go on ‘Paddling’ before an abrupt anxiety-inducing, heart in the mouth end.

There’s an unpredictable nature to Squid’s sounds, and ‘Paddling’ is no different and is an assured effort from a band, who look poised to release one of the stand-out debut albums of 2021.

Inhaler – ‘Cheer Up Baby’

Inhaler have shared their shimmering new single, ‘Cheer Up Baby’, and announced details of their hotly-anticipated debut album. The track is one that they first-recorded as teenagers and has been a favourite at live shows, but Inhaler have been waiting to release it as a single until the time was right, and timing doesn’t get much better than right now.

Positive sentiment floods out of the anthemic ‘Cheer Up Baby’, and it is a rousing listen. The latest single is also the opening track from their debut album, It Won’t Always Be Like This, which will arrive on 16th July.

‘Cheer Up Baby’ takes you back to the days of live shows, and you can almost taste the smell of warm beer-soaked on your T-shirt. The track is destined to be performed live, with Hewson no-doubt injecting even more bucket loads of energy into it than he manages to cram into their latest single that is soaking with vigour.

The Coral – ‘Lover Undiscovered’

The Coral have shared their sparkling new single, ‘Lover Undiscovered’. This effort is the second single from the band’s forthcoming tenth studio album, Coral Island, their first-ever double album and arrives on April 30th. The album is set on the mystical Coral Island and comes with a fully illustrated book written by keyboardist Nick Power.

‘Lover Undiscovered’ is a sweet, blissful and melodic effort that kicks off Coral Island. It’s about those days of summer that we take for granted and look back on with the fondest of memories. The track is trademark Coral; the band are experts at creating infectious indie-pop, and ‘Lover Undiscovered’ showcases the lighter side to the group, whereas the previous single, ‘Faceless Angel’, displayed the grittier part to their split personality.

Commenting on the track, frontman James Skelly said: “To me, ‘Lover Undiscovered’ is about when you notice or feel something you take for granted, as simple as the sea or a bird flying, and it’s like discovering that feeling all over again. We wanted the recording to sound like The Velvet Underground playing a Motown song in Rhyl Sun Centre.”