It feels unfair that Romy has released ‘Lifetime’ in 2020. The xx member’s debut solo single is a euphoric slice of dancefloor bliss meant for blasting out at 3am on a particularly debauched night out. An exciting glimpse of her forthcoming full-length album (due out “soon”), it was a must add for this week’s NME Radio playlist.
Also new to NME Radio this week we’ve got Jónsi’s irresistible collaboration with Robyn and ragers by IDLES and Travis Scott, as well as brand-new tracks from Goat Girl, NME’s latest cover star Boy Pablo and PVA’s first song for Ninja Tune imprint Big Dada.
Here are all this week’s additions to the NME 1 & 2 playlists:
On the A List
After spending years writing and producing for others alongside fronting one of the biggest English indie-pop bands, The xx’s Romy Madley Croft has made her solo debut. Her first release, written and recorded while in lockdown, is an euphoric dance record that acts as a promising preview of her forthcoming solo album. “I’ve been thinking a lot about how short life is and how quickly things can change,” she said of the song. “My intention with this song is to celebrate life, togetherness, to appreciate the moment before it’s gone.”
To celebrate their recent signing to Sub Pop, the Toronto-based outfit have released a timely new song titled ‘Undecided Voters’; but underneath the indie rock playfulness lie pointed lyrics that survey the current political landscape: “Glasgow’s on fire for the second time / In five years, making headlines” and “Like a bad dream / Always on sight, never a part of the scene.”
The title track of the British trio’s first album in nearly three years, ‘Californian Soil’ is described as a “turning point” for the band. “It’s about many different things, but mainly it’s about finding yourself. Being lost in chaos and coming out on the other side,” singer Hannah Reid tweeted. Compared to earlier single ‘Baby It’s You’, the latest London Grammar track is unhurried and hazy, pairing Reid’s heavenly vocals with lilting percussion.
On the B List
‘Lost In Translation’
The funky ‘Lost In Translation’, which features a sample of ‘Which That You Were Mine’ by 1960s R&B group The Manhattans, is a cut from The Neighbourhood’s fourth studio album, ‘Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones’; and the strutting slice is a total album highlight.
Tycho & rum.gold
Tycho’s first release since previous album ‘Simulcast’, ‘Run Away’ is an enchanting and soulful listen that features buttery smooth vocals from R&B singer-songwriter rum.gold. “Working with rum.gold’s voice was really freeing in that it provided the contrast needed to push things into a different emotional space,” the producer said of the collaboration.
‘War’ kick starts IDLES’ new album ‘Ultra Mono’ with an impact that resembles a glass bottle straight to the head. Over furious riffs, frontman Joe Talbot rails against “drone button pushers” and “children takers”, seething about the “stone-faced lies” that will send us all “straight to hell”. It’s righteous, blood pumping stuff.
On the C List
‘Salt Licorice’ (feat. Robyn)
‘Leave Me Alone!’
‘Leave Me Alone!’ is our latest glimpse of Boy Pablo’s upcoming debut album, ‘Wachito Rico’. The light-hearted track was one of the first songs the Norwegian musician – and newly minted NME cover star – ever wrote while on tour and is based on a personal childhood experience. “I was at a birthday party and I was having so much fun, and then my parents say that we had to go home, completely out of nowhere, and I was so disappointed and grumpy the rest of the night,” he explained.
‘FRANCHISE’ (feat. Young Thug & M.I.A.)
‘FRANCHISE’ bears all the hallmarks of a classic Travis Scott track: there’s Auto-Tuned bars, a rattling bassline and, of course, endless ad libs. But what makes this song a standout from a regular La Flame cut is the appearance of British rapper M.I.A, who delivers a brief but head-turning verse.
For second album ‘On All Fours’, South London post-punks Goat Girl reunited with Speedy Wunderground producer Dan Carey – but changed things up with synthesisers and drum machines. From the sound of lead single ‘Sad Cowboy’ – and its extended breakdown – Goat Girl are headed in exciting directions on their new record.
Congratulations are in order for PVA, the London trio who’ve signed to Ninja Tune imprint Big Dada for their upcoming EP ‘Toner’. Its hypnotic lead single ‘Talks’, which teems with dancefloor ready rhythms and frenetic guitars, was inspired by real connections, as well as the relationship between the two main characters of the video game Red Dead Redemption.
It’s been more than two years since the much-missed Wild Beasts played their final show. Frontman Hayden Thorpe has stayed busy, dropping his debut solo album ‘Diviner’ in 2019, and prepping the new EP ‘Aerial Songs’ for release later this month. Preview it with the skittering electronics and Thorpe’s familiar falsetto croon on lead single ‘Blue Crow’ now.