Late last week, St. Vincent announced her long-awaited return with ‘Pay Your Way In Pain’, a funk-driven tune which she described to NME as “blues for 2021”. The captivating track, which is the first taste of her upcoming album ‘Daddy’s Home’, was a must-add to the A List of this week’s NME Radio roundup, alongside a groovy new single from R&B duo Emotional Oranges.
Other highlights on this week’s new NME Radio additions are releases from dance producer India Jordan, British singer Jade Bird and the latest from Jessie Ware. Not to mention a larger-than-life collaboration between No Rome, Charli XCX and The 1975.
Here are all this week’s additions to the NME 1 & 2 playlists:
On the A List
‘Pay Your Way In Pain’
Annie Clark is back, baby. The artist better known as St. Vincent has loosened up for new album ‘Daddy’s Home’ (out May 14), embracing the grit and sleaze of ’70s funk as exemplified on louche lead single ‘Pay Your Way In Pain’.
“There’s something interesting about what the early ‘70s were, and the parallels between then and now – even socially,” she told NME of the era she looked to for inspiration. “You had the idealism of the ‘60s come crashing down and the flower child thing had dissipated and made room for a way grittier, more nihilistic, more ‘dirt under the fingernails’ vibe.” We can’t wait.
‘Body & Soul’ feat. Biig Piig
Los Angeles R&B duo Emotional Oranges are gearing up for the release of their new project, ‘Juicebox’, due out later this year. The first taste of the forthcoming release is the groovy ‘Body & Soul’, featuring NME 100 alumnus Biig Piig (real name Jess Smyth). “We DM’d Jess after hearing her song ‘Don’t Turn Around’ and she happened to have just moved to LA from London. We made two dope ideas the first day we got in the studio,” the duo said in a press release. “The ‘Body & Soul’ hook was actually the bridge for the first track we did and we decided to build around that for an entirely new song. The feel good, carefree energy reminds me of ‘Motion’ and ‘Personal’ and I’m glad we were able to bring that back for ‘Juicebox’.”
On the B List
No Rome, Charli XCX & The 1975
It’s the supergroup no one saw coming but one that we all needed. Dirty Hit labelmates No Rome and The 1975 team up with Charli XCX for a heartbreak anthem disguised in an addictive sugary pop concoction. “I must be causing your pain / I bet you feel the same / But you never regret a thing / ’Cause the game feels so good to win, darling,” Charli croons in with her distinctive Auto-Tune.
Dance producer India Jordan’s pulsating new song ‘And Groove’ was made during the peak of the first coronavirus lockdown in London and was crafted to be “reminiscent of a train journey – repetitive and rhythmic movement that goes on and on”. The track is a cut from Jordan’s forthcoming EP ‘Watch Out!’, which they described in a press statement as “a homage to both physical and conceptual movement”.
‘Open Up The Heavens’
‘Open Up The Heavens’ is Jade Bird’s “favourite song” from her upcoming as-yet-untitled second studio album, due out later this year. The soaring pop-rock track was produced by Dave Cobb, who also worked on her previous singles ‘Houdini’ and ‘Headstart’, and was the last song written for the album. “I’d heard stories about the last song you write for a record being the best, so I was searching for that in the vocal booth of RCA that evening,” Bird said in a statement. “Halfway into the riff, Dave pops his head in and says, ‘You should really do something with that’. So I did. I sent the song to him two hours later and before I knew it, everyone was brought back in and we were tracking my favourite song on the record.”
According to Dreya Mac, her latest single “was definitely made for mosh pits and festivals,” and her description is spot on. The thumping Karma Kid-produced beat paired with the West London rapper’s potent bars turn ‘Bag’ into a ferocious club banger rather than a mere dancefloor filler.
‘Blink Of An Eye’ feat. Robin Yerah & Noogi
South Korean producer DAUL is making his mark with ‘Blink Of An Eye’, a sultry R&B banger with soulful vocals from Dutch singer Robin Yerah and groovy bass by Korean musician Noogi. The international collaboration follows his 2020 single ‘For Us’ with THAMA and will appear on his upcoming debut EP.
‘Remember Where You Are’
Jessie Ware has released ‘Remember Where You Are’, the soulful closing track of her 2020 album ‘What’s Your Pleasure?’ as a single. The song is a call to stay grounded and overcome hardship through community – a perfect statement for our uncertain times. Its accompanying short film, starring actress Gemma Arterton walking the desolate London streets, captures ‘Remember Where You Are’’s poignant mix of melancholia and hope.
On the C List
‘Nah It Ain’t The Same’
NME 100 member Greentea Peng – aka Aria Wells – is gearing up to release her debut album, ‘MAN MADE’, out this summer. The first track from the anticipated release is a hypnotic slow-burner, which Wells has described as “an expression and exploration of my utter confusion and inner conflicts amidst shifting paradigms”. “Waking up to this disarray,” she croons on the opening. “This uncertainness only seems to serve the misery.” Vibes aside, the song is equal parts poetic and thought-provoking.
Japanese Breakfast’s third album ‘Jubilee’ is about joy, the artist born Michelle Zauner has said – and ‘Be Sweet’ is a perfect preview of the exhilaration we’re in for, from its shameless ’80s pop inspirations to the X-Files-referencing video (confused by the crossover? The line “I wanna believe in you” from the chorus should explain it all.)
On her recently released third album ‘Little Oblivions’, Julien Baker has figured out how to flesh out her sound without losing the intimacy of her songwriting. ‘Heatwave’, written after Baker was stuck in traffic after a car randomly combusted, is a prime example of this. The Tennessee singer-songwriter mixes honest, banal observations – “I had the shuddering thought / ‘This was gonna make me late for work’” – with the painfully beautiful: “I’ll wrap Orion’s belt around my neck / And kick the chair out.”
Aussie trio HighSchool’s ‘De Facto’ begins ominously as a gloomy bassline looms over pulsating synths. But then the drums kick in, the rush of energy reflecting the song’s bubbling anxiety about a turbulent relationship (“Yesterday I felt as though your love for me was wearing out / You turn me on, you turn around.”) “We created ‘De facto’ to shed a mortal light on love,” the band said. “It presents relationships as being temporary and expected.”
“Yeah, life’s heavy, but not always,” emawk reflects on his new song ‘Acouscous’, which the NYC producer-songwriter has said is “about one of the ways I’ve learnt to process feeling misunderstood/misjudged”. Over soothing guitar and piano, emawk reminds himself to “take a breather” and “let the waves hit your soul”. It’s the perfect musical remedy for pandemic-induced stress.
‘Click Click Domino’ feat. Marcus King
Christopher Turpin and Stephanie Jean Ward – aka the husband-wife duo known as Ida Mae – have announced their second album with the explosive title track ‘Click Click Domino’. Featuring Marcus King, ‘Click Click Domino’ is all searing guitars and thundering drums with razor-sharp lyrics. “Pretty as a cupcake,” they sneer. “Cheap as a deep fake, come on.”