NME Radio Roundup 12 July 2021: Arlo Parks, Billie Eilish, Big Red Machine and more

Arlo Parks’ stunning ‘Collapsed In Sunbeams’ is one of the strongest debut albums of the year, and has generated a string of killer singles. The latest cut to get an outing is ‘Too Good’, with its vivid music video being released last week. The gorgeous tune is filled with bouncy hooks and funk-laced guitars that accompany Parks’ poetic lyrics, and it was a must-add to this week’s NME Radio playlist.

Also new to NME Radio, Billie Eilish is back with a dark cut from her upcoming second record ‘Happier Than Ever’, Big Red Machine bring Taylor Swift on board for their latest, and Shygirl delivers a sensual collaboration with slowthai.

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

On the A List

Arlo Parks

‘Too Good’

A standout cut off Arlo Parks’ debut album ‘Collapsed In Sunbeams’, ‘Too Good’ juxtaposes its jovial groove with the uncertainty and confusion of new love. “Why’d we make the simplеst things so hard?” she wistfully asks over the infectious bounce of the track’s funk-driven guitars and thumping basslines. – Isaac Chiew

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Billie Eilish

‘NDA’

Fame has its downsides, and on ‘NDA’ Billie Eilish shares confessional glimpse into the disadvantages of celebrity, as she flirts with the idea of escaping to an entirely different profession. “Maybе I should think about a new career / Somewhere in Kaua’i where I can disappear” she sings honestly. – JX Soo

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Big Red Machine

‘Renegade (feat. Taylor Swift)’

Big Red Machine, Aaron Dessner’s collaborative project with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, have returned, and Taylor Swift collaboration ‘Renegade’ is scintillating glimpse of what’s to come on upcoming second album ‘How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?’. Previously working together on Swift’s 2020 albums ‘Folklore’ and ‘Evermore’, ‘Renegade’ is further testament to their magical chemistry. Riding a backdrop of sampled guitar licks and cantering drums, Swift takes centre stage, kicking against an increasingly toxic relationship in the electric chorus: “Is it insensitive for me to say / Get your shit together / So I can love you?” – JX Soo

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

On the B List

Shygirl & slowthai

‘BDE’

On the pulsating ‘BDE’ Shygirl and slowthai link up for an unapologetic, sex-positive belter. “Read my lips, I need a big dick boy / Ain’t nobody slanging it right, that’s why,” Shygirl asserts bluntly over crushing beats, with slowthai adding “I need a freak, I ain’t down for no kissing and cuddling”. It’s brilliantly filthy stuff.– Isaac Chiew

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Inhaler

‘Totally’

Taken from Inhaler‘s excellent debut ‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’, the anthemic ‘Totally’ fuses soaring instrumentals with frontman Eli Hewson’s earnest vocal delivery. “I said, why does it hurt me so much? / Oh, tell me why does it hurt me so much?” Hewson belts with absolute conviction over lush indie rock soundscapes on the chorus. – IC

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Jungle

‘Romeo ft. Bas’

British dance duo Jungle and Dreamville rapper Bas’ latest collaboration ‘Romeo’ is a laid back, uplifting hip-hop track. Jungle create an infectious groove with rhythmic guitars and soulful vocal samples, while Bas raps with a smooth and assured flow on an exciting glimpse of what’s to come on Jungle’s anticipated third album ‘Loving in Stereo’. – IC

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

On the C List

PinkPantheress

‘Passion’

The rising 20-year-old TikTok sensation’s single ‘Passion’ cements her versatility as a songwriter. A left turn from the funky, puppy love-focused ‘Attracted To You’ or the heartbreak-infused drum’n’bass of ‘Break It Off’, ‘Passion’ builds upon its finger-plucked guitar loops and ethereal synths with satisfying jungle breakbeats. Lyrically, PinkPantheress paints a haunting portrait of loneliness: “Now that my family’s gone, almost as far as I can see / I think they love me I’m sure, but they’re not there anymore.” – IC

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

St. Vincent

‘Sad But True’

Part of ‘The Metallica Blacklist’’s massive 53-track collection of ‘The Black Album’ covers, St. Vincent’s take on legendary metal band’s ‘Sad But True’ is a fuzzy, industrial, rendition of the headbanger. Annie Clark reverently channels the spirit of the original while imprinting her own signature sound on the track, showcasing eerie synths, pounding drums and biting, angular guitars. – IC

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Sam Fender

‘Seventeen Going Under’

Accompanied by arena-shaking production and soaring vocals, the title track from Sam Fender’s anticipated second album sees him honestly depict his life at 17. With its gargantuan chorus and searing lyrics, it’s a bold and brilliant return.

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

The Parrots

‘You Work All Day And Then You Die’

Insistent fuzz, euphoric synths and glistening guitars punctuate the Parrots’ latest, a searing anthem against daily monotony. On the four-minute post-punk rager, the Spanish punks deliver a treatise against work and the endless grind: “You work all day and then you die / It’s hard to find some peace of mind,” they lament. – JXS

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Damon Albarn

‘Polaris’

Inspired by frigid Icelandic landscapes, Damon Albarn’s latest solo track balances saxophone ambience, glassy synths, and zen-like electronic pulses. It coalesces into a sonic tapestry that cushions the Blur frontman’s abstract observations: “See the birds they have been taken by the wind / They are not together now / They will have to wait until tomorrow / To see each other again,” he sings. – JXS

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

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