Our music recommendations: What we’re listening to, from J Hus to Sam Smith & Madonna
Is your playlist in need of some refreshment? We have some suggestions.
J Hus – Who Told You (feat. Drake)
UK rap and Afroswing maestro J Hus bags a superstar collaboration, with Grammy-winning Canadian rapper Drake, who has frequently dipped into the UK scene. The funky track enjoys light melodies and heavy afro bass, with tropical rhythms that ooze summertime appeal. Both Drake and J Hus are on vocals, and you gain a sense that after some past troubles, J Hus just wants to have fun on his track, “Had a mad life I could write a journal”, he raps, after earlier declaring “who told you bad man don’t dance”.
Sam Smith & Madonna – VULGAR
To the sound of thumping electronic basslines, two of the most boundary-pushing artists in pop music, Sam Smith and Madonna, team up together on this racy track. The collaboration sees the duo trade sassy bars, which sounds tailor-made to Vogue till the early hours. The track stays true to its name, but behind its aesthetic, it carries a message of empowerment, in an explicit rebuff to their respective critics.
Ezra Williams – Skin
Irish singer-songwriter Ezra Williams gears up for their debut album Supernumeraries, out June 16, with the fourth single from the LP. Poignantly declaring in the opening line, “I’ve never felt this type of cold”, Williams sets the tone of the indie-folk track, with looped guitar chords and minimal production allowing Williams post break-up lyrics and emotional delivery take centre stage.
PJ Harvey - I Inside the Old I Dying
Dorset singer-songwriter PJ Harvey releases the second single from her forthcoming album, I Inside the Old Year Dying, a soft-natured folk anthem, stoked with feelings of melancholy, yearning for her saviour, “He will rise again”, she sings passionately in whispered tone before launching into an enchanting hook.
Romy - Loveher
The XX’s Romy continues her run of sublime floorfillers as she releases further material in the run-up to her debut solo album, Mid Air, out September 8. The dance banger starts slow with merely a dub beat overlayed with piano chords, erupting into a synth-laced hook with thudding baselines and topped off with Romy’s hypnotic vocals.
Latto – Put It On Da Floor (feat. Cardi B)
Two of the US’ biggest female rappers of the moment, Latto and Cardi B, collaborate for a remix of the former’s viral track Put It On Da Floor. The release marks Cardi B’s first guest appearance of the year, and the two combine their brash, hard-hitting bars – packed with clever one-liners – over a heavy trap beat that will be filling up clubs through the summer.
Dave & Central Cee – Sprinter
Dave and Central Cee team up for one of the most highly anticipated UK rap collaborations of the year, with the pair trading punchy tongue-in-cheek lines over a Latin-infused drill instrumental. The eclectic track marks a significant moment for the UK rap scene, as two of the biggest rappers in the country join forces, and the pairs collaboration lives up to expectations.
Barry Can’t Swim - Woman
Ever-experimental Scottish DJ and producer Barry Can’t Swim drops his new release following the announcement of his debut album When Will We Land? due October 20. The disco-influenced anthem is laced with an infectious piano-driven instrumental, perfect for summer chillout playlists.
Connie Talbot - Easier Pretending You’re Dead
Singer-songwriter Connie Talbot’s new track is a dark but tongue-in-cheek lullaby-like send off to an ex-lover, akin to the earlier material of Billie Eilish. The laid back production allows Talbot’s vocals and song-writing skills to shine.
Krillz - Boujee
North London rapper Krillz follows up his viral hit TopG with a punchy, catchy drill anthem, confidently delivered with enough one-liners to send social media into a frenzy. At just 1 minute 38 seconds, the track has an instant replay factor that should see the rapper infiltrating everyone’s consciousness.
Sam Fischer - Alright (feat. Meghan Trainor)
Aussie singer-songwriter Sam Fischer steps away from his more acoustic vibe and onto the dancefloor, with a drum-heavy radio-friendly pop banger, accompanied with All About That Bass chart-topper Meghan Trainor. His lyrics manifest positivity over a laid back guitar-looped bassy instrumental, allowing both artists’ vocals to shine.
Dua Lipa - Dance The Night
The pop superstar is still in her disco era as she provides a contribution to the Barbie soundtrack that could easily have been a bonus on her Future Nostalgia album. Infused with funky baselines, it continues Dua’s winning formula of sassy dance floor sounds.
Olivia Dean – Carmen
Dean releases the third single from her upcoming album Messy. The London-born singer brings her jazz and soul influences into play in this love letter to her grandma, who moved to the UK from Guyana as part of the Windrush generation. Dean displays her emotion with silky smooth vocals.
Guvna B - U Get Me (feat. Ghetts)
The London rapper brings back the original sounds of grime with well-known act Ghetts in a baseline-heavy earworm, featuring Noughties-esque flows packed with punchlines.
