What happens when three of the UK’s most groundbreaking artists team up? Well in the case of FKA twigs, Headie One and Fred again.., it’s their new single ‘Don’t Judge Me’. Originally created as an interlude on Headie One & Fred again..’s ‘GANG’ mixtape, the trio returned to and extended the cut, and the results are ‘Don’t Judge Me’. The powerful single was a must add for this week’s NME Radio playlist.
Here are all this week’s additions to the NME 1 & 2 playlists:
On the A List
FKA twigs, Headie One & Fred again..
‘Don’t Judge Me’
Last year, FKA twigs lent her gorgeous vocals to ‘Judge Me (Interlude)’, a track from Headie One & Fred again..’s joint mixtape ‘GANG’ that left listeners clamouring for more. ‘Don’t Judge Me’ is an extended version of that song, featuring a powerful verse from Headie about the experience of being Black in Britain, plus more of twigs’ stunning vocals.
‘Fight For You’
Even before its release, H.E.R.’s new song ‘Fight For You’ was nominated for Best Original Song at the 2021 Golden Globes. The soulful track, which speaks about the fight for social and racial equality, draws inspiration from the funk hits of the ’60s and appears in the forthcoming film Judas And The Black Messiah.
On the B List
Squid ft. Martha Skye Murphy
If lead single ‘Narrator’ is anything to go by, Squid’s debut album ‘Bright Green Field’ is going to be a wicked record. Drummer/lead vocalist/chief lyricist Ollie Judge yelps and roars over skittering guitar lines, zany synths and unpredictable post-punk structures, while guest vocalist Martha Skye Murphy provides an unnervingly calm foil to Judge’s manic delivery. ‘Narrator’ was inspired by the film A Long Day’s Journey Into Night, and follows “a man who is losing the distinction between memory, dream and reality and how you can often mould your memories of people to fit a narrative that benefits your ego,” Squid have said.
‘The Holding Hand’
Iceage have returned with off-kilter new single, ‘The Holding Hand’. It’s another compelling addition to the Danish rockers’ body of work, distinguished by grandiloquent sounds and lyrics. Frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt has said in a statement that “the song lives in a slurred world,” and the swooping strings, haunting backing vocals and dynamic tempos go a long way to establishing that seasick sonic environment.
SG Lewis & Nile Rodgers
We might not be able to return to the clubs anytime soon, but SG Lewis latest tune is an addictive dancefloor banger to turn up in the bedroom. The English producer’s latest Nile Rodgers-assisted single is a hypnotising concoction of disco, featuring sleek guitar, bass and keyboard.
On the C List
‘Elephant In The Room’
If the goal of Dublin-based musician Ciara Lindsey, otherwise known as Kynsy, is to impress, then her flashy debut EP ‘Things That Don’t Exist’ certainly did the job. Among the five tracks, which finds the singer genre-hopping between distorted pop, scrappy punk and electronica, it’s opener ‘Elephant In The Room’ that stands out. A minute in and the song bursts at the seams with guitar and drums, an explosion of bittersweet euphoria as Kynsy sings: “The elephant in my room remembers / How I used to lose go and lose my temper”.
Brent Faiyaz & DJ Dahi
‘Gravity’ feat. Tyler, The Creator
Brent Faiyaz’s new song might be called ‘Gravity’, but the trippy tune sends listeners to the cosmos with its bewitching bassline and head-spinning pitch changes, courtesy of DJ Dahi. An equally spacey verse from Tyler, the Creator (“Yeah, see, I’m a star, look at me from afar / Hard to be down to Earth, when you nestin’ on Mars / You comet on how I move, too much space to assume) is the icing on this proverbial cake.
Drawing inspiration from the band’s own experience in growing up biracial, ‘FYO’ is “about belonging to different worlds but feeling rejected by both”. The single, which is the New York indie collective’s first track of the year, elegantly captures the internal struggle of mixed-race youths trying to define their identities over a groovy beat.
‘Maid Marian’s Toast’
Hot off their brand-new album ‘Cooler Returns’, ‘Maid Marian’s Toast’ is a cheery indie-rock track that presents a striking sonic identity – there’s an engrossing storyline, a well-tuned harmonica and an abundance of jangly guitars. “Bye-bye Marian, we know how you butter your bread / So long Marian, the boys need to get back to bed,” vocalist Jeremy Gaudet sings. Whimsy yet relaxed, ‘Maid Marian’s Toast’ is just brilliantly good fun.
In ‘Fem Chem’, the opening track of their latest EP ‘Create Simulate’, Brisbane quintet Nice Biscuit present a propulsive slice of psych-pop. Filled with tasty guitar hooks, warm vocal harmonies and subtly seductive synth lines, ‘Fem Chem’ is a total belter.