Our music recommendations: What we’re listening to, from Cautious Clay to Samia

·35-min read
Samia  (Sophia Matinazad)
Samia (Sophia Matinazad)

Is your playlist in need of some refreshment? We have some suggestions.

Björk - Fossora

Picasso had his blue period. Welcome to what Björk calls her fungus period. As ever, she’s so far removed from everyone else in music that these songs make most sense when the listener is fully immersed over an extended time period. There’s no point having them pop up amid lesser mortals on a Spotify playlist. With this one, it’s worth digging deep.

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Cool It Down

New York band Yeah Yeah Yeahs have now been absent for long enough that they could call this comeback a reformation, fire out the old favourites one more time and be met with great gratitude. This time, though Karen O’s feline yowl is still instantly recognisable, Zinner’s mighty guitar work is barely heard, with synthesizers dominating the eight songs. They make no attempt to be the band they were, but the sound they have found instead leaves no doubt they’re a must-hear act once more.

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Christine and the Queens - Rien Dire

Christine and the Queens is releasing music under a new guise, Redcar, and the latest instalment is this deliciously plaintive, French-language track, which (Google Translate tells us) is about the enduring nature of love. We can’t wait to catch his gig at the Southbank Centre, which is still awaiting a new date after its initial postponement.

Nia Archives - Baianá

Nia Archives doesn’t miss. The rising jungle producer dropped one of our favourite EPs of the year so far with Forbidden Feelingz, and now she’s back with this cracking track. It samples the 2005 samba song Baianá, lifting it from some Brazilian beach party and dropping it right in the middle of a sweaty basement rave.

Cautious Clay - Burning Up Slow

Cautious Clay AKA Ohio-born musician Joshua Karpeh will release his new EP, Thin Ice on the Cake, at some point in November. The exact date hasn’t been confirmed, but we do know that it will feature this superb new track. With rippling echoes of guitar and a jaunty beat, the music is matched by some rather more angsty lyrics.

Samia - Kill Her Freak Out

“I didn’t want to kill anyone, obviously,” says New York City-based artist Samia about the quite murder-ish lyrics in the chorus of her latest single. “I just wanted to yell.” The song definitely sounds like the quietly distraught build up to a very large scream: the instrumentation is little more than an organ that gradually grows throughout the song.

Beth Orton - Weather Alive

After multiple setbacks, Weather Alive is finally out in the world, and it’s fantastic. Orton’s voice is the most startling thing here. Usually soft and pretty, she sounds weary and frail, unafraid to show the cracks. “Who’d dare to love me/I’m a whore/I’m too exposed/Honey I’m rubbed raw,” she sings on Lonely in a low croak. She’s at her most exposed, sounding like she rarely has before, and more emotionally gripping than ever.

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Alewya - Let Go

“The next phase is more wild,” says London artist Alewya of her upcoming music. “I won’t hold back anymore.” You can certainly hear that in this latest single, with its heavy throbs of bass, sharp drum smacks and shattering vocals. We’re still waiting for a debut album; the sooner the better.

The Tallest Man On Earth - Lost Highway

Swedish folk artist Kristian Matsson aka The Tallest Man On Earth has been in covers mode recently, releasing renditions of songs by Yo La Tengo, Lucinda Williams and Håkan Hellström. It’s all for a new album (Too Late for Edelweiss, September 23), which will also feature this spacey cover of Lost Highway, the country track popularised by Hank Williams.

Groove Armada - Hold A Vibe feat. Red Rat

Andy Cato and Tom Findlay have been keeping crowds moving for a quarter of a century now, and on November 11, they’ll release GA25, a career-spanning collection of their greatest hits to mark 25 years since their debut single. It’s not all nostalgia though; they’ve also released this thumper of a new track, featuring dancehall artist Red Rat.

Magdalena Bay - Unconditional

The LA-based electro pop duo return with this wonderfully fun single, a flurry of futuristic funk squelches and candy floss vocals. It’ll feature on the expanded reissue of their 2021 breakthrough album, Mercurial World, described as a “mish mash of sorts, an amalgamation of new songs that didn’t originally fit the flow”.

Marcus Mumford - (self-titled)

Some musicians go solo because the limits of their band are holding them back and they intend to make music that makes them even more popular. Harry Styles would fit into this category. Others know that without the armour of the band name, there’s likely to be less interest in their work, but they have something they need to say and sales figures be damned. That’s the case for Marcus Mumford.

