Christmas parties may be off the table this year; but if they’d been happening we would have been blasting Jayda G’s remix of Romy’s ‘Lifetime’ and Soulwax’s latest ‘Empty Dancefloor’. And while we may not be able to embarrass ourselves at our office bashes, we can still enjoy these stone-cold smashers, which were must adds to NME Radio this week.
Here are all this week’s additions to the NME 1 & 2 playlists:
On the A List
Run The Jewels x Royal Blood
‘The Ground Below’ (Royal Jewels remix)
Royal Blood add extra grit to this explosive ‘RTJ4’ anthem, piling dizzying guitar riffs on the original beat, which was produced by Wilder Zoby, Little Shalimar and Run The Jewels’ own El-P. Royal Blood’s Mike Kerr also joins in on the reworked chorus, his hypnotising drawl turning the track into a potent rock cut.
Working Men’s Club
‘John Cooper Clarke’
“We dance and we smile / We laugh and we cry / We play and we fight / We live and we die.” Syd Minsky-Sargent has the right of it on ‘John Cooper Clarke’, rising Yorkshire outfit Working Men’s Club’s homage to the bard of Salford. His bandmates set his bleakly concise lyrics to chilly synths, chiming post-punk guitar and an eminently danceable rhythm on this single from their self-titled debut..
On the B List
‘Loser’ feat. Trippie Redd
Rico Nasty channels nostalgic noughties culture on her debut album, ‘Nightmare Vacation’, but never more than on ‘Loser’ with Trippie Redd. The song is awash with throwback references, from the infectious Mean Girls-referencing chorus (“We goin’ shoppin’, loser – get in”) to a mention of the once-ubiquitous TV recording service TiVo.
Groovy, warm and comforting, SG Lewis’ collaboration with Rhye is an absolute belter. The producer describes the carefree, disco-inspired ‘Time’ as “thematically and sonically” central to his upcoming debut album, ‘Times’, out next year.
Shame’s ‘Snow Day’ is a striking, atmospheric listen that serves as “the pivotal moment” of the band’s forthcoming album, ‘Drunk Tank Pink’. Through stirring verses and a fiery guitar-driven chorus, the dramatic song explores “love that is lost and the comfort and displeasure that comes after you close your eyes”.
On the C List
‘The Last Time I Saw You (O Christmas)’
As Joni Mitchell and Prince have both proved, festive tunes aren’t always happy: they can be sad, too. Porridge Radio walk down that same lonely road on their latest holiday single, on which they sing about “having a miserable time every Christmas and the same cycles of heartbreak and depression endlessly repeating themselves”. Cheery stuff, then.
‘Lifetime’ (Jayda G Baleen Remix)
If ‘Lifetime’, the debut solo single of the xx’s Romy Madley-Croft, is a “hulking slab of sherbet escapism”, as NME’s El Hunt put it, Jayda G’s “baleen remix” is about sweet, mindless drift. The “baleen” bit captures the loose-limbed, liquid energy of Jayda’s rework, but is also a nice nod to the DJ-producer’s masters degree in environmental toxicology, for which she investigated the effects of human activity on – you guessed it – killer whales in the Salish Sea of British Columbia.
Soulwax have been missing the club just as much as we have: “I can barely remember how it feels,” a robotic voice confesses at the top of their latest song, ‘Empty Dancefloor’., The synth-driven beat progressively becomes wilder and more frantic, building up to a climax that eventually stops ahead of itself, as though pulling you back down to earth. It’s a cruel tease that feels like an appropriate sonic summary of this unpredictable year.
The Ninth Wave
‘Everything Will Be Fine’
The Ninth Wave have described ‘Everything Will Be Fine’ as the happiest-sounding song they’ve ever recorded. They aren’t wrong, but what sticks with you most about the latest single from the Glaswegian quartet isn’t its cheery nature, but the way it stubbornly tries to free itself from the encroaching bleakness. Listen out for the strangled note of desperation in singer Haydn Park-Patterson’s voice when he sings, “I’m looking up, you look good from down here / Everything will be fine.”