Merely – ‘Hatching The Egg’

Merely is the project of Swedish multi-instrumentalist Kristina Florell, who’s spent years operating on the more experimental side of the Swedish music scene, crafting music that takes dream-pop into a world that’s rich and transcendent, where the air sparkles with something otherworldly. She’s just put out her new album Hatching The Egg, which was announced with press photos of her wearing a magician’s hat and staff, and comes with song titles like The Magic Shrine and In The Wizard’s Eye, so you can probably guess the aesthetic inspiration here. Happily, these album is as far away from fantasy-themed schlock as you can imagine. Instead, it’s filled with music that lives up to the supernatural ritualism it’s cloaked in, soft, slow-moving songs that soar and crash like waves. Merely weaves her music around the listener – when in the middle of Hatching The Egg, the songs stretch out like the sky above you, and it’s hard to imagine the world outside the record. It’s dream-pop carved from light and air, that glows with grace and elegance. Hatching The Egg is out now on YEAR0001(Austin Maloney)

The Slow Show – ‘Sharp Scratch’

Sometimes you really don’t know how much you’d miss a band until they finally returns. Manchester’s The Slow Show released one of the best debut albums in recent years with 2015’s White Water. Their live shows were also pretty breathtaking back then but somehow the quick follow-up Dream Darling from 2016 didn’t really cause the same effect like their debut. Maybe it happened a bit too fast, I don’t know. After a relatively long break the band now ended their radio silence with a stunning comeback track that got all the qualities I fell in love with four years ago. Of course, there’s still the voice by leading man Robert Goodwin which really sends shivers down your spine. And The Slow Show still got that nice way of building up a song. Sharp Scratch starts quite slowly and heads towards a pretty cinematic climax before it slows down again in the most tender way. Anything else would’ve felt too much and the group ends up with just the right amount of emotional sensitiveness to make this work. Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to album number three which will arrive later in 2019. (Norman Fleischer)

MIRÈLE – ‘Если бы Любовь’

Look, I went down the rabbit hole again. A couple of months back, I got sucked into a YouTube trip of watching Russian music videos, to try and see if I could learn anything about the scene there (I don’t speak Russian, so this is a pretty hit and miss process). Anyway, I came across the work of a duo called МЫ, who made sort of lo-fi indie-trap-pop, and from there got onto the solo project of one of the members, MIRÈLEMIRÈLE is the musical pseudonym of Israel-based Russian artist Eva Krauze, who put out an album called Люболь (Lovepain) in 2018. I’ve spent a lot of the past month listening to the closing track, Звездопад (Starfall), a piece of beautiful, dreamy synth-pop. Now she’s back with a new single, Если бы Любовь (If Only Love), which instead dabbles in fast-paced dance-pop built from slick, kinetic melodies. It’s less mystical and breathtakingly graceful as Звездопад, but shows off another side of her musical range, and pairs airy vulnerability with light-footed, mesmeric groove. (Austin Maloney)

Wy – ‘Pavements’

Back in 2017, Okay by Swedish two-piece Wy first was more like a hidden treasure for me before it slowly and steady turned into one of my favourite albums of the year. I still refuse to label it ‘sad pop’ although that might describe it best because it mixes highly emotional themes (like social anxiety about which the band also wrote on NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION back then) with gentle melodies and good pop hooks so needless to say I’m more than happy that Ebba Ågren and Michel Gustafsson returned with a new single this month called Pavements. Compared to the more introverted sound of the debut album this song unravels a certain fighting spirit as Ebba gets into boxing mode while shouting ‘My depression is my weapon.’ It’s about turning a weakness into strength and the video underlines this. The singer explains the idea: ‘While recording the studio version of the song our friend Joar told me that it sounded like someone punching. I immediately saw myself boxing in the air to it and so we made it the video. When we recorded the footage I tried to mimic how I moved and felt while recording the vocals. I think the act of boxing captures the feeling of the song perfectly, especially when I can’t really box. There is a weirdness to it that I like.’ It might be weird but to it also sounds quite determined. She won’t let her anxieties define who she is. The future continues to look very promising for Wy and I now hope you all have these folks and their forthcoming second album Softie, out on April 30, on your radar. (Norman Fleischer)

Lil Halima – ‘For The Dark Days’ EP

It feels like Lil Halima has been around for ages – I’ve been hearing Norwegian music scene people chatter excitedly about her since sometime in 2017, which makes it difficult to believe her debut single Abstract came out less than a year about (of course we covered it). An EP, Love Songs For Lovers followed that single, and she’s just last week dropped a follow-up EP, For The Dark Days. …Dark Days isn’t the longest outing, with just three songs and an intro track, but it’s the most consistently high quality release she’s put out to date, and a remarkably composed and well-crafted record for such a young artist. Hold Me and Fire Doves showcase her ability to write tear-jerking, torchlight neo-soul songs, and Take Me To Your Planet rides a rippling funk bassline for an exercise in smooth, groove-packed pop-meets-RnB. It all sounds so effortless, like she just strolled into the recording studio, idled up the mic and knocked out the record in half hour. Obviously, that’s not how an EP as good as this gets made, but it’s a testament to how fast and sharp her rise has been – when you see what she’s done in a year, you start to wonder about where her limits are, if they’re there at all. (Austin Maloney)

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

Our Daily Tunes from February 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. These have been our highlights from the past weeks.