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Rina Sawayama - Hold the Girl

Rina Sawayama's new album is all over the shop. Minor Feelings has a minimal backdrop, while This Hell is camp, overblown pure pop. Your Age is more serious, and Frankenstein races along on a menacing bassline. By the time Phantom unveils its closing squealy guitar solo, you’ll either have thrown your speakers out a window in protest at the lack of tastefulness on display, or rolled over and given in to this enjoyably unpredictable world.

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Kelela - Washed Away

“Please TRUST the bangers are on the way,” wrote US artist Kelela announcing her return from hiatus on Twitter earlier this week. If some beefy basslines are forthcoming, that’s great, but we’re more than happy with what she’s given us already: this outrageously gorgeous swirl of synths and pristine vocals.

Willow - Curious/Furious

Willow’s journey deep into the thick of pop-punk lore continues apace with this angsty new track, gathering everything we’ve come to expect from her recent output: a huge, piercing voice, powerful lyrics and an extremely catchy chorus. At just 21, she’ll release her fifth solo studio album on October 7.

Cate Le Bon - Typical Love

The outline for Cate Le Bon’s new single was actually drawn during the sessions for her last album, Pompeii, but “always felt like a second cousin to the other tracks”. The Welsh musician has now revisited that distant relative, and returned with something redolent of the spikier, spookier end of classic post-punk.

A.A. Williams - The Echo

London-based singer A.A. Williams will headline the Queen Elizabeth Hall this weekend, and if she plays this latest release, it’ll fill every single inch of the 900-seater venue. Building up gradually and assuredly towards an earth-shaking post-rock crescendo, it’s seismic stuff. New album As The Moon Rests arrives on October 7.

Two Door Cinema Club - Keep On Smiling

Keeping going for five albums is quite a feat for an indie pop band, a genre where acts tend to shine blazing bright upon arrival before beginning a similarly rapid descent. After Two Door Cinema Club’s platinum-selling debut and chart-topping follow-up, the Northern Irish trio seemed to have fizzled out, but there’s a renewed energy to this new collection, and as the album title and its palm tree-lined cover suggest, what feels like sunny optimism.

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Arctic Monkeys - There’d Better Be A Mirrorball

Alex Turner and co have come back down to earth after the lunar excursion of their last album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, and have released what might be their most forlornly beautiful track yet. Yearning orchestration and some typically droll lyrics make up the first single from the band’s forthcoming record, The Car, out October 21.

Gorillaz - New Gold feat. Tame Impala and Bootie Brown

We greatly enjoyed the last Gorillaz track to emerge — the sparky, Thundercat-featuring Cracker Island — and now we’ve got another funky instalment, this time with Aussie psych-rocker Tame Impala and previous collaborator Bootie Brown. The upcoming album, out February 24, will enlist Stevie Nicks, Bad Bunny and more.

Benjamin Clementine - Genesis

Benjamin Clementine, who made his acting debut in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune last year, will release his first LP for more than five years on October 28. And I Have Been will include this new track, which comes and goes in less than two-and-a-half minutes, but packs in the kind of big-voiced vocals and sweeping emotion we’ve come to expect.

Confidence Man - Angry Girl (CHAI Version)

Indie pop outfit Confidence Man have proved a hit on the summer’s festival circuit — their fabulously fun Glastonbury set was a contender as one of the weekend’s best — and now they’re remixing tracks from their latest record, Tilt. Here, they collide with Japanese four-piece CHAI for a rambunctious reworking of Angry Girl.

Panic! At The Disco - Viva Las Vengeance

This seventh album from Brendon Urie (it’s now a solo project rather than a band) is steeped in the classic rock sounds of the Seventies, all bright, colourful riffing, Brian May-esque guitar solos, and even some eye-watering Freddie Mercury high notes on songs such as Something About Maggie and the exhausting closing number, Do It to Death. When he reins it in just a little and influences other than Queen can be identified, it’s hard to resist all the energy he summons.

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Aitch - Close to Home

Harrison “Aitch” Armstrong is just 22 but it still feels surprising that this is his debut album. The rapper had his first viral single in 2018 and has been a fixture in the UK charts since 2019. That long run-up to his first full length release means that he’s already moved on to the subject matter typical of second albums. Guess what? Fame ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

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Sarathy Korwar - Utopia Is A Colonial Project

US-born, Indian-raised, London-based artist Sarathy Korwar made one of our top albums of 2019 with More Arriving, which means news of a full-length follow-up is very welcome. KALAK will be released on November 11, and here’s the lead single: a deeply reflective, entrancingly rhythmic groover.

