Chet Faker, Clairo + more, our favourite records of the week
16.07.2021

Chet Faker, Clairo + more, our favourite records of the week

Words by Sam McNiece

Plus new ones from John Mayer and Willow.

Friday is here, which means it’s release day for a bunch of artists at home and around the world. With so many hot releases out there to tuck into, we’ve compiled some of the best to present to you for the weekend.

Chet Faker returns after six years with Hotel Surrender, John Mayer praises the ’80s on Sob Rock, young talent Clairo delivers a heartfelt sophomore with Sling and Willow bring pop punk back into the mainstream with Lately I Feel Everything.

This week’s top picks:

  • Chet Faker – Hotel Surrender
  • John Mayer – Sob Rock
  • Clairo – Sling
  • Willow – Lately I Feel Everything

Read all the latest music news here.

Chet Faker – Hotel Surrender

Six years after stepping away from the moniker, Nick Murphy aka Chet Faker returns to the fold with Hotel Surrender. The Australian musician now living in New York, wrote this record within the first few months of the global COVID-19 pandemic inside his small recording studio.

After making the music, Murphy had a brain wave, saying I just remember looking at it in a playlist and just being like, ‘Ah, shit, this is a Chet Faker album.’ It just sort of showed up and I had a decision to make – do I put this out?”

The opener ‘Oh Me Oh My’ is reminiscent of an ’80s funk track, with Murphy speaking directly to the listener over a breakbeat, synth bass line and strings before erupting into a magnificent vocal performance. The fourth single from the record ‘Feel Good’ has a similar grooving energy to get your head bopping.

Have a listen to the first track off Hotel Surrender below.

John Mayer – Sob Rock

After teasing this record through a series of Tik Tok videos (one of which got re-harmonised before it even got released), John Mayer has released his eighth studio record that is remarkably ’80s. Planted on the cover is his PRS Silver Sky signature electric guitar which was recently announced in pink.

Chatting to Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, Mayer remarked his desire with this new record is the equivalent of “shitposting”.

From highs of ’80s nostalgia on the opening track ‘Last Train Home’ which one could compare to Hall & Oates yacht rock classics, to the pop rock stylings of ‘New Light’, this record is quality although it seems Mayer isn’t taking himself too seriously, just having fun living in the 1980s.

Check out the lead single ‘Last Train Home’ below.

Clairo – Sling

Atlanta based singer-songwriter Claire Cottrill, known artistically as Clairo releases their sophmore record with Sling. Produced by none other than the legendary Jack Antonoff of Bleachers fame and who has produced his fair share of pop stars, see Lana Del Rey, Taylor Swift & Lorde (who Cottrill provided backing vocals to her new track ‘Solar Power’!)

The 22 year old bedroom-pop musician shines over minimal instrumentation on this record. She possesses a laid back energy which is evident across the 12 track LP that feels emotional and ever present.

Standouts from this record include ‘Harbor’ with Cottrill touching on a love that wasn’t two sided and the single ‘Blouse’ where Antonoff’s string arrangements let Clairo’s emotions be felt throughout the composition.

Have a listen to Clairo’s ‘Blouse’ below.

Willow – Lately I Feel Everything

Fans of pop-punk will have a field day with Willow Smith’s new record Lately I Feel Everything. Featuring performances from Travis Barker, Avril Lavigne (lol) and Cherry Glazer, the 11 tracker is surprisingly coherent.

Admittedly I haven’t been keeping up with Willow since ‘Whip My Hair’ released, which was a shocking almost 11 years ago! This new record, sounds like a pop-punk demo from the 2000s with tonnes of energy and a fair amount of grit left in the recordings.

The opener ‘Transparent Soul’ has Travis Barker on the kit, and is an upbeat track that would feel familiar for anyone who has heard a pop punk record. Willow showcases their softer side on ‘4ever’, with a stunning, raw vocal appearance.

Check out Travis and Willow rocking out in this video below.

For more, take a trip down memory lane and watch Willow’s ‘Whip My Hair’ performance on Ellen.