Conal Kelly
CONAL KELLY / Photo: Courtesy of All Press

Best New Songs: Conal Kelly, Bailey Tomkinson, Shady Baby, Fionn

This playlist spotlights the best new songs across the varied genres PopMatters covers. Today features Conal Kelly, Bailey Tomkinson, Shady Baby, and Fionn.

Conal Kelly – “Help Me Out”

Bristol’s Conal Kelly oozes glorious pop melodies seemingly out of his pores like an early McCartney, with his singles being unforgettable earworms. We previously shared the addictive “Pyromaniac” on this playlist and became quick fans. His latest “Help Me Out” sports a guitar riff that lodges in the head and never leaves. It’s a simple melodic figure, but it sounds like you’ve heard it forever, but somehow you haven’t. Kelly says he “wrote the hook for this song over two years ago and had it sitting around on my hard drive for a long time”. Pairing it with lyrics that address personal identity, authenticity, and life’s mundanity, Kelly gives emotional heft to a track with a killer hook and a relatable message.

Bailey Tomkinson – “California Fire”

Bailey Tomkinson may hail from St Ives, Cornwall, but her lush and expressive music is based on the warm Americana sounds of Tennessee and Texas. Her latest single, “California Fire”, highlights Tomkinson’s powerful vocals and her ability to craft a stirring anthemic song. The UK artist’s pop smarts inform the catchiness of her atmospheric music. Like Sam Fender, Tomkinson uses a Springsteen-esque saxophone to create a widescreen, Technicolor effect perfect for a restless summer roadtrip.

Shady Baby – “Come to Life”

Brighton’s music scene is uncommonly rich for such a small city, ranging from intellectual IDM and brainy pop to post-punk and dance pop. Shady Baby‘s Sam Leaver formed the group with local producer Theo Verney, and they drape their rock productions in shades of dreamy Madchester and Britpop power chords. “Come to Life” certainly does with swirling textures, massive guitar riffs, and slurry choruses evoking shoegaze and Oasis. It’s an upbeat psychedelic number perfect for head trips in the summer sunshine.

Fionn – “Picnic on the Moon”

Canadian pop duo Fionn possesses heavenly harmonies, stunning voices, and profoundly affecting songwriting, and they do it while showcasing a range of styles. “Picnic on the Moon” begins as a gentle folk-pop tune, slowly unveiling its musical treasures on the way to an explosive and energetic chorus speaking to Fionn’s existential concerns. Brianne Finn-Morris says she “wrote ‘Picnic on the Moon’ at a strange point in [her] life. Like many, I fell into periods of intense depression. I believed my dreams were crumbling to dust.” “Picnic on the Moon” goes back to the duo’s folk roots, but other songs, like last year’s “Dirty Dancing”, show they can master any pop form.

Hear these songs on the PM Picks Spotify playlist.


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