45s of the week: Jamila Woods, Nessa Barrett, Leah Weller and more!

The tracks you need to hear this week, reviewed by Jenessa Williams

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Jamila Woods – ‘Boundaries

When Chicago-based artist Jamila Woods released her album ‘Legacy! Legacy!’ in 2019, it was one of the most underrated highlights of that year, rich in complex, multi-layered storytelling and diasporic instrumentation. She returns in 2022 with ‘Boundaries’, a much more straight-forward — but equally pleasing — track. With shimmers of Spanish guitar, it feels light on its feet, two lovers dancing around each other as they attempt to negotiate space in a relationship; “no you can’t come over tonight/rather lay with you in my mind.” Next time bae suggests moving in before you’re sure you want them to, this is the track to cue up on the Sonos. 

Nessa Barrett – ‘Tired of California

Here in rainy Britain, it’s easy to fantasise about ditching it all and flying off to The Golden State. But every nation has its own problems, and as Nessa Barrett well knows, darkness often lies behind the shiny veneer of Hollywood and hyper-competitive influencer perfection. “All these little toxins in my blood and in my brain/ I keep saying that I’m leaving but it doesn’t work that way” she sings, vowels dripping with sarcastic fatigue. Borrowing from Suzanne Vega’s legendary ‘Tom’s Diner’ groove, it is the perfect balance between sinister and infectious; just the way great pop so often is. 

Leah Weller – ‘Dive In

When you share DNA with Paul Weller, there is every chance that you might have been raised with a healthy respect for classic songwriting. Leah Weller may have inherited her father’s taste for subtly-swinging melodies and horns, but that sultry voice and lyricism is all her own; a lovely, woozy slice of soul-pop that will surely appeal to fans of Celeste and Joy Crookes.

Jadu Heart – I Shimmer

‘Lo-fi’, ‘shoegaze’, ‘My Bloody Valentine esque’… all buzzwords that are likely to prick the ears of any 90s indie-aficionado searching for the latest addition to their moody autumn playlist. Jadu Heart do indeed tap into all those qualities, but there is something about ‘I Shimmer’ that feels more expansive, pushing towards an exciting new era for the London-based duo. With third album ‘Derealised’ on the way, now feels like a good time to step into their effortlessly-cool world. 

Gretel Hänlyn – ‘Drive

Having caused a stir with ‘Apple Juice’ earlier in the year, teen sensation Gretel Hänlyn is back with ‘Drive’, a Halloweeny romp that shares deadpan humour with the likes of Wet Leg. It’s not immediately clear from the lyrics whether she’s inviting a come-on or a kiss-off (“I love you like the living/ But I treat you like you’ve died”), but by accepting a place in her passenger seat, you’re in for a fun indie-disco ride.

Listen to these and more of the week’s best releases on our BRAND NEW playlist