Photo: Clare Gillen
Words: ROBIN MUMFORD
How’s everyone doing? Are we all still in awe of that Elton John performance at Glasto last week? I know I am. That’s why I’m here. To give you the lowdown on the best music discoveries of the past week so that you can move on to your next phase. Much like the acts spotted at Worthy Farm, this roundup is very big name heavy. Without further ado, let’s get cracking.
Single Of The Week: “Boys Like You” – Charlotte Lawrence
At 3.1 million monthly listeners on Spotify, Charlotte Lawrence, a Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter, is no greenhorn to creating pop anthems that meet the ears of many. In the case of her Single of the Week ‘Boys Like You’, Lawrence boasts a larger-than-life melody, which is only inflamed by her dulcet vocals and the track’s flirty summer sad girl nature. Released in a week where so many greats have released new material, it was Lawrence and her account of liking someone that doesn’t want you back that stood out. The candid and raw lyricism, richly melodious sonic, and empathetic meaning, coalesce into one astounding track that is a cut above the rest. ‘Boys Like You’ deserves to be played to death on the Radio this year, rubber stamping it as one of those summer songs that becomes the soundtrack to whatever you get up to between now and Autumn.
This week’s finest other selections:
“Landmines” – The K’s
The K’s first released music in 2017 with their bombshell single ‘Sarajevo’, a belter of a track that lit the match for six years of incredible live performances from the Earlestown bred indie risers, often to the chorus of a restless crowd. They thrive as a band that harks back to the adrenaline of the mid-noughties and do so again in perhaps their most evolved sound yet through ‘Landmines’. Written as a memoir of growing up in a working-class town, where the only recipe for a good night is cheap alcohol, good friends, and a shelter of any sort, whether that be a tunnel or a skatepark, the northern grit that The K’s bring to their music is a defining feature of their newest release once more. However, as much as it is tenacious and adrenaline-driven, their third single of the year is also canorous, and sees the sonic ebb and flow between soaring and gliding, showing the band’s maturity to execute a welcomed dynamism to their locker.
“Voice of The Voiceless” – Jamie Webster
Talking of working-class grit, there’s nobody in the industry that represents the north of England better than Jamie Webster right now. Creating a lane of his own, where authenticity and ambition collide with an unstoppable sense of community, the observational singer-songwriter, hailing from Liverpool, has this week released his first music of 2023. Championing people whose voices felt unheard, ‘Voices of The Voiceless’ is an abundant call for togetherness to have a shot at making a positive change for everyone. Soundscape wise, this single proves again that all Jamie needs is his voice and a guitar to control a room, with his strides towards betterment influencing a generation of youngsters who let loose at his gigs and bounce along to an archetypal Webster belter.
“Reverie” – Kellie Lewis
Up next, we travel across the Irish sea and wash up on the Emerald Isle. A runner-up in The Voice of Ireland competition all the way back in 2014, Kellie Lewis shows that she hasn’t slowed down since through “Reverie”, a feel-good must-have in your summer playlist. Described by the Limerick native as a ‘Song for Hope’, the new single explores perseverance and instils a unique but commercially cinematic atmosphere, bound to notch significant airtime on national radio. For fans of Kate Bush, Stevie Nicks, and Florence & The Machine, Kellie Lewis is a hugely talented vocalist and writer, as well as a compelling performer.
“To Be Free” – Northern Hospitality
I’ve only just realised how northern centric this week has been in releases. However, when Gaz Price produces something, our attention is grabbed, and so should yours. Along with his band Northern Hospitality, the Hartlepool quartet are back and as good as ever through ‘To Be Free’. A protest song at heart, by providing a reflection of people opening their eyes to society's problems while hoping for a brighter future, sonically it acts in accordance with many other Gaz Price showpieces. That penchant for ferocious hooks and rocketing melodies are two ingredients regularly found in Northern Hospitality’s discography that complement Price’s weathered vocals, and so ‘To Be Free’ delivers another seismic release in the band’s timeline which capsulizes what they are all about.
“The Floor” – Hollows
This next track, for its entire duration, feels like it’s trying to escape your earphones. Bursting with velocity from the very first second, Hollows, the burgeoning Mancunian band, released a heavy hitting single this week with ‘The Floor’. Receiving unconditional support from the likes of Steve Lamacq and John Kennedy of BBC and Radio X, Hollows have full control of their destiny, and with the release of this tempestuous single, it can only prove triumphant. ‘The Floor’ reflects the band’s indifference to religion and the role it has played in their lives, thus making it a unique listen when modern music often bottlenecks down the same themes. When you’re Mancunian in the industry, you’re automatically expected to be good, but Hollows aren’t. They are, instead, great. This single says so, anyways.
“Are My Friends Alright?” – JAWS
In vocalist Connor Schofield’s own words, “we’d all be f****d without our friends”, which makes up the sentimental value of JAWS’ latest release. But after fours, we’re asking different questions – where has this stalwart of an indie rock band been!? We’ve missed them; it’s just lucky the wait was worth it. By cultivating a dazed dream pop sound through a DIY process, starkly different to the band’s pre-covid routines, the lead single from their upcoming EP rolls out the red carpet for a refreshingly new soundscape – one that will help you fall in love with the band all over again. We… can’t… wait… for… more…!
“Antichrist” & “Room Service” – Holly Humberstone
To complete a roundup that has featured the best songs yet since my takeover, we have the amazing Holly Humberstone. If you think you know me, then you must know just how much I love this musician. At just 23-years-old, she is the queen of music for rainy days and retrospect. Announcing her debut album alongside two singles that show off Holly’s rich sonic tendencies, with ‘Antichrist’ leaning towards the alt-pop ambience of her formative years, and ‘Room Service’ adopting a deeply personal and stripped back acoustic spatialization likened to more recent material, the Nottinghamshire artist is definitely on course for that coveted UK number one at some point in her career – at Our Sound Music, we’re surprised it hasn’t happened yet. Every release is a masterpiece, and as for the paint that is yet to dry from the new artwork unveiled this week, anticipation for Holly’s debut is ominous.