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.
Each week we meet the most exciting new names in the game, while keeping an eye on the world around us. This week we meet fired-up producer-turned pop renegade Oliver Malcolm, ruminate on the potential closure of Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios and meet Billie Eilish’s new favourite artist, Lav.
A co-sign from Billie Eilish sent a wave of attention Lav’s way – but now she’s back with her first new song. ‘Wavvy’ is a step beyond the cutesy music that she’s played with before, all shuddering synths and haunted regret, but the track still dances with a rose-tinted romance. Read the full interview Ali Shutler
With recent news of potential closure, NME speaks to key artists about the importance of Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios, including Blossoms, The Coral, Bill Ryder Jones, The Mysterines and the city’s wider scene Read the full feature Rhys Buchanan
Based almost entirely around the discovery and promotion of new music, The Great Escape is a vital signpost of the rising stars set to for greatness in the coming years – but this year has been sadly cancelled. Here are the 20 artists we were dead-excited to see, but you should check out regardless. Read the full list Thomas Smith
Never let a killer release fly under the radar – get our verdict on Finnish pop hero ALMA’s long-awaited debut album and Public Practice’s punk-funk collection.
ALMA‘s made some of her sharpest songs yet on ‘Have U Seen Her?’, whether she’s embracing her party girl status or dealing with fake friends. It explores a darker mood and is stuffed with irresistible pop hooks, spooky synths and melodic R&B jams – and all with deeply personal stories at the core. Key track: ‘Bad News Baby’ Read the full review Charlotte Krol
Recorded largely in guitarist Vince McClelland’s home studio, it gives an alternative to Dua Lipa’s super-polished pop take on the shimmying sounds of the ‘70s, feeling delightfully handmade as it struts through 12 sublime tracks that transport you out of the four walls of your home and into a world much sparklier, sweatier and fun. Key track: ‘Cities’ Read the full review Rhian Daly
NME’s New Bangers is our weekly-updated playlist full of the essential new tunes you need in your life.
Easy Life – ‘Peanut Butter’
The title of Easy Life’s new collection is a bit on the nose. Comprised of two demoes, ‘see you later maybe never’ – recorded both while in lockdown – and ‘peanut butter’s lines about the domestic wilderness we’ve ended up in (“Channel surfing in the covers/I’m dreaming of the leafy suburbs”), is a slick example of the Leicester gang’s ability to combine gooey sentiments with a dash of surrealism. Thomas Smith
KennyHoopla – ‘Plastic Door//’
If you pine for halcyon days of indie anthems and dirty dancefloors, KennyHoopla is your guy. Channelling some of the ’00s biggest names – Bloc Party, Two Door Cinema Club – and adding a grungy, emo twist, the Wisconsin teen has served up some of the year’s most electrifying bangers on his latest EP. ‘Plastic Door’ is a relatively retrained, but worthwhile moment. Thomas Smith
Arlo Parks – ‘Black Dog’
The opening line to Arlo Parks ‘Black Dog’ is particularly devastating – “I’d lick the grief right off your lips” she promises atop a gentle guitar strum. Delicately tackling potent themes of isolation, mental health and grief, the Londoner’s ability to dig deep in her soul and spill its contents is awe-inspiring. Thomas Smith