Foals – ‘Exits’

After eight years of almost constant touring and releases the four years between 2015’s What Went Down and the forthcoming fifth Foals album felt surprisingly long. But now they return with a bang. First of all, there’s going to be two albums this year entitled Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1 and 2. So technically not a double album (which is always a better idea) but two stand-alone releases as the group confirms. Exits opens the first album (well, technically Moonlight does but that feels more like an intro) and it’s as Foals as a Foals song can be and that’s a compliment. It’s pumping beat and the hypnotic, almost percussive synth elements give it a rhythmic drive that feels like a steam roller. Yannis Philippakis is still the furious leader and the urgency within his voice really moves that stream roller forward as he sings: ‘All the exits underground / I wish I could figure it out. But the world’s upside down’. It’s a track that wants to arrange the chaos in this world and shows how you can make a edgy rock song that perfectly walks the tightrope between the analogue and the digital. Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1 arrives on March 8 and is full of such tunes so needless to say that this will be a nice year for all Foals lovers. (Norman Fleischer)

FLORA – ‘Only U/ Storm’

It’s always good news when Swedish duo FLORA (AnnaMelina and Varg) are back in the game, and happily it looks like we’ll be hearing a lot from them soon, with a new compilation called Linkflow due out soon on United Standard. First to emerge from that is new song Only U/ Storm, a fragile, snowflake-unique piece of electronica. Part of the plot of William Gibson’s Count Zero involves an art collector trying to find the source of a series of strange, captivating works that seem beyond the imagination border of any artist – eventually she tracks them down to a fragment of an AI powering a disused surgery in an abandoned orbit city, forming the pieces from stray materials that float into its reach. Had that AI turned its hand(s) to music, maybe it would sound a little like Only U/ Storm, a piece stitched from diverse parts into a abstract, mysterious song that builds its magic while keeping its secrets. However, it’s also a very human song, with a real gut of flesh-and-blood emotion buried inside the storm of noise. it’s out now, with a video by Melina Åkerman Kvie (aka AnnaMelina). (Austin Maloney)

Strand Of Oaks – ‘Weird Ways’

To me it feels as if Timothy Showalter and his project Strand Of Oaks are on the verge of a big breakthrough for years now. He’s been producing old-fashioned but very timeless rock anthems for a few years now and Weird Ways is just the next spectacular highlight in his ongoing process. The opening track of his freshly announced new record Eraserland is a proof for that. It starts quite intimate but slowly builds up over six minutes into a spectacular piece of stadium rock. But, you know, the good version of it. The story of Weird Ways itself and the whole album gives the whole thing even more emotional depth. Following his last tour Showalter was burned out and ready to give up music for good. Concerned for his own well-being decided to go on a spiritual pilgrimage to the Jersey Shore and during that time befriended musicians of My Morning Jacket booked a studio for him once they heard about this condition. So, by saying ‘Hey Tim, we’re going to record the new Strand Of Oaks record. Wanna join us?’ they probably saved via this divine intervention (or forceful ultimatum, if you like to call it that way). Eraserland arrives on March 22 via Dead Oceans and judging from this wonderful piece of music we can expect great things from it. (Norman Fleischer)

Angelic Milk – ‘Celebrate’

It’s been a long time in the making (their last EP, Teenage Movie Soundtrack came out in 2016), but St. Petersburg four-piece Angelic Milk finally surfaced with their debut album DIVINE BIKER LOVE, squeezing it into the first month of the year. And so far it’s the record I’ve spent by far the most time with this January. In many ways, it’s a very weird album, a mixed bag of genres from airy indie to crunching glam rock to mystic folk, all filtered via the band’s cartoonish goth gang aesthetic (if you stare at it long enough till your brain starts to blur you begin to wonder if this is what the score to a Quentin Tarantino-directed Powerpuff Girls film would sound like). At the same time, it’s a very direct album, packed with turbo-charged choruses and a careless, reckless, breakneck fun. And basically, it sounds like a rock album made by rock stars, or at least people who know how to do a very convincing job of acting like them. Frontwoman Sarah Persephona rides through the record with bulletproof confidence and energy, sounding like she’s taken all her teenage obsessions and used them to build an album that rockets away from the bland boredom of the regular world and instead spends its time in a larger-than-life playground of motorcycles, outlaws and dirtbag fairgrounds. And they know how to write songs – DIVINE BIKER LOVE is a record without a bum note, and the six-song run from When The Limousines Pass By to Trust No 1 will be hard for any other rock band to even get close to this year. And if we have to pick a song from it, why not Celebrate, the epic, skyscraping alt-rock that splits the record in two, and should be their set-closer from now until the end of time. (Austin Maloney)

Vampire Weekend – ‘Harmony Hall’

Being often labelled as the Holy Grail of indie music the anticipated fourth full-length by Vampire Weekend will eiher spectacularily fail or become the best album of all time, or at least of 2019. The long waiting time for Father Of The Bride (that’s its title) surely didn’t put the stakes any lower for Ezra Koenig and judging from these first two songs it looks like failure isn’t an option. Why the really short 2021 feels more like a happy little experiment the wonderful Harmony Hall sparkles as a more than fitting comeback single. It’s five minutes of sun-drenched sweetness to warm your heart. The song was written by Koenig and Ariel Rechtshaid and also features former Vampire Weekend member Rostam Batmanglij who left the band during those past sixth years. So, no bad blood on this side which is a really nice thing to experience. The album which doesn’t have a specific date yet will feature 18 tracks so it’s technically also a double album so it looks like all this was really worth the wait. Spring definitely can’t come quickly enough this year. (Norman Fleischer)

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

Our Daily Tunes from January 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.