‘The Races’ by Sports Team
Always erratic but fun, Sports Team provide another indie track that you want to jump along to. Distortion from the electric guitars and a strong drum part gives them their distinct 90s indie sound, and brings hope of a post-punk revival. I’ve never been to the races but the man they sing about sounds like the kind of archetype I’ve always assumed goes to the races (‘He’ll never buy a drink but he’ll let you know he can’).
Featured on Vevo’s ‘DSCVR Artists to Watch 2020’, the high energy of the song emanates through frontman Alex Rice’s performance. Very Mick Jagger and Jarvis Cocker-esque. Known for lively and chaotic dancing, Sports Team always put on a phenomenal show; undoubtedly ‘The Races’ will be incredible live.
– Imogen Phillips
‘STFU!’ by Rina Sawayama
‘Have you ever thought about taping your big mouth shut? ‘Cause I have many times.’
‘STFU!’ is the first single to be released by London-based singer Rina Sawayama from her upcoming debut album. It takes a turn away from the pop style of her previous releases such as the mini-album RINA, released in 2017, and has clear influences from rock and nu-metal. The song and music video detail the microaggressions she has experienced throughout her life being a Japanese woman – the video starts with a first date where a man asks, ‘so you’re a singer … I was quite surprised you sang in English!’. As his comments become even worse, she questions – ‘how come you don’t respect me?’. Although the song is based on personal experiences of commonplace, hostile prejudices, Sawayama dedicated the song to ‘any minority who has experienced microaggressions’.
– Tilly Attrill
‘L.O.V.E. Me’ by Hayley Kiyoko
‘L.O.V.E. Me’ is the second single off pop singer-songwriter Hayley Kiyoko’s second album, I’m Too Sensitive For This Shit, which is set to be released in January. Kiyoko, who is known as ‘Lesbian Jesus’ to her fans, has been open about her sexuality since the release of her first album, Expectations, in which her lyrics were dominated by personal stories of love and relationships with other women. ‘L.O.V.E. Me’ continues this trend with a chorus in which Kiyoko grapples with the complexity of a new relationship: ‘So girl, don’t tell me you love me / If you don’t really want me / I’m working through my issues’. The song is more of the same upbeat pop that defined Kiyoko’s first album, though with a slightly grittier, electronic edge. Given the currently released singles, the upcoming album promises to be no less honest in its exploration of love and desire of all kinds.
– Meredith Sauer
‘Wishes’ by Oh Land
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Following the success of her 2019 album Family Tree, Danish artist Oh Land is back with her new single ‘Wishes’. Dropping at the seasonal turn into Christmas (22 November), it’s infused with festive overtones. Her bright and sunny vocals soar over an upbeat indie-pop instrumental that features sleigh bells and chimes. Her orchestral talents peak through on this track, whilst the cascading piano-based melodies work in conjunction with her overlaid backing vocals for an effect close to a choir singing carols. Similar to Sia’s highly successful Everyday is Christmas album (2017), Oh Land’s single strikes an interesting balance between reflective melancholy and an inevitable seasonal optimism. Oh Land explores the tricks and trials of runaway Time and the uncertainty that such a fast-paced culture presses upon us, but encourages us to ‘go outside’ and enjoy the snow since it’s ‘gone in the morning’. For a refreshing take on the Christmas single, check out Oh Land’s ‘Wishes’.
– Charlotte Fitch