I will be blunt, this week you probably have greater priorities than the latest singles, but if you're looking for fifteen minutes to escape into some beautifully crafted pop music courtesy of CocknBullKid, or some uplifting folk from The Travelling Band, then I may be of some use. Following The Lost Cavalry's victory in the public vote, we have an eclectic mix of acts for your aural pleasure this time, starting with my personal favourite in the rather wonderful Anita Blay. Keep safe.

CocknBullKid – 'Yellow'


As a 23-year-old black Londoner performing as CocknBullKid, Anita Blay refuses to conform to steroetypes. She has consistently lashed out against the inherent prejudice she sees in the media, after a photographer asked her “to be more urban” for the camera. In refusing to be pigeon-holed, and conform to the ubiquitous R'n'B shite you can hear rattling away on the back seat of any school bus, she has potentially crafted one of the more perfect pop songs of the year. 'Yellow' unashamedly follows in the footsteps of Theoretical Girl and Marina and the Diamonds; innocently charming gloomy and despairing lyrics over a subversively optimistic base. This is pop music for adults, unabashed in its whimsical chorus, shamelessly optimistic and daring you not to sing along.

The Travelling Band – 'Battlescars'

The Travelling Band - Battlescars

A catchy, foot-tapping country track, with lightening fingering (easy now) and a riff I'd almost go as far as to say was impetuous. Almost. There isn't much I can expand on this track other than that is infuriatingly catchy and alludes to dozens of folk acts without being bogged down in comparison and competition. There is a rich production with the sunny bursts of the electric guitar flickering through the mellow acoustica, whilst the tweaks and unpredictability add a sense of intrigue and experiment to the song as a whole.

Hyde & Beast- 'Never Come Back'

As Youtube will inform you, this is the first official release from Dave Hyde of The Futureheads and Neil Bassett, the former drummer of Golden Virgins. Released on their own label, Tail Feather Records, it is a Beatles-y jam replete with a horn section and acapella harmony. Sonically sparse, it builds over a cycled piano hook, informing a jangling guitar and shared vocal duty that develops to the brass-infused chorus. There are elements of The Rumble Strips, but this is a song independent of it's members' previous incarnations, and is sounding quite delightfully fresh.

The Twilight Singers (featuring Ani DiFranco) – 'Blackbird and the Fox'

With the bleak suspense you'd expect of a label like Subpop, 'Blackbird and the Fox' enlists country legend Ani DiFranco to create a glorious, soaring blues track with links to an angsty Fleet Foxes and a destitute Caitlin Rose, wrapped up like the most portentous bedtime story you'll ever here. With the eerily appropriate lyrics about watching 'the city burn', this is frankly (and unfortunately for the context) a slow burner, which grows and grows way past you've finished listening.