The New Smu: The best new artists in my inbox this month
Discovering great new artists is one of the most exciting things about music for me. If you don’t champion the stuff you love, you can’t complain when you only hear the shit you hate on the radio.
There is an endless and thrilling sea of music out there, but it can be bewilderingly vast and not without peril. You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet an artist formerly known as Prince. In this monthly review, I will be highlighting some of the most interesting releases I have heard by new and unsigned artists, wading through the audio slush pile so you don’t have to.
Clarke and the Himselfs: Weighted Down
A chuggy slice of slacker garage with an earworm chorus and a sophisticated DIY feel. Weighted Down has a pessimistically optimistic mood that would make for a great Americana road movie soundtrack.
Micky James: Not Okay
Energetic pop-rock with an explosive, early 00s chorus and ‘it’s okay to not be okay’ message. James has one of those fabulous, if Marmite, glam voices in the vein of Julian Casablancas via Brian Molko, that helps give the track an enjoyably extravagant edge.
WINKIE: This Place is Death
The name WINKIE instantly makes me think of the Winkie’s Diner scene in Mulholland Drive, possibly the most claustrophobically frightening five minutes of cinema in existence, and it’s not exactly an irrelevant association to make. This Place is Death is a fairly threatening slab of industrial electronica, wrapped around a melody that’s desperately trying to escape. Fittingly, it also comes backed with a glamorously sinister video, featuring body disposal in white stiletto heels.
Em Glasser: All I Want
Sophisticated dance-pop with a carefree, laid-back feel and retro house sound. Effortlessly cool, with a soulful vulnerability to the verses that breaks into defiant escapism in the chorus.
Described as ‘a sweet and simple love song wrapped in saccharine guitars,’ Sucker scoops you up like a warm hug on a sleepy, sunny day. A welcome return from one of the best dreampop bands out there.
Single of the Month
Ewan MacFarlane: Underneath Your Spell
Hooky, classic rock with a Springsteen meets Tom Petty feel. Featuring an addictive, irresistible chorus and clap-along middle eight that beg for the track to become a future karaoke favourite. Listened to it once, skipped it back and listened to again straight away. Twice.
Video of the Month
Lamborghini Midnight: Aliens! Aliens!
Released to coincide with the 55th anniversary of Star Trek, the video for Aliens! Aliens! is a fantastically full-tilt cavalcade of 80s sci-fi influences, outfits and sounds. Described as being about ‘diversity and tolerance, because we often feel like aliens in society,’ the song features a chorus that will take up permanent residence in your brain, alongside bouncy, spacey synths and a warning to “always respect the prime directive.” Both the visuals and the track are guaranteed to put a big smile on your face: one for all the glamorous geeks out there.
Also, Lamborghini Midnight might be one of the best band names ever.
If you would like to submit your music to be included in a future edition of The New Smu, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and include a link to your track. I don’t care if you have 25k followers, or only your dog has heard it, as long as it’s interesting, beautiful, weird or wonderful.