Tinashe – ‘Wrong’
The arrival of a new Tinashe mixtape was quite an exciting thought, and after Aquarius, her debut album, failed to really make too much of a mark, it feels appropriate that this potentially great popstar would move on. Thank goodness she did as ‘Wrong’ is completely brilliant. From the low-key production, provided by rising star Ryan Hemsworth, to the sultry vocal from Tinashe, everything just works. While her album might have lacked proper melodies, ‘Wrong’ has plenty of them, including a brilliant hook comprising of “you’re fucking wrong”. We’re so ready for Tinashe to slay our lives, and hopefully this is where that starts.
Wolf Alice – ‘I Saw You (In A Corridor’)
It sounds a bit like they recorded it in a corridor, but this latest Wolf Alice track is a reminder of the band’s folky roots. Singer Ellie Rowsell really shines in this raw recording, her voice shimmering and soaring, playing with varying textures in her voice. The breathy softness in her voice is matched by the powerful crescendo on those longer notes. It might all be a bit ‘let’s sit around the camp fire’ but sometimes you need those moments of fragility before you’re bombarded with the craziness of everyday life (or the rather more vigorous musical catalogue of Wolf Alice). With their debut album out this year, we hope that the North London four-piece manage to maintain some of this tenderness.
Lion Babe – ‘Wonder Woman’
Lion Babe have already proved themselves to be the critical darlings of 2015, and now they’re reaching further afield. With their latest track, the New York duo have teamed up with Pharrell and have produced a suitably funky track, one that oozes sex-appeal and self-confidence. With additional production by Lion Babe’s Lucas Goodman, there’s something that isn’t directly ‘Pharrell’ about the track. Yes certain signature production elements are there, from the repetitive intro and the dissonant middle eight, but ‘Wonder Woman’ comes into its own. Jillian Hervey provides some stellar vocals, packed with attitude and panache. It’s throwback but in all the right ways, its funk driven guitar and melody matching well with modern flourishes. What’s more, singer Hervey has some of the best hair in the industry, and that’s also quite exciting.
Martin Luke Brown – ‘Take Out Of Me’
Now that Ed Sheeran’s latest album has sold 2million copies and George Ezra had the third best selling record of last year, it’s time for the copycats to arrive. We’re aware that there’s a long history of young men strumming their guitars with almost reckless abandon so they might not all be doppelgangers, but this is just how the music industry works. On the surface, Martin Luke Brown might appear like one of these clones, and we’re sure that Natalia Kills would have something to say about him, but when you actually listen to ‘Take Out Of Me’ there’s something different there. While it took Ed Sheeran two albums to figure out how to write massive pop hooks, Brown has mastered it with his debut offering. That chorus is all sorts of powerful, and Brown’s killer falsetto is full of emotion and determination. We’re also fans of the stomping percussion, backing vocals and the repetitiveness of the verses. Would Brown be launching now with Sheeran and Ezra? We’re not too sure, but don’t discount him because of that, as there’s something more to this than meets the eye.
Years and Years – ‘Worship’
Anyone that visits Wonderland regularly will know that we’re pretty obsessed with Years and Years, and it seems that the general public is cottoning on to this brilliant pop band, with ‘King’ reaching number one in the chart. Now the band have announced their debut album ‘Communion’ and, as is the way with pre-orders, released a new song ‘Worship’. With it’s bouncy percussion and space-aged synths, the song builds slowly until the chorus, which has a brilliant electro-gospel vibe to it (obvs). The band’s soon to be signature tropical flourishes meet in the middle with Olly’s distinctive voice, which displays some powerful restraint in the song. Years and Years are basically the best pop thing in 2015 (apart from ‘I Really Like You’) and this is something to be please about. It took 2014 ages to come up with something worthwhile, but this year has already delivered and it’s only March. Well done everyone.
M.O. – ‘Preach’
We’re glad that M.O. have dropped the borehouse, garage sound because ‘Preach’ is the sort of pop song that we want to hear in 2015. It has a ridiculous dance routine (some of which takes place in a drained swimming pool), Eternal-like percussion a brilliantly reaching chorus and a great post-chorus that’s really catchy. It does sound a bit like it should have been recorded by Little Mix, and we’re not too sure that it gives the girls the personality that they obviously want to display, but it’s a great pop ditty that does deserve to be heard. It also sounds like a lot of songs but sort of has it’s own thing going on too, which is both comforting and disconcerting. In the video the girls also wear amazing denim get ups and basically we’re really on board with that. Did we mention that they also dance in a swimming pool?
FEMME – ‘S.O.S.’
Despite growing up in the West Midlands, FEMME’s latest single is like a scandi Charli XCX. With slightly askew production and slurred verses, ‘S.O.S’ is a spunky track filled boldness. Its homemade, unfinished quality only adds to this, giving the song a life of its own, untamed and wild. This untidiness is felt in the verses, with the synth’s distortion growing until the chorus. The opening of the second verse is almost deranged, and sees FEMME talk-singing before launching into a husky, punctuated melody. It seems that FEMME wanted to showcase her personality with ‘S.O.S.’, and she’s certainly done that. We’re terrified but completely onboard.
Grimes, Bleachers – Entropy
Jack Antanoff is becoming known for his stadium sized pop songs, full of powerful, 80s like guitars and massive hooks, and his work with Bleachers and Taylor Swift is testament to how good a songwriter he is becoming. However, for his latest track with enigmatic singer Grimes, there’s something restrained here. The soft, filtered acoustic guitar and bouncing synths of the choruses are only once built up just before the chorus with an angry crash of processed drums, before Grime’s airy vocal softens it, wrapping around you like a mug of tea. For a song that’s called ‘Entropy’, the whole thing feels uplifting with its major key and shiny electronics. But, as with nearly all-good pop songs, there’s an underlying layer of melancholy that is completely blissful. Sitting at just over three minutes, you also don’t feel guilty for hitting the replay button.
Kacey Musgraves – ‘Biscuits’
Country music is one slowly becoming one of the biggest markets in the UK, with country music festivals taking over The O2 and the UK’s first, homegrown country act, Shires, signing to a Nashville label. As the new rebel in country music, Kasey Musgraves has broken the norm, applying her liberal views to a, generally, right wing musical genre. With ‘Biscuits’, Musgraves is tackling the old problems of nosey parkers and judgmental people. The song has humour in it’s lyrics and a perfectly jolly melody. It’s not breaking any new ground sonically, but then country music, by definition, doesn’t really need to do that. Instead, Musgraves is having some fun with a serious message. It’s sunny, catchy and we bloomin’ love it.