New Music Monday soldiers on this week as Christmas nears and deadlines approach – but once again there’s a colossal collection of brand new tracks hitting the world that can score your lives for a while – that is, excluding Mariah Carey in every public place.
This week, Ben Coley of his eponymous Ben Coley Collection graced New Music Monday with his wit, charm and picks of the week – sitting down for a superb hour of pop comebacks, R&B bangers and online relationship inquiring.
Of course, there were so many great tracks out this week that the cut remains as savage as ever, but thankfully the New Music Monday Spotify playlist is always on hand with a whole host of the latest cuts.
But without further ado, here’s what we played tonight:
JAMES STEPHENSON’S TRACKS OF THE WEEK
Emily Burns has future superstardom written all over her. But her latest track, the astonishingly slick Damn Good Liar, is a smash hit right now.
From the virtuoso production, which has a beat that feels like Burns compels with sheer force of wills, to Emily’s versatile vocals that drive this synth pop banger forward, Damn Good Liar is an awesome, fully-formed bop from start to finish.
Burns won the chance to attend a masterclass with Calvin Harris at 16, and with a style that marries Tove Lo with Calvin collaborator Dua Lipa, she’s got the talent to break out massively with a song this good.
Let’s cut straight to the chase – KAYTRANADA makes beats like us mortals breathe.
The Canadian-born producer effortlessly fuses trap with EDM on his new track Nothin Like U, his first original since his 2016 album 99.9% won Canada’s equivalent of the Mercury Prize. Taken from his new EP which shares half of its title with this song (the other half being Chances), this track is simply hypnotic.
KAYTRANADA’s synths sweep over you like a cool breeze on the beach, and Ty Dolla $ign’s guest vocal sees him going for a smoother style than his typically abrasive rapping, which includes that noted feminist anthem Or Nah. Then again, this song is still about getting on a hot girl he’s met, so he’s sticking to form. The end product is a stunning record that you just want to hop in the car and roll the windows down listening to.
Kim Petras may be the best pop star that you haven’t heard yet.
Born in Germany with the name of Tim Petras, Kim courted the spotlight early as she underwent gender reassignment surgery while still a teenager, as the worldwide press fell over each other to declare her ‘the world’s youngest transsexual’. Ten years on from that though, and Kim has transitioned into power pop, power being the operative word – her range is crazy.
Kim delivers it in spades in her latest feature Feeling Of Falling, a record with EDM denizens Cheat Codes, best known for their Little Mix-collab Only You for the Love Island album. The Codes lads put together a solid, glitch-hop influenced beat underneath Petras, who rides it with a superb vocal. With this track following up a recent EP and working with Charli XCX on her mixtape masterpiece Pop 2, she’s certainly a name to watch heading into next year.
This track is proof that even a B-side from the mind of Alex Turner is a thing of beauty.
As the curtain rolls down on the mega-band’s Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino era, Anyways has come out of the blue to act as the cue for the audience to make their way from the lobby. It’s almost lullaby-like, with Turner’s lovably languid lyricism luring you to lower the lights.
Behind him, the Monkeys cut a gorgeously laid back instrumental that plays on, as if remembering the show that rocked moments before. I can’t think of a better track to just close your eyes and listen to at the moment, from one of our all-time great bands. So cheers to you Arctic Monkeys, for another stone-cold gem.
BEN COLEY’S TRACKS OF THE WEEK
Often in my case, I can get huge enjoyment out of the simplicity and catchiness of a song just as I can with a song that is musically rich and complex.
This song ticks the box of being super simple and super catchy. Perhaps one of the things I enjoy most about this song is how clean and stripped back the production is – everything that happens in the song serves a purpose and is as it should be.
Often genres don’t define whether or not I think a song is good, but for some reason I’ve just never fully resonated with country music.
With that in mind it takes a really really good country song for me to properly get into it. Mark Ronson has veered into country territory (away from the likes of Uptown Funk) with his latest single, and I love it.
The use of strings and acoustic guitar in this song is really nicely done, and I think that Miley Cyrus’ voice brings a lot to the table – this song definitely surprised me with how much I liked it.
I can’t actually say that I know anything about Grimes, her tunes or what she’s all about, so I discovered this song with no pre-existing knowledge of what to expect.
This song is a massive melting pot of influences; there’s so much going on from distorted guitar, to swelling string sections, to smooth falsetto sections. At times this song definitely is a bit scatty, in the sense that there are quite a few sections that differ quite a lot from each other – but I kind of like the sheer chaos of it.
I’d probably describe this song as an ugly version of an ABBA song, in the best possible way.
Well what can I say about this track. The new album by The 1975, A Brief Enquiry Into Online Relationships, is nothing short of a modern masterpiece.
Many have been quick to cite this album as a sort of modern equivalent to Radiohead’s OK Computer – and I can definitely see the resemblance. In the context of the album, I Always Wanna Die seems to provide the perfect ending; Matty Healy ponders on the themes of being unfulfilled, sadness and moving forward over a very The Bends kind of chord sequence.
This track is one of the highlights of a fantastic album and will be on repeat on my playlist for a long time to come.
JAMES STEPHENSON’S ALBUM OF THE WEEK
A BRIEF INQUIRY INTO ONLINE RELATIONSHIPS – THE 1975
You can think what you want about The 1975, and everything their enigmatic, self-deprecating star Matty Healy comes out with. But this week, they’ve kicked all of their haters to the kerb. How, I hear you ask?
They’ve only gone and made the most important record you’ll hear all year.
A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships is the sonic cry of a digital generation wailing against a world they don’t understand, and Matty Healy is the poet of the disenfranchised millions. Who could have imagined it? The band who wrote Chocolate are being coronated as a modern-day Radiohead for this record.
The similarities between this and OK Computer are clear as day, even down to a mid-album robotically delivered monologue about the darkness of the Internet. But where Thom Yorke prophecised technological doom, The 1975 have made the glimmer of hope cutting through the madness.
Every track is its own miniature masterpiece. Even TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME, by far the most one-dimensional track on this ambitious, epic LP, has its own subtle cut at the digital age thanks to Healy’s incredible writing, the best it’s ever been. The best cuts from Brief Inquiry however deserve to be remembered forever. Love It If We Made It, quite possibly their best ever song and the song I feel may define 2018 as a whole, and the cinematic and towering I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes), which evokes Don’t Look Back In Anger and somehow rises to it, are timeless classics.
What makes Brief Inquiry even more insanely good is the fact that Healy and drummer George Daniel (who co-produced this entire album for the first time in the band’s history) have also decided they can make a record that takes on almost every genre imaginable, maintaining thematic and sonic consistency, and also doing those genres better than almost anybody else. Soundcloud rap, 80’s power ballad, even JAZZ – nothing is a stretch too far for The 1975. And they nail it, every time.
In summary, The 1975 went from being a very good singles band to quite possibly being the defining act of our time this weekend. This album floored me. It will floor you. You might cry. I did. And somehow, Brief Inquiry will speak to you and make you say at least once – ‘This is how I feel’.
This album: Wow.
Got a track, or manage/represent somebody who does, that you’d love to be featured on the show? Let me know by emailing me via firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘New Music Monday’!