This week’s new music playlist: Mahalia, Arcade Fire, Charli XCX

Here’s every song you need to listen to this week…

As we gear up for the emotional turbulence of the big Glastonbury ticket resale next week, we’re in need of some motivation to keep our focus sharp.

This week’s batch of new tunes should do the trick, with everything from big 90s samples to Top Boy-approved tunes.

Here’s every track you need on your radar this week…  

  • 1. Mahalia: Whatever Simon Says

    Grammy-nominated singer Mahalia is back with a new single that – as ever – doesn’t disappoint as it sets about dismantling toxic beauty standards and their suffocating effects. “I feel like Whatever Simon Says is every girls ‘fuck you’ to the system that has always been set up through a male gaze,” she explains. “It’s us saying that we are going to be everything we want to be because we want it. And not because a man tells us to.” Couldn’t put it better ourselves.

  • 2. Charli XCX: Used To Know Me

    Charli XCX’s new album has arrived and has confirmed our suspicions that it’s packed with wall-to-wall bangers. Among them is Used To Know Me, which combines Robin S’s iconic 90s classic Show Me Love with Charli’s distinctive clubby touch and lyrics casting off a manipulative wrong’un. 

  • 3. Jeshi, Kelvin Krash: Electric

    Top Boy is finally back on our screens, with the latest season of the London-based drama arriving on Netflix today. And when it comes to the soundtrack, they’re keeping it local, with east London rapper Jeshi’s lean new track Electric making an appearance. “Electric is just the ultimate fuck it. Letting that frustration out in that moment of being complete hard-headed and not wanting to listen,” he explains.

  • 4. Arcade Fire: The Lightning I, II

    Arcade Fire are back, and the Canadian band have announced the release of their sixth album, WE, this spring. In the meantime, they’ve given us a taster of what’s to come with a sprawling six-minute first single that morphs from a sermon-like slow burn into an all-out festival banger with no instrument spared. All that’s missing is a smattering of festival dates to mark their full return.

  • 5. Bon Iver: So Unimportant

    Proving that the enforced creative vein of lockdown is still eking out results, Bon Iver and producer Ethan Gruska have released a new song. So Unimportant is the result of the pair swapping files and ideas during quarantine, the outcome of which is a gorgeous multi-textured wash of instruments and harmonies. 

  • 6. Saya Gray: If There’s No Seat In The Sky (Will You Forgive Me???)

    Signed to the same label as The 1975 and Wolf Alice, Canadian-Japanese singer-songwriter Saya Gray is gearing up for the release of her new project 19 Masters. The record is a reflection of her experiences of isolation and expectations as a mixed-race woman growing up in a largely white environment, and the latest track is a compellingly thoughtful jumble of guitars, vocals and otherworldly sounds.

Images: Emily Lipson

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