Here are the best new songs we’ve heard in the past week, tried, tested and ready for your ears.
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I Wanna Be A Cowboy, Baby!
Steeped in the barstool melancholy of a washed-out old country tune, ‘I Wanna Be A Cowboy, Baby!’ is CMAT’s third single release. The five odd minutes which here collate tales of misfortune personal and romantic draw a line right under why CMAT is drawing so much positive attention right now. ‘Cowboy, Baby!’ acknowledges heartache with a wink. A hybrid blend of often self-effacing wit and in-jokes (RIP Vine) drawn against the soap-operatic emotional expectation of a modern country tune. Performances are excellent all-round, particularly the vibrato heavy lead vocal take.
Young Man’s Game
Shore is the brand new full-length offering from folk titans Fleet Foxes, the band’s fourth to date. Its early days in terms of detailed analysis, Fleet Foxes’ music has that ivy-like quality of quietly growing up and out in one’s esteem over time – usually more nuance than spectacle.
One thing is clear, much of the sprawling, denuded songwriting of Crack-Up has been abandoned in favour of a more direct approach. Take album highlight ‘Young Man’s Game’, one of the more upbeat cuts from the record. Despite the somewhat less than flattering dad-rock overtones here, it’s hard to resist the gorgeous vocal harmonies and warm lyricism, ditto the driving arrangement throughout. Fleet Foxes remain unabashedly sincere artists, even if it puts them in danger of being twee at times.
Day We Met
God, the talkbox vocals on Fatima Yamaha’s new single ‘Day We Met’ are pure ecstasy. Fans of the Dutch producer and DJ will recognise many of the voices here are somewhat trademark. From the plucky synth arps to the thick bass stabs (which could have been lifted off ‘Araya’). That being said, ‘Day We Met’ brings enough individual qualities to be memorable, certainly enough to want to hear it through on a proper big sound system.
Gadget & The Cloud
It Never Felt Right
The closing song off Cork producer Gadget & The Cloud’s new Things I’ll Never Say EP ‘It Never Felt Right’ is music perhaps best suited for quiet night time moments. Downtempo, straddling the line between ambient and dance. The track slowly builds, culminating in a thunder of low end stabs before clearing into a final thought that feels properly reflective. Genuinely affecting music from your doorstep.
Dublin MC Jafaris and Diffusion Lab provide us with what feels like a hip-hop and pop crossover on new single ‘Haunted’. The production, as with nearly everything Diffusion does, is high-fidelity in every aspect. The autotune is given a radio-friendly gravitas and the lows really move. Jafaris’ more sung than rapped vocal delivery is solid, but not stand out enough to be the best we’ve heard from a talented artist. ‘Haunted’ feels more suited to daytime radio and Spotify playlists than much of the material on the superb Stride, loosing more than a little unique identity in the process.
This thumping, faster than light, hard synth banger off the latest DJ-Kick’s release is the dog’s bollocks (please forgive the pun). The sort of music you’d expect in a futuristic games arcade set in an 80s sci-fi movie, only with more bass.
A standout cut lifted from Pillow Queen’s debut LP In Waiting. ‘Liffey’ comes near the album’s halfway mark. A wailing, almost dreary distorted arrangement set against the sweetness of the lead vocal delivery. Even against these blown-out guitars and punctuated cymbal hits, Pillow Queens still manage to bring a foot-tapping, earworm melody to the refrain on ‘Liffey’.
Someone advertised Joji’s new LP Nectar to me as having a beautiful second track (‘MODUS’) and an awful third track, ‘Tick Tock’ is that third track and my joint-favourite off the excellent project. It’s definitely a little trashy, with a lead vocal melody you’ve probably heard elsewhere. There’s not a whole lot of ideas on offer, just two or three different motifs repeated throughout, but are they ever catchy. Joji is guilty of painting by numbers to a certain extent here and throughout Nectar, but he does what he does very well – better than most. The high-pitched “ah” sample is definitely lifted off Nelly and Kelly Rowland’s seminal 2002 single ‘Dilemma’ too, which gets massive brownie points.
‘96 Neve Campbell feat Cam and China
Clipping continue the horror themes of last year’s There Existed An Addiction To Blood, with a tribute to 1996 Scream-era Neve Campbell with a feature from West Coast duo Cam and China. Visions of Bodies Being Burned, out 23rd October on Sub Pop. (Niall)
Bonobo & Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
A collaboration between two UK producers deliver a big slice of euphoria tinged with melancholy when you know that no-one in your immediate vicinity is able to dance with abandon in a club. In 2020, club and dance music is largely an imaginary pursuit. (Nialler)