NME Radio Roundup 24 May 2021: Olivia Rodrigo, Wolf Alice, Sons Of Kemet

On Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album ‘Sour’ she channels her alt-rock heroes. Proving that ‘Drivers License’ isn’t just flash-in-the-pan smash, ‘Sour’ showcases her versatility, fusing her distinctive alt-pop with killer riffs and mosh-pitting inducing choruses. We’ve picked the stellar, Paramore-evoking ‘good 4 u’ for the NME Radio playlists this week.

Also new to the playlist this week: Wolf Alice edge ever closer to their third album ‘Blue Weekend’ with their new single ‘No Hard Feelings’, a standout Sons of Kemet cut from their 5-star album ‘Black To The Future’, and a love-seeking Ghetts track, ‘Good Hearts’.

Here are all this week’s additions to the NME 1 & 2 playlists:

On the A List

Olivia Rodrigo

‘good 4 u’

After captivating the world with epic heartbreak ballad ‘Drivers License’, Rodrigo has now embraced snarling pop-punk to spectacular results on latest single ‘good 4 u’. The track evokes early Paramore and Alanis Morissette, with Rodrigo’s obvious affection and reverence for the genre coming through. Speaking to NME ahead of the release of her debut album ‘Sour’, she explained “I was really inspired by ‘90s alternative rock records with ‘Sour’, especially alternative rock girls,” and on ‘good 4 u’, these influences shine through. – Isaac Chiew

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

On the B List

Wolf Alice

‘No Hard Feelings’

On ‘No Hard Feelings’, the latest single from Wolf Alice’s upcoming album ‘Blue Weekend’, vocalist Ellie Rowsell presents powerfully intimate vignettes of heartbreak. Her lyrics detail painful memories and what-ifs from a love lost: “No hard feelings, honey / And we both will take the win.” As the song comes to a close, its profound sense of loss finally transforms into one of peace. – IC

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Sons Of Kemet

‘For The Culture (ft. D Double E)’

On their powerful new record ‘Black To The Future’, Sons of Kemet are, as we said in the 5-star NME review, “at their most dynamic and urgent”. Hypnotic cut ‘For The Culture’ – which sees legendary MC D Double E’s words ride the London jazz quartet’s brass-led grooves with ferocious conviction – was a must add to the NME Radio playlist this week. – JX Soo

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music


‘Good Hearts (ft. Aida Lae)’

Disillusioned by failed love, Ghetts opens ‘Good Hearts’ on a wry note: “When I say contacts full up of rеd Starburst, all I mean is sweet ones / I don’t understand why men buy sex, what if I want a refund?” But the grime MC hasn’t completely given up. Over kinetic production graced by Aida Lae’s smooth vocals, Ghetts chases something greater than the physical: a sincere soul. – JXS

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Leon Bridges


On new track ‘Motorbike’, Leon Bridges’ soulful vocals are elevated by tight, lush instrumentation. The lead single from his upcoming album ‘Gold-Diggers Sound’, Bridges has explained the gorgeous cut is “about living in the moment and escaping with someone. It’s the personification of that unspoken chemistry you have with that person.” – IC

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

On the C List

St. Vincent


Annie Clark is one of the 21st century’s great musical chameleons. Plenty of parallels have been drawn between her and the great David Bowie, and ‘Down’, from the latest St. Vincent album ‘Daddy’s Home’, looks to continue this trend. Paying homage to the past yet still refreshingly forward-thinking, ‘Down’ combines intricately sequenced synthesisers, funk-leaning guitar riffs and lush harmonies into an undeniably powerful groove. “Tell me who hurt you / No, wait, I don’t care to / Hear an excuse why you think you can be cruel,” she sings, skewering those who use a victim mentality to justify hurtful actions. – IC

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Holly Humberstone

‘The Walls Are Way Too Thin’

On glistening synthpop number ‘The Walls Are Way Too Thin’, NME 100 alumni Holly Humberstone navigates new surroundings with poignant uncertainty. “I’m not just gonna lay here and bite my tongue / I only wanna be here when she’s gone / The walls are way too thin” she sings, elastic arpeggios and driving backbeats fading into delicate acoustic guitars, as the Grantham native finds immense beauty in her vulnerabilities. – JXS

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

J. Cole

‘a m a r i’

A standout cut off J .Cole’s highly anticipated album ‘The Off-Season’, ‘a m a r i’ details the rapper’s rise from zero to hero. Atmospheric guitar loops and flute samples colour the song’s intricate trap rhythms and booming 808s, perfectly complementing Cole’s braggadocious yet self-aware bars. – IC

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Geo Jordan


Spammed by 6AM phone calls and creeped out by unsolicited messages, Geo Jordan is done on his new single. The Londoner’s newest jam is an exasperated response to an overly-attached date. Riding playful synths and buoyant beats, he warns: “You’re too old, to be acting like that, anyway, Baby you should know better, learn how to be better.” Enough is enough – keep off, move on. – JXS

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music


‘America’s Cup’

In 1983, Australia triumphed at the America’s Cup – but who really won? In their latest slice of magnetic funk, the Perth psych-quintet reflect upon their hometown Fremantle, gentrified after Alan Bond transformed Western Australia in the sailing competition’s wake: “Before the America’s Cup / Never heard of methadone / Never called the shutter home / Never went to bed alone / Alan was a rolling stone”. – JXS

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

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