Ami Leigh, hailing from County Durham, UK, has long been an aurally beguiling chameleon. Her latest single, Foretold, marks a striking foray into country rock, infused with the essence of Portishead and the chill of rock-licked post-punk.
Foretold is a poignant narrative of doomed love regaled through Leigh’s crystalline vocal lines. Her voice, imbued with soulful clarity, weaves through the hauntingly reimagined Americana soundscape, creating a contrast that is both striking and harmonious. The cold, instrumental chill she introduces strips the genre of its traditional warmth, yet the ensuing guitar solos ignite a familiar country rock fire. This juxtaposition is Leigh’s genius, offering a fresh, yet respectful nod to her influences, ranging from The Cure to Pink Floyd.
Neil Gibson’s contribution cannot be overlooked. His guitar work echoes the emotional turbulence of the song’s narrative while elevating the release and adding layers of complexity and familiarity, ensuring Americana aficionados won’t feel lost in the artfully arcane textures. Foretold doesn’t just belong to the country rock genre; it expands it.
If you have ever endured a relationship fated to meet an ugly demise and come out the other side imbittered by your own naivety, expect Foretold to hit hard as the guitars shimmer and the harmonies bring you to rapture.
Watch the official music video for Ami Leigh’s latest single on YouTube, add it to your Spotify playlists, or purchase the track on Apple Music.
If any up-and-coming pop artist has what it takes to become the voice of her generation, it is the self-taught Queens, NY-hailing luminary Lauren Kidd with her Conversations with Strangers EP.
The title track begins with a raw, bedroom indie pop prelude before blossoming into an infectious electro-pop earworm with a backbeat that rhythmically compels you to lean in and surrender to the tempo of the anthem. The transition is seamless, showcasing Kidd’s knack for blending intimate storytelling with a broader, more universal pop appeal.
The song’s upbeat tempo belies its deeper exploration of the risks we take in our interactions with strangers, trusting them with our most vulnerable selves. Kidd navigates this paradox with a deft touch, maintaining an energy reminiscent of a Taylor Swift hit, yet layered with a complexity that is uniquely her own.
Whether or not she intended the track to radically transform the way you perceive the danger-fraught trappings of romanticism, she achieved it. It is no surprise that so many pop fans are glued to her playlist staples.
With melodies that inch their way into your psyche and refuse to leave, her personality-infused harmonies and the clear songwriting stripes stretched through the progressions, Lauren Kidd is a triple threat in the music industry.
The Conversations with Strangers EP was officially released on February 23; stream the single on Spotify.
If artists got to the top of the charts based on the relatability of their lyrics alone, Vancouver’s Parker Kay’s latest single, The Grey, would have shot right to the top of the RnB charts. In a genre that gives Hollywood a run for its money when it comes to setting unrealistic expectations, this definitively modern love story is a refreshingly intimate exposition of affection in the age of the iPhone and awareness of idiosyncratic attachment styles.
Starting with a confession of how he pretends not to light up just as much as his screen when seeing a message and bides his time to give the illusion he’s busy, you can’t help but lyrically lock into the hit as the indie RnB grooves pop in the instrumental arrangement.
The single only becomes more addictive from there on out as Parker Kay bares his romantic scars over the synthesis of electronic synthetics, trap beats, pop hooks, RnB melodies, and soulfully magnetic vocal lines that keep an even-keel while the lyricism drifts from the ache of agony to the dream-like state of infatuation.
The Grey has a fair way to go before it racks up as many streams as Parker Kay’s viral hit, sorry, I like you too, which was created in collaboration with Burbank and garnered over 5 million streams on Spotify alone, but it is more than worthy.
The Grey was officially released on January 26th. Stream the single on Spotify.
Jessie Berkshires’ latest single, Enough, is a masterful blend of alt-pop finesse and 80s nostalgia, wrapped in a neon glow of modernity and soulful conviction. The single opens with Berkshires’ ethereal harmonies which weightlessly drift across the stabbing synth lines.
The intro’s melodic foundation sets the stage for a rhythmically compelling backbeat that kicks against the rest of the reverb-swathed instrumentation to create an immersive experience reminiscent of a neon-drenched dreamscape.
