April music picks: new sounds you should know about

Best new music April 2021

I’ve been listening to the radio lots lately, and I have loved how much that has exposed me to different kinds of music that I might have either not come across at all, or at least not come across for a while. I know it’s not exactly a groundbreaking observation, but it has been a timely reminder for me, at least.

I have written here before about how much I love the noughties anthems section of Radio 1 and similarly, I’m a fan of KISS (ad breaks aside). That said, the tracks I am going to tell you about this month are all ones I think I would have found on my own: they’re all from artists I already know and love, and I am really and truly thrilled to have them all materialise at once. My summer playlist is shaping up nicely.

Flyte – This is Really Going To Hurt

Flyte This is Really Going to Hurt

Flyte were initially a four piece, but a couple of years ago, the keyboardist, Sam Kerridge left, apparently for his relationship. Although this record is a breakup album about Will Taylor’s personal life, the knowledge that one of the band’s founding members left fairly recently weighs heavily on my interpretation of it.

The sound of this album is characteristically lovely; melodic and folksy, which we expected after their US tour covers. But the content is less so. Perhaps I am coming to this from an excessively feminist point of view, but it seems like everything is blamed on this generic nameless girl, and even the track that is most obviously about Sam is about the girl he left the band for. I can’t help but think that lyrically this album could be much more interesting and robust, particularly considering the band’s predisposition for literary intertext (Sebastian Flyte being the namesake for the band…). But, sonically, the record is perfect.

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Mustafa – Ali

Mustafa Ali song

Mustafa is a poet by trade, and it shows. Having said that Flyte could do with some lyrical attention, Mustafa could be the one to provide it. His songwriting is flawless, it is beautiful, moving, carefully controlled. It’s just generally very clever, emotionally engaged and carefully crafted.

This track was Annie Mac’s hottest record in the world a couple of weeks ago, and hopefully this accolade brought Mustafa to a larger audience, because he really deserves the attention. This is from an upcoming project called When Smoke Rises, which comes out in May. I can’t wait for the full album.

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Drake – What’s Next

Drake What's Next

I adore Drake: just saying it upfront. This track does what loads of Drake’s music does, ie. it sounds a bit basic on the first listen, but the more you hear it, the more you realise how intricate, catchy and generally brilliant it is.

Here, Drake’s characteristic drawl comes up against Black-Hippy-esque beats to create a track that is bound to be another huge hit for the rapper. The track appears on his Scary Hours 2 EP (which contains a couple of other equally brilliant tracks) and is bound to spawn a million Instagram lockdown captions. Buzzing for Certified Lover Boy whenever he releases that!

Years and Years – Starstruck

Years and Years Starstruck

Years and Years have recently become an Olly Alexander solo project. Personally, I much prefer Years and Years older releases- the music they were making when they were first on the scene was such a part of the zeitgeist, so indicative of a specific time and lifestyle. I loved them, and still think Communion is one of the best records of the last ten years.

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Starstruck is as dancey and energetic as their older music and it absolutely emits the upbeat, euphoric vibe that Alexander was aiming for. The song is quite obviously influenced by Prince, and whilst I expected it to have a prominent eighties stylistic slant to it (because I was linking it to Olly Alexander’s incredible performance on It’s A Sin) actually, it’s completely new, thoroughly modern, and is set to be a party song for the fast-approaching summer.

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Leah Welch

Leah is Culture Editor @ No Majesty. Leah is a literature graduate from Bristol, likes include: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, My So Called Life, Goodfellas, and Ally McBeal.

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