Earlier this year, Hayley Williams teased that she was taking a leaf out of Taylor Swift’s book and working on her own ‘Folkore’, and a few weeks ago the Paramore frontwoman shared the fruits of her labour, dropping her second solo album ‘Flowers for Vases / descansos’. Acting as a prequel to last year’s ‘Petals for Armor’, it’s a soft and stunning accompaniment to its predecessor, and we’ve picked ‘My Limb’ from the album for this week’s NME Radio playlist.
Here are all this week’s additions to the NME 1 & 2 playlists:
On the A List
Cardi B has officially made her return with ‘Up’, her first solo single in over two years. The upbeat track is classic Cardi – fierce, braggadocious and chock full of witty one-liners (“If I had a dick, you’d probably lick it like a lollipop / Hoes speakin’ cap-enese, hit ’em with karate chop”) – and ups the anticipation for her upcoming second album.
Sad Night Dynamite
“We wanted it to feel as though you’re sort of sinking through your own brain,” Sad Night Dynamite have said of ‘Smoke Hole’. “The further into the song you get, the deeper into your own head you fall.” Their description couldn’t be any less accurate. Listening to the track is like falling into a sinister wonderland – at first, things are weird, but it becomes progressively more brilliantly bizarre.
‘Move Into Me’ feat. Broods
Bad Sounds’ first collaboration with New Zealand duo Broods – aka Georgia and Caleb Nott – is a heavenly pop number about “growing closer with someone you love”. It takes Georgia’s tender vocals and pairs it with a gorgeous atmospheric instrumental, resulting in a gorgeous four-minute-long piece that slowly ascends to ecstasy.
On the B List
‘In The Meantime’
Hailing from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Major Murphy are readying their second album ‘Access’ for release in April. This record, they say, was born from being at a crossroads, and shoegaze-laced new single ‘In The Meantime’ finds the indie rock four-piece deciding on a course of action, as captured on the bridge: “In the meantime we’ll hold on / We’re going the distance / We’ll stand strong.”
No song encapsulates Hayley Williams’ surprise sophomore solo album, ‘Flowers for Vases / descansos’, better than haunting alt-pop track ‘My Limb’. The tune draws listeners in with its intoxicating and dynamic melody, with equally evocative lyricism to boot: “If you gotta amputate, don’t give me the tourniquet / You wish that I would run away, sever what isn’t working / But I’ll let my body bleed out, leaning to my left side / If your part of me is gone now, do I wanna survive?”
Berlin-based Peruvian electronic artist Sofia Kourtesis has said that ‘La Perla’ is about staring at the sea – the first thing she’ll do when she returns to Peru. And you can hear the glittering ocean in ‘La Perla’, in its liquid soundbed and the ebb and flow of Kourtesis’ voice (this song marks the first time she’s properly sung on a track). It’s a slice of auditory joy that bodes well for the release of her new EP ‘Fresia Magdalena’, out March on Ninja Tune imprint Technicolour.
‘Do Yourself Some Good’
Lose yourself to dance – as James Lavelle’s new UNKLE single quips, you might ‘Do Yourself Some Good’. For this track, the electronic veteran was inspired by his roots as a DJ, from his classic party night That’s How It Is, which he ran with Gilles Peterson, to his Mo’Wax days. An explicitly nostalgic cut, ‘Do Yourself Some Good’ was produced with longtime UNKLE collaborator Steven Weston and previews the upcoming mixtape ‘Rōnin I’, out March.
On the C List
‘Chicken Lemon Rice’
Priya Ragu’s latest is another belter. Fusing electronic beats with Sri Lankan percussion, the NME 100 alumni has explained that ‘Chicken Lemon Rice’ is “a celebration of unity and diversity. It’s here to commemorate all the beautiful cultures of the world. The world is not black and white, it’s colourful. We can come together and still be ourselves whilst celebrating different heritages and learning from each other.”
‘These Kids We Knew’
American songwriter and producer Rostam addresses global warming on his new song, ‘These Kids We Knew’. “In the song I have a fantasy of the younger generation arresting the [generation of adults who ignored global warming] and putting them on trial in the streets of cities around the world,” said the former Vampire Weekend member, who wrote the song while he was “in a fever-dream state” when recovering from COVID-19.
Death From Above 1979
‘One + One’
In March, Death From Above 1979 will release their new album ‘Is 4 Lovers’. Notably, it’ll be their first studio album without a cover that features their likenesses with elephant trunks attached – but from the sound of new single ‘One + One’, it’ll still offer the brash, kinetic dance rock that Jesse Keeler and Sebastian Grainger have honed for years. According to Grainger, the track was influenced by his wife, Eva, who was pregnant at the time. “As the record was taking shape, every time I would come home from the studio, the baby would start dancing in Eva’s belly,” he explained. “Even before I walked in the room, the party would start. One plus one is three – that’s magic!”
After releasing two EPs in 2019, south London post-punks Dry Cleaning are finally releasing their first studio full-length, ‘New Long Leg’, which they recorded last year in rural Wales. First previewed by the hypnotising ‘Scratchcard Lanyard’, the album’s second single ‘Strong Feelings’ is described as a song about “secretly being in love with someone who doesn’t know it”. But since this is Dry Cleaning don’t expect a typical love song. Over a steady, hazy beat, vocalist Florence Shaw sings nonchalantly: “I spent £17 on mushrooms for you / ’Cause I’m silly.”