Nick Hakim - Happen

Brooklyn musician Nick Hakim might be best known for his soulful take on modern R&B, but his new track, with its trudging guitars and dusty vocals, almost sounds like it could have been plucked from some alt-rock LP recorded in the depths of the Nineties. That’s a good thing. The new album Cometa arrives on October 21.

Maya Hawke - Sweet Tooth

Maya Hawke is on course for world domination. Or, at least, she seems as if she’s got the potential to be very big indeed. She delivered a star-making performance as an actor in Stranger Things, and with her latest single, she’s showing her on-trend indie-folk-pop credentials. Imagine a Phoebe Bridgers song, but less sad.


SOHN, aka London-born artist Christopher Michael Taylor, has a new album on the way: Trust, coming on September 2. “M.I.A. is dedicated to the partners of those with depression,” he says of the powerful latest single. “The ones who hold it down while their loved ones may be missing-in-action whilst suffering.”

Danger Mouse & Black Thought – Cheat Codes

As with Burton’s earliest work, the music sounds densely layered and sophisticated, the attention to detail so thorough that these new songs already have the vintage air of material that has existed for decades. Hearing his distinctive style with rappers on top is a rare treat — but it still feels like these new songs are familiar favourites.

Panda Bear & Sonic Boom - Reset

Here, two musicians from different generations of psychedelia unite and look backwards. While some past Panda Bear work has been murky and disorientating, this one is bright and clear, often so guileless in its joyful melodies that it could be a children’s album. The sharpest-eared will spot Save the Last Dance for Me by The Drifters, Denise by Randy & The Rainbows, The Everly Brothers song Love of My Life and Eddie Cochran’s Three Steps to Heaven, among others.

Loyle Carner – Georgetown

British hip-hop artist Loyle Carner is back. The Mercury-nominated Carner has moved on from the infectiousness of his album “Not Waving, But Drowning”; this track is a meditation on his roots and how his mixed-race identity has shaped his life. The song opens and closes with a sample of the poem “Half-caste” by Guyanese poet John Agard; all in all, powerful stuff.

Cool Sounds - 6 or 7 More

Get ready to take your eardrums back to the Seventies with this disco-glam gem. Cool Sounds are famous for never doing anything twice: in addition to an ever-revolving line-up, their sound has evolved from dreamy indie to chilled-out pop. Now, they’re cranking up the disco funk to 11 and bopping along to sweet saxophone breaks.

Pale Waves – Clean

If you’re in the mood for some 90s attitude, there’s no better place to be than listening to Pale Waves’ new song. The Mancunian indie-rock band’s track (which accompanies their new album Unwanted, also out today) is joyful, defiant and described by the band as “a song for the LGBTQ community”. A strange addition to an album that deals almost exclusively in darker emotions, but isn’t life all about ups and downs?

Editors – Kiss

Industry veterans Editors are back with a song that tips the hat to Spandau Ballet and New Order simultaneously. Thrumming with synth beats and heavy on the falsetto, the song is an offering from the band’s upcoming studio album EBM and features a rather lovely dance-heavy music video with two male dancers. Singer Tom Smith describes it as a “crying on the dancefloor banger”: we wholeheartedly agree.

Suede - 15 Again

The second single from the band’s forthcoming album Autofiction (due September 16) is “about falling in love with life for the first time”, according to Brett Anderson. Its disaffected intro and classic Suede sound will thrill longtime fans (yes that’s me).


It’s still a while to wait until Flo’s eagerly anticipated debut album, but this week she dropped the video for latest single SPF, to follow last month’s Cuddy Buddy. It’s summer road trip vibes all the way, tempered by a glitchy texture and her signature relentless flow.

The 1975 - Happiness

This is the second single from the Manchester band’s fifth album: Being Funny in a Foreign Language. It’s a jaunty jam session of a tune, upbeat and a touch chaotic. Lead singer Matty Healey said “it’s just us having fun” and that infectious spirit comes through loud and clear.

Beyoncé + Honey Dijon, Will.i.am, Nita Aviance & Terry Hunter - Break My Soul: the remixes

Less than a week after releasing her new album Renaissance, Queen Bey has called in the troops for an EP of remixes of the lead single, so you can now quit your job with a tribal vibe (Honey Dijon) or to a trance beat (Aviance), should you wish. For completists, but isn’t that all of us?

Beyoncé - Renaissance

Last month on her comeback single, Break My Soul, Beyoncé sang: “I just quit my job.” Was this a comment on The Great Resignation? On the evidence presented by her first solo album for six years, she meant that she was abdicating any responsibility for using pop music to make grand pronouncements, and appears to have no bigger plan than lighting up the club.

