The days are getting shorter and as we’re forced to enjoy the year’s last few glimpses of sunshine it’s easy to feel a bit blue; but thankfully September is providing a bountiful soundtrack to the cold evenings, with tons of excellent tunes including a banging new one from Slowthai. Titled ‘Feel Away’, his collaboration with electronic wizards James Blake and Mount Kimbie was a must-add to this week’s NME Radio playlist, alongside bangers from Janelle Monáe and Ludacris.
Also new to the playlist are tracks from The Avalanches, Stefflon Don and Omar Apollo, plus Kaytranada’s euphoric house remix of Dua Lipa’s ‘Don’t Start Now’.
Here are all this week’s additions to the NME 1 & 2 playlists:
On the A List
Slowthai ft. James Blake & Mount Kimbie
On his latest track, Slowthai delivers an emotional tribute to his late younger brother. Featuring contributions from James Blake and Mount Kimbie, the song also interpolates Mariah Carey’s ‘Dreamlover’ on the outro. “It’s about the doubts we have whether it be within friendships, your partner or with our family,” the Northampton rapper said of ‘Feel Away’. “It’s about putting yourself in the other person’s shoes so you have a better understanding of the situation.”
‘Don’t Start Now’ (Kaytranada remix)
The Canadian producer puts his own spin on the ‘Future Nostalgia’ cut, transforming the energetic pop record into a smouldering deep house banger that’s perfectly suited for wild nights out (if it weren’t for the pandemic). So settle for a pair of headphones and turn the volume up.
On the B List
“The table ’bout to turn,” Janelle Monáe declares at the top of ‘Turntables’, which was written for Amazon Prime Video’s newest political documentary All In: The Fight For Democracy. It’s a stance the singer fiercely reiterates across the song, spitting hard-hitting lines like “Got a new agenda with a new dream, / I’m kickin’ out the old regime” to signal the coming of a major revolution.
Hot on the heels of their March album ‘Every Bad’, the Brighton indie rockers have returned with brand-new material. ‘7 Seconds’ sees the band going down a synth-pop route, though the song is still quintessential Porridge Radio with its introspective lyrics and magnetic hooks.
Ludacris ft. Chance The Rapper
Produced by none other than Timbaland, ‘Found You’ is a lighthearted, soulful affair that features Ludacris giving thanks to the “woman of my dreams”. Meanwhile, Chance The Rapper handles the track’s catchy hook with his laidback vocals.
The Avalanches ft. Denzel Curry, Sampa The Great & Tricky
‘Take Care In Your Dreaming’
On the atmospheric ‘Take Care In Your Dreaming’, Aussie duo The Avalanches ponder unrealised dreams and countless journeys taken in life with the help of trip-hop legend Tricky and two stellar rappers: Denzel Curry and Sampa The Great.
London-based singer-songwriter Viji’s debut single ‘Cherry’ is a bittersweet indie pop track that contrasts grungy guitar chords with bright synths. The song is but a taste of her upcoming EP, due out later this year on trendy label Dirty Hit.
The song might be titled ‘Bad News’, but Aaron Frazer’s soulful new single is anything but. For the tune, the co-vocalist and drummer of Durand Jones & The Indications enlisted The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach for production, alongside notable session players including members of the Memphis Boys and percussionist Sam Bacco.
On the C List
Look out, 2020, Stefflon Don is back. The rapper’s new song is, in her words, “hype, feisty and rooted” all at once. A certified party-starter, ‘Move’ will want to make you do exactly what it says on the tin.
Omar Apollo’s new single ‘Kamikaze’ is a slice of nostalgic, low-key funk. Over chiming guitars and a slow-burning beat, the NME 100 alum sings of long Georgia drives and “that pretty boy [who] still hit me up on strange occasions”. It’s both cryptic and honest.
“I want it to make people dance and cry,” Rose Gray recently told NME of her music, “for them to feel a release.” The London artist’s new song ‘Same Cloud’ was made for you to do just that, soundtracking that emotional moment towards the end of the rave when the sun’s coming up and you’re feeling just a little bit weepy. Check it out and then get ready for Gray’s upcoming mixtape ‘Drinking, Dancing, Talking, Thinking’.
‘Flowers’ is a smooth, synth-y number off Aaron Taylor’s new album ‘Icarus’, which is out at the end of the week. “We should give the flowers to them while they can smell them,” its outro muses – something that Taylor, who’s been grinding for years trying to get his music off the ground, knows well. Give him his flowers now.
‘A Lot To Lose’
Next month Wicketkeeper make their full-length debut with ‘Shonk’, and if ‘A Lot To Lose’ is any indication, it’ll be a good, hooky time. Simon Morley of the London trio had this to say of the song’s carpe diem theme: “It’s a pretty simple message: when you’re dead you can’t do anything. So you might as well do a bunch of stuff before you’re dead.”