45s of the week: Arlo Parks, Softcult, Biig Piig and more

The tracks you need to hear this week, reviewed by Tyler Kelly

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Arlo Parks – ‘Weightless

Nobody does longing and heartbreak quite like Arlo Parks. The 2021 Brit Awards Breakthrough Artist winner is a magician with words, a true poet who has studied some of the greats and found her voice both on paper and on the stage. On ‘Weightless’, the lead single from her upcoming second album, her silky soft vocals speak of being in a relationship with someone who is unable or unwilling to show their affection. Yet, the kind-hearted person within confidently chooses to stick around. Some artists look to experiment on their second album in order to appeal to a wider audience and display progression in their sound, but ‘Weightless’ reveals nothing of the sort. It is beautifully, quintessentially Parks.

Softcult – ‘Dress

It’s very obvious through seeing the monthly handmade zines and poignant messages that lie within their songs that the manifesto of Canadian twins Phoenix and Mercedes Arn-Horn is to raise awareness about the injustices that women and marginalised people suffer. Whether they’re discussing societal pressures to be perfect or the misuse of power by those who are supposed to be protectors, Softcult are impassioned as they search for catharsis from their own personal experience. “It’s a dress not a yes / it’s not a fucking invitation”, they snarl as they approach the subject of consent. Shoegaze guitars envelop you in a dreamy haze, but Softcult make no mistakes in highlighting that there is a real-world issue at hand here.

Black Honey – ‘Up Against It

We’ve all been there before – the awkward, figuring-it-out stage of life where your emotions are all over the place and you have no explanation why. Chances are, you beat yourself up over the smallest thing and never thought to forgive yourself for it. On the fourth single from their upcoming third album, Black Honey’s Izzy Phillips has a message for her younger self: “Give yourself a break / You were up against it don’t you know?” It’s a moment of epiphany which comes from many years of self-reflection and attempts at ‘figuring it out’ whilst the world is watching. The odds aren’t always in your favour, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to turn it around. 

Biig Piig – ‘In The Dark

Upon the release of her debut mixtape, it’s undeniable that Biig Piig is having a moment. ‘In The Dark’ is evocative of long LA nights where you’re lost in a city of strangers. Rather than revelling in the silence where it can be a lonely place, the Irish-born singer and rapper chooses to find solace in the dark. Though there’s a juxtaposition between the upbeat synth-pop instrumental and the longing in her whispered voice, you can’t help but feel like she’s got it all figured out and that she’s going to be ok. 

Lily Moore – ‘Hard Days Love

Despite gaining critical acclaim after she released her debut mixtape ‘More Moore’ in 2019, London-based singer Lily Moore seemingly went into a hibernation phase. Much like many other musicians and creatives, her world was turned upside down as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the world into lockdown. Now, she returns with a song about learning when to quit something rather than having your hand forced. Equal parts sassy, soulful and empowering, Moore conveys that no matter how difficult or messy things get, the important thing is to always hold your head high.  

Listen to these and more new tracks on this week’s playlist