It’s been four years since Arcade Fire gave us some official new music, save for the played-on-TV-only ‘Generation A’; but this week, the Canadian collective return with a suitably epic comeback featuring not one but two gigantic tracks.
‘The Lightning I, II’, a hopeful first preview of their upcoming new album ‘WE’, leads this week’s new additions to the NME Radio playlist. It’s also joined by pop’s latest superstar collaboration in Megan Thee Stallion and Dua Lipa’s ‘Sweetest Pie’, another massive team-up from Machine Gun Kelly and Bring Me The Horizon on ‘Maybe’, and the latest from BandLab NME Awards 2022 Producer Of The Year Nia Archives.
Here’s what we’ve added to NME 1 & 2 this week:
On the A List:
‘The Lightning I, II’
Arcade Fire’s first official release since their ‘Everything Now’ era, ‘The Lightning I, II’ is a typically ambitious return from one of the world’s grandest bands. Familiar and fresh at the same time, the dual tracks both brilliantly return to comfortable sections of the group’s back catalogue and also push things forward, heading deeper into new territory. “Waiting on the lightning / Waiting on the light / What will the light bring?” they ask as it reaches its end, a question that could easily be applied to their forthcoming album ‘WE’.
Megan Thee Stallion & Dua Lipa
Two of music’s biggest stars team up for a delicious new collaboration in ‘Sweetest Pie’, the first taste of Megan Thee Stallion’s next record. “You’ve never been to heaven, have you?” Dua Lipa asks at one point, but this bouncing track will take you close, hinting at even bigger and bolder things from the pair than ever before.
Inspired by “the transient nature of life and the cyclical nature of the seasons”, one of the standout tracks from Yanya’s new album ‘Painless’ is set to a revolving rhythm that could almost form the basis of a breakbeat track. Mixed with warm bass and scratchy guitars, it becomes the backbone of one of the Londoner’s most playful indie tracks yet.
On the B List:
Machine Gun Kelly ft. Bring Me The Horizon
The latest collaboration to be revealed from MGK’s upcoming new album ‘Mainstream Sellout’, the Bring Me The Horizon-featuring ‘Maybe’ races through the US star’s brand of infectious pop-punk, decorated with Oli Sykes’ growled vocals. <i>“I made up my mind this evening / I’m taking the last, I’m taking the last,”</i> they sing in unison on the chorus, exiting out of a doomed relationship.
‘Skrting On The Surface’
The latest track from the new project from Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood and Sons Of Kemet’s Tom Skinner, ‘Skrting On The Surface’ was reportedly once intended to live among the the work of Yorke and Greenwood’s main band. Finding a home in The Smile, the track explores atmospheric, expansive melodies as Yorke shares: “When we realise that once we’re broke and nothing mends / We can drop under the surface.”
“I’m my own worst enemy,” Greentea Peng notes on her first release of 2022, taking us on an examination of the relationship between herself and her brain. It’s a brass-laden, compassionate dissection of mental health, one which finds the south east London singer advising: “Your mind, be kind.”
On the C List:
Over effervescent, chugging riffs and gang vocals on ‘The Funeral’, Yungblud lays his insecurities to rest, like imperfect teeth and hair falling out from too many cheap dye jobs. It’s a liberating, euphoric development on which he invites his listeners to “danc[e] on your grave” in the most joyous fashion.
‘Part Of Me’
Fresh from winning Producer Of The Year at the BandLab NME Awards 2022, Yorkshire jungle producer Nia Archives continues her hot streak on ‘Part Of Me’, from her new EP ‘Forbidden Feelingz’. <i>“I ain’t never had to be so strong,”</i> she sings resiliently over innovative beats and lingering piano melodies, crafting a track ready to both dance and get emotional to.
‘All I Ever Asked’
Inspired by the parallels between a friend’s break-up and a situation she herself was going through, Rachel Chinouriri’s ‘All I Ever Asked’ dreamily reflects on “realising your own worth and not settling for someone who cannot be what you need”. “Was it really that hard to do? / It’s all I ever asked of you,” she sings over the sunny backing, mixing optimism and melancholy into something irresistible.
‘Deep In, Deep Out feat. Afriqua’
Peckham MC Pinty reteams with Virginia-via-Berlin electronic artist Afriqua on ‘Deep In, Deep Out’, the follow up to their tongue-in-cheek collab ‘P-I-N-T-Y’, which arrived last month. A light and breezy piece of house music, their latest joint work continues to push forward their carefree, upbeat attitude.
Dazy and Militarie Gun
Although it fizzes with ‘90s Britpop energy, ‘Pressure Cooker’ is actually the work of two US-based newcomers – Richmond, Virginia’s Dazy and LA’s Militarie Gun. Although it’s relatively early days for both, together they’ve combined to show a ton of early promise and create something that has enough infectious energy in its rasped, chanted vocals to make it a sleeper indie hit.