Aitch (feat. Mastermind) – Money Habits
Manchester rapper Aitch’s brand-new album, Close To Home, has features from Ed Sheeran and AJ Tracey. But it’s this addition from Mastermind that’s my favourite in a track that laments having problems with spending money – which maybe isn’t the best message to put out during a cost-of-living crisis, but it’s a good tune nonetheless. Read our full review of Close To Home here.
Phoebe Green – Won’t Sit Still
Phoebe Green has also dropped her debut album today, Lucky Me – the exact two words I’m sure you’re all saying upon hearing it. Taking a bit of a left turn toward a more pop-oriented sound, there’s some really compelling work in the record. I’ve gone with ‘Won’t Sit Still’, a propulsive track, the title for which describes how we’ve been feeling in the run-up to the album’s release.
Emmeline – Stay With Me
Something very new and exciting here. West Yorkshire-born, London-based artist Emmeline provides us a slice of her poetic ways on her debut single, ‘Stay With Me’, which is delivered over the inevitably tight production of respected Fraser T. Smith. A penchant for wordplay runs in Emmeline’s family: her grandfather wrote and directed pantomimes, her mother worked in radio drama and her father is a poet and playwright. Having trained with the Royal Exchange in Manchester and The National Youth Theatre, Emmeline met Smith at a gig and sent him some demos – he replied with a beat to match and now, here we are, with her debut single.
Louis Culture (feat. Bawo) – 7AM
Delivered over a spare, piano-led beat, ‘7AM’ is about the tough behind-the-scenes work that goes into being an artist. Having risen the ranks among London’s underground scene, alongside fellow Elevation Meditation artists p-rallel, Lord Apex, Finn Foxell, Ric Reefer and Xav, Louis Culture gives us something equally compelling and, dare I say, delicate.
Michael B. Thomas – August
Midway through the month, Michael B. Thomas – the solo project of Leeds singer-songwriter Thomas Barr – has released ‘August’. The track perfectly matches the mood of its namesake: the sepia-toned view of summer not quite being over yet but you can see it’s end on the horizon. A beautiful acoustic tune with an air of Alex G, Wilco and Elliot Smith about it. One to listen to on a long journey, your head gazing out the window.
Dog Race – Terror
Another debut single on the list that, upon listening, sounds like it belies the fact it’s a first release. Bedford’s Dog Race are indeed straight out the block with this one, with a track that balances both light and shade, and takes a fabulous minor twist two-thirds through. I expect this to be the first of many times we hear from Dog Race.
Sam Ryder – Somebody
It’s everyone’s favourite UK Eurovision star. This track might be a bit “mainstream” for some people’s tastes (I see you, snobs), but there’s an undeniable soulful majesty to this track that deserves a listen and makes use of Ryder’s remarkable note-reaching ability. If this is an indicator of his post-Eurovision releases, then I’m all for it.
Lexie Carroll – fall for anything
17-year-old Lexie Caroll’s first foray into indie-pop, ‘fall for anything’ unpacks the problems of a hot-and-cold relationship, where you don’t quite know where you stand. It follows Lexi’s release of ‘if i built my home from paper’ in June, which like her brand-new release has a hushed intensity about it, aided by the soaring guitar in the backdrop.
Finn Foxell – Leaders
In case you’d forgotten, there’s a Tory leadership underway, to determine the trifling matter of who will next run the country. As it stands, it’s a choice between a multi-millionaire who doesn’t know how to buy a McDonald’s, and an Instagram-loving robot with a remarkable ability to say the same things in four different ways. Anyhow, rant over. Here’s ‘Leaders’ from West London songwriter Finn Foxell – another Elevation Meditation member – which does the job instead, and also represents a post-punk slight shift in approach from Foxell.
DMA’S – I Don’t Need To Hide
Aussie trio DMA’s have a great relationship with the UK. Not only will they be showering the masses of post-exam teens at Reading and Leeds next weekend, but after releasing the UK Top 5 album ‘The Glow’ in 2020, they sold an incredible 65,000 tickets to their last UK tour, including a sold-out show at London’s Alexandra Palace. Indeed, when it comes to the UK, there’s no place, reason or need to hide. And here they are, with their first release of 2022.
That’s it, folks. Stay merry. Wear sunscreen. And take a brolly. Be prepared for any eventuality.