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Maggie Rogers - Surrender

A former banjo player and child harpist who grew up in rural Maryland, Maggie Rogers mixed electronic pop with delicate folk sounds on her debut album, Heard It in a Past Life, which sounded charming but too flimsy for subsequent requirements such as supporting Mumford & Sons around the arenas. These new songs sound much more solidly constructed, designed for bigger spaces, from the cavernous drums and confident guitar of the opening song, Overdrive, onwards.

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Brian Eno - There Were Bells

Ambient master Brian Eno has a new album on the way (FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE, out October 14). The lead single, There Were Bells, is a rare outing for Eno’s own vocals, with the album featuring him singing on a majority of tracks for the first time since 2005. Check out the atmospheric live video for this first track, filmed at the Acropolis in Athens.

Dry Cleaning - Anna Calls from the Arctic

Another new album for your October diary: Stumpwork by Dry Cleaning, out on the 21st. This initial taster is, as the name suggests, inspired by phone calls with a friend in the faraway polar region, and hints at a new(ish) direction, away from post-punk and towards something like warped jazz. Florence Shaw’s vocals, meanwhile, are enjoyably deadpan as ever.

Charli XCX - Hot Girl

Indie film studio A24 will release their new comedy-slasher flick Bodies Bodies Bodies on August 5, and they’ve enlisted Charli XCX to pen the theme tune. This hyperpop belter is the result, mixing braggy, hair-flicking lyrics with some pitch-black synths. It’s not exactly Tubular Bells, but should do the job for some zany gore.

Big Joanie - In My Arms

Sweet and wistful, this latest offering from London punks Big Joanie bodes very well for their forthcoming album Back Home, due on November 4. There’s a lovely accompanying video, charting a queer love story, and the opportunity to see the band live in the basement of Third Man Records in Soho tonight; sign up to the Big Joanie newsletter for your chance to go.

Jack White - Entering Heaven Alive

As a solo act, Jack White has tried a bit of everything. This year he’s released two very different albums months apart. Fear of the Dawn, from April, was berserk, a hyperactive maelstrom overloaded with so many guitar effects it was as if he could make his instrument talk. It even had a rapper on it: Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest. This companion album, written during the same period, is sensible Jekyll to the other one’s Hyde.

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Jamie T - The Theory of Whatever

In one of the rare interviews which Jamie T clearly finds so excruciating, he has revealed that there were around 180 songs vying for inclusion on this album, in various states of completeness. That means that the 13 that made the cut don’t necessarily sit together with a clear sense of character, but there ought to be a new one to add to your personal greatest hits here no matter where your tastes lie.

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MorMor - Far Apart

It’s been a little while since we’ve heard from MorMor — the Canadian musician who turned heads with his finely tuned indie pop at the tail-end of the 2010s — but now he’s back with some new material. It’s an excellent return: that falsetto is polished as ever, and the production classily restrained.

Jessie Ware - Free Yourself

Jessie Ware gave us all a desperately needed dose of escapism with the delightfully dancey album What’s Your Pleasure, released during the first few months of the pandemic. And now we’re allowed back in clubs, we can’t wait to hear this rousing disco banger dominating the dancefloor.

Japanese Breakfast - Be Sweet (Korean version) feat. So!YoON!

Be Sweet by Japanese Breakfast was undoubtedly one of the best songs of 2021 — and feels like it was stuck in our head for most of that year. Now, to celebrate an upcoming gig in Seoul, the song has been re-released with Korean lyrics, and features South Korean artist So!YoON!. Turns out it’s just as catchy in a foreign language.

Genesis Owusu - GTFO

Ghanaian-Australian artist Genesis Owusu has been on the rise ever since the release of his superb debut album Smiling With No Teeth last year, and this latest single will do nothing to stop him in his tracks. Spectral backing vocals and a marching-band beat combine for something powerful.

Lizzo - Special

Lizzo still knows exactly how to attract the TikTokkers, with their love of novelty dance routines and tiny attention spans, but this time she’ll sweep an older generation into her gang too. Many of the biggest tunes channel Seventies disco and Eighties synthpop. Everybody’s Gay is the greatest moment amid tough competition. Its restless disco and triumphant horns channel Off the Wall-era Michael Jackson and could encourage Lionel Richie to get back on the ceiling.

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Young Fathers - Geronimo

It’s been four long years since we last had a new track from this most excellent of Scottish trios, but they’re finally back. And what a way to return, with a song that is quite in its own lane, almost spiritual in its feeling and flooringly effective in its execution. Will more follow? Consider our ears peeled.

