Here at NME we’re still recovering from the wild weekend that was Reading & Leeds 2021 – and what better way to do that than by reliving some of the standout musical moments of the weekend. After enjoying Blossoms and Sam Fender on the Main Stage, we’ve added their latest offerings to the NME Radio playlist, alongside the new ones from Self Esteem, Caribou and Miles Kane.
We’ve also added new material from Halsey (crafted with Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross), Gorillaz (taken from their surprise EP celebrating Notting Hill Carnival) and Scruffpuppie (released on Phoebe Bridgers’ Saddest Factory Records).
Here are all this week’s additions to the NME 1 & 2 playlists:
On the A List
Indie-poppers Blossoms channel the Bee Gees and ABBA on their new ’70s-laced track ‘Care For’. The disco-infused melody, funky strings and an atmospheric, vibrant piano riff accompany refreshingly earnest lyrics that make for a modern twist on a retro love song: “It’s all that you care for / I’m here and this is / Love’s true devotion”. – Qistina Bumidin
‘Believe What I Say’
Last week Kanye West finally dropped his long awaited 10th album ‘DONDA’, and while the 27-song album is a lengthy listen, hidden within the dense track listing are a few flashes of gold. We’ve chosen the Lauryn Hill-sampling ‘Believe What I Say’ for the NME Radio playlist this week, a soulful cut that spins the iconic sample and West’s vocals over bouncing beats.
‘Don’t Let It Get You Down’
All fuzzy, distorted guitars, warm melodies and funky brass licks, Miles Kane’s new single ‘Don’t Let It Get You Down’ is a soulful belter. Accompanied by a music video that shows off a swaggering James Bond-styled aesthetic, ‘Don’t Let It Get You Down’ gives listeners an intriguing first taste of Kane’s upcoming album, ‘Change The Show’. – QB
On the B List
‘How Can I Help You’
In this genre-defying, empowering anthem from Rebecca Lucy Taylor’s upcoming second album, ‘Prioritise Pleasure’, the pop star criticises the sexism and objectification women face with a fiery clapback of vigorous percussion, gritty vocal chops and tongue-in-cheek lyrics: “Want me eternally youthful, never grow old / I’ll always be wet, always be up for it / Politely sit, but I don’t know shit /Do I? I don’t know shit” the NME cover star spits over the cantering drums in a scintillating glimpse of her anticipated next record. – QB
Sam Fender rages at the establishment on ‘Aye’, the second track released from his upcoming album ‘Seventeen Going Under’. The song takes aim at the polarising nature of politics, and, as Fender explains, “it’s also a rant about my disdain for the greedy tax-dodging billionaires of the world.” With Fender’s powerhouse vocals spun over reverberating guitar riffs, we see him decisively assert: “They watched the atom bomb reduce two cities to dust / And paint the whole narrative as totally just”. – QB
Amber Mark embraces change in the third single ahead of her upcoming debut album. According to the New York-based singer-songwriter, “‘Foreign Things’ is about the excitement of new experiences, the thrill of newness.” This infectious, joyful R&B-influenced track – completed by Mark’s stunning, silky vocals – is an upbeat reminder to live life in the moment. – QB
‘Meanwhile’ ft Jelani Blackman & Barrington Levy
Gorillaz gave everyone a pleasant surprise when they dropped the ‘Meanwhile’ EP, a joyous celebration of Notting Hill Carnival, out of the blue last week. West London rap newcomer Jelani Blackman kicks off its title track with compelling verses, his smooth, husky voice a perfect match for the twinkling synths, trippy beats and 2-D’s nostalgic vocals. – QB
On the C List
‘Quiet On Set’
American artist Remi Wolf’s ‘Quiet on Set’, the latest glimpse of her anticipated, upcoming debut album ‘Juno’, is endlessly good fun. Wolf has described the effervescent cut as “full on psycho”, explaining in a statement that it’s a reflection of herself at the time she made it: “overworked, manic, reckless, and childish”.
Its idiosyncratic lyrics and wonky, psychedelic music video embody Wolf’s eccentric, yet lovable charm. All kaleidoscopic synths, stomping beats and woozy vocals, it’s an absolute treat. – QB
‘I Am Not A Woman, I’m A God’
Halsey’s new single ‘I Am Not A Woman, I’m A God’, taken from their recently released album ‘If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power’, is bleak yet anthemic. With sleek, dark synths courtesy of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, and Halsey’s anguished vocals, it unfolds with the artist’s poetic reflections on mutating identity, a sense of belonging and emotional emptiness: “I am not a woman, I’m a god/ I am not a martyr, I’m a problem / I am not a legend, I’m a fraud”. – QB
‘You Can Do It’
Caribou’s new single ‘You Can Do It’ is built around deep house synths and dreamy chords, which accompany the cathartic repetition of the song’s titular mantra. The accompanying music video boosts the encouraging vibes with a wholesome montage of furry pups running around and playing frisbee – it’s a satisfying balm for our current unsettling times. – QB
Efterklang navigate the temporality of love in their new dreamy single, ‘Dragonfly’. The insect, the Danish indie rock trio say, is a “metaphor of love, [one] that is difficult to hold in one place, how it cruises around and you never quite know where it is until it lands right in front of you”. The folksy string plucks, melodic percussion, and the accompanying bohemian music video will sweep you away to a blissful and carefree place. – QB
‘Assignment Song’ is Scruffpuppie’s honest retelling of personal struggles of addiction. The new signee to Phoebe Bridgers’ Saddest Factory Records shared that the pop-punk single reflects their experiences while in treatment, saying: “These experiences have been a fuel to the fire of our using, but how when we’re together, we are whole, and safe”.
Scruffpuppie’s vulnerability, delivered through gritty, distorted vocals, turns ‘Assignment Song’ into an affirming anthem for the struggling soul: “We need to know that we can ask for help / so we don’t fall again.” – QB