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Essential Listening: This week's best new music


The week is over yet again, and so is August, but at least the kids are back at school. which can only mean one thing: It’s time for The Far Out Playlist. Here is another round of new music that you need to wrap around your ears. We’ve got a thunderous rendition from Sam Fender, a new number from Big Thief, and something special from Yard Act.

Whatever you have got planned this week, here is your soundtrack. There’s no shame in wanting to spin some old classics, but there are few feelings that match the joy of discovering new music. The seven handpicked songs below will sound perfect through a Bluetooth speaker whether you’re enjoying the lack of restrictions in place with friends or just want to bliss out at home.

The weekly round-up collects the best on offer every weekend and puts them into a handy snack-sized playlist. 2021 has been a year that we’ll want to forget for the most part, but it has been an exciting year for emerging artists.

Music has been a constant release for many of us through these turbulent times, and now we are out of it, we can finally watch these new acts we’ve fallen in love with. 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:

For Those I Love – ‘You Stayed / To Live’ (Ela Minus remix)

For Those I Love has unveiled the Ela Minus’ throttling remix of ‘You Stayed / To Live’.

The track originally featured on David Balfe’s stunning debut LP as For Those I Love, which arrived earlier this year. He’s recruited the Brooklyn-based, Colombian-born electronic artist to take on his track and she makes it get even more depraved than his, yet, manages to maintain the heart that Balfe poured into the album track.

“Ela’s work has fascinated me with the texture and atmosphere imbued in each crevice and sound,” Balfe commented. “Hearing that same delicacy, alongside a determined venom in this remix, was a true gift. It’s beautifully intoxicating, and I’m so proud to have played a part in this piece of art.”

Big Thief – ‘Certainty’

Big Thief have released their dainty new single, ‘Certainty’, which will tug on your heartstrings.

The stripped-back acoustic number is carried by Adrianne Lenker’s soul-stirring vocal performance, which is filled with pain and finds her pondering. Intriguingly, it was written and recorded directly to four-track during a three-day power outage while recording at Sam Evian’s Flying Cloud Studios. The authentic way that the song was born translates glides into the track. Without that freak shortage, leaving Lenker with too much time to spend in her own head, then ‘Certainty’ likely ceases to exist.

On the melancholic drenched chorus, Lenker sings, “My certainty is wild, weaving, For you I am a child, believing, You lay beside me sleeping on a plane, In the future.”

Holly Humberstone – ‘Scarlett’

British indie singer-songwriter and perennial Far Out favourite Holly Humberstone has shared a brand new single from her upcoming EP The Walls Are Way Too Thin, the pop-centric ‘Scarlett’.

“We go together like bad British weather/And the one day I made plans” is a fantastically snide and clever kickback at some loser who wasn’t worth all the time and tears wasted on them. Humberstone bemoans having “Cried the summer away” on behalf of one of her best friends, but ultimately they both triumph over this emotional manipulator.

“This track is my absolute favourite,” says Humberstone. “It’s a ‘fuck you’ to the guy that was going out with my closest friend Scarlett and it was written as they were breaking up. The relationship was totally one-sided and lasted for years. Scarlett was all in and had pretty much planned their future and it was pretty clear to me that he was stringing her along, until he broke up with her in a really insensitive and heartless way. I was her closest confidant and so I knew everything she was feeling, and I’d see how passive he was with her at parties first hand.”

Yard Act – ‘The Overload’

Leeds band Yard Act have shared their exhilarating new single, ‘The Overload’, which happens to be the titular track from their forthcoming debut album, which drops next year.

The album arrives in January through their independent label, Zen F.C, which isn’t exactly a fitting name for their biting, social commentary that lifts a microscope across the bar of a rustic carpeted pub. ‘The Overload’ sees us revisit the protagonist, Graham, who the band describe as “a harmless relic of the past, struggling to stay relevant in the modern world”.

Thankfully, the group don’t take the piss out of him and aren’t creating some kind of caricature of an ideal of Britain that they have no knowledge of, which adds a level of nuance to Yard Act which pays dividends on their latest single.

Hak Baker – ‘Cool Kids’

East London’s very own Hak Baker has returned with his reflective new single, ‘Cool Kids’, which sees him look back on the darkness of his teenage years.

Baker is a fascinating artist who collaborated with The Streets last year on ‘Falling Down’. Similarly to Mike Skinner, he takes on these everyday topics through a unique, microscopic wit-filled lens. There are bag fulls of heart to him too, and the ruminative ‘Cool Kids’ sees Baker look back on a youth bereft of ambition.

The song is raw and authentic, with Baker’s characterful vocals engrossing you within the tale that is pouring out from him. Furthermore, it’s accompanied by an equally gritty video and features shots of Hak at 26, plus a younger version of him who gets drawn into quick money in illicit ways.

Badbadnotgood – ‘Beside April’

Canadian instrumental jazz fusion group Badbadnotgood have shared their latest song, ‘Beside April’. A collaboration with legendary Brazilian composer Arthur Verocai and modern jazz drumming giant Karriem Riggins, ‘Beside April’ blends Verocai’s orchestral inclinations with Riggins’ incessant grooves and BBNG’s experimental tendencies. BBNG can alternately be supremely laid back and manically frantic, but here they play into the softer side of their sound.

Riggins is the one who drives everything forward his trademark alternate use of sparse cymbal work and incredible rhythmic chops. Riggins is the drummer on my personal favourite jazz record of all time, the late Mulgrew Miller’s Live at Yoshi’s Vol. 1, as part of trio that consists of Miller, Riggins, and bassist Derrick Hodge. Riggins and Hodge both have a history of crossing over into soul, R&B, and hip hop, and Riggins’ versatility is put to good use on ‘Beside April’.

Sam Fender – ‘Get You Down’

Sam Fender has shared his pounding and soul-stirring new single, ‘Get You Down’.

As someone fortunate enough to hear Fender perform the track in his element on the main stage of NBHD last weekend, the release of ‘Get You Down’ is a much-welcomed one as it’s lived rent-free in my head ever since he got off stage.

Fender mused, “The whole record is about growing up and the self-esteem issues that you carry into your adult life, this song in particular is about how insecurity has affected my relationships. Definitely one of the more personal ones.”