Last week Arlo Parks released her anticipated debut album ‘Collapsed In Sunbeams’, which received the five-star treatment here at NME. The gorgeous record sees Parks couple her trademark compassionate lyricism with sun-drenched melodies and groove-laced hooks, and is a welcome ray of light during this dreary winter. We’ve picked ‘Hope’ from the album for the NME Radio playlist this week.
Here are all this week’s additions to the NME 1 & 2 playlists:
On the A List
On ‘Heels’, Billy Nomates lets you know exactly who she is. “I do not do heels,” she sneers, as synth squiggles rear their heads. “Oh, and the climate ain’t right.” The charismatic first single from her upcoming EP ‘Emergency Telephone’, out in March on Invada Records, it’s an exciting glimpse of what’s to come.
Taken from Arlo Parks‘ gorgeous debut album ‘Collapsed In Sunbeams’, ‘Hope’ is a musical ray of sunshine. Over pysch-flecked instrumentals she delivers the buoyant chorus: “You’re not alone / Like you think you are / We all scars / I know it’s hard / You’re not alone”. Explaining the creation of the song in her NME track-by-track guide to the album, Parks said: “The reason this song is so important is because of that hope, and because of that sentiment ‘you’re not alone’…Everybody has their own individual scars and things that have hurt them or changed them…but I just pictured people singing along to this at a show, all these people shouting ‘you’re not alone’ and holding each other.”
On the B List
Cosha & Shygirl
‘Lapdance From Asia’
‘Lapdance From Asia’ is a transportive belter. On it Irish vocalist and songwriter Cosha and London sensation Shygirl deliver seductive vocals and sensual instrumentation to convey the song’s central, heady inspiration: meeting Asia, a “bold girl” with opinions and moves to match. The duo step delicately around the subtle bedroom sonics, with its slow beat and suggestive guitar.
Taken from Goat Girl’s intimate second album ‘On All Fours’, ‘Badibaba’ sees the south London post-punks consider how humankind have treated the planet. The song, which they describe as a tune about “environmental catastrophe and the pessimism and self-destruction that this causes to the human spirit,” is a synth-driven slow-burner, filled with sharp lyrics that look at how people tend to look the other way when it comes to climate change (“Tearing up and burning down / Leave all sadness underground / Shove it somewhere we won’t see / Turn our mess into debris.”).
The first taste of Ruti’s new project, ‘My Sunrise’ is calming neo-soul tune, anchored by her velvety voice that belies her 21 years. She’s said of the song, “It’s a reminder that often there’s a lot more time to do things than I think I have and have to allow ourselves to stop or slow down sometimes.”
On ‘Weakness’, Poppy Ajudha is unafraid to bare her soul, laying out her emotions over a sensual concoction of jazz and R&B. The track chronicles an intoxicating romance that unexpectedly spins the singer’s life out of control. “Don’t need to be somebody’s trophy wifе / Won’t ever see myself compromisе,” Ajudha declares at first before later admitting, “You came along, your love it took me by surprise.”
On the C List
“Dark days, it’s a never ending cycle of abuse / Dark days, I have the blues and I can’t shake them loose,” Yard Act frontman James Smith proclaims. The final single before the Leeds band go on to work on their debut album is quintessentially Yard Act. With a stomping rhythm section and spiky guitars that accompany Smith’s striking lyrics, it’s a stone-cold smasher.
A highlight of Bicep‘s new album ‘Isles’, ‘Cazenove’ was inspired by the duo’s interest in ’90s technology. Fusing fuzzy beats with pulsing synth lines and ethereal vocoded vocals, it’s a playful cut of their deeply affecting dance music.
Dreamy from start to finish, ‘Someone Else’ initially starts slow, with Deb Never’s signature drawl falling effortlessly into place over tender guitar licks. “I can rob you of your time,” the singer teases. “But still can’t break in your complicated mind / Oh my, oh my.” Soon the melody gains momentum and Never’s vocals grow lighter and lighter, before it plunges into an exhilarating kaleidoscope of drums and bass.
If Emawk isn’t already on your radar, then the NYC producer’s latest track ‘Highroad’ should do the trick. Speaking about writing the song, Emawk says: “while I’m proud of the lyrics and the time I took to write them, it was one of the few times where writing was mostly about the vibe, as cheesy as that might sound.”
No, your ears aren’t deceiving you – Australian pop artist CLOVES has, with the help of co-writer and co-producer Hudson Mohawke, interpolated Suzanne Vega’s classic ‘Tom’s Diner’ and turned it into a dark, slinky banger for the 21st century. “‘Sicko’ is my best way of painting the tunnel vision, panic scramble of social anxiety,” she’s said of the song. “It’s like a living, breathing second personality in your brain.”
Arlo Parks picture credit: Tamiym Cader for NME