Joy Crookes – ‘Feet Don’t Fail Me Now’
Don’t be fooled by the Wall of Sound and the throwback soulful feel: ‘Feet Don’t Fail Me Now’ is a track that drips with irony, skewering performative activism – “Put my name on petitions, but I won’t change my mind” – with direct yet understanding lyricism. It’s a thorny topic to tackle in just over three minutes but Crookes has nuance and empathy in spades, placing herself in the shoes of someone afraid of sharing their opinion for fear that their opinion is wrong. “It’s important to open up a dialogue, speak out, make mistakes…that’s how progress happens,” she said upon releasing the track. The accompanying video celebrates not only Crookes’ own Bangladeshi roots but the Black and queer surrounding cultures in her native South London, and in a series of gravity-defying stunts, she shows no signs of coming down before her debut album finally arrives this year.
Tyler, The Creator – ‘Lumberjack’
“Rolls-Royce pull up, Black boy hop out / Shoutout to my mother and my father, didn’t – (Hold up).”
With that, Tyler’s back and he’s rapping. The first single off his upcoming album ‘Call Me If You Get Lost’, ‘Lumberjack’ is chock-full of brutal bars and Tyler’s brash wit. Dropping before the expected New Music Friday (“Quality Wednesday music” comes one of DJ Drama’s many ad-libs), the opening verse starts sweetly enough, as Tyler calls back to the gentle moment he shared with his mum on stage at the Grammys after his win for ‘IGOR’. That same Grammy makes several cameos throughout – “I put that bitch on the shelf to let it ventilate” – alongside references to Drake’s less-than-friendly welcome at Camp Flog Gnaw Festival, Tyler’s gender non-conforming partner and the number of zeros in his bank account (“that’s six”). We’ll be calling Tyler immediately.
Wet Leg – ‘Chaise Longue’
It takes skill to wield an unwieldy Mean Girls reference in your debut single but Isle of Wight rock duo Wet Leg have zero qualms in asking, “would you like us to assign someone to butter your muffin?” ‘Chaise Longue’ is impossibly good for a first track: tasty guitar riff (check), an earworm of a chorus that will have you chanting involuntarily behind your mask (check) and a genuine sense of something fresh and original (check). Part Dry Cleaning, part Foals and part Shampoo, Wet Leg take their killer track and couple it with a gloriously anachronistic Little House on the Prairie video for full effect. “Would you like us to assign someone to worry your mother?” they go on to ask. Outstanding.
Indigo De Souza – ‘Kill Me’
“No one asked me to feel this fucked up / But here I am, fucked up.”
Unsurprisingly, Indigo De Souza isn’t in a great place when we meet her again on ‘Kill Me’; the first track from her soon-to-be-released second record. What begins as a quintessential piece of slacker indie with faux-aloof vocals and softly strummed electric guitars blooms into something dazzling and cathartic, fully baring its teeth by the outro. “Tell them I wasn’t having much fun” comes the refrain – scornful and defiant – bolstered by De Souza’s melodic roar. The enjoyably bizarre music video sees two people take to the wrestling ring for a custody battle/cake sitting contest and culminates in De Souza grinding on a three-tier cake herself as the strobe lighting kicks in. Newly signed to Saddle Creek, the North Carolina singer-songwriter is in perfect, offbeat company alongside Big Thief and Bright Eyes. ‘Any Shape You Take’ is out August 27.
Honey Mooncie – ‘Here For Me’
‘Here For Me’ is the dreamy follow-up to Honey Mooncie’s string of early singles, including her 2019 debut ‘Should’ve Been You’ and collaboration with Sam Wills on ‘Traingazing’. A jazzy, melancholic reflection on a relationship, ‘Here For Me’ marks the start of a new project. Produced by Fred Cox (Greentea Peng), the track evokes jazz clubs and wistful summer evenings with Mooncie’s vocals, soulful and lovely, gently admonishing the lack of reciprocal affection. “The only time I hear from you is when you want me to be here for you,” she sings, lifted up by the nostalgic pianos and melodic string section, and the sentiment bears more than a passing resemblance to a line from Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird: “Don’t you think maybe they are the same thing? Love and attention.”