The Round-Up (23/02/24)

It’s that time of the week – Round-Up time. The winter blues haven’t stopped us from putting on our cowboy boots and rockin’ out to some great tunes. Here are some of our new favourites to carry you into the weekend:

TRACK OF THE WEEK: Maruja – The Invisible Man

Clocking in at just over six minutes, ‘The Invisible Man’ is an intense combination of spoken-word storytelling, melodic minor refrains, and a menagerie of sounds and instruments to accompany it. Between the rushing drums, car alarms, and haunting horns, the production of the track alone feels like a dystopian novel distilled into a single song. No minute is wasted, creating an entire experience, and while sung-lines are often limited to short phrases like “the truth, it hurts,” it’s just enough to become a creepy crawly earworm for the rest of your day. [RG]

Also new this week…

Lauran Hibberd – 2nd prettiest girl (in the world)
A sugary solace about playing second fiddle to another girl, the sweetness might be sickly to some on first-listen but repeated spins uncover a sadness beneath all the pep as Lauren sings “been here a hundred times/Fucked over by some loser guy”. It’s a raw deal but she tries to spin it with dry wit claiming, “I look better in silver, it matches my eyes” as a consolation prize from this romantic pageant. [SL]

Sleap-e – No Joke
This new track is from Italian singer-songwriter Sleap-e. It has all the experimentation, playfulness and energy of anti-folk, with egg-punk tones, too. It’s a teaser from the new album, 8106, coming in March. “Oh my, oh my! Oh my, oh my!” …yeah I’m gonna be singing this all week. [LW]

English Teacher – R&B
English Teacher have been making waves for a while now and their debut album ‘This Could Be Texas’ is finally on the horizon. Deep, grooving basslines open this teaser track up, alongside spoken word-esque vocals and a unique drum pattern. Menacing guitar riffs enter the picture midway through, as Lily Fontaine sings “I haven’t got the voice for R&B” – well, it’s clear she has the voice for post-punk. [GC]

Shaina Hayes – Kindergarten Heart
The title track of Shaina Hayes’s new sophomore album, Kindergarten Heart is nostalgic and wistful, feelings elicited by Shaina’s stunning vocals and complicated lyrics. The track begins with a soft acoustic guitar and builds into a full folky sound, the perfect accompaniment to the story being told. Needless to say, we are excited about the album. [CC]

Better Joy – Dead Plants
After performing at one of our very own gigs last month, Better Joy is back with their second single to date, ‘Dead Plants’. The follow up to the band’s debut single ‘Hard To Love’ is punchy and effortlessly cool, with the catchy refrain of “I love you, but you make it hard to like you” flowing seamlessly into a powerful guitar-driven instrumental indie-rock breakdown. [GC]

Sam Abbo – Burn It To The Ground
The bassist from rising Jazz Punk group Opus Kink has dropped his second solo single, ‘Burn It To The Ground’. With an impressive vocal performance from Sam Abbo after an operatic opening verse, the track settles into a funky and catchy rhythm. By the time the main chourus hits, the track has a lot of energy, and this coupled with Abbo’s unique voice makes it an seriously engaging listen. With the amount going on in the first two singles, Abbo’s debut ‘Add To The Noise’ is one to keep an eye on. [AW]

Elle Darlington – Hiatus
Move over, Ari and Tate McRae, because Elle Darlington is giving us the best pop-dance track of the week…or, dare I say, month (sorry, ‘yes, and?’ stans, but you’ll thank me later). This breakup tune is filled with just the right amount of pulsing bass, falsetto vocal runs, and epic burns like “Even on my last wish, I wouldn’t wish you well” ouch. Depending on how your Valentine’s Day went, ‘Hiatus’ might be just what you need right now. [RG]

Ellie Bleach – That’ll Show Em
Ellie Bleach’s angelic vocals are a welcome addition to any playlist, and ‘That’ll Show ‘Em’ is a muted, late-back and ever-so-slightly addition to her stunning discography. A slow-burn revenge anthem from the suburban setting of her upcoming concept EP, Now Leaving West Feldwood, confirming that spite is one hell of a motivator. Building a seedy atmosphere that builds to bitter catharsis, we’re looking forward to hearing the stories that Ellie Bleach has to tell on her new EP. [VG]

Contributor Key:
[LW] Lydia Webb, [VG] Vicky Greer, [AW] Angus Wright, [GC] Gemma Cockrell,
[RG] Rory Graham, [SL] Sam Lasley, [CC] Cat Campbell

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