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. The most high profile track that emerged this week came when Lana Del Rey announced her return deliciously, and Julien Baker also shared another treat as she gears up to release her new album next month.

If it’s new artists, then we’ve got you covered here as well, with the likes of Claud and Baby Queen who both are musicians that you need to keep a firm eye on as they become stars of tomorrow. Let’s get stuck into this week’s freshest new track then, shall we?

This week’s best new music:

Rhye – ‘Closer’

This week Rhye shared the dreamy new single, ‘Come In Closer’, accompanied by a video that he directed with his partner Genevieve Medow-Jenkins.

‘Come In Closer’ is the third track taken from the fourth studio album from Mike Milosh, known professionally as Rhye. Home is set to be released on January 22nd and sees the singer continue on this vein of melancholic pop that the singer has mastered over the last few records.

The track is blissful from start to finish, the wistful beat and the song’s gorgeous strings section delicately complement Rhye’s somewhat monotone vocals. The video for the track also encapsulates the message perfectly and focuses on the love felt between siblings as they live out their version of utopia — riding bikes through the woods and go for a dip in the Pacific Ocean.

Lana Del Rey – ‘Chemtrails Over The Country Club’

Lana Del Rey shared the delectable titular new track, ‘Chemtrails Over The Country Club’, taken from her highly anticipated forthcoming album. The record was first due to arrive back in September but various setbacks, including vinyl production issues, have prevented Chemtrails Over The Country Club from reaching the shelves. Thankfully, Del Rey’s seventh-studio album will finally be available on March 19th via Interscope.

The latest single is everything you’ve come to expect from a Lana Del Rey track, ‘Chemtrails Over The Country Club’ sits firmly in her wheelhouse and sees her deliver another beautifully heartbreaking effort. Rather than experimenting with new sounds, Del Rey has perfected the art of the bittersweet ballad and nobody does what she does better.

“I’m on the run with you, my sweet love, There’s nothing wrong contemplating God, Under the chemtrails over the country club, We’re in our jewels in the swimming pool, Me and my sister just playin’ it cool, Under the chemtrails over the country club,” Del Rey sings on the opening verse.

Claud – ‘Cuff Your Jeans’

The track is downbeat, introspective and offers up a different side to Claud than has previously been on show on singles like ‘Gold’ and ‘If I Were You’. That said, the shift away from their traditional sound works a treat. ‘Cuff Your Jeans’ is a pure delight as Claud expresses wanderlust and yearns to be with their desired person of affection. They longingly sing: “When are you going back to college? Remember how my dorm was haunted? Smoking in the cemetery, Getting older’s getting scary.”

“I wrote it after having a fever dream about trying to get on a train to see my friend but missing it over and over and over because there was always some obstacle in my way. The dream left me in a cold sweat and extremely frustrated,” Claud said in a statement about the track.

Claud’s debut album Super Monster arrives on February 12th; it was announced back in October that they were the first act signed to Phoebe Bridgers’ new label, Saddest Factory, an imprint of Dead Oceans.

Julien Baker – ‘Hardline’

‘Hardline’ is the brand new single taken from the 25-year-old’s upcoming third studio album, Little Oblivions, set to hit shelves next month through Matador. The record is her first since 2017’s Turn On The Lights and ‘Hardline’ is the second single she has shared from the LP, which follows October’s comeback track, ‘Faith Healer’.

‘Hardline’ is the opening track on Little Oblivions, and Baker’s powerful, passionate and fiery delivery is beguiling.

Not only does Baker’s vocals paint a vivid picture of a dark struggle on ‘Hardline’, but the addition of the thumping drums and emphatic organs give the song a dreaded sense of jeopardy that crushes with every crescendo. The song is captivating from the first note until the last and makes the listener root for the protagonist fighting a battle that seems to have no end-in-sight.

Baby Queen – ‘Raw Thoughts’

The infectious track is another indie-pop banger carved up by Baby Queen aka Bella Latham. It is a quintessential anthem that encapsulates everything that has made her star rise so fast in such a short space of time. It was only last May when she released her debut single, ‘Internet Religion’, which was a genuinely emphatic arrival and made people quickly take notice of her.

Since then she has continued to go from strength to strength with each release and ‘Raw Thoughts’ hints at 2021 being the year in which Baby Queen truly begins her takeover.

‘Raw Thoughts’ is another frank, open lyric delivery that sees Latham not sugar-coat her feelings and hedonistic actions that capture a moment in time, that helped birth Baby Queen. Whilst the lyrics are naked, the production is the polar opposite of that and the refined pop nature of these two facets that combine on the song which continue to complement each other finely.

Sleaford Mods ft. Amy Taylor – ‘Nudge It’

Sleaford Mods have delivered once more on their brand new fiery single ‘Nudge It’, a project that sees the Nottingham duo link up with Amy Taylor from Amyl and the Sniffers. This is the latest single to be taken from the duo’s forthcoming sixth record, Spare Ribs, which is arrived on January 15th through Rough Trade and is their first studio album since 2019 effort Eton Alive

Over the last decade, nobody has been consistently offering such poignant social commentary quite like Sleaford Mods and, on ‘Nudge It’, Jason Williamson has landed the dart on bullseye as he points his gun at the faux people masquerading as something they couldn’t be further away from in reality.

Williamson’s vocals are visceral, and the jagged delivery of Amy Taylor’s juxtaposes fittingly with the Sleaford Mods frontman.

Bicep – ‘Sundial’

Bicep have shared the final taster from their upcoming album with the trip-inducing brand new single ‘Sundial’. The Belfast boys have delivered yet again on the track and are proving exactly why they are currently one of the most exciting artists operating in the dance arena right now.

‘Sundial’ is the fourth single to be taken from their forthcoming highly anticipated sophomore album, Isles, shared on January 22nd through Ninja Tune.

Commenting on the track, Bicep note: “This is probably one of the simplest tracks on the album, it grew from a faulty Jupiter 6 arp recording. Our trigger isn’t working properly and the arp skips notes randomly. This was a small segment taken from a recording of Andy just playing the arp live whilst we were just trying to figure out what was going wrong. We actually loved what it had produced and wrote some chords around it, guided by the feeling of this recording.”

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