Fresh Music Friday: Goodbye to Mercury in Retrograde

New music from Clairo, Brockhampton, Sleater-Kinney and more!


Taylor Hill/Getty Images for Governors Ball/Billboard

Mercury is finally out of retrograde, and it feels like we can all collectively exhale. To add to the good vibes, this week was filled with some seriously great new releases.

Fresh Music Friday is here to give you a breakdown of new singles, EPs, and albums to check out as you make your way into the weekend. Get ready to jam out with some of our favorite up-and-coming artists, plus celebrate new releases from those you already know and love.

This week, Clairo's anticipated debut album, Immunity, arrived; Lana Del Rey confirmed the release date for her forthcoming album, Norman F*cking Rockwell, (out August 30th, officially); and Brockhampton returned with their first song of 2019 called "I Been Born Again" and news of a new album, Ginger, that is reportedly due out later this month. Additionally, post-Janet-Weiss Sleater-Kinney features started coming and didn't stop coming as S-K shared their third single, "Can I Go On," from their new album, The Center Won't Hold, which comes out on August 16th. Plus, new singles from Pom Pom Squad, Field Mouse, and Jadu Heart are here. August is shaping up to be a pretty great month for music. Here are six new songs to get you started.

1. Brockhampton - "I Been Born Again"

For a group that loves to saturate the music industry with new releases, we haven't heard all that much from American boy band and rap collective Brockhampton in the year 2019. That's not to say its members have necessarily been quiet. Frontman Kevin Abstract put out his solo album, ARIZONA BABY, back in April, and the rap collective has been making their rounds on the festival circuit all summer. But this week, Brockhampton dropped their first official song and video of the year called "I Been Born Again," the first single off of their upcoming album, Ginger, that is reportedly due out in August.

2. Clairo - "Sofia"

Last week Clairo unveiled "Sofia," the third and final single from her debut album, Immunity, which is out today. "Sofia," with its musical nods to The Strokes and dense production helmed by Rostam, is a song that feels like a natural evolution for an artist like Clairo, who found her beginning in twee, laptop pop and developed into a fully fleshed-out indie rock act. Immunity demonstrates that despite her rapid launch to viral fame, Clairo is committed to honing her sound and, more importantly, she's carved a space for herself and she's here to stay.

3. Sleater-Kinney - "Can I Go On"

The rollout for the new Sleater-Kinney album (and its accompanying drama since drummer Janet Weiss recently left the band) doesn't show signs of quieting down. The forthcoming and polarizing S-K album (entitled Hurry On Home) was produced by Annie Clarke of St. Vincent and is slotted for release on August 16th via Mom+Pop. The band has already shared the title track and second cut called "The Future Is Here," and this week, they've dropped the album's third single, "Can I Go On." The new song grapples with the paradox of modern ennui—a society in which everyone is simultaneously feeling too tired to go on and too wired from all of the casual productivity-inducing stimulants that help propel them through the day. The Center Won't Hold is out 8/16 via Mom+Pop.

4. Pom Pom Squad - "Honeysuckle"

Pom Pom Squad is made up Mia Berrin, Mari Alé Figelman, Shelby Keller, and Ethan Sass, and together they create grungy rock that burns with defiance while wearing its heart on its sleeve. Back in May, the NYC-based four-piece announced their sophomore EP, Ow, with lead single "Heavy Heavy" and this week, they've shared a second song called "Honeysuckle." "Honeysuckle" kicks off with a weighty bass-line and a scuzzy, '90s-inspired guitar line before Mia Berrin's gravel-dipped-in-honey vocals cut through the noise, as she thinks out loud: "If I'm nothing without you, am I anything at all?" Sounding both vintage and contemporary is not an easy balance to strike, but Pom Pom Squad does it well and leaves you wanting more.

5. Field Mouse - "Black Hole, Son"

Field Mouse is gearing up to release their third full-length record, Meaning, on August 16th via Topshelf records. Last month, they shared the luminous lead single, "Heart of Gold," followed by "In Blue," and today they're back with a new track called "Black Hole, Son." Despite its punny title, "Black Hole, Son" is more concerned with the inevitable end of the world than your average Soundgarden hit. Though much of songs on Meaning are tangled up in catastrophe, Field Mouse manage to find and convey a sense of peace through their warm, airy melodies and brightly infectious songs.

