PopMatters Picks Playlist

PM Picks: The Best New Songs – 17 June 2021

The PM Picks playlist features the best new songs. Today, we feature MAD CIRCUIT, Thomston, Natalie McCool, Scuba + DOMiNii, and koleżanka.

Hear all of this music on the PM Picks Spotify playlist.

MAD CIRCUIT – “Move With Me”

Mad Circuit
Photo: Courtesy of Danger Village

MAD CIRCUIT are being described as a “viral group” as their music has already had over 16 billion TikTok views. It’s not surprising given their winning method of combining hip-hop, R&B, and pop into addictive earworms that energize and enliven. MAD CIRCUIT‘s music is urgent, beat-filled, and sexy with new tunes like “Move With Me” ready to rock dancefloors and festivals with their upbeat positivity. The three-person combo of singer Sereda, rapper LG, and producer JR have all experienced major success on their own, and together they power a string of singles that should be all over the radio airwaves in a perfect world. “Move With Me” follows the previous banger, “MAMASITA” that we featured earlier on PM Picks.

MAD CIRCUIT tells PopMatters that “‘Move With Me’ will always stand as a song that during lockdown sort of internally healed my overdue urge to go out and have massive fun with friends. For us, ‘Move with Me’ is an expression of party and fun overdue. It’s a three-way circuit charged with everything good that’s about to happen.”

Thomston – “Magnolia” (with Zeph)

Photo: Courtesy of Black Panda PR

New Zealand alternative R&B artist Thomston gives us a warm, dreamy, and beautiful space to inhabit with “Magnolia”, a collaboration with rising American talent, Zeph. The Covid pandemic has left many people feeling isolated, lonely, and dreaming of better times. With “Magnolia”, Thomston aimed to create a musical utopia that speaks to our need for escapism and fun, and he achieves that as the summery tones whisk us away into a state of reverie.

Thomston says, “‘Magnolia’ is about that yearning for a different place, very much living inside a ‘grass is greener’ mentality. It touches on isolation, loneliness and tries to paint a picture of a utopian summer where a struggling relationship could thrive. The song was originally written solo, but I felt like it would really benefit from a shift in perspective that would fill in the blanks of the story, and Zeph came back with some unfiltered angst that I think is incredible.”

Thomston has already received more than 150 million streams of music, and he’s toured alongside Broods and Billie Eilish. “Magnolia” is just the latest feather in his cap.

Natalie McCool – “Take Me to Your Leader”

Natalie McCool
Photo: Robin Clewley / Courtesy of Longevity PR

Liverpool alt-popster Natalie McCool has been in our earwaves since last fall with a string of stellar singles, including “Devils” and “Heaven” that previously featured on PM Picks. Today, McCool is releasing “Take Me to Your Leader”. It’s an emotive song with gentle beats and light synths that achieves a state of dreaminess as she fights feelings of loneliness as McCool realizes she doesn’t need someone. As always, the arrangement of her song is perfectly balanced, not a wasted note, with every element adding to the song’s charm.

McCool says, “Written and recorded just before lockdown, this song was birthed at a very tumultuous time for me personally, and as the rest of 2020 proved, professionally too. This song is not about the obvious things that happened last year, more about my personal mindset and feelings, it’s about the dawning of intuition, a slow but staggering realization that you don’t need a person, and the finality of walking forward without them – forever.”

“Take Me to Your Leader” will appear on McCool’s upcoming LP, A Sun Going Down.

Scuba + DOMiNii – “Womb”

Photo: Courtesy of Hotflush Recordings

On “Womb”, British producer Scuba teams up with DOMiNii handling vocals as part of a larger collaboration between the two. It’s an upbeat, spritely number with a minimalist approach containing bits of guitar, pulsing synths, and a thumping beat. Scuba’s been steadily moving in a more upbeat direction over the years and “Womb” plays like a meditative, positive electropop song more than dubstep or tech house, genres normally associated with Scuba. It’s catchy, light, cheerful, and out now from Hotflush Recordings.

koleżanka – “In a Meeting”

Indie pop artist Kristina Moore performs under the name koleżanka and she released a stunningly beautiful song yesterday, the utterly winsome “In a Meeting”. The song builds gently from quiet spaces into vast music landscapes that are far larger than any Phil Spectorian wall of sound. Moore examines her crushing social anxiety through tender verses and sets that off against explosions of synths in the chorus. Her voice is truly mellifluous as it dances around the melody conveying her emotions in the most heartfelt of ways. The message is totally relatable and sympathetic as it looks at an issue that’s become ever more important in our growing isolation fueled by pandemic and technology.

“‘In a Meeting’ is basically about social anxiety and how it operates like internal dialogue, imploring you to just go home instead of staying out in hopes things will feel ‘normal’. I want to feel close to people or allow myself to feel comfortable, but I am often obstructed by being generally terrified and overwhelmed by even the simplest of interactions. I wanted to create a horror narrative in which the anxiety manifests itself into a doppelgänger that follows me to a bar and taunts me with my own desires of social ease and freedom,” says koleżanka.

koleżanka releases her new record, Place Is, via Bar/None on 30 July.