The best (and worst) new singles: Sarah Mary Chadwick, Moses Sumney and more
15.01.2020

The best (and worst) new singles: Sarah Mary Chadwick, Moses Sumney and more

Sarah Mary Chadwick
Words by Augustus Welby

Also featuring new tracks from Michael Stipe and Okay Kaya.

Sarah Mary Chadwick – ‘When Will Death Come’

Sarah Mary Chadwick’s songwriting has often felt candid and intimately expressive, but the singer’s pain is unsettlingly close on ‘When Will Death Come’. It almost feels disreputable to be entertained by this instead of making an urgent inquiry into Chadwick’s welfare. But then you hear the band playing with explosive intensity and realise that, while the song pines for the termination of daily suffering, the act of creation indicates a commitment to keep going.

Label: Rice Is Nice

Moses Sumney – ‘Polly’

‘Virile’, the first taste of Sumney’s double LP græ, was brash and occasionally recalled Savage Garden. On ‘Polly’, the LA songwriter strips back to folky acoustics to deliver some of his most direct storytelling alongside vocal layering and voice modulation. He’s in awe of Polly – they’re innocent, aberrant and love to dance. But does Polly actually give a shit about him? Or is he just conveniently available? It’s a beautiful composition that leaves you with a sort of crooked feeling.

Label: Jagjaguwar

Michael Stipe – ‘Drive to the Ocean’

Michael Stipe’s first two solo singles have been released via pay-what-you-want download. Proceeds from October’s ‘Your Capricious Soul’ went to Extinction Rebellion and ‘Drive to the Ocean’ earnings will go to the non-profit organisation, Pathway to Paris. So, in a sense, it doesn’t matter if the songs are any good, but ‘Drive to the Ocean’ is definitely the stronger of the pair. I challenge anyone with a soft spot for the former R.E.M frontman’s emotively-soaked warble to not be moved by this song.

Label: Futurepicenter

Okay Kaya – ‘Asexual Wellbeing’

The latest cut from Okay Kaya’s upcoming Watch This Liquid Pour Itself LP is a playful synth-pop number that makes a case for mediocre sexual performance not being a deal breaker. Like someone whose sense of smell is shot but has extraordinary hearing, Kaya Wilkins indicates she has bountiful things to offer outside the realm of coitus. Hearing the topic discussed is a nice change of pace, particularly when pop music tends to lust and boast but not divulge the nitty gritty details.

Label: Jagjaguwar

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