45s of the week: Miley Cyrus, Matilda Mann, Hemlocke Springs and more!

The tracks you need to hear this week, reviewed by Rhian Daly.

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Vagabon – ‘Carpenter’

Produced by Rostam and Tamko, Vagabon’s first release of the year is a gentle celebration, her soft vocals cushioning a rippling electronic tapestry. Inspired by desires for and epiphanies of personal growth, the Cameroonian-American singer-songwriter and producer reflects on growing up and getting on. “I wasn’t ready to hear you out / I wasn’t ready to pull me out,” she admits. “I wasn’t ready to move on out / But I’m more ready now.” 

Etta Marcus – ‘Smile For The Camera’ 

So far, Etta Marcus hasn’t been known for bright, upbeat songs, instead mining melancholy indie-rock. But ‘Smile For The Camera’ – sonically, at least – switches things up with a jangly guitar melody and a beat made for gentle bopping. This isn’t some wild U-turn, though – lyrically, Marcus is still tackling the darker sides of life, here depicting falling apart in public. 

Miley Cyrus – ‘Flowers’ 

Leave it to Miley Cyrus – one of modern pop’s biggest icons of female empowerment – to make her big comeback with a song celebrating independence. Instead of spending days wallowing with pints of ice cream and rom-coms, the post-break-up ‘Flowers’ finds her having a big revelation. “I can buy myself flowers / Write my name in the sand,” she sings. “Talk to myself for hours / See things you don’t understand.”  

Matilda Mann – ‘Borderline Insane (feat. spill tab)’ 

We’ve all been there – sat opposite someone on a date but too stuck in your head, overthinking every word and action, to make a good impression. Matilda Mann and spill tab share their own experiences of just that on the fuzzy, fun lowkey indie banger. “My brain’s on the bend / I’m losing my ends,” they lament, before pointing their finger at the dreamy culprit: “You’ve made me this lately.” 

Hemlocke Springs – ‘stranger danger!’ 

Co-signed by Grimes, Toro y Moi, Steve Lacy and Bella Hadid (yes, really) already, North Carolina’s Hemlocke Springs looks set to have a massive year in 2023. She’s certainly kicking it off in brilliant form with ‘stranger danger!’, an eerie but addictive piece of pulsating experimental pop. “If you want a bite of me, don’t forget to pay commission,” she warns at one point. Get ready to cough up – her output so far is delicious. 

Listen to these new tracks and more new releases on our BRAND NEW playlist.