In the age of streaming, it’s never been easier to listen to new music — but with over 60,000 new songs added to Spotify every day, it’s also never been harder to know what to put on. Every week, the team at Rolling Stone UK will run down some of the best new releases that have been added to streaming services.
The Amazons, How Will I Know if Heaven Will Find Me?
One of the year’s enduring trends so far has been the release of records intended not just as a reflection on, but as an antidote to, our collective experience of the pandemic years. Here, The Amazons pick up the baton. Preceded by a soaring lead single, ‘Bloodrush’, the Reading outfit seek out the beautiful in the everyday, as they embrace the sense of freedom that so many of us once took for granted. Speaking to Rolling Stone UK around the time of the album’s announcement, frontman Matt Thomson explained that those themes inform the record as a whole, but also hinted at a deeply personal undercurrent to the album, with its poetic title having been inspired by his own experiences of attempting to maintain a long-distance relationship over the course of the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Coby Sey, Conduit
Coby Sey has built a name within UK experimental music circles for his work with artists like Tirzah, Mica Levi, and Klein. On his debut album Conduit, the musician and vocalist channels the forward-thinking ambition of post-punk, jazz, and electronic music through distinctly South London ears, with elements of nocturnal grime or garage echoing in the distance as Sey uses his music to tackle injustices against marginalised people at home and abroad.
George Riley, Running in Waves
On her second record, R&B artist George Riley teams up with Frank Ocean producer and PLZ Make It Ruins label head Vegyn. The result is sultry R&B that looks firmly to the future, with lush soundscapes comprised of glitchy electronica and soothing strings.
Jockstrap, I Love You Jennifer B
London duo Jockstrap deliver their anticipated debut album. I Love You Jennifer B is full of vivid songwriting and instrumentation, combined with experimental sonics, from full orchestras to glitchy electronics. One of the year’s most unusual records, but also one of its most ambitious.
Oliver Sim, Hideous Bastard
On his debut solo album, Oliver Sim steps out from his role in The xx to deliver one of the year’s most powerful and cathartic records. It sees Sim tackle his HIV diagnosis at the age of 17 on the bold ‘Hideous’, while ‘Romance With a Memory’ sees the musician musing on his own troubles forging lasting relationships. But with all this accompanied by soaring, xx-esque instrumentation, there is significant beauty among the heaviness.
Ozzy Osbourne, Patient Number Nine
A bad case of Covid, a worsening of the symptoms of his Parkinson’s syndrome, and the resurfacing of acute pain from a quad biking accident necessitating major surgery have not slowed down Ozzy Osbourne, who follows last month’s unannounced appearance at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games with his second full-length in three years. This one is a star-studded affair, with Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Zakk Wylde, Dave Navarro, Joshua Homme, and Mike McCready all making appearances, but generating most excitement among long-time followers will be two collaborations with Black Sabbath axeman Tony Iommi, their first work together since the band went their separate ways in 2017.
Porij, Outlines EP
Founded by four students at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music, Porij are the genre-fusing group on a mission to prove you can’t stick them in a single box. It’s a mantra they live up to on new EP Outlines, which flits between dance pop and classic club beats at a breakneck speed. ‘Lose Our Minds’ sees joyful electronica being paired against a message of mental health positivity, while the title track moves into outright house beats. An eclectic and always varied effort.
Robbie Williams, XXV
The new full-length from Stoke’s favourite son reimagines the concept of a greatest hits release, assembling a lengthy track listing drawn mostly from his late nineties and early noughties heyday, re-recorded with handsome orchestral backing that suggests Williams is looking back over his career through older, wiser eyes. New versions of ‘Angels’ and ‘Eternity’ suggested that next month’s XXV arena tour of the UK might be a contemplative or even uncharacteristically sombre affair, but his take on Gary Barlow diss track ‘No Regrets’, which has been given the Bond theme treatment with sweeping strings and a soaring choir, suggests he’s lost none of his appetite for theatricality.
Sampa the Great, As Above So Below
Sampa the Great’s second album sees the Zambian-born, Botswana-raised poet and rapper return to the art and music she was first immersed in growing up in Africa — a result of relocating back to Zambia during the pandemic. But As Above So Below is not just a nostalgic album, drawing from the cutting edge music coming out of the African diaspora today as well as recognising its history.
Four albums into her career, Santigold is still pushing forward with the sonic experimentation that first propelled her to worldwide fame. On Spirituals opener ‘My Horror’, she combines subtle electronica with flashes of ukulele; it’s testament to her talent that it works. Elsewhere, the soaring ‘High Priestess’ provides a powerful slice of glitchy rap pop, pitted against fierce lyrical wordplay.
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, When the Lights Go
British DJ, producer, and singer-songwriter Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (real name Orlando Higginbottom) is back with his second LP, and his first album in a decade. Featuring reflective tracks like the juddering ‘Blood in the Snow’ and the synth-heavy ‘Forever’, the record is driven by storytelling and influenced by heavy topics like love and climate breakdown, as he recently told Rolling Stone UK.