Kick back and relax.Elisa Halkes


‘Bad Blood’ by Nao

Showcasing the wide ranging delicacy of Nao’s vocals, this track is perfect listening for a time out. Punchy yet tender, ‘Bad Blood’ epitomises the ‘wonky funk’ sound that seeps through her work. Evocative of humid summer days, this tune combines synth-pop, electronic, and R&B influences; one to return to for its festival-esque nostalgia.

‘Higher’ by Lily Allen

Whilst Allen’s name is synonymous with the series of incisive noughties pop hits that bear her mark (Not Fair, The Fear, LDN), 2018 album No Shame is notably stripped back, taking a step away from the vibrant pop that propelled her to stardom. ‘Higher’ reflects this more inward looking scope; a lilting riff accompanies tales of a failing relationship – a great soundtrack for those days you’re feeling a little more introspective.

‘London Mine’ by Joy Crookes

A soulful ode to Crookes’ hometown, ‘London Mine’ paints a vivid, intimate picture of the diversity of the capital. The ‘unity and honesty’ that shapes her music ripples through this track, as twinkling vocals sing of ‘Bangla noise on Brick Lane/ That’s the sound of my home’. 

‘February 3rd’ by Jorja Smith

‘February 3rd’ sees Jorja Smith at her most vulnerable, crooning to a lullaby-esque melody. As with the rest of the songs on Lost and Found, Smith is captivating: soulful and rich, this track reflects the frustrations of love, whilst remaining hopeful and considerate. 

‘Lights Out, Words Gone’ by Bombay Bicycle Club

This track from indie veterans Bombay Bicycle Club is funk filled yet peaceful - another one for (socially distanced) summer evenings in the park. Having enlisted folk singer Lucy Rose to contribute chorus vocals, there’s a melodic lightness that makes it an easy listen. Nearly ten years on from its release, ‘Lights Out, Words Gone’ remains a recurring feature on my playlists. 


‘Party Here’ by Octavian

There’s something about the way that Octavian pronounces words that is so appealing. He’s one of my favourite UK rappers, but a lot of his songs fall short of showcasing his full talent. This is one of his older songs, which was championed by Drake in 2018. Somewhere between raspy spoken word and earnest singing, Octavian finds the sweet spot.

‘Mogambo’ by Riz Ahmed

In my household at least, Riz Ahmed is most famous for his role as Omar in Four Lions. I was surprised to learn he also has a successful career as a rapper. The Long Goodbye, a rap album which he dropped earlier this year, hits all the right notes – addressing a racist Britain at a time when this couldn’t be more important.

‘8 Steps to Perfection’ - Company Flow

A friend introduced me to this abstract hip hop group. Their magnum opus, an album entitled Funcrusher Plus, has been taken off streaming services unfortunately – but this track is still available on Spotify and Apple music. The trio included musician/rapper/producer El-P, whose magnificent work on the recent Run the Jewels album proves he is still incredibly relevant, 24 years after the original release of this track.

‘Help Me Somebody’ by Brian Eno and David Byrne


Mountain View

Music Editors' Playlist Picks: Focus

This track comes from an underrated album by two titans of new wave. The samples in this track come from an impassioned sermon, and the nervy guitars and polyrhythmic drums only add to the tension threaded throughout. The whole album (called My Life in the Bush of Ghosts) is well worth a listen – the masterful and frequently seminal displays of sampling, for an album made at the dawn of the 80s, are thrilling. 

‘TKN’ feat. Travis Scott by Rosalia

Two heavyweights on their second collaboration so far. Trap x flamenco pop never looked so good.