Danger Mouse & Black Thought - Aquamarine feat. Michael Kiwanuka

The third single from the forthcoming collaborative album between producer Danger Mouse and lead MC of the Roots, Black Thought, sees Michael Kiwanuka enter the fold. The London singer lends sleepy vocals to the chorus, interspersed by dense rap verses from Black Thought. The full project — which names the late MF DOOM among its features — lands on August 12.

Alhaji Waziri Oshomah - Jealousy

Releases on Luaka Bop, the eclectic label founded by Talking Heads’ David Byrne, have ranged from Afro-Peruvian soul to South Indian film music. Its latest project, first recorded in the Seventies and Eighties, covers the work of Alhaji Waziri Oshomah: a Nigerian-born artist whose music is a brilliant blend of local folk, pan-Nigerian highlife and Western pop. The full project is out on September 23.

Cosey Fanni Tutti - Psychedelic Projections

Back in 2020, Cosey Fanni Tutti was tasked with crafting an original soundtrack for Caroline Catz’s film about the pioneering electronic music composer Delia Derbyshire. The film was superb and the otherworldly score was spot on: now, it’s set to be released as a standalone album on September 16. Get an idea of what’s to come with this first snippet.

Laura Veirs - Found Light

The breakup album is commonplace in music – just ask Adele – but albums about what happens after the initial trauma are less of a thing. Laura Veirs made her last LP, My Echo, while her marriage to producer Tucker Martine was disintegrating, a situation made more complex by the fact that the songs were recorded by him in the studio that they co-owned. This time she worked elsewhere, but even so, the music is far from a glorious whoop of freedom.

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The 1975 - Part of the Band

Matty Healy and the gang have announced a new album, Being Funny In A Foreign Language. There’s no release date yet, but we do have this new single. The band cycled through all sorts of styles on their last LP, and this time, they deal in stripped-back orchestral strings and gentle acoustic guitars.

Sudan Archives - NPBQ (Topless)

Both of the singles released for Natural Brown Prom Queen — the new album from LA-based Sudan Archives, set to drop on September 9 — have been excellent, but this new one might be the best of the lot. It’s fiercely rhythmic and thrillingly restless, switching up between head-spinning verses, ethereal interludes and a brooding outro.

Alvvays - Pharmacist

Canadian five-piece Alvvays carved themself a fanbase through their first two albums, dishing out catchy, instantly enjoyable indie rock. Now they’re delivering a third full-length effort called Blue Rev, out on October 7. This lead single is cocooned in layers of woozy shoegaze production.

Tendai - Pressure

A recent signing to 0207 Def Jam, a London-based offshoot from the legendary American record label, east Londoner Tendai is certainly one to watch. With gently manipulated vocals and a glossy, slowly strolling beat, this latest single is making us very excited for a new album, whenever that might arrive.

Gwenno - Tresor

If BTS can get stadiums full of British fans singing along in Korean, it shouldn’t seem that odd that Gwenno Saunders is releasing her second Cornish-language album. She isn’t trying to limit her audience by communicating in a secret code, but the experience of listening in isolation does create an otherworldly, mysterious feel.

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Paolo Nutini - Last Night in the Bittersweet

It’s over eight years since Paolo Nutini last released an album. The 35-year-old hasn’t given any interviews to promote this long-awaited follow-up so far, and even his surprise appearance at Glastonbury took place in a tent so tiny that it felt as if he didn’t want anyone to see him. Judging by the songs here, though, refusing to play by the rules is working brilliantly.

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Rina Sawayama - Catch Me in the Air

Fresh from living out her American country-pop fantasy on previous single This Hell, Rina Sawayama is turning her attention to this side of the Atlantic with the follow-up track. “I wanted the whole song to sound like it was on an Irish coastline, like a Corrs video,” she explained, and you can certainly imagine ocean gusts ruffling your hairdo when the soaring chorus arrives.

Hudson Mohawke - Cry Sugar (Megamix)/Bicstan

Glaswegian producer Hudson Mohawke has announced a new album (Cry Sugar, August 12) and hit us with this head-spinning duo of tracks to get things going. Veering wildly from sweet vocal samples one second to amped-up hyperpop and pounding donks of gabber the next, both tracks set up what looks set to be an playfully eclectic collection.

Sampa The Great - Never Forget ft. Chef 187, Tio Nason, Mwanjé

This latest release from Zambian-born artist Sampa The Great is a celebration of family and heritage. Taking inspiration from Zamrock, the African country’s popular fusion genre, and featuring vocals from Sampa’s own sister, Mwanjé, it’s a powerfully crafted ode — as well as a look to the future, with booming bass lines giving it a modern intensity.