A bit about the track from guitarist, vocalist, and lead writer Rachel Browne:

"['Black Hole, Son'] is about a vision of the end of the world in something catastrophic, like a black hole. The verses deal with more earthly feelings of solitude and relationship tension, things which seem ridiculous when set against total annihilation. It is about going back and forth between fretting over micro things like social anxiety and freaking out about the literal end of the world."

The Brooklyn-and-Philly-based indie rock group (anchored by founding members Rachel Browne and Andrew Futral) has grown recently to include Saysha Heinzman, Tim McCoy, and Zoe Browne. Their particular brand of sometimes-scroungy-and-sometimes-spacious-but-always-melodic dream pop sounds fully fleshed out and more determined than ever before.

6. Jadu Heart - "Whitefang"

Jadu Heart's latest offering, "Whitefang" is as if the synesthetic experience of I-Tunes visualizer were sonified. It's a collage of airy synths, propulsive vocals, and kaleidoscope instrumentation morphs together and erupts into a cathartic breakdown. "Whitefang" offers an exhilarating preview of the young duo's debut album, Melt Away, set for release 8/16.


7. Baby Shakes - "Nowhere Fast"

Scrappy, catchy, and a little rough around the edges, Baby Shakes' new single, "Nowhere Fast," is an irresistible slice of garage pop filled to the brim with boppy vocals, surfy drumming, and scroungy guitar riffs. The NYC garage punks recently announced a new LP, Cause a Scene, due out 9/20.


Fresh Music Friday: 10 New Songs to Wrap Up July

Featuring new songs from Pabllo Vittar, Chance the Rapper, Rico Nasty and more!

Pabllo Vittar and Charli XCX


Fresh Music Friday is here to give you a breakdown of new singles, EPs, and albums to check out as you make your way into the weekend.

Get ready to jam out with some of our favorite up-and-coming artists, plus celebrate new releases from those you already know and love.

1. Pabllo Vittar - "Flash Pose" (Feat. Charli XCX)

Brazilian singer, songwriter and drag performer Pabllo Vittar tapped Charli XCX for a new song called "Flash Pose," a fun and clubby cut about looking really hot and posing for pictures––and feeling confident while doing it. As was to be expected coming from two of pop's biggest icons, "Flash Pose" sounds instantly infectious. The last time Charli XCX and Pabllo Vittar put out a song together, it was for Charli XCX'S 2017 excellent album Pop II on the song "I Got It"––you know, the one that goes, "I got it, I got it, I got it, I got it, I got it" ad infinitum.

2. Chance the Rapper - "Do You Remember" (Feat. Ben Gibbard)

Reader, the day is here. Chance the Rapper just dropped his long-awaited official debut album, which features a whole host of guest appearances from Bon Iver to Nicki Minaj to Death Cab frontman Ben Gibbard. As a veritable Death Cab fanatic and Chance the Rapper enthusiast, this is the collaboration I never asked for but absolutely needed.

"Do You Remember," is a nostalgia trip of a groove where Chance wistfully raps about past summer memories and features Ben Gibbard's distinct, melancholic voice on the chorus: "Do you remember how when you were younger / The summers all lasted forever? / Days disappeared into months, into years / Hold that feeling forever." At this point, I will forgive BG for never putting out the other Postal Service album he promised. Some ideas for a future supergroup include: Chance Cab For Cutie. Alternatively, Death Chance The Rapper.

3. White Reaper - "Real Long Time"

White Reaper is gearing up to put out their fourth album after recently signing to Elektra Records. A few months ago, the Louisville rockers shared the forthcoming album's first single "Might Be Right," which marked the band's first new music since 2017's The World's Best American Band, and this week they unveiled a new power-pop track called "Real Long Time."

While the guitar tones on the new songs can lean into '80s rock revivalism, both "Might Be Right" and "Real Long Time" show White Reaper continuing to hone their instantly recognizable brand of flashy, energetic power-pop—both vintage and novel—by blending together garage rock scuzz and Thin-Lizzy-approved riffage.

4. Rico Nasty - "Time Flies"

Hot on the heels of her latest project with Kenny Beats (Anger Management), Rico Nasty is back with a new track, and this time she's adopted a (slightly) pared-down vibe from her usual rapid-fire style verses. Her new song, "Time Flies," is a little less incensed and shows off a more melodic approach, with Nasty waxing introspective on a sing-songy hook: "I don't wanna be on the ground when the time flies / Had so many friends goin' / Wonder when it's my time / I live every day like I'll die by the night time / It took me so long getting back to my right mind."

