Radar Roundup – April 24, 2020: The week’s essential new music from Ela Minus, Yard Act and more

NME’s Radar Roundup is your weekly reminder of the rule-breaking rising artists you cannot afford to ignore right now. From interviews to reviews and track recommendations, this is where you’ll met your favourite new artist.

Interviews

Each week we meet the most exciting new names in the game. Here we speak rebellion with Brooklyn-based producer Ela Minus, learn how to be a disruptive force with Ashnikko and how PS2 game soundtracks influenced Keep Dancing Inc.

Ela Minus

Ela Minus is the one-woman electronic orchestra making techno-pop to soundtrack a rebellion. With her impending debut aiming to set the world to rights, the Bogotá-born, Brooklyn-based producer muses on the power of “bright music for dark times” and the thrill of playing live. Read the full interview Ben Jolley

Ashnikko

Blue hair and bloody music videos – rising pop provocateur Ashnikko wants to a be a playful disruption to the hegemony. In this week’s Breakout, she speaks about that Miley Cyrus co-sign, the TikTok whirlwind and when Olly Sykes called her the coolest person on the planet. Read the full interview Ali Shutler

Keep Dancing Inc

Each week we introduce you to a brand new artist we’re going mad for here at NME Towers via our ego-busting Q&A, What’s Your Band Called, Mate? This week Paris’ Keep Dancing Inc talk synth-pop anthems, their live return and PS2 wrestling video games. Read the full interview Thomas Smith

Reviews

Never let a killer release fly under the radar – here’s what we made of Ambar Lucid’s sparkling debut album, NYC singer Zsela’s captivating new EP and internet hero mxmtoon’s bold new phase.

Ambar Lucid – ‘Garden of Lucid’

On ‘Garden of Lucid’, her debut full-length, the New Jersey-based artist continuously, seamlessly, and seemingly indiscriminately, switches between Spanish and English – often in the same verse, sometimes even during a single sentence. The collision allows full immersion in the engaging, commanding delivery and the mystical, dream-like atmospheres crafted on the record’s nine tracks. Key track: ‘Universe’ Read the full review Luke Morgan Britton

mxmtoon – ‘dawn’ EP

‘dawn’ is mxmtoon’s most substantial record yet; in large part, her observations are bolstered, and given a further depth by Luke Niccoli (Miya Folick, L Devine) on production duties. Maia has proven already that she’s mastered the art of holding back. ‘dawn’ shows the advantages of freewheeling instead. Key track: ‘Fever Dream’ Read the full review El Hunt

Zsela – ‘Ache of Victory’ EP

‘Ache of Victory’ ultimately makes clear why Zsela’s early acclaim has seen her opening for the likes of Angel Olsen and Cat Power, and, thanks to a handful of runway after-party shows, has even led to her being dubbed “the New York fashion scene’s newest muse”. Make no mistake about it though, despite her links to the fashion world, this is most definitely a case of substance over style. Key track: ‘For Now’ Read the full review Luke Morgan Britton

New Bangers

NME’s New Bangers is our weekly-updated playlist full of the essential new tunes you need in your life. This week Leeds’ Yard Act serve up some minimalist rock, while Atlanta’s Faye Webster and Brooklyn-based Charlie Burg offer up a little tenderness.

Yard Act – ‘Trapper’s Pelts’

Things always seem to click at The Brudenell. Widely considered the best venue in Leeds (if not the entire country) the room is where bands set tongues wagging and the independent spirit forges a fiery scene. Minimalist rock group Yard Act have referred to the venue as the instigator for ‘Trapper’s Pelts’, a satirical take on neoliberalism driven by James Smith’s menacing vocals and fuzzy bassline, most notable for its killer one-liners: “I collapsed under the weight of my own success”. As endearing and iconoclast as the room itself. Thomas Smith

Faye Webster – ‘In A Good Way

When NME last spoke to the Atlanta-based folk hero Faye Webster, she said that for her last album ‘Atlanta Millionaires Club’, she wanted the songwriting to be “less vague” and “more honest”. New single ‘In A Good Way’ cuts similarly deep to those songs – whereas before she was chasing a lover or pining to for home, on this new cut she revels in the complicated emotions in the present without compromising any of the details. Thomas Smith

Charlie Burg – ‘Channel Orange In Your Living Room’

Upon release, Brooklyn’s Charlie Burg shared a lengthy Instagram note, detailing this song’s bumpy journey. Initially recorded in a friend’s attic, but consistently revisited and tweaked in other studios – it taught the singer-songwriter to go with his gut and release the rough and ready version that he fell in love with in the first pace. Pairing vocals reminiscent of early-Ezra Koenig with a lo-fi indie-folk framework, Burg realises that homespun original is truest to song’s intimate subject matter. Thomas Smith

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