#NewMusicFriday: ‘You Remind Me’ by Gryffin (feat. Stanaj)

After a string of hits with female vocalists, American DJ Gryffin teams up with up-and-coming male singer Stanaj to complete the tracklist for Part I of his debut album, Gravity.

For the most part, the first half of the record are the greatest hits. Previous album singles Tie Me Down, Remember and Bye Bye make an appearance alongside older hits Nobody Compares to You and Just For A Moment. Only one song is unheard of, and that’s Stanaj’s collaboration on the track, You Remind Me.

While other tracks follow Gryffin’s traditional production style, the final song on the record is a significant detour. Hazy synths are replaced with a guitar melody which gives the track a slight country-like Avicii feel.

Stanaj too sounds familiar on You Remind Me, with a vocal style similar to Dewain Whitmore on Martín Garrix and Justin Mylo’s Burn Out. It may have nods to previous dance hits from other artists, but as a Gryffin track, it’s a big step away from what we’ve heard before.

Such is to be expected on a release full of old songs. The pressure falls on any new tracks to offer a sense of new direction, and an artist’s wider talent. You Remind Me does not fail on those points, and is in fact a unique addition to the producer’s catalogue. The only problem is that on an album of greatest hits, it’ll likely take a bit of listening time before this latest track rises to the same levels of popularity as other Gryffin anthems.

You Remind Me is taken from Gryffin’s debut album, Gravity. Part I is available now.

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#NewMusicFriday: ‘Grip’ by Seeb x Bastille

Calming and immersive, this Seeb and Bastille collab is the latest dance hit to add to the band’s impressive catalogue of high-profile collaborations.

It’s not often that Dan Smith and the rest of Bastille take it down a notch. Known both on-stage and in the recording booth for their loud, boisterous anthems, the group have very rarely strayed from that specific sound.

With Grip, it’s clear that Smith and co. wanted someone wanted to listen to the previously live-only track with fresh eyes – or rather, ears. On this occasion, they turned to hit Swedish remixers Seeb, who, as Smith says himself, transformed the song into “something new and completely different” which still has the “euphoric highs and crashing lows of night-chasing” of the original.

Striking that balance is what makes the electronic duo such masterful producers, fluttering effortlessly between catchy minimalism and elaborate creativity. Here, Smith takes the former with his usual soft vocals, whilst Seeb pursue the latter with a stripped-back main melody. It’s your usual Bastille bravado, but not in the way that you expect – and that’s what makes Grip so… well, gripping.

Grip is taken from Other People’s Heartache (Pt. 4), available to stream and download now.

#NewMusicFriday: ‘23’ by Chlöe Howl

If Taylor Swift has the jubilant party hit for 22-year-olds, then Chlöe Howl has the confident, reflective follow-up with 23.

Maidenhead singer-songwriter Howl has never shied away from being honest. Now, in her usual candid and soulful style, the artist explores adulthood and the realisations that come with growing up.

Opening with the fuzzy piano chords seen on previous singles Do It Alone and Magnetic, it’s easy to assume that 23 might be the delicate, personal track on the upcoming EP, Work. Yet with a steady beat, the release is in fact a chilled song perfect for slow dancing at parties.

Though the tempo is standard, there’s still a strong pace to the track as Howl’s words float and experiment with the rhythm of the track. Refusing to descend into the structural and lyrical clichés that come with nostalgic looks back at years gone by, 23 is both a confident and delicate story of young adult life.

23 by Chlöe Howl is available to buy and stream now.

#NewMusicFriday: ‘Serious’ by Midnight Kids feat. Matthew Koma

Creative, fluttering and unrestrained, Midnight Kids’ follow-up single Serious continues the electronic euphoria despite a few rhythmic hiccups.

Kyle Girard and Dylan Lee have had quite the busy couple of months since Find Our Way dropped in June. Their debut single after a string of hit remixes, the track (featuring newcomer klei) propelled the mysterious EDM duo into the spotlight. It soon gained over a million streams on Spotify and landed them their first few live performances – including as a support act for Alesso.

Now the pair keep the momentum going with their sophomore release Serious, featuring dance music titan Matthew Koma. Although revealed to have been “a year in the making”, the track’s tempo is slightly disorganised at points – Koma’s versatile vocals struggling to weave their way around fluttering synths in the pre-chorus. Instead, it’s the chorus which grounds the track, with punchy snare making the hook impactful and euphoric. It’s enough to make the single a worthy listen and solid addition to Midnight Kids’ catalogue.

