The Drop: Your Guide To New Music Friday Featuring Noonie Bao, HONNE, Izzy Bizu & GIRLI
Fridays can be overwhelming for pop fans. Every week you’re bombarded with a glut of new music, which can lead to ear candy falling through the cracks. I’m hoping to circumvent that tragic scenario with a new feature called The Drop — a cheat sheet (of sorts) to get you through New Music Friday. By now you’ve probably checked out Tegan and Sara’s shimmery synth-pop anthem, “Boyfriend,” and possibly given will.i.am and Pia Mia’s deceptively catchy “Boys & Girls” a spin. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
As usual, some of the week’s finest pop produce hails from Europe. After penning hits for Tove Stryke and Charli XCX, and lending her voice to collaborations with Avicii and Clean Bandit, Sweden’s Noonie Bao is finally moving ahead with her second album. And she’s off to an auspicious start with “Reminds Me” — a quirky, Kate Bush-evoking synth-pop track with an intoxicating chorus. More please. Fellow Swede Erik Hassle also comes through on “If Your Man Only Knew.” The “Hurtful” singer is still telling hard truths and splicing melodies with the skill of a surgeon.
The Brits also had a very good week. Rising duo HONNE leads the charge with “Someone That Loves You” — a sleepy electro-soul anthem featuring the gorgeous vocals of Izzy Bizu. The 21-year-old has been widely hailed as The Next Big Thing and, on the strength of this, it’s hard to disagree. Taking a very different route, is London hell-raiser GIRLI. She waxes lyrical about her period, feminism and casually drops the C-bomb on “Girls Get Angry Too.” I think I’m in love.
Closer to home, Los Angeles pop/rockers The Mowgli’s return with “Freakin’ Me Out.” The first taste of album number four is a summery feel-good anthem with an instantly hummable chorus. Brooklyn duo Oh Honey also get it very right on “Healing.” Falling somewhere between Tango In The Night-era Fleetwood Mac and Of Monsters And Men, this is easily their best single to date. Haley Reinhart, achieves a similar feat with “Better,” the surprisingly raw and bluesy title track of her sophomore LP.
Looking for something a little more upbeat? Disney starlet Sofia Carson kicks off her music career with a cute — and unexpectedly sultry — ditty called “Love Is The Name.” Hollywood Records could have another star with this budding diva. On the other end of the pop spectrum, but every bit as catchy, is NVDES‘ “The Other Side.” A summery earworm inspired by singer/producer Josh Ocean’s cross-dressing escapes, this demented bop demands repeat listens. That also applies to Kolaj’s “The Touch,” which was released independently in 2015. Interscope grasped the dreamy tropical house anthem’s potential and is now putting their weight behind a rerelease.
Speaking of club anthems with pop appeal, UK producer Sigala teams up with John Newman and Nile Rodgers for soulful banger “Give Me Your Love.” The Chic legend also plays guitar on DJ Cassidy and Alex Newell’s disco-tastic “Kill The Lights” — easily the best track to emerge from HBO’s Vinyl thus far. However, he isn’t the only veteran featured on a floorfiller this week. Yoga studio fave Enya is sampled on Salvatore’s seductive future-bass banger “Dive.” The Swedish DJ is best known for his remixes, but that should change when this inevitably wreaks havoc on SoundCloud.
Fellow Swede Didrick hits the sweet spot between clubland and radio-friendly synth-pop on “Smoke,” a collaboration with newcomer Amanda Fondell. This track swings between chilled out and manic with the ease of a pendulum, which is an impressive accomplishment. Los Angeles producer Le Youth pulls off similar wizardry on “Boomerang.” Featuring the powerful pipes of Tay Beckham, this hypnotic bop puts a very modern spin on ’90s house.
Prefer an instrumental? I got you. UK duo Gorgon City continue to roll out their KINGDOM project (they are dropping a new track every three weeks) with “Blue Parrot” — a menacing banger with a memorable drop. Barbelle takes a very different approach on “Ohwhyyeah.” The first taste of iamamiwhoami producer Claes Björklund’s solo project is an ambient electro-adventure with a suitably trippy video (below). This is perfect chill-out fare.
The final song on my round-up doesn’t really have a pop connection, but fuck it. The imminent return of country legend Mary Chapin Carpenter is an occasion that needs to be celebrated. The 58-year-old teases comeback LP The Things That We Are Made Of with a beautiful folk-tinged ballad “The Blue Distance.” As delicate as it is deep, this is easily the prettiest thing released this week. Treat your ears below.