45s of the week: Lorde, The Linda Lindas, James Blake and more!

The new tracks you need to hear this week, reviewed by Emma Holbrook.

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Lorde – ‘Stoned at the Nail Salon’

As opening lines go, “Got a wishbone drying on the windowsill in my kitchen / Just in case I wake up and realise I’ve chosen wrong” might already be a Lorde Hall of Famer. ‘Stoned at the Nail Salon’ still glistens with sunlight like its predecessor, but it’s a hazy, golden hour glow: uptight where ‘Solar Power’ was uncomplicated; yearning where ‘Solar Power’ was relaxed and joyful. “It feels so scary getting old,” Lorde sang, aged 16, on ‘Ribs’ and now she feels that passage of time even more acutely, hypothesising that “all the music you loved at sixteen you’ll grow out of”. Meanwhile, the folksy track’s production is still very much a Jack Antonoff joint (one could even argue it bears more than a passing resemblance to Lana and ‘Chemtrails’ and in particular, ‘Wild At Heart’). The sentiment of ‘it’s not me, it’s the drugs’ is a lovely, safe get-out clause if you’re retrospectively worried about being too open or sounding too pretentious, but Lorde’s ruminations – scattered as they seem – always possess a razor-sharp clarity. Then again, maybe I’m just stoned at the nail salon too.

Delilah Montagu – ‘Baby’

Straight from her debut record of the same name, ‘Baby’ is a sweet, Technicolor slice from Delilah Montagu. A sublime throwback sample from Carla Thomas’ ‘B-A-B-Y’ gives ‘Baby’ an effortlessly classic feel and as Montagu’s gently warbling vocals sing of soft domesticity, the track swings with carefree abandon in the throes of first love.

James Blake – ‘Say What You Will’

Does anyone do vulnerability better than James Blake? On new track ‘Say What You Will’, he uses his signature pensive soundscapes and serene falsetto to address something we all knew deep-down really: award-winning musicians have feelings of inadequacy too. Blake recently spoke up about the dismissive ‘sad boy’ label often levelled at him, saying “I’ve always found that expression unhealthy and problematic when used to describe men just openly talking about their feelings.” He goes on to tackle that same toxic masculinity in the quietly hilarious music video, which shows Blake foiled at every turn by a certain Finneas – lifting more weights, performing to bigger crowds, and (of course) being significantly more well-endowed. But “comparison is the thief of joy” after all and it can only take him so far: when Blake watches himself playing piano on a lonely stage in a lonely hall, he realises that his own validation might well be enough.

The Linda Lindas – ‘Oh!’

By any metric, opening for Bikini Kill and getting a spot in a Netflix film before you’ve even turned 15 is an absurd degree of By any metric, opening for Bikini Kill and getting a spot in a Netflix film before you’ve even turned 15 is an absurd degree of success for a band. And The Linda Lindas haven’t stopped there. Newly signed to punk and emo staple Epitaph Records, their latest single ‘Oh!’ is a stonker with no-frills, foot-stopping riffs, catchy choruses and just the perfect dose of bratty. Riot e-grrrl is here to stay.

Indigo De Souza – ‘Hold Me’

Having to follow up a killer track is always a blessing or a curse because but for Indigo De Souza? No problem. ‘Hold Me’ switches tack from her previous single ‘Kill Me’, swapping cathartic barbs for sweet assurances – “I want the best things for you / I am a good thing and I promise you got me” – as she rejoices in that “really simple kind of love…that is just about holding space for other people to fully express themselves”. The equally sweet accompanying video is delightfully devoid of personal space, celebrating all those instinctual tender touches between friends, lovers and, of course, dogs. De Souza’s second album ‘Any Shape You Take’ – out August 27 – is bound to be something special.

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


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