Valerie June - Godspeed feat. Treya Lam

Memphis singer-songwriter Valerie June, whose 2021 album we named as one of the best of the year, is going into covers mode. Due for release on August 26, Under Cover will bring together eight reimagined songs, from John Legend’s Imagine to Fade Into You by Mazzy Star, as well as this lovely, piano-led rendition of Frank Ocean’s Godspeed.

Regina Spektor - Home, Before and After

New York pianist Regina Spektor started out in the early 2000s writing solo piano songs. Two decades on, her eighth album features significantly more in the way of instrumentation. But we can be grateful that, even as her budget has increased, her imagination hasn’t been diluted for the mainstream at all.

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Jack Johnson - Meet the Moonlight

Jack Johnson’s eighth album arrives in an unhurried style that suits the Hawaiian singer-songwriter’s music. Outside the studio, he's an energetic campaigner, but any fire or anger is invisible on this smooth 10-song collection. He can continue to save the radical behaviour for his political work as long as he keeps coming up with music as simply affecting as this.

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Gorillaz - Cracker Island feat. Thundercat

Murdoc, Noodle, Russel and 2D are back — which is to say, Damon Albarn is back in his animated guise as Gorillaz with this fizzy new-age funk track. The lightning-fingered bassist Thundercat adds spidery layers and his distinctive, smoothly textured backing vocals, with further input from super producer Greg Kurstin.

Jamie T - St George Wharf Tower

It’s hard to make the exhaust-choked interchange of Vauxhall seem romantic, but Jamie T has done just that. This track, named after the huge cylindrical tower block that looms over the area, is sensitively sung over guitars and little else, with some marvellous lines: “Vauxhall high-rise life/Are you living in the clouds or on the A3205?”

Makaya McCraven - Seventh String

Chicago jazz supremo Makaya McCraven, one of the genre’s leading modern forces on that side of the Atlantic, is coming back with a new album, In These Times, due out on September 3. This is the first cut from the LP, with McCraven’s subtle, speedy drums shuffling beneath floating waves of instrumentation.

I. Jordan - First Time Back/Always Been

I. Jordan, the producer and DJ formerly known as India Jordan, returns with a duo of high-energy dance tracks. First Time Back cranks up the beats-per-minute and weaves in some old-school rave energy, while Always Been doesn’t sound a million miles away from Japanese synth legends Yellow Magic Orchestra.

Foals - Life Is Yours

Foals last two albums, the sprawling, intense Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, seems to have seen them reach a peak in terms of ambition. That sets them free to try a new approach on this seventh album: the Coldplay method. Why bludgeon those arena crowds to death with glowering art rock when you can turn up the fun quotient?

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Jessie Buckley and Bernard Butler - For All Our Days That Tear The Heart

Investing in an actor’s album is always a risky business. But just as Jessie Buckley has consistently chosen interesting acting roles, so her music is far more nuanced and sophisticated than something dashed off between takes in a trailer. Alongside Bernard Butler, this project could well find Buckley adding a Mercury Prize nomination to her varied list of accolades.

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Unknown T - Who Said Drill’s Dead?

London rapper Unknown T — whose breakout track Homerton B became the first ever UK drill song to crack the UK charts back in 2018 — is back with this fiery new freestyle. Be sure to check out the Top Boy-themed video too, which features actor Ashley Walters reprising his Dushane character, and is set in a cafe featured in the Netflix show.

Nova Twins - Supernova

Nova Twins have been breaking ground with their speaker-busting, ferocious clash of nu-metal, UK rap and electronics, and now the London duo are back with their second album, released today. It’s a smart, snarling collection of new music; the sound of a rule-breaking band in full flow.

Beabadoobee - 10:36

Combining a love of the fuzzy, alt-rock sound of America in the Nineties with an unfailing ability to write a catchy pop chorus, Beabadoobee’s style of songwriting is a potent one. This is the fourth single off the 22-year-old’s upcoming second album, Beatopia, due out on July 15 — catch her on that same day supporting Sam Fender in Finsbury Park.

Biig Piig - Fun

Doing fresh things with the old-school dance music styles is something being explored by quite a few artists at the moment — the likes of Nia Archives, PinkPantheress and Yuné Pinku — and here’s a fine example from shape-shifting Irish artist Biig Piig. Soft, almost timid vocals are shaken up by a lively jungle beat.

Beth Orton - Weather Alive

Beth Orton will return on September 23 with Weather Alive, her first new album in six years. Wholly self-produced for the first time in her career, and recorded with the help of “a beaten up old piano I bought in Camden Market”, this seven-minute single is the first taste of what’s to come: unrushed, meditative and resonant.

