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Step On: the week’s best new music tracks [May 1]

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Self Esteem, best new music

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

The Rolling Stones ‘Living In A Ghost Town’
Their first original music in eight years, so this is something of an ‘event’. “Life was so beautiful/Then we all got locked down” – you can see why they released it now. Some people don’t like it when the Stones throw their reggae bit into their songs, but you know: it’s fine. This song is presumably a knowing sonic/lyrical nod to the Specials. It’s not them at their freewheeling best [what is?], but it does lock into a nice groove, and Mick at least sounds on top form in that claustrophobic chorus. It’s nice to have them back.

Tom Grennan ‘Oh Please’
The second preview track from the Bedford man’s upcoming sophomore long-player. Its mini-symphonic soul sound aligned to a bluesy vocal is bound to illicit some Richard Ashcroft comparisons. Grennan has bags of personality though; his delivery always strong enough to get the blood pumping, and you always root for him. It’s both close enough to, music wise – and far away enough from – the DNA of Lighting Matches to satisfy everyone. Result!

Vistas ‘Summer’
The Scottish trio have been drip drip dripping singles for quite a while now; fortunately debut album Everything Changes In The End is out at the end of the month. This one is glorious wide-screen melancholy rock, which displays substantially more ambition that most of their alt-contemporaries. The guitars are set to ‘preening’, the production immaculate – and if cinematic indie is your thing then Vistas are your go-to guys for 2020. Looks like the summer’s been cancelled, though, so let’s hope their timing isn’t always so off.

Self Esteem ‘Favourite Problem [Alternative Version]’
A more homespun version of defiant alt-pop from Rebecca Lady Taylor and co. The original version on 2019’s Compliments Please album had more bells and whistles, but this take brings the gospel backing vocals to the foreground, courtesy of Sheffield-based choir Neighbourhood Voices. Ex-Slow Club member Taylor has talent and guile as large as the well of emotion that this version stirs. The ‘Cuddles Please’ EP is out today, offering similar reworkings of album tracks ‘The Best’ and ‘In Time’, alongside a cover of Alex Cameron’s ‘Miami Memory’. No cuddles at the moment sadly, but here’s a virtual high five anyway. [photo credit: Charlotte Patmore]

ghostofblu ‘Don’t Care’
Picking up fan across the globe with his dark digital trap/hardcore manoeuvres, your Yorkshire-via-Northampton man is assisted on the beats production for this by Sweden’s Istasha, and hell they make some beautifully twisted noise together. From new four-track EP ‘IV’, his intensity is paramount on all tracks. He’s reached the general quality level now where some vinyl needs to spring forth; his legion is many, and they need artefacts.

Naked Next Door ‘Halo’
MK indie rockers have been consistently excellent these past 12 months, putting out emotive bangers more often than I put out the bins. ‘Halo’ continues the tradition. This one has a rolling tension built within the chassis, even if it sparkle and shines enough to make you think of the big boys like The Killers or Kings Of Leon. Taken from forthcoming EP ‘Swerving Out Wide’, NND are the very definition of “Ones To Watch”.

SPQR ‘No Brain No Pain’
Liverpool always seems to be sprouting up some of the best new music. The latest is SPQR, an art-rock quartet who have released their third EP this week. Starting with previous singles ‘Nuthin Gud’ and ‘Just Sumfin’, the real humdinger is the elastic title track. The djembe-led percussive movements hit the sweet spot, the Pixies basslines mixing with the Talking Heads existential dread to produce something of real heft. They deserve to be successful, rich rock stars. Also: unbelievably exciting live show.

L30 Robinson ‘Text’
A quality samba rhythm kicks off another rap masterclass from NN’s mister lover man. His fifth[!] single already in 2020, it’s a mystery he’s not already a shooting star. A paean to forgetting relationships past and enjoying the present, ‘Text’ is as infectious as anything he’s previously done, and you will be dancing ’round your kitchen to this one. It’s the law.

Lucien Moon ‘Tainted’
Long-awaited new music from the artist formerly known as Jamie Benkert. Taking cues from the likes of Frank Ocean, Drake, The Weeknd, John Newman, etc., this is soulful cosmopolitan R&B from the NNiverse. Great voice, great image [shout out to the sexy video shot in The Market Tavern!], and plenty of tense atmospherics within the haunting piano and beats. Smashed it, lad!

Charlie Bridgen, LT Quickscope, Deadboi ‘Tactical Chunder’
Kettering area love-in! Three rappers/producers from that part of the world team up to make some dark-beats and a story about debauched nights out [remember them?]. Grime could always do with more tales of dark fruits and ID requests…and trips to toilet cubicles for the titular strategy. Immense and scary in equal measure. More of this craziness please, guys.

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