The Playlist: February 2021
Isn’t it strange that we started this blog only two short months ago?
Since launch, there’s been a flood of absolutely incredible new music releases that have been a much-needed aural balm during the toughest couple months of the year.
Here’s a handful of favourites that have soundtracked our February, from dreamy psychedelia and neo-soul, to some gorgeously cinematic masterpieces.
In this feature we’re collating our favourite songs of the past month, every month.
Greentea Peng, Becky CJ, Ålesund, Grove, Francis Lung, Lizzie Reid, OXYGYN, Iraina Mancini, MYTBE, Volleyball, The Staves, and scott is okay
Words: Amy Albinson & Molly Davies
Cover art: @alexandraisart
Nah It Ain’t The Same | Greentea Peng
Self-described as “an expression and exploration of my utter confusion and inner conflicts amidst shifting paradigms”, from the first syncopated notes plucked confidently from a double bass, Nah It Ain’t The Same hooks its audience with precision. In her latest release, Greentea Peng slips effortlessly from softly spun vocal melodies to enchanting spoken word, combining jazzy instrumentation provided by her live band The Seng Seng Family and subtle but distinctive production elements. She beautifully transports the listener to a world of low-lit smoky underground venues where audiences sit enrapt by the musicians’ aptitude to sit within and beyond the groove, spinning interweaving melodies and rhythms that come from a talent so well used the practice is instinctive. The breakdown will send shivers of delight up your spine. The whole track is a masterpiece - both fluid and precise with Greentea Peng's gorgeous vocals intermingling with The Seng Seng Family’s masterful playing in a beautiful amalgamation of hip-hop, jazz, and neo soul.
Losing Your Perspective | Becky CJ
Becky CJ is an expert at capturing feelings of uncertainty and instability. With Losing Your Perspective she confronts the undoing of self-perception, when something that seemed so solid and fundamental begins to unravel. Of the track, CJ explains "My friend - who is now my girlfriend - had never had a relationship with a girl before and I had this feeling that she was losing her grip on who she was every time we hooked up. When I shared the song with Olly (Producer), I had created a demo of how I expected the production. I wanted it to make people feel like their perspectives were being warped whilst still delivering the story through the lyrics. I was amazed at the way Olly brought it to life!" A glorious gallimaufry of dark pop elements and electronic glitches, Losing Your Perspective is the perfect representation of an emotion felt by so many baby queers that is rarely depicted with such nuance and skill.
Lightning | Ålesund
Alba Torriset’s vocals are undoubtedly impressive in Bristol-based quartet Ålesund’s new offering, Lightning. Powerful and uplifting, the layered harmonies create a spiritual experience wrapped in the band’s delicious and euphoric cinematic sound. Produced during 2020, Lighting is the first single taken from their upcoming EP A Thread In The Dark, which was crafted with the intent to provide “a bit of light” when the world seems so tumultuous and dark.
Fuck Ur Landlord | Grove
Following the release of their incredible track Ur Boyfriend’s Wack (which we wrote about here!), Grove released their debut EP Queer + Black this month - a collection of genre-hopping, show-stopping tracks that were crafted to make you move and “contemplate sexuality, class + race”. The EP’s closing track Fuck Ur Landlord explores how “landlordism + classism is keeping inequality rife in society” while calling to decapitate all landlords - a sentiment we can get behind.
Bad Hair Day | Francis Lung
Francis Lung (of WU LYF fame)’s new single Bad Hair Day is the only song we’ll ever be taking to the beach again. Surfy riffs abound, the track is spattered with intoxicating tempo changes and hazy vocals all held marvellously together by a driven rhythm section. Bad Hair Day is taken from Lung’s upcoming album Miracle, which deals with “the struggle between my self-destructive side and my problem-solving, constructive side”. An ode to hangovers and missed connections, the song's somewhat tragic themes are deceptively hidden under layers of sunny art-rock-inspired instrumentation, an absolute daydream of a track.
Company Car | Lizzie Reid
Company Car is the perfect companion for the broken hearted. Dwelling on feelings of recently ended love, the Glaswegian artist is basking in the bittersweet, her vocals intimate yet atmospheric. It’s rare to find a track that conveys such emotions so simply and yet Lizzie Reid, with minimal instrumentation beyond a picked guitar melody, does so with ease.
Mercy | OXYGYN
Expertly crafted beats support sparse, yet distinctive guitar riffs, in Mercy by OXYGYN. Creating a driving melancholic track that explores how vulnerability can be turned against you, Katia and Kurt Abela’s vocals beautifully intermingle to create polished harmonies whilst simultaneously letting each vocalist shine independently. As if an indie-rock band’s been dropped into a drum machine, Mercy is like a lost Oh Wonder track but with more attitude and grit.
Tied | MYTBE
There’s a captivating smoothness to the vocals floating over track Tied. Twisting every vowel and consonant around their tongue, MYTBE ensures the mood of the words are distinctively captured with honesty in one breathy take. Discordant synths and drums that verge on industrial in sound drive the track forward towards a conclusion that consists of MYTBE’s lilting voice surrounded by claps from untied hands. The lyrics perfectly capture the “messy ordeal of being human” all while remaining sombre and vulnerable.
Deep End | Iraina Mancini
Iraina Mancini’s new track Deep End is the perfect soundtrack to your average Tuesday afternoon bank robbery. Bringing 60s Yé-yé into the 21st century, the track sees Mancini work alongside Jagz Kooner to create a sound that is somehow nostalgic yet uniquely her own.
Paradisco | Volleyball
Who can resist a bit of dream psychedelia when everything else feels so chaotic? Starting off funky and smooth, Paradisco sprouts subtle rhythmic elements such as panned claps to hold the track together, before launching into a fantastically expressive chorus. It’s hard to believe this is only London-based Volleyball’s second single.
Failure | The Staves
It seems The Staves hid the best tracks from their new album Good Woman, at the end of the record. Stunning highlight Failure is a self-described “bratty” song, lyrically exploring processing - and more importantly, owning - feelings of failure with the same nonchalance as a teenage dirtbag. The sister’s harmonies are, as always, flawless, with the chorus exploding after an exceptional pre-chorus, all supported by an arrangement that’s reminiscent of slacker garage rock and ending in a delicious synthy breakdown.
Money | scott is okay
Is Scott Okay? That’s up for debate in new track Money. An exploration of friendship degradation and loneliness, the mysterious London-based artist’s latest release is gentle in minimalist quietude, as he delves into social relations from a starting point of unnecessary spending. With the hypnotising, lo-fi tune, scott is okay touches on an important topic not widely discussed. Many adults unfortunately struggle to maintain close adult friendships in a society that is so hectic and demanding of our time and money. We too often expect relationships to last over a long period of time without nurturing them. There is an argument to be made here that perhaps, if it is accepted that generally people at their core do not change, then having a connection with someone means you shouldn't have to consistently work towards having a friendship with them - but often this is not the case and, as Scott says, “If you don't put in the effort, they deteriorate and fizzle away.”
2 | SIIP
We had reservations about including this track because the artist is so elusive that we've no idea what the project is, who’s behind it, what is a SIIP? What we do know is that the main hook has been stuck in our heads for a week and the visuals are both absolutely stunning and equally insane.
Each month we'll be updating the playlist with our new favourite finds.
Have a listen and give the playlist a follow here.