Friendly Fires – ‘Silhouettes’

‘They took their time’ is a clear understatement when it comes to the comeback of British indie-pop trio Friendly Fires. Let’s start with the most obvious argument – it’s been eight freakin’ years since their sophomore album Pala. Next month – on August 16, they’ll finally release a follow-up called Inflorescent. The road towards the album itself was already quite long. Over the course of the past 12 months the tropical three-piece already released a handful of stand-alone singles, including such massive pop gems as Love Like Waves and the Disclosure collaboration Heaven Let Me In. The shimmering Silhouettes is one last stop before the arrival of this new record and it comes with all the trademark elements you either love of hate about this band – it’s hopelessly optimistic and got this percussive disco groove that just instantly calls for the most ecstatic dance moves. Friendly Fires‘ positive house-infected pop is as efficient as it has been ten years ago. One could argue that it’s a bit outdated and yes, the world has changed significantly since the group’s last releases but does it make these guys less valuable? Frankly, I don’t think so. I think we especially need a pop record like Inflorescent today, reminding us that love can still exist in its purity and that a tiny dose of escapism every now and then can revitalize all of us. Thanks for being back, gentlemen. (Norman Fleischer)

Matt Corby & Tash Sultana  – ‘Talk It Out’

Love at first sight is a myth right? Well, maybe love at the first listen is not, because that is certainly what happened here when we first listened to Talk It Out. Tash Sultana and Matt Corby unite forces for the single, which was originally supposed to end up on the latter’s album Rainbow Valley. But it would just feel incomplete without Tash Sultana‘s lush guitar riffs and high-pitched vocals. So we are glad that Matt Corby waited it out. The single actually marks the jam-session-queen’s first ever published collaboration with another artist. And it could not have been a better match. Matt Corby takes care of most of the instrumentation and adds in the jazzy bits of percussion, silky contemplative vocals, and a smooth synth wave. This is the perfect basis for her to unleash the inner musical beast and make her mellow guitar notes fill the missing piece of the puzzle. Talk It Out is about the lack of communication in a relationship, certainly not a problem the two musicians had to face. With laid-back Aussie vibes the single is perfect to kick back on a hot summer day. Just let the lush kaleidoscopeic soundscape wash over you like hazy summer breeze. (Liv Toerkell)

Alexandra Savior  – ‘Crying All The Time’

Alexandra Savior (still the best name in music) has a spectacular, stained-glass window voice, and one of its most special qualities is its ability to bleed a sarcastic sneer into her words in places, for a little extra kick. Here, on her comeback single Crying All The Time, it crops up around the 2:20 mark, as she emotes “now he’s gone, so I’m crying all the time”, that little sneer upsetting the listener’s footing and putting a wall between them and the sincerity of what she’s saying. Those touches put the mystery in her music, glamorous, but dark and strange and built on shifting sands.

Her 2017, Alex Turner-assisted album The Belladonna Of Sadness was a great one, but it always felt a little like it struggled to find its place, released two years after its completion and put into the world with more of a nudge than a push. After that she slipped away, and it was unclear if we’d ever hear any more from Savior, but now she’s returned without her former major label and famous collaborator, but with a brand new single. Crying All The Time sticks to her classic sound, a cinematic slow-burner, with everything from her dark-room singer drama to her lizard-rock sprawl still intact. As those adjectives indicate, Alexandra Savior‘s work has always thrived on a sense of theatricality, of selling herself as a character, and here, she takes on the role of the prophet of sadness, singing her story between the dessert and the neon, a shadow of a person trapped between the two. It’s a wonderful return, and even more exciting than the song itself is just the fact that she’s back. The Belladona Of Sadness deserved another chance to cry again. Her new album The Archer is out later this year. (Austin Maloney)

Villagers  – ‘Summer’s Song’

Summer is here. That magical time of the year where the days are longer, the streets are filled with life, laughter and a certain kind of carefreeness long after sunset…and sunbeams are our best friends. If you haven’t found the perfect soundtrack yet to accompany that feeling, I highly recommend you to check out Summer’s SongVillagers’ beautiful surprise single release that came out at the beginning of July. We have been under its spell ever since. Self-recorded and self-produced by Conor O’Brien, the song surfaced not even a year after 2018’s highly praised album The Art Of Pretending To Swim was released. Kids, consider yourself very lucky. Summer’s Song charmingly captures the essence of all those gleaming summer days and nights with just the right amount of sweetness and hooks that we are longing for all throughout the year and it tingles our ears with such cheerful, yet at the same time yearning sentiment that leaves the listener with way more than a simple touch of summer vibes.

Having mastered the art of playing the flugelhorn lately – which is only one of multi-instrumentalist Conor O’Brien’s many talents – the song features gorgeous arrangements of flugelhorns that add a slightly nostalgic feeling to it all. Or as Conor put it: ‘Summer’s Song is the closest I’ll ever get to writing a pure pop song. I just had to roll with it and I’m glad I did; it was really just an excuse to make the horns sound like sunbeams.’ Mission accomplished. Mixed by Dave Fridmann (MGMT, The Flaming Lips, Tame Impala) and accompanied by a colourful animated video, Summer’s Song is most likely everything you might need this summer to feel encouraged to embark on a journey, whether it’s out there on the road with the wind running through your hair or as part of a more personal journey within yourself towards your heart with the lyrics ‘We’ll climb the sunlight, one beam at a time’ gently carrying you further to your destination. This is another impressive reminder why O’Brien remains one of the finest songwriters of his generation.. (Annett Bonkowski) 

Whitney  – ‘Valleys (My Love)’

The warm sound of Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek tends to overshadow a certain bitterness within the songs and maybe that’s why Whitney‘s music is so wonderful and effective. The first single Giving Up already showed that their 2016 debut Light Upon The Lake wasn’t a lucky shot at all and the second one underlines that notion. Valleys (My Love) is a song about relationship and how they deal with separation from each other. Well, and the imnage of a lonesome truck driver appears to be a fitting one here so Whitney decided to make a music video based around this feeling. They explain: “The concept of “life on the road” itself is romantic in nature, however anyone who has been there knows that it can be a lonely place. For “Valleys (My Love)“ we document the life of a commercial truck driver. The video demonstrates the correlation of traveling for work and the band’s own personal experiences on tour.“ And yeah, life on the road really isn’t that glamorous, isn’t it? Still, as long as we got a song like this in our ears it’s a bit less frustrating. The second Whitney album goes by the name Forever Turned Around, arrives on August 30 and – Spoiler – will definitely not disappoint you at all. (Norman Fleischer)

Find the 50 most essential fresh tracks in the ‘Nothing But Now’ Playlist!

Our Daily Tunes from July 2019

Ain’t it wonderful to start your day with a fresh piece of music? Every day the writers of NBHAP pick a new song for you, present them on our page and add the to the playlist you’ll find below. You can also sign up right here to receive them via your Facebook Messenger.

These have been our highlights from the past weeks.