Jungle - Good Times / Problemz

Dance duo Jungle — otherwise known as London producers Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland — are working on a new release after cracking the UK top five with their 2021 album Loving In Stereo. They’ve given us a teaser in the form of these two tracks, harnessing an old-school funk energy and enlivening soul vocals.

Liam Gallagher - C’mon You Know

Liam Gallagher is returning to the site of two legendary Oasis gigs next month for a pair of massive shows at Knebworth. So the hard work is done, and it hardly matters what this third solo album sounds like as long as Wonderwall gets another airing in Hertfordshire. That means Gallagher Jr sounds relaxed, comfortable in his almost-50-year-old skin, and happy to be a bit weird.

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Alfie Templeman - Mellow Moon

If the kids are supposed to be so easily upset by everything these days, how come their music is so happy? The debut album from Bedfordshire teenager Alfie Templeman isn’t exhaustingly upbeat but even the slower ones are perfectly danceable, including the head-nodding disco funk of You’re a Liar and the rubbery groove of Galaxy. It’s the kind of upbeat pop music that makes a sunny day feel significantly sunnier.

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Oliver Sim - Hideous

Oliver Sim, bassist for the xx, opened up this week about how he’s lived with HIV since he was 17 — and how his new record (Hideous Bastard, out September 19) wasn’t written “to dwell, but rather to free myself of some of the shame and fear that I’ve felt for a long time”. It’s all there in this candid, cathartic single.

Lil Silva - Another Sketch

Bedford artist Lil Silva’s been around for some time — experimenting in the UK funky scene in the late Noughties, then helping to produce Adele’s 25 among others, all while releasing EPs and singles — and now, he’s delivering a debut album, Yesterday Is Heavy, out July 15. This beautiful single makes that a very exciting prospect.

Katy J Pearson - Alligator

Bristolian up-and-comer Katy J Pearson wrote this track in the midst of “the worst morning ever” — the stress of a hefty electricity bill led to her bursting into tears in the studio. “And from that feeling,” she says, “the song just surfaced from all my anxieties”. The restless bassline and big, emotional release of a chorus sound pretty fitting.

Mr Jukes and Barney Artist - 93

1993 was a stellar year for hip hop (Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg and A Tribe Called Quest all delivered classic albums) and that golden-era is the inspiration for this new single from Barney Artist and Mr Jukes AKA Bombay Bicycle Club’s Jack Steadman. It’s a major throwback, all boom-bap drums and record scratches, and it’s great.

Harry Styles - Harry’s House

And this, the 28-year-old’s third studio album, is the most unconventional collection of music he’s released so far. Relatively speaking, at least — he hasn’t totally abandoned the chart-topping ship and gone full Throbbing Gristle — but from the opening track, Music for A Sushi Restaurant, it’s clear that Styles isn’t one to spend all his time chasing pop trends. The album is, in the most part, a compelling release from Styles, even if you feel he still has room to grow into something else.

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Everything Everything - Raw Data Feel

Everything Everything employed an AI lyricist to help write this latest album, but the Manchester art rockers still manage to find a very human quality to the joy in the music they’ve crafted. Frontman Jonathan Higgs’ falsetto still resembles Thom Yorke’s, though less haunting, more hysterical, but if you’ve found the band irritating in the past, you may yet be reeled in by the smooth New Order groove of Jennifer or the calmer, beautiful Born Under a Meteor. Even with a little robotic help, they deserve all the credit for producing their best collection in years.

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BackRoad Gee - Under Attack

BackRoad Gee is going from strength to strength — stealing the show on Pa Salieu’s My Family back in 2020, collaborating with none other than Jay-Z in 2021, and releasing his debut mixtape later that year — and now he’s back with this fresh track. It’s as vigorously entertaining as we’ve come to expect from the London-based rapper.

Watch the Ride and Nia Archives - Mash Up The Dance

Bradford-born Nia Archives has been setting the jungle scene alight with her fresh, multi-stranded take on the genre in recent times — and the hot streak continues with this new collaboration. Sharing production duties with Watch the Ride (AKA DJ Die, Randall, and Dismantle), it’s an absolute dead cert for the dance floors this summer.

Angel Olsen - Through The Fires

Angel Olsen has delivered what she’s described as “the centrepiece statement” of her upcoming album, Big Time, out June 3. Sung in an almost-whisper with soft strings and gentle drums, before building to a cinematic crescendo, it’s the latest in a stunning string of singles from the US artist.