KAYTRAMINÉ – Rebuke
American rapper Aminé and Grammy-winning Canadian producer KAYTRANDA team up together for the second instalment of their KAYTRAMINÉ collaboration, with KAYTRANDA’s laid-back production perfectly complimenting Aminé’s soothing vocals, topped off with an intoxicating guitar riff that will get stuck in your head)
Girl Ray – Up
Girl Ray releases the third single from upcoming album Prestige, a funky disco anthem laced with eighties-like synthesizers, and a toe-tapping instrumental with a searing electric guitar finish. Written about all the emotions that come from a fledging romance, the tracks irresistible beat makes for instant replay factor.
Frozemode – Stick Dat
London-based band Frozemode only launched their debut single in December 2022, but the trio have already made waves with their genre-defying sounds, and their new track is no different. Their new track sits somewhere in-between post-punk and drum and bass, with the bands ferocious delivery creating a high-energy head bopper.
Foo Fighters – Under You
Foo Fighters release the second single from their Here We Are album, out June 2. The second instalment from the upcoming LP is a summer ready singalong anthem, packed with and aggressively catchy hook that feels like a return to their Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace era of material. The track and its thumping instrumental will no doubt boost excitement for their new album.
Blur – The Narcissist
Ahead of new album The Ballad of Darren (out July 21) and their Wembley Stadium debut, Britpop legends Blur are mounting a comeback with a brand new track. The band, led by frontman Damon Albarn, manage to keep elements of their popular Nineties sound, with searing guitars and thumping drums, but also play with synthesisers for a modern twist. It’s the perfect warm-up for a massive year for the band.4:21WTLT entry
James Arthur – A Year Ago
Middlesbrough singer-songwriter James Arthur returns with his second single of the year, with the former X-Factor winner producing a triumphant break-up ballad, serenading an ex-lover he misses, over acoustic guitar chords light enough to absorb all the emotion in Arthur’s powerful belting vocals.
Jorja Smith – Little Things
Jorja Smith releases the follow-up to her Try Me single, starting with a jazzy piano intro that leads into an unexpected, but extremely welcome funky house anthem that you just can’t help but bop your head to. Though it’s easy to get lost in the groove with the rhythmic basslines, Jorja’s stellar vocal performance ensures her voice is still centre stage on the track that should keep her fans moving through the warmer months.
Queens of the Stone Age – Emotion Sickness
California rockers Queens of the Stone Age return with new material for the first time in six years, after teasing fans on social media this week. The bands catchy latest effort, accompanied with searing guitars and funky basslines is the perfect summer addition to your rock playlist, and lands just in time for their sold out UK shows next month.
Kah-lo – fund$
Grammy-nominated Nigerian born Kah-lo returns with a thumping electronic anthem, exuberating sass in every bar, with tongue-in-cheek money-making one liners, in what seems like a clever play on Cindy Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Kah-lo clearly wants to have funds, and her energetic track may get you in the same mood.
Charlotte Plank - White Noise
Charlotte Plank continues to be one of the most exciting prospects in pop with her latest track bringing the sounds of jungle into the mainstream in a fun and radio-friendly way. The singer has already had a big year, following up a recent collaboration with Rudimental, and continues her genre-defying form in an impressive way.
Thundercat & Tame Impala - No More Lies
Thundercat teams up with Tame Impala for their new release, which fuses Thundercat’s funk-soul approach with Tame Impala’s psychedelic rock sound with dreamy results. The duo complements each other seamlessly in this collaboration, which is a treat for both fan bases.
Skepta & Jammer - Mas Murder
One of the most unexpected releases of the week sees Skepta, known for his UK rap and grime tracks, team up with fellow Boy Better Know rap collective member Jammer on a thumping house record on their newly found label. Skepta has taken to dance music since his surprise set at Ibiza’s DC-10 last year, and his new release shows there’s more to come.
Yusuf / Cat Stevens - King of a Land
Yusuf / Cat Stevens releases his aptly titled track in time for the King Charles coronation, with the sweet-natured acoustic record acting as a manifesto of what it would be like to be king. The uplifting track, featuring children in the backing vocals, is a welcome addition to his discography ahead of his Glastonbury performance this year.
Bree Runway – Be The One (with Khalid)
Pop sensation Bree Runway has been teasing her collaboration with Khalid on social media for over a week, and the new track does not disappoint. A modern love song, fusing acoustic guitar chords with an R&B infused instrumental, the track is another example of Bree’s exciting genre-defying nature.
George FitzGerald – Mother (feat. SYML)
George Fitzgerald continues his form as one of the UK’s most dynamic electronic acts. His new release, with SYML, takes listeners on a melodic journey. His combination of lo-fi house production and ethereal synths are enough to make you want to dance and relax simultaneously.