Today was the first day in five years that I didn’t look at a grey state on a map and wait for it to turn red or blue.
At least that’s what it feels like. My calendar suggests it’s only been five days, but that can’t be right. Babies have been born, grown teeth, gotten braces, and graduated dental school since the election began. Anyway, it turns out that while I was hosting atheist prayer circles for Democrats in Maricopa County to pull through, musicians were releasing some great new music. Here’s the best of it.
Alfie Templeman – Shady
Bright Young Thing Alfie Templeman just dropped another new single today, this time produced by Jungle’s melody magician, Tom McFarland. This year has been a prolific one for the 17-year-old Bedfordshire based musician, having released his bop of an EP, Happiness in Liquid Form, back in July before unveiling another new single just last month. After working with Templeman on ‘Shady’, McFarland said, ‘He’s a great kid with undeniable talent and I think this song really shows the world where he is heading artistically.’ Here’s to hoping it’s in the direction of a collab with Harry Styles. Now that’d be prayer circle worthy.
Greentea Peng – Revolution
A fitting song for the times, London’s Greentea Peng (real name Aria Wells) dropped ‘Revolution’ a few days ago with an accompanying video by frequent collaborator Melody Maker. The vibey reggae infused track explores the political, societal, and individual turmoil this year has inflicted on us, and how painfully transformative its been for the collective. ‘Revolution is a product of this pain’, says Wells. ‘And also the anger we’ve been struggling to move through, at the same time it represents the hope conjured.’
Die! Die! Die! – 450
Because New Zealanders do everything right (besides pronounce ‘six’), they’ve been COVID free for months. Subsequently, bands like Tāmaki Makaurau’s Die! Die! Die! have been touring around the country like it’s 2019. To celebrate reaching the middle of their jaunt around the mountainous island, they’ve dropped a new 7″ featuring this frenzied track, with a music video shot and edited by Stjohn Milgrew from pieces of 1960’s Super8 home movies shot in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau and Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara.
Benny Sings Feat Mac DeMarco – Rolled Up
Dutch pop artist Tim van Berkestijn, who makes music under the moniker Benny Sings, recently teamed up with Vernor Winfield MacBriare Smith IV, better known as Mac DeMarco, and the result is a daytime stoner’s dream. Though the lyrics sound like a reflection of the times (‘I’m holed up, locked out, shut in, held down’), the track was actually penned last year at DeMarco’s LA studio. It also came out the week before the election, but I missed it in a haze of pre-election stress—don’t @ me.
Karen O & Willie Nelson – Under Pressure
While Bowie and Mercury’s original remains untouched, Karen O and Willie Nelson have given it a red hot go here. In a collab that absolutely no one knew they needed until now, the rock icon and country legend felt inspired to cover the track as pressure mounted around the US election. Karen O says she ‘can’t listen to this song without tearing up every time Willie comes in, one of the purest voices which of course reflects a pure heart, and I get to sing alongside it. I never knew if it was actually going to happen but you must dare to dream. I hope the song brings as much light to the listener as it has to me in dark times.’
Ausecuma Beats – Cherie
If you’ve a penchant for percussion, Ausecuma Beats are gonna blow your mind. Made up of nine musicians spanning five different countries, the Melbourne-based collective just dropped their second single, ‘Cherie’, from their upcoming debut self-titled LP which drops November 20. The group sound like they’d put on a wild live show, but right now that’s just not possible. Instead, they’ll be doing a special live stream performance next Sunday 15th November at 5pm via the Music in Exile socials, so you can sweat it out from the comfort of your own living room.
Jordan Dennis – Elon Must
Getting some real André 3000 vibes from this new release from Australian artist Jordan Dennis. Last week, the Melbourne-based rapper dropped his new EP, HDMI2, featuring the cleverly titled single, ‘Elon Must’. Get it? Even if you don’t, it doesn’t matter, cause the song’s really cool. Way cooler than its namesake, who definitely wasn’t hosting any prayer circles in the hopes of turning the electoral map Biden blue last week (too busy smooching Kanye’s hindquarters).
Mogwaii – Dry Fantasy
2021 is gonna be so much better than this year. It’s going to be amazing. We’ll have a vaccine for COVID, Trump will be in jail, and we’ll have a new Mogawaii record to listen to. We’ve just gotta get through these next few months, and songs like this are gonna help us do it. Mogwaii’s tenth studio album, As The Love Continues is set for release on 19 February 2021. Until then, press play and drift away.