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Step On: the week’s best new music tracks [Dec 11th]

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Zefar Napps Dreadz

New Boots editor Phil Moore takes you through the best new tracks this week.

bloody/bath ‘Washed Out’
“I drink to forget/The sadness never left/Call me washed out”. Capping off a tricky year with none-too-shabby fifth single, Kailan Price has stayed strong to his aesthetic of enveloping introspection via reverb-drenched bedroom post-punk. This broken-hearted number, however, gives the spindly guitar centre-stage; synths are [unusually] wholly absent. It is still, of course, gorgeously gothic low fidelity sounds for the down at heart.

Kid Distance ‘Needing You’
Relaxed piano house with a haunting bluesy male vocal sample, Maisie E Beckwith drums up more dance magic from her bedroom. Surely to be one of the leading NN lights on 2021.

Karima Francis ‘Carelessness Causes Fire’
“I’m building my hopes around all of my dreams/But the walls they are tied up and nailed with strings”. Beautiful and brutally honest alt-folk in the vein of Cat Power or Sharon Von Etten. Francis, from Blackpool, sings about the difficulties of dealing with the pressures of being an artist in this industry when the dream the doesn’t take flight. Dusky atmospherics help capture the essence of confusion astonishingly well within these four minutes.

Tobias Ben Jacob ‘One Grey Morning’
The eclectic sophomore album Refuge by Devon-based Jacob aims to highlight the world refugee plight. It also is deeply moving musically, taking electronic beats and widescreen ideas, mixing them up with World Music rhythms and blues vocals, and seeing what comes out. It’s almost always stunning in some form, like this Four Tet/Thom Yorke-esque one.

thinking silly ‘Such Great Things’
Over in east Northants a small collective is developing, around the record label Hotel Rexford [nice Fallout reference there, guys]. Fellow teenage HR artiste Louie Jacobs appears on this too, which I figure you’d call an ’emo rap ballad’…maybe. Anyroad, it’s actually lovely, atmospheric, and dripping with sorrow. It deserves a wider audience.

Zefar ft. Napps & Dreadz ‘Henny Rocks’
Hennessy Cognac is a long-term favourite of hip-hop artists, from 2Pac to Drake. They sell it in the NN too, you know! Over Skepta-ish beats the versatile poet hooks up with a couple of local flow forces in Napps and Dreadz, to sing about fun times with glass in hand. The whole thing is a glorious whirlwind of words, as they interchange with significant panache.

Infra Violet ‘Water’/’Run’
Wellingborough-raised singer Beth Munroe is continually reaching new heights: whether it be touring America, building a strong fanbase on social media, or starting this new project with producer Toby Campen. Eighties-style synths bed down the sound, with Munroe taking her soulful flights of fancy over the ultra-retro beats. They repeat the trick on the b-side too, with a touch of widescreen melancholy thrown in for good measure.

Chnam ‘Vienna’
Herman Carlos is a 22 year-old Northampton resident, and this is his fourth single of 2020. Plaintive, echo’d guitar and low-key electronics create the soundboard for some serious ruminations on the growing pains of a fictional young woman who has gone through one too many traumas. It’s unusual to hear such openly emotional music from the get-go, but such power cannot be ignored. An exciting prospect right here and no mistake.

Frettlyst ‘Sanctuary’
Driving anthemic rock songs are few and far between in 2020, so thank the Lord for this Kettering quintet, who deliver with both the riff and the rhythm. There’s a little bit of the chug of Oasis there, but in the main we’re talking classic rock manoeuvres within the walls of this ‘Sanctuary’. Now, where’s the stage? Get them on it.

Duncan Bisatt ‘Endless Road’
The Northampton singer-songwriter is able to play all the usual band instruments himself. A handy trick during covid 2020. His latest single, a treatise on mortality, goes heavy on the Hammond melancholia. It sounds surprisingly late-period Pink Floyd for the usually more straight ahead pop-rocker. You wear it well, sir; more of this please. YouTube video here.

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