5. Loving - "Vision"

This week, Canadian indie rock trio Loving unveiled a new single called "Visions" via Last Gang Records. Loving is made up of David Parry, Lucas Henderson, and Jesse Henderson, and together they create lovely, easy-going tunes that pair well with the sunny stretches of late July afternoons or aimless drives. On "Visions," drowsy guitar slides and warm acoustic strumming take shape around soft percussion as Jesse Henderson muses about the "strange prison" of how we envision our futures.

6 + 7. Caroline Polachek - "Parachute" and "Ocean of Tears"

Last month, Caroline Polacheck (formerly of Chairlift) shared "Door," the first single she's released officially under her name, marking both a return and a new beginning. Polachek previously put out songs under the moniker Ramona Lisa and went on to explore more ambient territory in CEP before shifting to her latest project. This week, Polachek followed up "Door" with two new songs: the sparse slow-burner "Parachute" and the pulsating, R&B-tinged "Ocean of Tears."

8. Palm Haze - "Almost Soon"

Vancouver-via-Brazil shoegaze duo Palm Haze released a new track today called "Almost Soon," which comes off of their upcoming album Rêve Bleu (out August 30th via YHS Records). With a sound that's reminiscent of gaze-y heavyweights like My Bloody Valentine, "Almost Soon" is a stunning display of control of texture as the band strikes the perfect (maybe even Lynchian) balance between sounding heavy and dreamlike. Vocalist/bassist Anna Wagner's cool-toned voice curls around waves of anesthetic, foggy distortion as she assures the listener: "Whatever you do, whatever you say, it's okay."

9. Germano - "Lost Crowd"

Brazilian-born pop artist Germano isn't sure of what the future may hold, but he's taking it in stride. Today he's sharing his first single, "Lost Crowd," a moody electro-pop tale that reckons with feeling lost and finding comfort in the unknown and celebrates the beauty of contradiction. The song kicks off with Germano's magnetic vocals and eases into a lush swirl of electronic instrumentation and settles into a laidback chorus that perfectly balances Germano's introspective lyrics with the song's wistful melody. The song is accompanied by cinematic visuals featuring Germano and three others dressed in matching white t-shirts and jeans as they go through synchronized acts of hanging out in empty loft apartments and parks. Germano's debut EP is expected out later this year.

10. Alexander Noice - "Affectation"

Alexander Noice wears many hats; the LA-based composer, guitarist, producer, and bandleader is known for his experimental, often genre-defying compositions that dip into minimalist art-rock and jazz. His latest, "Affectation" welcomes you into Noice's eclectic menagerie of sounds through a flurry of layered of vocals and eerie harmonies—the result is wholly mesmerizing. Alexander Noice's forthcoming LP, Noice, is out August 23rd.


PREMIERE: Natalie Shay Welcomes You into Her '80s Soaked World with “People Like Me”

On "People Like Me," Natalie Shay explores the challenges of living in a world in which the rose-tinted digital lens of social media distorts our perception of artists.

Natalie Shay isn't slowing down anytime soon.

The 20-year-old singer hailing from North London may be young, but in the last year she's released a slew of infectious indie pop singles and garnered a reputation as one of the most promising songwriters in the game. Today, Popdust has the pleasure of premiering Shay's fourth single: "People Like Me."

On "People Like Me," Natalie Shay welcomes you into her transfixing sonic world of 80's synth textures and bright pop melodies, one where listeners will discover vibrant hooks and earnest lyricism. "People Like Me" details the challenges faced by artists in a society where the rose-tinted digital lens of social media masks harsher realities.

Shay told Popdust: "'People Like Me' was written about the discoveries and struggles of being a young artist or creative. The song expresses the emotional journey of finding out things aren't always as they seem, to finding your way in the world."

Shay, who started off as a classically trained guitarist at the age of 5 and went on to hone her skills at the acclaimed BRIT school, is taking her career in stride––releasing one immaculate single at a time. Shay's new track, "People Like Me," continues her string of glimmering pop following previously released singles "Yesterday," "This Feeling," and "Perfume." Whereas "The Feeling" showcased a guitar-driven sound, "Perfume" and "Yesterday" adopted a sweeter, more nostalgic sensibility––and on this new track, Shay leans into a fully-realized'80s soaked sound.

"People Like Me" is a remarkably fresh synth-pop hit. Shay's soaring vocals are layered on top of energetic electronic arrangements, and her songwriting talent is clearer than ever, featuring breezy hooks and a catchy chorus that's sure to get stuck in your head.

"People Like Me" is out now. Listen below: