Billy Lockett photo by Kirsten Goljar
New Boots editor Phil Moore takes you through the best new tracks this week.
Billy Lockett ‘Wasting Time’
“I’ll be anything you want me to be”. We’ve all been there, that moment where love is slipping away and you just want it to be like it used to be. Taken from upcoming 2021 EP ‘Reflections’, ‘Wasting Time’ is ‘classic-sound’ Lockett, after the classical and dance-pop diversions of recent times. It is beautiful and heartfelt, and will ripen even the blackest of hearts. The second half of the track brings in some lovely keyboard washes and booming beats to ratchet up the knife-edge tension in his voice. Don’t ever stop being you, Billy Lockett.
Black Country, New Road ‘Science Fair’
The South London newcomers have started out as media darlings to a certain degree, but don’t hold that against them. This is genuinely breath-taking, original music that is tricky to categorise. They mix up squalling guitar with quiet moody quiet passages, changing tempos and moods when the feeling takes them. It’s art-rock from a gang of seven who bring their own worlds together – whether classical, electronica, or post-punk – to make something bigger and better. ‘Science Fair’ is six minutes of pure excitement. For fans of Squid, black midi, shame, and more.
Maps ‘Sleep Today’
James Chapman, from Earls Barton originally, took his bedroom synth pop to the wider world in the late 2000s. Last year’s fourth album Colours.Reflect.Time.Loss was nothing short of a triumph, his widest of widescreen adventures to date. This new track, from a new EP out next month, builds on that 2019 template, burying brass beds and earthy-sounding into a heady, classical-leaning shoegazing mix. Dream-pop has gone a long way since Chapman’s emergence, but he is still king of all he surveys.
Manchester post-punk trio release their first single from upcoming sophomore album, and it expertly rocks in their usual dark, brooding manner. With former PINS bassist Anna Donigan now in their ranks [though Tamsin Middleton appears here], their jagged energy is as vital as ever as we look to the return of live gigs in 2021.
Manners ‘Born Ready’
NN3s finest and GRM Daily favourite, he’s on a roll now, seven winners in the past two years as his dancehall-flavoured grime efforts grow in stature.
Debe ‘Tell Me’
98 seconds long, this is Debe at his most experimental, gushing out his feelings about love and life decisions [sample: “I don’t like pigs or pagans”], and it’s got a great video too. Another dark and irresistible landscape [produced by Hobe], I can’t wait for the world to catch up with this NN baller.
Rolling Thunder ‘Virtual Greyhounds’
Following the great success of ‘The Nightshop EP’ [now available on vinyl], the Northampton dark-indie rockers continue to build on those foundations. Jangly guitars meeting doomed youth anthem tropes uptown. It’s a great song, whichever way you cook it up. FFO: Fontaines D.C., Editors, The Murder Capital.
Regressive Left ‘Eternal Returns’
Two doses of London art-rock this week! This trio have the punk-funk and synth undertow that reflects their connections to other exciting newcomers like PVA and Scalping. On this Nietzschean polemic about the continual crimes of neo-liberalism the singer performs some vocal somersaults, as the band channel Talking Heads and the no-wave New York scene in glorious rhythmic technicolour. The guitar sounds like a new instrument entirely on ‘Eternal Returns’. Can you tell I fucking love this song?
Off Peek ‘Happytalism’
Gothic indie types Fox Chapel were talked about as THE FUTURE in NN postcodes around 2016-17, but sadly it wasn’t to be. Jonny joined Phantom Isle, Kailan started bloody/bath, and now guitarist Calam has remerged [in Bristol] with this project. This is fun, scrapbooky stuff: movie samples, no singing, B-Boy vibes, sci-fi synths and a feeling that anything is possible. Strap in for this one, it’s going to be colourful.
Bobbo has embraced the lockdown, dropping his third EP/album of beaty house bangers this month [entitled Trinity], all dreamt up in his Corby bolthole. I don’t think Sharkteeth Grinder are going anywhere, but this is still a welcome diversion in covid times.