Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke
As the likes of Drake and Kanye West release their long-awaited records, Gemma and Kiah review the latest from talented up-and-coming artists including Boy! Racer, hidingthehurt, Blondes, Nadia Sheikh and Maisie Peters.
Boy! Racer – Don’t Know What You’re Missing (Gemma)
Boy! Racer is the debut solo project from Aylesbury’s Conor Richards, who was formerly a member dream-pop outfit Birthday Card. His new single Don’t Know What You’re Missing was released alongside the announcement of his debut EP ‘Cutting Corners’, which is due for 28th September. The track blends indie, synth-pop and electronica sounds, a fusion which induces feelings of nostalgia in the listener.
Richards said of the track: “Don’t Know What You’re Missing is probably the most upbeat moment on the EP. It was the very first Boy! Racer song I wrote. When I was writing it in lockdown last year, I was reminiscing about long hot summer nights spent out with friends, so August felt like the perfect time to put it out. It’s one of the more guitar focused songs – I really wanted to go for a direct, Strokes kind of thing, that early noughties post-punk style.”
hidingthehurt – FwhatTheySay (Gemma)
hidingthehurt is back with another new single, titled FWhatTheySay. The track has been released as a stand-alone single, but it continues to build the anticipation for his upcoming EP, which he has confirmed is finished and will be released later this year. The track was released alongside an accompanying music video on YouTube.
Even though the track is still hyperpop-infused, it marks a change in direction for his sound
Lyrically, the song speaks of feeling that you can’t trust those around you to be honest and truthful with you (“They say they love me, but lie to my face”). Even though the track is still hyperpop-infused, it marks a change in direction for his sound, with a fast-paced, glitchy, skittering beat and heavily pitch-shifted, autotuned vocals throughout the entire track. As hidingthehurt said himself, “Variation is key”.
Blondes – Street Fight (Gemma)
Nottingham’s very own Blondes have released their new single Street Fight. It is their first new music since their previous single Minimum Wage, which came out back in May. Street Fight is a laidback indie tune with smooth, atmospheric and dreamy vocals. This demonstrates a different side to Blondes, as Minimum Wage was a more upbeat, anthemic indie song.
The lyrics of Street Fight tell the story of a singular night, with the first verse stating that it is “only 12:30”. However, as the song progresses, time has passed by and it is now “3:30”. This impressive lyricism takes the listener on a journey, marking a step forward for Blondes in terms of their song-writing. Even though the song takes a mellow tone, it is remarkably catchy, and sees Blondes at their best.
Nadia Sheikh – IDWK (Kiah)
Making her 2021 debut, Nadia Sheikh has released IDWK, which is also the first song from her upcoming EP which is due to be released in 2022. The indie-rock singer uses dark guitars and delicate harmonies to build up to a powerful and vulnerable chorus.
Sheikh has cultivated her sound further, which can be seen in the instrumental part of IDWK
The lyrics of IDWK discuss not being ready to face difficult emotions within yourself. On the release of her new single, Sheikh shared “IDWK is about that difficult conversation you don’t want to have with yourself. Sometimes it’s easier to ignore what we’re going through internally than to face and process it”.
Working with guitarist Rowan Davies and drummer George Gardiner, Sheikh has cultivated her sound further, which can be seen in the instrumental part of IDWK. The release of IDWK comes just in time for Sheikh’s headline October 2021 tour, which will see her playing venues across the UK.
Maisie Peters – Villain (Kiah)
Coming from Maisie Peter’s debut album, ‘You Signed Up For This’, Villain is the ninth track on the album which Peters has described as an older sister to the album’s first single, John Hughes Movie. What starts as a gentle piano song develops into layered narrative of heartbreak, a similar story featured in Peters’ first single.
The lyrics of Villain see Peters imagine the life of an ex with their new girlfriend, realising she is now the villain in their story. On Apple Music, Peter explained “Villain is this moment where there’s a cold shower of realism and you understand that you are not always the hero of the story”.
Coming from releasing original songs on YouTube to being signed to Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Records label, Peters has continually demonstrated her strong song-writing abilities which undoubtedly has helped her reach this level of success.
Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke
To listen to all of these tracks, check out the New Releases Roundup playlist on Spotify.
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