Berkshires’ vocal delivery is a study in artful beguile, echoing the haunting allure of Kate Bush. Her voice, a serene yet strident force, weaves through the track, delivering catharsis and conviction with equal measure. The lyrics, a poignant reflection on independence and empowerment, resonate with a poetic clarity that strikes at the heart.
The track’s production is a deft mix of contemporary magnetism and retro charm. Imagine pouring Warpaint’s style into The Human League’s mould, and you’re close to the unique cocktail that is ‘Enough’. It’s a sound that’s as deliciously poured as it is thoughtfully concocted.
In ‘Enough’, Jessie Berkshires offers a lesson in how to blend past and present, pain and hope, into a track that’s as empowering as it is enchanting.
Enough arrived on the airwaves on February 16. Stream the single on Spotify.
Igloo Hearts’ latest offering, ‘Watering Can‘, is a masterful blend of folk sensibilities with a touch of baroque elegance. This single, emerging from the heart of Wrexham, positions the married duo as a folk force to be reckoned with while echoing the artistry of legends like Tori Amos, Kate Bush, and Mitski.
Katie Macgregor’s soprano vocals are the centrefold of the art-folk piece. Her haunting and ethereal timbres, cascade over the keys, enveloping the listener in a cocoon of timeless yet contemporary flair. The emotion conveyed through her performance is palpable, resonating with a depth that speaks to the soul.
Watering Can is an arresting showcase of their captivating sound, marked by classical piano, mesmerising chord progressions, and flawless harmonies, influenced by Jesca Hoop, Radiohead, and Kate Bush. The duo’s refined musicianship has earned them recognition as runners-up in the Purbeck Folk Rising Competition and Radio Wigwam’s Awards along with numerous BBC Introducing radio plays. Their live performances, held at esteemed venues like the Liverpool Philharmonic and Llangollen International Eisteddfod have received critical praise from across the board.
As they continue to gain acclaim, including an upcoming feature on the Channel 4 series ‘The Piano’, any self-respecting folk fan will want Igloo Hearts on their radar.
Watering Can was officially released on February 16. Stream the single on all major platforms via this link.
In a world teetering on the edge of uncertainty, Pauline Andres’ standout single, ‘Til the End of The World’, is an introspective goldmine of solace and melancholy. Born in France, the coal miner’s daughter has woven her diverse heritage and life’s tumultuous tapestry into a sound that pours folk through the sepia-tinged filter of Southern Gothic Americana.
Her voice regales through an amalgamation of sweet and smoky timbres while carrying the weight of an old soul, one that has seen the world in shades of grey while her life reads like a novel, rich with characters and experiences which bleed into her songwriting, inspired by everything from the candour of 3am drunks to Lovecraft.
With the end of days perpetually on our minds, there has never been a better time to tune into this stunningly rendered release which proves just how much beauty lies in humanity. We may not all be as superlatively talented as this highly-accoladed singer-songwriter, but within all of us lies a tender capacity for beauty; however that may manifest.
Turn away from your Patti Smith records and be consumed by Pauline Andres. Even if she was singing Acapella, she could send the airwaves out of kilter with the evocative gravity in this release.
Stream the Live in Studio version of Til the End of the World on YouTube.
Nadine Randle’s voice has proven to be one of the most magnetic of this era; each of her hits goes down a soulful storm on streaming platforms and in the charts; her latest single, Man Up, is no exception to that rule.
Man Up revolutionises the 90s RnB Pop vibe, with all of the firebrand swagger you’d expect from an artist musing through that stylistically influential epoch. Exuding the same empowering edge as the iconic likes of Destiny’s Child and TLC, the Swedish singer-songwriter delivered a fiery anthem that will speak to anyone who wants to regain their power after suffering through a relationship that was beneath them.
Even though the title of the single has a slight misandrist undertone, when you hit play and sink into the soulfully melodious grooves of the release, you will realise that Randle versed this earworm to deliver vindication hand over fist to the women that need an affirmation that settling for less than what you’re worth is a recipe for destruction and frustration.