Serious sees the Californian producers pushing themselves in a new direction – a different lyrical pacing compared to the relaxed, late-night listen that is Find Our Way. Aside from the occasional issue with timing, their latest single does well to build up the hype around Midnight Kids, showing them as experimental and imaginative musicians – and one to keep an eye on in the future.

Serious (feat. Matthew Koma) is out now.

Update: This article was updated on 13 November, when tempo issues described in my previous released were no longer apparent on the track.

#NewMusicFriday: ‘Perfect to Me’ by Anne-Marie

After a smash debut album and a string of high-profile collaborations, the Essex singer returns with a fresh take on a previous release with the chilled but confident single, Perfect to Me – ★★★★☆

2018 is Anne-Marie’s year. Speak Your Mind was a hit record while her list of featured appearances currently includes the likes of Rudimental, Marshmello and David Guetta. Now the singer-songwriter keeps things rolling with a new version of album track, Perfect.

A sharp, real take on society’s perceptions of perfection and beauty, Perfect to Me has a sassier, more pronounced feel. While the rhythm of the original was staggering and complex, this latest version sounds tight and controlled. The quiet piano is replaced with expressive guitar chords to give it a vibe which fits in with past releases 2002 and F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Perfect to Me is available now on Apple Music and Spotify.

#NewMusicFriday: ‘Access’ by Martin Garrix

It’s Avicii’s X You meets Lucas and Steve’s Anywhere on Martin Garrix’s latest release Access – taken from his new EP, BYLAW.

Chinatown sounds a lot different now than it did back in 2017. Since premiering at Ultra Miami last year, Garrix’s instrumental hit has undergone a bit of a harsher makeover. Where the main synth melody initially felt soft and light, the Dutch producer has added a heavy edge. The bass feels grittier and hard-hitting, and the drums feel a lot more pronounced. What was initially a comfortable EDM track is now a bold electronic dance hit.

Multi-layered with synth, bass and snares, Access is true creative and nostalgic electronica. It’s certainly familiar (both for it being a new version of an old track and for it having similar technicalities as other EDM hits), but Martin’s gift for a catchy melody shines through here. In turn, it delivers an imaginative, uplifting and standout track from his BYLAW EP, and returns us to the dance styles we don’t hear enough of in this genre.

Access is taken from Martin Garrix’s latest EP, BYLAW, which is available now.

Why ‘Kiss’ is the stand-out track on Pale Waves’ monotonous debut

Hard-hitting drums and buzzing guitar melodies makes Kiss the punchiest track on Pale Waves’ repetitive debut album. Here’s why…

When it comes to breakthrough releases, the best show off the range of the artist or band, flirting with the fringes of their talent, whilst also strengthening their familiar, traditional sound. For this Manchester goth-pop group, My Mind Makes Noises is just more of the same.

Save for a few stripped-back songs such as SheWhen Did I Lose It All? and the emotional Karl (I Wonder What It’s Like To Die), most tracks follow particular structural motifs. If it’s not tight bass notes introducing a track, then it’s sharp snares. Heather Braon-Gracie’s howling vocals are more monotonous than explorative, and there’s always a brief pause before the chorus in a bit to make it more impactful than it actually is. It’s a sense of rigidity and structure which strips each track of its creativity and much-needed ‘oomph’.

Then, when you consider the fact that single Kiss is one of Pale Waves’ older songs, written when Baron-Gracie was in her late teens, one can see why this packs a punch many of their newer songs lack. If one was to adopt a popular criticism of most bands, then Kiss is the band’s vibe before they were associated with The 1975 and launched into the musical mainstream and its focus on having one specific “sound”.

Here, we see instrumentals which are much more wedded to each other than their own individual part of a song. In the verses, drum and bass work together, along with Heather’s unconventional lyrical structure to give the song a slight driving rhythm on what is a rather steady tempo. Guitar solos feel so much more creative and expressive than just a simple filler, and as such, the drums feel so much more present.

A sophomore album isn’t easy for any musician or group, as it offers a choice of similarity or a whole new direction. Yet, when it comes to Pale Waves and their debut, a return to where it all started may be the answer to creating fresh, catchy and exciting music.

My Mind Makes Noises is available now on Apple Music and Spotify.