Connie Constance - Miss Power

“A classic Connie Constance indie banger, if I do say so myself,” says none other than Watford-born artist Connie Constance of her propulsive new track. It’s the first release on her new label, Play It Again Sam, which suggests a new album could be in the works. A follow-up run of gigs to her last, sold-out tour will be announced soon, too.

Kendrick Lamar - Mr Morale & The Big Steppers

Kendrick Lamar’s first album in five years didn’t need hyping, and he avoids the pressure of worldwide expectation by turning his focus deep, deep inwards. The subjects he tackles, from child abuse to transgender acceptance, are light years away from the usual concerns of the hip hop world, and once again, Lamar is that far ahead of everyone else in the game.

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Florence + The Machine - Dance Fever

There are a few songs on Florence Welch’s latest album that seem designed to offer renewed joy when she finally returns to the stage, such as My Love and Dream Girl Evil. However, the overall feel here is one of hesitant uncertainty. She’s far from the banshee of old, but this latest development is always absorbing.

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Ezra Furman - Forever in Sunset

Fresh from penning the suitably heart-on-sleeve soundtrack for Netflix’s Sex Education, Ezra Furman is returning with a new album. All Of Us Flames will arrive on August 26, followed up by a show at the Roundhouse on November 17. This latest single, with a bursting chorus and throaty vocals, is an excellent sign of things to come.

Stella Donnelly - Lungs

Aussie musician Stella Donnelly firmly marked herself out as one to watch in the future with her debut album, Beware of the Dogs, back in 2019, and so it’s proved: this shuffly, playful new single is superb. She’ll match Ezra Furman and release her new album, Flood, on August 26 — it’s shaping up to be a good Friday.

Shygirl - Firefly

Boundary-pushing Londoner Shygirl has been doing weird and wonderful things with pop music for years, and now she’s finally coming through with a debut album — Nymph, September 30 — set to feature the likes of Arca and Mura Masa. This glitched-out raver is the first single off the project.

Nova Twins - Puzzles

“Inspired by the many sexy R&B songs we love, we wanted to make a heavy rocked-out version of a song that makes us feel powerful,” say London duo Nova Twins of their unapologetically sex-positive new track Puzzles. As always with this band, it defies genre — but it certainly doesn’t pull any punches.

Arcade Fire - WE

Given the current state of the world, Arcade Fire aren’t short of subject matter for their sixth album. It’s named after the dystopian novel We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, and its first half journeys from what the band calls the current Age of Anxiety to a strangely beautiful future where California is under the sea. Whereas their previous album, Everything Now, could feel too much like a lecture about the internet rotting your brain, here things end up in a more positive place. Open, welcoming, uplifting despite the darkness, there are few better companions for the apocalypse.

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Khalid - Skyline

We’re at that time of the year when the summer-ready bangers start to come through thick and fast. Latest to deliver is US star Khalid, whose new single is about as bouncy and easy-going as a flamingo pool inflatable. It’ll feature on his upcoming album, Everything Is Changing, which is still yet to get a nailed-on release date.

Porridge Radio - End of Last Year

“End of Last Year is a love song for my bandmates and for myself,” says lead vocalist Dana Margolin of the Brighton band Porridge Radio’s new song. Rather more languid than their scuzzier output, it still bodes well for the upcoming album, Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky, set to arrive on May 20.

Tove Lo - No One Dies From Love

Tove Lo is back, and she’s brought a new record label with her, Pretty Swede. The Scandinavian artist has christened the venture with her latest single, a thumping piece of synth-pop, accompanied by a video charting a human-robot love story. Catch her live at the Roundhouse on November 5.

George Riley - Jealousy

London artist George Riley caught our ear last year, popping up as a vocalist on the ravey Anz track You Could Be. She dials things down on this new single, produced by the Frank Ocean-approved Vegyn, lowering the tempo and the temperature with some velvety vocals and a glimmering beat.

Blossoms - Ribbon Around the Bomb

From the beginning, the charm of Blossoms has been their willingness to avoid rock star iciness and embrace less hip influences too. The song Care For sweeps along like something that could join in with the ABBA comeback. The title track is the strongest, strutting past on an easygoing bassline with much woo-ing in the backing vocals. They’re growing up on this latest album, but haven’t lost sight of what makes them so appealing.

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Ibeyi - Rise Above feat. Berwyn

The very best kinds of covers are the ones in which the new version sounds like a completely fresh interpretation of the original — and that’s exactly the case here. Afro-Cuban-French sisters Ibeyi and east Londoner Berwyn deliver this simmering take on the classic hardcore punk track, Rise Above by Black Flag, swapping flailing fury for calm power.