The Round-Up (12/02/21)

Track of the Week: Madi Diaz – Man In Me
This track opens with a really gentle little guitar riff, luring your ear to listen closely just as Madi comes in with a voice to melt the iciest of hearts. It works brilliantly, because before you know what you’re in for, you’re already hooked; ‘Man In Me’ is a devastating reflection on lost love, and boy do you feel it. Bravo, Diaz.

CIEL – Pretty Face
Their first track of 2021, dream-pop trio CIEL are off to a great start. ‘Pretty Face’ is a sweet escape to the imaginations of lead vocalist Michelle Hendriks, channeling emotions of nostalgia that fit beautifully into the band’s wistful aura.

CHAI – Plastic Love
This playful Mariya Takeuchi city pop standard is a perfect fit for a Friday afternoon (you know, when you don’t really do any work and dance to tunes instead).

The Coral – Faceless Angel
Nothing like a galloping dirge to see in the weekend – Ennio would approve.

FINNEAS – American Cliché
Nice little find, this one. Portraying a depth of self-awareness, but balancing that with some bouncy piano and dramatic little twists too keep you totally engaged, ‘American Cliché’ is vibrant on many levels. Not what you expect at all.

Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains – Tourne Autour
With a playful electronic backing and a sultry French tongue, there’s not much you could find wrong here. It’s tight, neat, energetic and reminds me of those minimal electronics in a Wes Anderson film. Boop, doop, boop, doop, boop, doop, boop, tish.

Kings of Leon – Echoing
Kings of Leon are quietly going about their business this year, a bit like N’Golo Kante does in a football match. No bells, no whistles, just solid consistency that may only be appreciated once it’s gone. ‘Echoing’ is the best of their new singles, the chugging guitar line giving it a bit of ‘Oomph’, whilst lyrics about children and growing up remind you that these lads aren’t the young kids they once were, they’re dads now, and I’m ok with that.

Luke Royalty – I Do
Hip hop verses meet a Tom-Misch-esque chorus in Luke Royalty’s latest release – a recipe for success, right? Right. Big things to come from this new artist; bring on those lo-fi beats.

Middle Kids – Cellophane (Brain)
These guys have a new album out next month, and if this is any indication of what to expect, we’re in for something great. ‘Cellophane (Brain)’ gets a nice little boost midway though, colliding with an opening of something raw and present in the band’s songwriting. Promising indeed.

Rory Wynne – Make You Mine
There’s a certain oomf behind this song. Rory comes across as dedicated and ambitious in his love prospects, and we can only assume this carries into his musical career. Synths and warps galore, the style of ‘Make You Mine’ is lively and electric – not bad at all.

Sid Stone – For Lovers
Not enough songs feature whistling or ‘la-la-la-ing’, these days. I’m glad Sid is seeking to rectify that, because ‘For Lovers’ feels like the perfect space for such a reintroduction. Bringing a little warmth to this frozen February, it’s easy-going, soulful and just downright happy in both sound and lyrics. Wicked guitar riffs, too.

Taylor Swift – Love Story (Taylor’s Version)
Everybody should know the background behind Taylor’s decision to re-record and re-release her tunes. But with that comes a reminder of why she is where she is. ‘Love Story’ is the definition of a ‘Love Song’. It’s clever, romantic and beautiful. This ‘new’ version is a nice reminder of that.