NME Radio Roundup 3 May 2021: Billie Eilish, The Chemical Brothers, Jorja Smith and more

Billie Eilish’s latest release ‘Your Power’ is hugely poignant. The lead single from upcoming record ‘Happier Than Ever’ is, Eilish has explained, “an open letter to people who take advantage – mostly men”. Over the intimate, soft instrumentals Eilish addresses abuse of power, and the remarkable release from the teen superstar was a must-add to this week’s NME Radio playlist.

Also new to NME Radio this week we’ve got the latest from Jorja Smith, a kaleidoscopic floor-filler from The Chemical Brothers and Bristol upstart Willow Kayne’s fiery debut ‘Two Seater’.

Here are all this week’s additions to the NME 1 & 2 playlists:

On the A List

Billie Eilish

‘Your Power’

Billie Eilish’s latest comes from a deeply vulnerable place. On a track sparsely coloured by delicate guitars and soft instrumentals, she distills personal darkness from her past abusive ties into a warning. Uncomfortable and quietly confrontational, it’s a remarkable release. – JX Soo

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Willow Kayne

‘Two Seater’

The major label debut of fiery Bristol-based upstart Willow Kayne, ‘Two Seater’ introduces the world to the rapper’s eclectic brand of playful lyricism, smooth refrains, and ‘90s-indebted grooves. Citing Tyler, The Creator and Gorillaz as musical heroes, Kayne neatly channels the best aspects of her influences, showing off brisk delivery over stripped-back instrumentals. “The world it chose you / Live how you wanna / Just do your own thing / Man, we’re alive,” she sings on the track’s chorus, completing an ode to living life the way you want to. – Isaac Chiew

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

On the B List

Jorja Smith

‘Gone’

Handling loss is never easy, and on ‘Gone’, Jorja Smith unravels the raw emotional pain of the process: “Tell me what to do when the ones you love have gone missing.” Boasting crisp beats and ghostly keys, Smith’s latest is an intimate portrait of personal tragedy. – JXS

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

The Chemical Brothers

‘The Darkness That You Fear’

Let your heart see the colours all around you,” a looping refrain urges on ‘The Darkness That You Fear’. The line is a fitting summary of The Chemical Brothers’ decades-long career, where night skies and dim clubs have served as canvases for their laser beams and colourful mixes. The duo find kinship with that darkness again on their new single. Packed with euphoric builds, jubilant chord progressions and psychedelic textures, it’s a kaleidoscopic gem that tells you there’s no need to be afraid. – JXS

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Allday

‘Stolen Cars’

Allday wants to start over again. “We gotta get out of this place,” he begins on slick new single ‘Stolen Cars’ – and as he leaves his city behind, the Melbourne native conjures an imaginary journey through young love and hedonistic escapes. As the song drives forward with saturated drum hits and smooth, ’80s-styled synth flourishes, he dreamily paints scenes of stolen drinks, starry nights, and all the melancholic haze that lies in between. – JXS

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Mattiel

‘Those Words’

A charming slice of indie pop, the latest from Atlanta’s Mattiel fuses washed out guitars and driving backbeats with Mattiel Brown’s powerhouse vocals. Reflecting on a free-spirited Sunday, the frontwoman leaves behind unsolicited advice that has long kept her down. “Those words don’t mean much,” she tells herself, as she embarks on her new life. – JXS

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

On the C List

Aziya

‘Heaven For Me’

Powered by a luscious bassline, Aziya’s latest is a soulful ode that traverses the minefields of toxic relationships. As hazy synths colour its thumping backbeats, her conflicted inner thoughts accentuate ‘Heaven For Me’’s seductive mirage: “My mind wants to keep you inside / ’Cause it’s bеtter when you’re pushed outta sight,” she confesses on its soaring chorus. – JXS

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Amber Mark

‘Worth It’

Amber Mark’s first single of 2021 is one that aims for uplift. Over piano chords and a hip-swaying beat the singer-songwriter urges self-belief and self-love, belting: “You think you don’t deserve it / But you are so damn worth it, baby”.

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Dave & Kamal.

‘Mercury’

Two years on from his last release, Dave returns with a soulful reexamination of his career to date, with his verses full of honest and revealing anecdotes. As he tells his story over cavernous beats, Kamal mirrors his mind with ghostly melodies: “I feel, I feel you breaking under / My skin, I’ll be your vacant lover.” – JXS

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Anika

‘Finger Pies’

Anika’s first song in eight years, ‘Finger Pies’, is a surreal exploration of self and what it means to simply exist. Over post-punk concoction of steady bass lines and sparse instrumentals, Anika alternates between spoken-word and singing to craft a fractured narrative that feels uncomfortably intimate. “Some may say you are / Only interested in one thing / That’s to get your own way / That’s to get your own way,” she declares on its hypnotic hook. – IC

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

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