NME Radio Roundup 7 February 2022: Rex Orange County, Arlo Parks and more

Rex Orange County leads this week’s additions to NME Radio with ‘Keep It Up’, a musical pick-me-up that will leave a smile on your face. It’s a first glimpse of the genre-blending artist’s upcoming fourth album ‘Who Cares’, which’ll feature Tyler, The Creator and drops next month; and this early taste was a must-add to the NME Radio A List.

Other new additions come courtesy of the emotionally honest Arlo Parks, fast-rising guitar heroes Wet Leg, Atlanta rap don Quavo and rock’s latest supergroup The Smile.

Here’s what we’ve added to NME 1 & 2 this week:

On the A List:

Rex Orange County

‘Keep It Up’

‘Keep It Up’ is the sunny opening track of Rex Orange County’s upcoming album ‘Who Cares?’. Alexander James O’Connor is in a playful, compassionate mood on the tune, singing encouragement over perky piano chords and romantic strings: “Keep it up and go on / You’re only holding out for what you want / You no longer owe the strangers / It’s enough, it’s enough.” – Karen Gwee

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Arlo Parks

‘Softly’

‘Softly’ is the first new music from Arlo Parks since she made her mark with stunning debut album ‘Collapsed In Sunbeams’ last year. “‘Softly’ is a song about yearning, about how fragile you feel in the dying days of a relationship when you’re still desperately in love,” Parks said of the song, and you can hear this as she braces herself for the heartbreak in the repetition of the chorus: “Break it to me, break it to me, break it to me, break it to me softly.” – KG

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

On the B List:

LAVA LA RUE

‘Vest & Boxers’

With ‘Vest & Boxers’, Lava La Rue has made a sly, flirty anthem for women and non-binary people who love women. As they explained in a statement: “I wrote ‘Vest & Boxers’ to be deeply relatable of what dating was like for myself and my teen lesbian/nblw [non-binary loving women] friends growing up…I reference all the little moments we joke about – not knowing if you’re on a date or just meeting up as friends, walking into their bedroom for the first time and thinking how good it smells, not coming home for 2 days after the first night together and deciding to just move in. We were all guilty of it!” – KG

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Wet Leg

‘Oh No’

Wet Leg let quirky non sequiturs fly and guitars crunch on the glammy ‘Oh No’, which makes getting sucked into your phone and the wormhole of social media sound more fun than it really is. The Isle of Wight duo – who’ve nabbed several nominations at the BandLab NME Awards – will release their self-titled debut on April 8. – KG

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Quavo

‘Shooters Inside My Crib’

Quavo, whose last project under his own name was 2018’s ‘Quavo Huncho’, hasn’t dropped solo material in a while. He’s in a chilled-out mood on ‘Shooters Inside My Crib’, flowing easily and loosely over a beat of prancing keys. – KG

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Moonchild

‘Love I Need’ (feat. Rapsody)

‘Love I Need’ is the silky smooth new single from Moonchild, the trio of Amber Navran, Andris Mattson, and Max Bryk. They’re joined here by the inimitable Rapsody, who is one of several guests on the new Moonchild record ‘Starfruit’ out this Friday. – KG

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

On the C List:

PinkPantheress

‘All my friends know’ (Anz Remix)

PinkPantheress invited a host of producers to reimagine the songs on her 2021 mixtape ‘to hell with it’ and released the results last month. Standing out from the 15 tracks is Manchester producer Anz’s take on ‘All my friends know’. You may know Anz from her irresistible ‘All Hours’ EP last year, and she brings the same brightness and unpredictability from that project to this PinkPantheress track. – KG

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

The Smile

‘The Smoke’

If you missed it, Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead have joined forces with Sons Of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner to form The Smile. ‘The Smoke’, their second official single, is anchored by a robust rhythm section, Yorke’s signature falsetto vocals drifting through the air like its title promises. Even the horns sound vaporous. The trio are building up to an album, produced by Nigel Godrich, due out some time on XL Recordings. – KG

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Denzel Curry

‘Walkin’

After a fun, low-stakes detour with producer Kenny Beats (the 2020 project ‘Unlocked’), Denzel Curry is back and laser-focused on his next album, ‘Melt My Eyez, See Your Future’. From musings on society (“I see the way the people get treated, it’s problematic / They ready to save themself for failure, it’s systematic”) to declarations of self-love (“I’m killin’ off my demons ’cause my soul’s worth redeemin’”), lead single ‘Walkin’ showcases a rapper in his element, sans alter egos and characters. – KG

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

Disclosure & Zedd

‘You’ve Got To Let Go If You Want To Be Free’

A match made in house heaven, ‘You’ve Got To Let Go If You Want To Be Free’ is the new, groovy collaboration by Disclosure and Zedd. The song’s immediate danceability belies how meticulously produced it is – it’ll go off in the club, but captivate listeners at home as well. – KG

Listen: Spotify | Apple Music

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