Man Up was officially released on February 9th; stream the single on Spotify.
Mirko Sangrigoli’s latest single ‘Z‘, from his sophomore LP, is a cinematic instrumental emblem of his dual artistic identity. As a jazz musician and a composer of filmic soundtracks, Sangrigoli demonstrates his ability to straddle these worlds with finesse.
Z, the title single from his 2024 album, is a narrative of the complexities of our times, articulated through the eloquence of keys. The track begins with a sense of urgency, the piano keys dancing rapidly, evoking a sense of franticness that mirrors our chaotic epoch. Yet, there’s a method to the madness, which speaks to Sangrigoli’s jazz background. The improvisational feel of jazz is present, but it’s reined in, controlled, and purposeful.
As the piece progresses, it shifts into more reflective moments; these intersections are where Sangrigoli’s talent shines brightest. The transition from the frenetic to the contemplative interludes is seamless as they open a gateway to introspection, echoing the quieter moments in our own lives.
It’s a soundtrack for the ennui-inclined existential soul, capturing the beauty and brutality of the human experience. For those seeking a musical piece that is both thought-provoking and emotionally resonant, ‘Z’ is a journey worth embarking on.
Z was officially released on January 31st; stream the single on Spotify.
Holly Lovelady’s latest folk-pop single, ‘Helvellyn‘, is a meticulously crafted piece of aural alchemy. Lovelady, with her arcane vocal harmonies reminiscent of Stevie Nicks and synth lines echoing The Human League, brings a fresh, artful approach to the genre.
‘Helvellyn’ is a scintillatingly spiritual modern ballad that seamlessly blends electro-pop with folk melodies while delving into the highs and lows we’re all fated to traverse. Her enchantingly ethereal vocal timbre effortlessly weaves through the melodies, allowing you to instantly feel at home in her profound presence.
Lovelady’s musical roots, nurtured in the cosy embrace of her grandparents’ home, are evident in the depth and authenticity of her sound. Her journey from covering classics to creating her own path in the music industry is reflected in the song’s metaphorical exploration of the rough terrain of reality.
The single stands out for its balance of artfulness and accessibility. It resonates as an ornate feat, an affecting blend of modern and traditional, without falling into the trap of becoming a dusty relic of bygone eras. Lovelady’s skill in modernising the ballad form while maintaining its soulful core is nothing short of remarkable.
With support from BBC London, BBC Merseyside, and Radio 6, and following a year of personal and creative growth, Lovelady is poised to make a significant impact on the alternative pop scene. ‘Helvellyn’ is more than just a feather in her cap; it’s a bold statement of her artistry and a beacon for the future of modern ballads.
Helvellyn was officially released on February 6th; stream the single on Spotify.
Lounna orchestrated the sound of spring into her latest indie-folk reverie, Peak Season; a single that resonates with the soul’s longing for renewal and connection.
The Pittsburgh-based multi-instrumentalist, drawing inspiration from the likes of Bear’s Den and First Aid Kit, infused her latest single, taken from her Garden for Winter LP, with a unique blend of indie, folk, Americana and naturalism, and signalled her departure from her more whimsical approach to songwriting from her debut. By delving into more profound themes of mental health, resilience, and hope. The single is a harmonious amalgamation of lyrical depth and orchestral richness, with crystalline vocal harmonies commanding the ensemble with an effortless grace.
The track opens with a melodic embrace that gently uplifts the listener, symbolising the shedding of winter’s weariness. Lounna’s voice, soothing yet potent, weaves through the instrumentation with a narrative that echoes candour and resounds through universal relatability.
The orchestral backdrop, carefully crafted with Slate’s collaborator Daniel Blake, adds a panoramic dimension to the song, allowing each instrument to converse and complement the vocals, rather than overpower them. Peak Season allows you to stand at the shores of your own introspection while washing over you as a cathartic release from the clutches of life’s darker moments. It’s a sublime feat of originality and expression, that has left us with bated breath to see what’s to come from Lounna.
Stream Peak Season from February 16th on Bandcamp.