NME Radio Roundup 23 November 2020: Pa Salieu, Slowthai, BENEE and more

Pa Salieu’s debut mixtape ‘Send Them To Coventry’ is a triumph. Filled with bold production and powerful lyricism, it feels like the culmination of the Coventry-based artist’s breakout year, and as written in NME‘s celebratory review, it “promises that Salieu is unbelievably gifted with a ceiling nowhere in sight”. We’ve selected Mahalia collaboration ‘Energy’ from the mixtape for this week’s NME Radio playlist.

Also new to the playlist we’ve got the new ones from Slowthai and Loyle Carner, a collaboration from BENEE and Grimes and Girl In Red‘s Christmas tune.

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

On the A List

Pa Salieu

‘Energy’ feat. Mahalia

Protect your energy,” Pa Salieu urges on the hook of ‘Energy’, the melodic closer of his breakout mixtape ‘Send Them To Coventry’. The soul-laced song sees the fast-rising British-Gambian rapper team up with Mahalia, for a standout track on the rising star’s outstanding new release.

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music



A follow-up to his September single ‘Feel Away’, ‘NHS’ isn’t just slowthai’s way of paying tribute to the National Health Service; it’s also the lead single of his new album ‘TYRON’ and an introspective track about appreciating the good things in life, especially during these strange times. “Be happy and make do with what you have,” the rapper wrote in a statement. “Things could always be better but things could also be worse. Thank you for everything.”

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music


‘Sheesh’ feat. Grimes

‘Sheesh’ is an unlikely collaboration with thrilling results. According to the Kiwi star, she’d set out to make a banging tune, telling NME “I was just really keen to make a drum’n’bass track!” This genre exploring has helped inspire BENEE’s future writing, as she explained: “I’m definitely not going to hold back in the future – trap, hip hop, maybe even techno are all things I’d like to try too.” We can’t wait to hear what she comes up with next.

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

On the B List

Loyle Carner


Since 2019’s ‘Not Waving, But Drowning’, the London rapper has kept relatively quiet on the music front; but that all changed earlier this month when he kicked off his new era with a powerful, politically driven new single. Produced by Madlib, ‘Yesterday’ is Loyle Carner standing up to racial discrimination against the Black community: “Because my skin’s a different colour to them other man / But still they’re calling me the coloured man.”

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Biig Piig

‘Feels Right’

Miss being outside? Miss the sweaty nights on the dancefloor? Miss the rush of meeting new friends and one-night romances? Well, so does Biig Piig. On her latest single ‘Feels Right’, the London-based Irish artist flawlessly captures the euphoric freedom of pre-pandemic days with a funky bassline.

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Bonobo & Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs


For their second collaborative single, Bonobo and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs switched things up. While ‘Heartbreak’ delivered a heady dose of disco, ‘6000ft.’ is dreamy and atmospheric, naturally building into a shimmering climax of magical synths; and it’s a belter.

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

On the C List


‘Chinatown’ feat. Bruce Springsteen

There’s something nostalgic yet new about ‘Chinatown’, Bruce Springsteen’s latest collab with fellow New Jersey native Jack Antonoff and his project, Bleachers. “He is the artist who showed me that the sound of the place I am from has value,” Antonoff said of The Boss, “and that there is a spirit here that needs to be taken all over the world.”

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

girl in red

‘two queens in a king sized bed’

Girl In Red’s latest, ‘Two Queens In a King Sized Bed’, is a charming Christmas release – sleigh bells and all. “I don’t have a lot to give / But I would give you everything,” Marie Ulven sings, “All my time is yours to spend / Let me wrap you in with my skin.” Here’s to the holidays and quality time with your lovers and loved ones.

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Dry Cleaning

‘Scratchcard Lanyard’

I think of myself as a hardy banana with that waxy surface and the small delicate flowers” Flo Shaw of Dry Cleaning intones over the post-punk drive of latest single ‘Scratchcard Lanyard’. “A woman in aviators, firing a bazooka.” So that puts paid to any worries a deal with 4AD – signed after the success of their 2019 EPs ‘Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks’ and ‘Sweet Princess’ – would sand down the London group’s spikier edges. The bass is still taut, the riffs still clamorous, and the lyrics enduringly idiosyncratic.

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Fleet Foxes


On ‘Sunblind’, Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold sits with loss – and transmutes his mourning into a celebration of life and all that it can offer. After remembering The Shins’ Richard Swift and Silver Jews’ David Berman in the first verse, Pecknold urges himself to “forget reserve”, declaring he’ll go “swim for a week in warm American water with dear friends”. It’s a moving song from an equally beautiful album, ‘Shore’, which the folk veterans released as a surprise in September.

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Hey Elbow

‘Don’t Speak’

How do you blow off steam after dropping an anticipated new album? Well, cover No Doubt, of course. Months after putting out third record ‘We Three’, Swedish experimentalists Hey Elbow have deconstructed the ’90s hit in this thrilling cover. Hey Elbow have a love-hate relationship with ‘Don’t Speak’, the trio have explained in a statement, because of its omnipresence in that formative decade. The hate bit doesn’t come through in this cover, though, which ups the drama of the No Doubt original with Radiohead-indebted percussion and ringing guitar lines.

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music


‘Low To Low’

When Jay Watson isn’t touring with Tame Impala or playing with Pond, the Aussie artist is making his own solo music as GUM – and earlier this year, dropped the new album ‘Out In The World’. With its shuffling rhythms, keyboard arpeggios and triumphant horns, ‘Low To Low’ is a danceable standout from the record.

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Lost Horizons

‘One For Regret’ feat. Porridge Radio

Lost Horizons – the musical duo made up of Cocteau Twins’ Simon Raymonde and drummer Richie Thomas from Dif Juz By – are readying the new album ‘In Quiet Moments’, which features a different guest artist on every song. ‘One For Regret’ is our first taste of the upcoming project, and saw the duo work with Porridge Radio’s Dana Margolin, who chants, with increasing desperation, over a fuzzy, driving track with guitar lines that alternately shimmer and squall.

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

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