NME Radio might have taken a couple of weeks off for the New Year, but the influx of excellent new music never stops. Over the holidays SZA debuted the full version of ‘Good Days’ (first previewed during the video for ‘Hit Different’ and released due to overwhelming demand from fans) and Grimes dropped the rave edition of her 2020 album ‘Miss Anthropocene’ (we’ve picked the remix of ‘You’ll Miss Me When I’m Not Around’ for this week’s NME Radio playlist).
We’ve also added fresh tunes from slowthai, Pale Waves, Kings Of Leon, Celeste and Foo Fighters – all of whom are expected to release new albums this year – to the playlist this week, alongside tracks by Alice Glass, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and more.
Here are all this week’s additions to the NME 1 & 2 playlists:
On the A List
When SZA dropped her comeback single ‘Hit Different’ last September, it arrived with a little surprise: an entrancing, untitled song that concluded its music video. After much badgering from fans, the singer finally released it in December. There’s a bit more polish on the studio version of ‘Good Days’, plus backing vocals and additional instrumentation – flutes, birdsong – that help her voice soar even more, turning it into a balm that was well worth the wait.
‘You’ll Miss Me When I’m Not Around (Things You Say Remix)’
Arriving almost a year after the original release, the rave edition of Grimes’ 2020 album ‘Miss Anthropocene’ features contributions from a host of electronic producers, including BloodPop, Channel Tres, Richie Hawtin and more. Among the hypercharged reworks is a banging rendition of ‘You’ll Miss Me When I’m Not Around’, which previously was a soundtrack for starry-night drives, and is now more suited for the 3AM dancefloor.
On the B List
‘She’s My Religion’
Avril Lavigne was a big influence on Pale Waves’ upcoming album ‘Who Am I?’, as vocalist Heather Baron-Gracie told NME last year. New tune ‘She’s My Religion’ meshes the emo-tinged alt rock pop of Lavigne’s second album ‘Under My Skin’ with heartfelt honesty. “‘She’s My Religion’ isn’t the standard or typical love song,” Baron-Gracie explained on Twitter. “Society depicts the dark sides to a person as unloveable and tends to only focus on the positive sides. I believe to love someone and their entirety creates a love that is freeing and truthful.”
slowthai & A$AP Rocky
Kings Of Leon
After five years away, Kings of Leon have reemerged with their first new material since 2016’s ‘WALLS’. To celebrate their return, the Nashville outfit released two tracks from their upcoming eighth album ‘When You See Yourself’, ‘The Bandit’ and ‘100,000 People’. While the latter is a slow-burning indie rock staple, the former is a graceful return to form, capturing the charm of their earlier work.
‘Suffer And Swallow’
‘Suffer And Swallow’ is the latest, spine-tingling solo single from the Canadian musician, and is expected to appear on her first full-length album as Alice Glass. She sings and shouts over spindly synths, her voice distorted in multiple different directions. It’s another striking entry into Glass’ growing solo canon.
‘Love Is Back’
Filled with punchy brass, jangling guitar riffs and velvety vocals that melt over the soulful production, Celeste’s latest is a confident and sultry belter. Set to appear on her upcoming debut, ‘Not Your Muse’, it’s a song that indicates Celeste is well on her way to becoming the latest British soul hero.
On the C List
“You don’t look a thing like Jesus / Waited my whole life to sing this,” Black Honey frontwoman Izzy Baxter Phillips sings with understated relish on ‘Believer’. Filled with infectious “whoa oh oh” singalongs and emphatic saxophone, the rock track is the latest taste of the Brighton band’s new album, ‘Written & Directed’, out in March.
‘No Son Of Mine’
A Foo Fighters “party” album wouldn’t be complete without some headbanging anthems and second single ‘No Son Of Mine’ easily fits the bill. “This is the kind of song that just resides in all of us and if it makes sense at the time, we let it out,” Dave Grohl explained. “Lyrically it’s meant to poke at the hypocrisy of self-righteous leaders, people that are guilty of committing the crimes they’re supposedly against.”
‘Lose Your Head’
Following in the footsteps of earlier single ‘Baby It’s You’, ‘Lose Your Head’ juxtaposes melancholic lyrics with soul-stirring Balearic-inspired production, topped off with an infectious chant on the chorus. Produced by fellow English musician George Fitzgerald, vocalist Hannah Reid explains that the latest ‘Californian Soil’ cut is about “power and control in relationships…The lyrics are quite dark, but I wanted to show the song in an upbeat way.”
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
‘We’re Gonna Get There In The End’
“IT’S ONLY A DEMO,” Noel Gallagher said pointedly in the statement that accompanied ‘We’re Gonna Get There In The End’. He needn’t have been so defensive: the jangling new tune from the High Flying Birds may “only” be a demo, but it’s the injection of hope and optimism we need as we roll into a new year.