Does anyone else feel a new chill in the air? I’m guessing it’s got something to do with Yxng Bane’s insane new mixtape HBK. It’s cold, as he would say.

We had a very nice chat a few days ago (more on that next week) so I’ve been lucky enough to have HBK in my headphones for a while now. It’s the best example to date of his diverse range – spanning multiple genres and moods, from icy cold to warm and romantic. I went a bit nuts and added four of those tracks to the Spotify playlist this week, all different, all superb.

Everyone’s talking about Cheryl’s new track “Love Made Me Do It”. I thought I’d hate it, given I was never a fan of her pop efforts back in the day, but the new single is an bona fide bop and serves as a nice kind of follow-on to Ariana Grande’s recent self-love anthem “Thank U, Next”.

Nilüfer Yanya has shared her thrilling, buzzy new track “Heavyweight Champion of the Year” where the focus is on this guitar that scratches over a line, back and forth, dropping down then surging back up in intensity.

Anderson .Paak’s Dr Dre-produced “Who R U?” from his forthcoming album Oxnard should please the fans who weren’t so keen on his previous single “Tints” (I loved it, tbh) – this one is all about the energy, and it goes hard on his rapping talents as he reflects back on the moment he realised his dream, and throws in a few brags about how he’s upped his game (“I’m on anotha wave”).

Emerging artist EO – one of the fastest-rising new acts around right now – is back from his breakout hit “German”, which he released during half term break from school, with “Tick Tock”, a sultry little gem that is a cheeky homage to a woman with a special talent.

My favourite troublemakers TOUTS are back with yet another breathless, high-speed experience on “Rip It off Me” – there’s more than a hint of The Clash in both the rough-and-ready playing style and frontman Matthew Crossnan’s hoarse shouts.

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On the other end of the rock spectrum you’ve got Muse and their eighth album Simulation Theory. I’ve added the one – literally one – track off the record I actually quite like. There’ll be a review of that out over the weekend (gulp), in the meantime you can read our interview with the band here.

...Did I mention how good the Yxng Bane mix is?

Anyway, there’s also great stuff from Black Peaks, Poppy Ajudha, Julia Jacklin, whenyoung, Lennon Stella, Zuzu (keep an eye on that one), and, of course, the stunning new album from Architects, Holy Hell – I had an emotional talk with Dan and Sam from the band earlier this week, which you can read here.

On to my spotlight artist of the week. This guy is supremely underrated, in my not-so-humble opinion, but I reckon 2019 could be his year, if this new single is anything to go by.

You might remember London MC Che Lingo from when The Independent premiered his amazing EP Charisma earlier this year. Well, now he’s dropped a new single, “Circles” – have a listen and check out my chat with him, below: 

 

So with Circles, it sounds like you reckon the internet has ruined a lot of potential conversations?

I don’t think it’s ruined them, I think for a lot of people it’s given them ANOTHER REASON not to choose direct, transparent communication to solve whatever the issues are. 

People rarely ever tell each other the straight unbridled truth in many situations, (sigh), they have to be given a sign or a platform to be able to speak frankly before they do, because they don’t trust they’ll be accepted afterwards. That’s what “I don’t wanna make it awkward” REALLY means: “I don’t know if they’ll like me after I say this.” 

That’s work, that’s friendships, thats family hiccups. So can you imagine the pressure (that we’ve all felt in a relationship) when someone does something that isn’t necessarily worth LEAVING them for, but matters enough to “make it awkward” if they don’t take it well...?

Then you wish you never said it. Or you convince yourself it’s not a big deal, but it bugs you and you need to know what they’re thinking so you go to social media because that’s a open space for a lot of people thoughts. You type their @ and start scrolling to find some “unspoken emotional angle” they “don’t know” you’ve sourced from their feed. All so you can have arguments or closure if they end up NOT taking it well. It’s long, just talk. 

I'm assuming this was inspired at least in part by personal experience? 

All music is, maybe not my most current experience every time but something I felt strongly/deeply about at that time. The Sensitive EP is like a part of me that I’ve learned is so important when making music. You have to have a certain sensitivity to create good, lasting songs. I think “Circles” especially is one of those songs. 

It sounds like you're also suggesting there's some fun to be had in not knowing, at least for a little bit? 

No one can know everything. Lol, you can either spend your time trying to find out everything before or just take the risk and go for it with the info/understanding you have. 

Whether that’s on a person who society has said has “slept with too many people”, or a job role your blagging to get into, or a topic you feel strongly about. As long as your always willing to admit your wrongs and call out those ready to judge you to teach you instead, I don’t think the unknown is ever a bad thing. 

What else have you got coming up music-wise? 

The Sensitive EP is coming 2019, a bunch of tracks that mean a lot to me because I wrote them whilst dating my (now) partner. Affairs of the heart that men don’t really get to ask or speak about with confidence because that sensitivity makes them “weak” apparently. 

Clarity and understanding is what makes for a good strong relationship in any capacity but to get that you have to be sensitive. In life and in music. That’s what I believe creates longevity.

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